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2009 Toyota 4Runner

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2009 Toyota 4Runner Review

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Few SUVs are held in such high regard as the Toyota 4Runner. Generation after generation has come to love this midsize SUV for its near-bulletproof reliability, excellent build quality and strong resale value. Although the 4Runner has grown larger and more luxurious over the years, at its core it remains a versatile and rugged SUV, as comfortable traversing a boulder-strewn desert as a four-lane highway. Still, it is easy to find newer SUV and CUV designs with more interior room, smoother rides and more electronic goodies. Budget-conscious buyers will probably suffer sticker shock, as even the most basic rear-wheel drive 4Runner model starts around $29,500.

You'll Like This Car If...

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner provides ample space for four adults and their gear but, in a pinch, can fit seven people. If you're looking for a rugged, powerful midsize SUV that has a reputation for superb reliability and great off-road manners, the 4Runner should be at the top of your list. It also has some exclusive features not found on other SUVs, such as power rear window that retracts into the rear liftgate.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you're one of those people who needs an SUV more for its interior accommodations and sheer size than its ability to leave civilization behind, the Toyota 4Runner may not be the best choice.

What's New for 2009

For 2009, Toyota is offering a new Trail Edition package option for the V6-powered SR5 4WD. Trail Edition 4Runners gain a locking rear differential, Bilstein shock absorbers, Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), water-resistant seat fabric and a new audio system with a detachable TomTom navigation unit. The system also provides Bluetooth connectivity, iPod integration and satellite radio.

Driving the 4Runner
Driving Impressions

To help the driver remain in control under all driving conditions, Toyota has equipped all 4Runners with a feature known as HAC (Hill Start Assist Control). The HAC system prevents...

... the 4Runner from rolling backwards when starting to climb a hill from a start. Also standard on all four-wheel-drive 4Runners is the DAC (Downhill Assist Control), which combines the vehicle's brakes with engine braking to avoid unwanted downhill acceleration. Four-wheel-drive models have a Torsen limited-slip center differential which transfers the bulk of the engine's torque to the rear wheels, thus helping the vehicle remain stable in both off-road and slippery situations. These features complement the 4Runner's standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and traction control.

Rear Back-Up Camera
The 4Runner's rear backup camera option allows you to see objects out of the range of your rearview mirror.

Flip-Up Third-Row Seating
The 4Runner's flip-up third-row seating lets you convert from cargo hauler to people hauler in just seconds.

2009 Toyota 4Runner Details
2009 Toyota 4Runner photo Interior

The 4Runner's dash is typical Toyota: Handsome, functional and assembled of the finest materials with the tightest tolerances. The seats are wide and tall to better accommodate full-sized adults. There is more headroom, shoulder room and, most importantly, rear legroom than in previous models. Toyota adds the option of third-row seats on SR5 and Limited trims. A rearview backup camera is optional. It's linked to the optional GPS navigation viewscreen and engages when the vehicle is placed in reverse. For vehicles not equipped with navigation, standard cargo area backup mirrors built into the rear pillars provide a low-tech solution to better rear visibility.

Exterior

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner uses a compilation of bulging fender flares, blocky front and rear bumpers and a wide-slat grille to convey its message of stylish off-road capability. Standard rear privacy glass hides valuables from prying eyes, and the back window that rolls down into the liftgate is a real bonus. With coil springs front and rear, available auto-leveling rear air shocks (Limited V8 only) and about nine inches of ground clearance, the 4Runners' off-road capabilities are not in doubt. Dealer-installed options such as a front skid plate, ski attachments for the roof rails and seven-pin to four-pin adapter for towing further add to the 4Runner's rugged image.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 4Runner is available in three trims: SR5, Sport and Limited. Standard features include a V6 engine, five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), Hill Start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control, Vehicle Stability Control and traction control, side-curtain airbags, front side airbags, automatic air conditioning, power windows, power locks, remote keyless entry, fog lights, dual power mirrors, three-in-one audio with MP3-compatible CD player, side running boards, cruise control, tilt wheel, 16-inch alloy wheels and a rear wiper/washer.

