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2012 Toyota 4Runner

Overview
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2012 Toyota 4Runner Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

Over 25 years ago, the Toyota 4Runner helped create the sport utility craze for people with active lifestyles. Back then, SUVs were little more than boxes built on truck frames for rugged off-road capability. Fast-forward to today's designs: a sculpted exterior on a car-based platform limited to light off-roading. The 2012 Toyota 4Runner bucks this trend and continues on a truck chassis to provide a rugged alternative to the more refined Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Honda Pilot.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you are looking for an SUV that serves dual purposes – family commuter during the week and an off-road-capable hauling vehicle on the weekend – then add the 2012 Toyota 4Runner to your short list.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If a car-like ride with room for seven passengers and their luggage are more important than rough-road prowess or towing ability, then look at the Ford Explorer, GMC Acadia, or Honda Pilot.

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Toyota 4Runner adds major audio and connectivity updates such as standard SiriusXM satellite radio, a USB port with iPod connectivity, and hands-free phone capability. For those who refuse to leave their technology behind, there is Toyota's available Entune multimedia system: a collection of popular mobile apps including Bing and Pandora, as well as data services like a fuel price guide and sports scores that will keep you connected.

Driving the 4Runner

Driving Impressions On the road, the 2012 4Runner's drivetrain shines. The Toyota SUV accelerates briskly with an eager 270-hp V6 engine mated to a smooth-shifting 5-speed automatic transmission. Despite being on a...

truck chassis, the Toyota's ride is fairly smooth with its compliant suspension absorbing bumps well. Outward visibility is good all-around even with the raised rear-seat headrests, so you can change lanes with confidence. The steering, however, is overly-assisted in situations such as parking lots or tight turns and is slow to respond, thus requiring constant corrections. The brakes - bit "grabby" at times – took a little getting used to as well. At highway speeds, wind noise is sometimes loud enough to interrupt cabin conversations. The 4Runner continues to be a capable off-roader offering part-time and full-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD) systems to confidently assist you on rugged adventures.

Power Rear Liftgate Window
Gain access to the 4Runner's rear cargo space without opening the rear liftgate - especially useful in a tight garage or when someone is parked close behind. As a bonus, you can carry long objects such as lumber out the back window without fuss.

Sliding Rear Cargo Deck
This convenient sliding deck lets you reach your gear in the back, supports 440 pounds, and is handy for your next tailgate party.

2012 Toyota 4Runner Details
Interior

The 4Runner interior is both functional and inviting. Drivers will welcome the clear instrumentation with large buttons and rotary knobs for climate and audio controls, especially useful when wearing gloves. Pairing a smartphone using Bluetooth is refreshingly easy and does not require reading the owner's manual. The large center console has an available 120V AC power outlet to run your laptop or computer games. Power-adjustable front seats are comfortable and provide good support. In the rear, a 40/20/40 split seat offers numerous cargo/seating configurations and also reclines for additional comfort. For 7-passenger seating, a third row (best for children) is available.

Exterior

The 2012 Toyota 4Runner remains true to its utility heritage, featuring an upright windshield, long roofline and nearly vertical liftgate contributing to its boxy appearance. Impressively, that box can swallow 47.2 cu. ft. of cargo with the rear seats up. With a large flat front end, bulging fenders and 9.6 inches of ground clearance in the 4x4 version, the 4Runner shows off its rugged personality. Access to the rear cargo is through a single-piece liftgate with a unique power rear window. The SR5 and Trail editions ride on 265/70 mud and snow tires mounted on 17-inch alloy rims while the Limited sports 245/60 tires on 20-inch alloy rims.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Three trim levels are available on the 2012 Toyota 4Runner: SR5, Trail, and Limited. The SR5 sports the 4.0-liter V6 engine and 5-speed automatic transmission shared by all 4Runners, plus Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), and integrated towing receiver hitch with wiring harness. A USB port with iPod connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio, hands-free phone, trip computer with outside temperature, and three 12V auxiliary power outlets are also standard. The rugged Trail adds part-time 4-wheel drive, water-resistant fabric seats, power moonroof, Optitron instrumentation, integrated backup camera display, electronic locking rear differential, sliding rear cargo deck, and Multi-terrain Select and Crawl control. The top-line Limited features dual-zone automatic climate control, Display Audio with Navigation and Entune, leather-trimmed and heated front seats, pushbutton starting, and Safety Connect (emergency assistance, stolen vehicle locator, roadside assistance, and automatic collision notification). All 4Runners feature eight airbags and the Star Safety System - stability and traction control, antilock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and smart-stop technology.

Optional Equipment

Only a few option packages are available on the 2012 Toyota 4Runner. Now hold your breath and get ready for the lists: The SR5 Premium Package with Third Row includes the Display Audio with Navigation and Entune, power adjustable leather-trimmed seats, power moonroof, and other interior/exterior upgrades. For the off-road enthusiast, the Trail offers a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) for enhanced wheel articulation over deep ruts and large obstacles. The audiophile can choose the Limited with voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system, JBL AM/FM 4-disc CD Changer, 15 speakers including subwoofer, and NavTraffic.

