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Your 2020 Toyota 4Runner May Have Remote Engine Start, and You Might Not Know It

Toyota fans are anxiously awaiting their first looks at 2020 4Runner, knowing it is full of new upgrades and additions. Here is one update you may not know you even have yet.


I have been waiting nearly a full year for this fall season. It is my favorite time of year. The weather here in North Carolina is a little cooler, I get to watch my Detroit Lions football and I get to run a Rugged Maniac race later this month.

The main reason I have been excited lately, though, is because I knew Toyota was introducing its 2020 model year lineup with brand new models, along with many more new features and additions. Perhaps the model with the biggest amount of new exciting toys and gadgets is 2020 Toyota 4Runner.

2020 4Runner has many new upgrades

There are many new upgrades coming to the 2020 4Runner, including Toyota Safety Sense. This important package of safety features includes pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, dynamic radar cruise control and lane departure alert.

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Interior

Also look for standard across-the-board larger multimedia touch screens and Apple CarPlay with Android Auto, along with Amazon Alexa commands. A refreshed multimedia control display brings a high-tech look into the interior cabin. These are very welcomed changes. 4Runner joins the Tacoma, Tundra, Sequoia and Camry in adding Android Auto to its technology and convenience portfolio.

Watch the benefits of Toyota Remote Connect and click to subscribe to Torque News for daily automotive news reports.

In addition, rear seat passengers can now plug in and charge their devices with 2 standard rear USB ports.

Remote Engine Start may be on your 2020 4Runner

One of the features I did not see listed on the “what’s new” section for 2020 Runner is remote engine start. One of my "Toyotajeff" Instagram page followers, Darwin, sent me a tip showing his 2020 4Runner has this convenient perk: name the engine remote start.

For my testing purposes I had 2 of the 2020 Toyota 4Runner models available to try – a Limited in Midnight Black Metallic and a TRD Pro in Magnetic Gray Metallic. I did not have the entire lineup of 4Runners together like I did a few months ago with all 7 of the 2019 4Runner models. Spoiler alert: it worked perfectly for both the Limited and TRD Pro.

Watch as I test out my 2020 4Runner remote engine test for my YouTube channel

Here is how to test it out on your 2020 4Runner. Lock, lock and lock. Three times. That is the key. Using your Smart Key, 1) press Lock, 2) press Lock again, 3) press Lock and hold it down for about 3 seconds. While holding Lock button down for that third time, you will see the lights start to flash. Your engine will start a few seconds after.

My theory on remote start with 2020 4Runner

A few months ago, I tested and wrote about the 2019 Avalon, Camry and RAV4 for remote engine start with successful results. It seems any of these models that also have Toyota connected services, including Remote Connect, could also be started remotely using the vehicle’s key.

2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Magnetic Gray Metallic profile front end

I suspect this is also the case with the 2020 4Runner. I just need more trim levels to try, including SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, and TRD Off-Road Premium.

It is time for your thoughts on 2020 4Runner

You may also enjoy reading my other Torque News stories about changes coming to the 2020 4Runner or about the TRD Pro. Feel free to click these links if interested.

I would enjoy hearing about your current Toyota 4Runner if you own one. What year and how many miles on yours? Do you use it mainly for staying on the roads or more for off-roading? What about the 2020 4Runner? What do you think of some of the changes coming, especially with the additions of Toyota Safety Sense and the Android Auto / Apple CarPlay combo?

Thanks for reading everyone. See you next story when I tell you why bringing back the RAV4 V6 engine is a good idea.

Bookmark Jeff Teague's Toyota News and Reviews at Torque News Toyota. Please subscribe to Jeff’s “Toyotajeff” YouTube channel for Toyota news, reviews and how-to videos. Follow Jeff on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter him @toyotajeff1 and tweet him tips for new stories.

Watch as we talk about the 2020 Toyota 4Runner changes coming. Please click here to subscribe to Torque News YouTube channel for the latest Toyota news and automotive analysis.


luke (not verified)    October 3, 2019 - 5:33PM

Works on my 2018 Tacoma TRD Pro. I ordered remote start from the factory. It came with a cheap "code-alarm" remote start attachment to the factory key fob, which no longer works, so thank you for this valuable tip!

