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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 174 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

Best vehicle for the money on the road ....period.

By on Friday, May 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 149,000

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: "solid value, a real SUV, not a "car like" poser"

Cons: "They won't give me a free one :("

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

"I have owned two 4runners and will buy another soon. My '88 had 184k when I sold it to a friend who drove it four more years before selling it to someone who is still driving it. My current 2000 model has 150k and is still smooth, quite, rattle free and dead on reliable. I don't even know who the local service manager for Toyota is...never met him. The best bad weather, bad road vehicle you can buy. If you want a trouble free, all purpose SUV to drive for the next 10,15 years or even more, get yourself a new 4Runner...I am!"

Outstanding 4WD vehicle. Could go anywhere!

By on Thursday, April 30, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "It's a little pricy."

Cons: "better heat delivery to rear."

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

"Excellent travel vehicle. Good gas milage, 19 in town, 24 on highway. Handles great in snow, rain & mud and ice. It did everything and more that I asked of it."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

2011 4runner Limited is Amazing!

By on Thursday, April 09, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 111,000

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
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Amazing SUV in every way"

Cons: "Doesn't have v8 sound"

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

"The 4runner or as I call it, Tunner... Is a big suv that has every feature you could ever need. It can go off road, go 100mph on the highway and not know it, and take the kids to soccer safely. This car is my replacement for a 2004 gx470 and has proven to be to the same lexus quality I desired. The only issues is it doesn't have the v8 sound, same comfort as air ride of a lexus, or the pick up. But, this is an amazing suv than can out perform any competitors in its class. Looks great, drives amazing, and pulls anything you need it to."

18 people out of 35 found this review helpful

My second 4Runner

By on Friday, March 27, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 12,300

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Reliable"

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

"I wish the 2014 4Runner had "blind spot indicator" and power lift gate. Buy it while they still make it."

11 people out of 24 found this review helpful

Best body on frame SUV out there!

By on Monday, March 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,100

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Capable, comfortable, reliable, 4WD system"

Cons: "Factory tires, nose dive"

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

"I've owned my 2014 4Runner SR5 Premium 4X4 since December 2013 and it is by far the best all around vehicle I have ever owned and I've owned many over the last 20 years. This is the first truck, and I'll call it a truck since it has a real frame, that I want to keep and enjoy for years to come. These trucks are built to last with quality through and through. It's been through two fairly rugged Wisconsin winters, a 2,000+ mile road trip to the Black Hills in South Dakota towing a motorcycle on a trailer and made a full up family trek to and from Pittsburgh without a hiccup or issue. I typically see anywhere from 19-21 MPG on the interstate and ~17 MPG in mixed city driving. Overall sight lines, comfort and conveniences get top marks. Everyone who takes a ride in the T4R comments on how upscale and tight the truck is. I only have two real areas that are easily fixed and I've addressed the first. The Bridgestone Dueler H/T tires that come from the factory on this truck are horrible. I think they're there simply for MPG impact as they have been mostly useless in any snow over 4" deep this winter. The 4WD system is outstanding and highly capable and these tires simply take away from that. I've since swapped them out with General Grabber AT2 M/S tires that grip like a billy goat. My second issue that I'll deal with in the coming months is the porpoising that the front end does under hard acceleration and braking. Nose dive is exaggerated and something that a good set of Bilstein shocks all around should address. If you're in the market for a true SUV with many of the comfort and conveniences of all the car based SUVs, you couldn't do much better than a 4Runner. To boot, their reliability and resale value are simply unmatched. Look for yourself."

15 people out of 20 found this review helpful

Best all around family vehicle

By on Wednesday, March 04, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Can make it through most any terrain if needed."

Cons: "Does not have the comfort of a luxury vehicle"

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

"I ordered this vehicle from the factory and it was my best car purchase to date. I have had no maintenance issues and it is capable of carpooling to camping. Plenty of room for 3 kids and 3 dogs with all of the luggage for a road trip."

4 people out of 6 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?