Under the Hood

The sole powertrain combination in the 4Runner is a sophisticated 270-hp, 4.0-liter V6 engine mated to a responsive 5-speed automatic transmission. There are three drivetrain choices: rear wheel drive (SR5, Limited) part-time 4WD (SR5, Trail), or full-time 4WD (Limited) with a limited-slip, locking center differential. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.

2012 Toyota 4Runner
4.0-liter V6 engine
270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/23 mpg (rear-wheel drive)
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 mpg (4-wheel drive)

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2012 Toyota 4Runner Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 167 Ratings for the 2010 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.0/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.5/10
    Performance
    8.8/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

2012 Trail Edition - my dream vehicle!

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,500

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "4WD, black bumpers, cargo deck"

Cons: "sunglass holder?"

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

"I bought the Trail edition in excellent used condition. I've owned a Sequoia, Highlander, Camry, and a Corolla, but this is just right for my family of four, including two teenagers. The Sequoia was just too large for my day to day. 4WD works well during the Michigan snow storms and traveling through the wooded trails to prepare for a hike. Crawl control and the unique settings for mud, rock, etc. are a bonus. Water resistant seats are perfect for an outdoorsy lifestyle and am enjoying the XM satellite radio is great with the sound system. I prefer the black bumpers and exterior black trim; can't stand all the scratches on a painted bumper. The body looks cool - I receive compliments frequently. Gas mileage is not ideal around town, but I can get 22/23 driving around 60mph. The body on frame feels safe and sturdy with not a lot of road or wind noise - just a slight hum from the tires. Plenty of cargo room, especially when the back seats are folded. The party mode is pretty cool for tailgating, and the slide out cargo deck is pretty useful. I pull out the deck, place the heavy items on it, then slide into the truck. Also I sit on the slide out to put on my boots for skiing. Power seats are perfect to adjust to each driver. The Trail edition is great looking without all that chrome, running boards not required even though I'm only 5'8" - not a big deal, and the soft touch interior surfaces for elbows are comfortable. 4.0 L is plenty of power for me. Plenty of cup holders - great rear roll down window for air flow. Fantastic vehicle for outdoorsy type family who need to get off-road and beat around the town. I would buy another Trail Edition all over again."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Avid Off Road Explorer South Mt. Baker

By on Wednesday, January 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 6,000

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: "Fun to drive and a real off road SUV!"

Cons: "Gas mileage."

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

"I've had this vehicle for a year and out of 18 camping trips and day hikes I can say wow...lots of room for storage for four folks as well as carry-in fire wood. I have the KDSS and really like the ride and off-road prowess. Sound system is the best I've ever had. Navigation accurate. Seats are sooo nice!"

15 people out of 24 found this review helpful

WE LOVE THIS VEHICLE

By on Sunday, January 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,000

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: "Just a great all around dependible vehicle"

Cons: "No storage under the floor in back"

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

"I have a 2014 Limited and traded in a 2010 Subaru Outback Limited on it. We needed more towing power and decided on the 4runner Limited. I live in eastern Minnesota and had to take 4 trips out to SD with it. I found out that if I drove it between 60-63 MPH I will get almost 24 MPG in 0 deg. temp. Pretty much ideal driving conditions flat roads with not too much stopping. I wish it had storage under the floor in the back and maybe a power lift gate. The vehicle has a nice but firmer ride and is pretty quiet inside. The seats are comfortable but pretty high to get into especially for a shorter person, Running boards help! Overall we really like this vehicle and we would buy another one. This one will surely outlast my wife and I so this one just might be the only and last one."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

Best vehicle ever!

By on Monday, January 12, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000

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: "Great price and fun to drive!!"

Cons: "Would like a little better gas mileage"

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

"Recently purchased to travel back and forth to work appoximately 120 miles per day, very comfortable also affords me peace of mind in bad weather conditions."

18 people out of 29 found this review helpful

Realiable

By on Sunday, January 11, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "More Spacious than our 2007 4runner"

Cons: "needs More power ports up front"

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

"It is bigger than our 2007 4runner and still gets 21mpg. Haven't had a single problem with it in 2 years. Power is good, brakes a little touchy but you get use to it."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love my 4runner!

By on Tuesday, January 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 37,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Comfortable car, great everyday driver"

Cons: "No air vents in rear of vehicle"

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

"I absolutely love my 4runner. It drives really nice and is comfortable for long or short drives. I have a family of 5, two of which are teenagers and everyone rides comfortably together, which is important! The only thing I wish my 4runner had was a power lift gate and that there were air vents located in the rear for my kids who sit in the 3rd row seat."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

Buying this car?