Jessi (not verified)    October 9, 2019 - 8:53AM

I just purchased 2020 4Runner premium trim. I tried the 3 lock truck with no luck. When I purchased the vehicle the salesperson told me the Remote Connect isn’t available at this time but there is a possibility they will update the software to include remote connect services on this trim seeing as how my 4Runner app screen has the remote connect app listed but just grayed out. Fingers and toes and eyes crossed that she is right!

Ryan (not verified)    October 17, 2019 - 5:44PM

I just took delivery of a brand new 2020 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium. I just tried the three lock button method without any luck. I'm hoping Toyota does the Remote Connect update soon. It would be great to have.

Peter (not verified)    October 17, 2019 - 10:56PM

Just picked up my new 2020 4Runner off road premium . Was very surprised to find out that it did not have remote connect when both the Toyota website and the PDF on the site said it had it.
Called Toyota and after being moved up to level 2 customer service I was told the web and printed information was subject to change and it is now not offered on the Off-road Premium model. Was told it is to expense to change brochures so they do not update. Was told you need to read the window sticker to see what is offered on the vehicle. Since I ordered special from the dealer I bet they would have loved it if I did not accept the deliver. Was also told some models were build with it before the change.

Sanro (not verified)    October 18, 2019 - 9:38AM

Works on Canadian models too (2020 Limited). Remote start is the best feature I didn't know I was getting until I had the vehicle...

Olivier (not verified)    November 15, 2019 - 12:07PM

Hi Folks, I live in Canada and just get a 2020 4runner nightshade edition,
after many attempts I've been able to remote start the car but when I enter the car putting my hand in the door handle the engine shuts down directly, I did it 2 times and it was the same.

do anybody have the same problem ?

thank you

Jim (not verified)    December 19, 2019 - 10:41PM

In reply to by Olivier (not verified)

I just purchased a 2020 4Runner Limited and experienced the same thing. Salesman says this is a “safety” design. After remote starting, unlocking the vehicle with either the key fob or by touching the door handle will turn vehicle off.

Hopefully Toyota will provide a software update in the future. My hope, not information from the salesman/dealer.

Jim S. (not verified)    February 4, 2020 - 1:15PM

In reply to by Jim (not verified)

This shutoff feature is perhaps annoying, but is there for safety and anti-theft. If not, a vehicle once unlocked (and running) can be put in gear by a child, or anyone who enters the vehicle. On the fancy jeeps, the "virtual shifter" and "fob in the car" sensors prevent driving it- this is probably a prudent limitation by Toyota given the traditional shifter. I'd be surprised if they change the current config-

Chris (not verified)    November 26, 2019 - 3:19PM

Our 2019 SR5 Premium does not have remote start from the factory. We are having it added at the dealer in the near future. A little disapointed that a vehicle that costs 45k+ doesn't have this already.

Bill Brasskey (not verified)    December 30, 2019 - 10:13PM

In reply to by Chris (not verified)

The 2014 and newer Jeep Grand Cherokees have remote start available as a factory option. It also has a "cold weather start" option which, if enabled, senses when the outside temperature is below 40 degrees F and automatically turns on the heated seat, heated steering wheel, as well as front and rear defrost.

Chuck (not verified)    December 8, 2019 - 10:08AM

On 11/9/19 I purchased a 2020 4Runner Limited Nightshade all black, after almost going with a 2019 model, and am very pleased with my choice. Aside from the added safety features on the 2020, this beauty is a head-turner. The dealer told me the Remote Connect would cost $80/year, through Toyota, or they could install an after market remote start system with it’s own separate key fob. I didn’t want to deal with a 2nd key fob. So now I’m able to remote start my vehicle either through the Toyota app feature, or to remote start the vehicle as described - 1) lock button press and release, 2) lock button press and release, 3) lock button press and hold till lights flash and engine starts. The engine stops when the fob’s door-unlock button is pressed, or the driver’s side door handle is opened. The Remote Start feature was not listed on the window sticker.

Ryan Johnson (not verified)    January 2, 2020 - 10:12AM

Thanks for sharing this info, Jeff! I just bought a 2020 4Runner limited and after reading your article discovered that it does have remote start! What’s crazy is that the dealership specifically told me that they could add remote start to it for $500. I had not even asked about it, just took their word for it that it didn’t have that feature. Thanks again!

Roca (not verified)    May 17, 2021 - 12:29PM

No remote start on my 2020 Venture Special Edition. Has anyone got new information on this feature and whether it can be enabled?