Optional Equipment

Options vary by trim and include a V8 engine, four-wheel drive, leather interior, auto-dimming rearview mirror, onboard navigation, rear backup camera, rear DVD entertainment system, JBL audio, upgraded wheels, Trail Edition package, an off-road package and a power glass moonroof. There's also a new Urban Runner package for the Sport trim, which adds the TomTom navigation unit, 18-inch alloy wheels and a number of interior trim upgrades.

Under the Hood

The 4Runner's V6 is more than adequate to move this vehicle with gusto. For those who need to tow a heavy trailer, the V8 makes perfect sense, but it does use more gas.

4.0-liter V6
236 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
266 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/21 (2WD), 16/20 (4WD)

4.7-liter V8
260 horsepower @ 5400 rpm
306 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 15/19 (2WD), 14/17 (4WD)

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2009 Toyota 4Runner Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.5
Out of 10

Based on 900 Ratings for the 2003 - 2009 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.5/10
    Quality
    9.6/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.5/10
  • Comfort
    9.3/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Most reliable for the year

By on Saturday, July 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Dependable on long drives across country."

Cons: "Seats five with no 3rd row."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Drive train is great and has both regular and air shocks. Always been dealer serviced. Separate rear seat audio control with ear sets optional. Down hill off road control. Heated Seats in front."

great car

By on Sunday, June 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 145,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "design of instrument panel"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"bought at 3yrs old with 42000 miles. have driven for 7 yrs/100000 miles. NO PROBLEMS.Instrument panel hard to read, only complaint."

32 people out of 33 found this review helpful

Overall a Great SUV Built Well for 2008 Yr. Model

By on Monday, May 9, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,012

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Worth Every Penny, If taken Care Of Really Well"

Cons: "Nothing At All"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Vehicle of this type of SUV for April 2008 has been fun to drive and has never given me any problems while driving and going anywhere that I have taken it. Reliable and is easy to repair from mechanics that I have spoken too and taken care of it. I always do an every 30K Maintenance and plus work to keep the SUV maintenance running up to date with no mechanical issues, when all areas are maintained on the Toyota 4Runner."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Perfect 4Runner

By on Thursday, February 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "zero problems, V8 power, 4WD system"

Cons: "MPG"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My 2007 V8 4Runner just passed the 95,000 mile mark. I purchased it new. There has been zero issues since purchase. I have never experienced any electrical, mechanical, fit and finish issues. The interior remains solid. There are no shakes, squeeks, leaks, or rattles. Exterior components have very little wear and tear. The 4WD performance is excellent. It gets me through Chicago winters with ease. I highly recommend the Toyota 4Runner."

12 people out of 17 found this review helpful

Unprecedented Reliability and Great Car

By on Friday, January 29, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 178,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Everything you are looking for in a car"

Cons: "Nothing"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"My 2006 Toyota 4Runner (10.5 years old) has had absolutely no problems. And this is across the board. Very reliable car. But this is not only the best part, the rest of the car is very well rounded. It is built on the chassis of a truck, so it drives more like a truck (heavier steering weight than a car, less sensitive gas pedal), which is what I like. It handles very well at any speed, from residential to highway speeds. The seats are very comfortable, no soreness after a 6 hour trip. I don't have a third row seat, and I love the cargo space and shelf in the back. And I have the lowest stereo option, but it is very good. Overall, this is the perfect car for me."

8 people out of 16 found this review helpful

This car is reliable and the best car I ever owned

By on Thursday, January 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,600

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliable, easy maintenance, good looking luxury."

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned this 4Runner Limited 4x4 for almost 9 years with NO issues or problems. It drives like brand new car now and feel good and proud driving this SUV. I rate this vehicle 100% today."

5 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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