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2012 Toyota 4Runner

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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 184 Ratings for the 2010 - 2016 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    8.9/10
    Quality
    9.1/10
  • Reliability
    9.4/10
    Performance
    8.7/10
  • Comfort
    9.0/10
    Styling
    8.9/10

limited options

By on Tuesday, January 19, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
6/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "priced fair"

Cons: "seat and carpets stained easlily"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"vehicle was overall great with a few complaints. 1-back up camera in rear view mirror is a distraction. remote start would be a big improvement. running boards would be an improvement."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Don't be fooled, it isn't what it claims to be...

By on Thursday, December 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,900

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
2/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Cargo space, heated seats"

Cons: "Underpowered, horrible mpg, not off road"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"Having been a loyal 4-Runner owner for over 20 years I was excited to supposedly upgrade to a newer version having read many positive reviews. I enjoyed taking my old 4-Runner into the Colorado mountains skiing, hiking, camping and moderate off-roading. It was reliable and would go anywhere. A few months ago I purchased a 2015 Trail Premium version and this car is not what it claims to be, quality, rugged or off-road worthy. At first everything seemed fine but within 4 weeks I had started looking for another car to replace the under performing 4-Runner. The 2015 Trail Premium is grossly underpowered, systems don't perform as claimed and I'm reluctant to take it marginally off-road as it isn't designed for anything more than a level dirt road if that. In fact it got high centered/stuck in a mall parking space in 9 inches of packed snow that had previously been parked in. As for its features, my 10-year old hand held GPS is more accurate than the navigation system. The voice recognition system works accurately approximately 10-20% of the time even after taking multiple tutorials, reading the manual and taking it in to the dealership twice. Voice commands, directly from the owners manual, only work 50% of the time. The layout of the console screen is awkward and distracting when driving. The car has a known issue of accelerating backwards after a cold start if your foot isn't placed firmly on the brake peddle when placing it in reverse. I was told by a Toyota dealership "if you think yours is bad try driving a Tundra". Not the answer you would expect given Toyota recently had problems with acceleration issues. In addition, the moon roof started rattling within two weeks of purchasing the car and the dealership has been unable to fix it. At first I was pleased with the gas mileage averaging around 20-21 miles per gallon and even getting up to 24 mpg on one occasion. Five months later I'm lucky to get between 14 and 15 mpg even on the highway and I don't have a "lead foot" and diligently watch and use the "Economy" performance bar. At times the steering wheel will start to vibrate on regular cycles and the engine will shutter in unison and without warning it just goes away. The headlight performance is awful as they project a perfectly straight horizontal line in front of the car, below the line is lite just fine and above is pitch black. When driving on a less than level road the line is constantly moving up and down both revealing and concealing obstacles in front of the car. Friends riding in the 4-Runner have commented on the lighting performance. I've taken the car to the dealership three times and all three times everything mentioned above with the exception of the moon roof squeak have been found, "within performance standards". Lastly, don't lean or even breath on the car or it will scratch. While the car may be within "performance standards" it's an over priced under performing version of the former 4-Runners. If you're looking for a station wagon type car for road trips that won't be used off pavement or in adverse weather conditions this may be your car. The Trail Premium comes with street tires which makes no sense. If you're considering buying a 4-Runner, which I wouldn't recommend, I'd suggest renting one and living with it for a week... I wish I had..."

17 people out of 30 found this review helpful

GOOD TRUCK

By on Wednesday, July 15, 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
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Controls. handling. Styling. Drive. Fuel economy"

Cons: "Underpowered. Not enough for value. Light steering"

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

"I drove away from the dealer in a 4 Runner SR5. So far still impress with fit and finish but there is not enough power as expect in a Grand Cherokee. One thing it drives 100% well on Nebraska highways and interior is very nice being comfortable riding in 4Runner. I love how drives and technology its got but needs some more stuff to earn little bit more up there with value still its a truck able to trust many years. Overall superb fantastic got few options as blue tooth, rearview camera and even nice storage spaces on SR5 Premium bought my in Pearl white looks gorgeous in that color but its the best wish horsepower was better and had few more perks up there at best bang for the money buying this truck."

28 people out of 58 found this review helpful

Pretty; but rough riding

By on Monday, July 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "pretty vehicle"

Cons: "No third row seat;"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"The tires and vehicle sits up high; rides like you are in a truck. I prefer a smoother riding vehicle."

17 people out of 41 found this review helpful

Definitely like this vehicle. This is my 4th one.

By on Friday, July 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 79,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
Not Rated
Styling
Not Rated
Comfort
Not Rated

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"I have really enjoyed this vehicle. I bought it because I like to fly fish in the mountains and drive on dirt roads and rough terrain. The 4-Runner handles the rough stuff like a dream. Drove it 7,000 miles across country to fly fish Montana. No problem. It has lots of hauling room. This vehicle drives like a truck, not like a car. Comfort is good for me at only 5' 1" but marginal for big people, as the seats are medium in padding and size. I like that I can see over the hood, even though this is a tall vehicle. Headroom can sometimes be problematic for those over 6' tall. Its handling is good for a truck-type vehicle, but it leans on steep banking interstate ramps. Has plenty of power when you need it and braking is good. Gas mileage on my Montana trip was 22mpg overall with regular fuel. Had one mechanical problem in 5 years and 79,000 miles-- fixed under warranty."

45 people out of 63 found this review helpful

Impressive throughout

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Exquisite interior and exterior (in Limited trim)"

Cons: "Gulps gas when it should be sipping"

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

"After previously owning a 2005 4Runner Limited several years ago, we eventually up-sized to a 2012 Tahoe LT. Ironically, the features between the two were on par. After test driving the 2015 4Runner Limited, the Tahoe felt rather analog in comparison. We were quite impressed at its on-road manners - we purchased the vehicle in Kentucky and drove it all the way back to Texas. You'd think a smaller vehicle would be more cramped. That wasn't the case at all. What's crazy is how well they packaged the seats. The second row in this 4Runner adds several more inches than the full-size Tahoe bench seats. I won't speak of the third row as we didn't have to use it. Clearly it suffices for those 10 and under as our daughter fit nicely in the back in her attempt to see how comfortable it was when we purchased it from the dealer. Also, the soft leather touches are contrasted well and looks lavish in Redwood leather trim. The dashboard and buttons aren't complicated and easy to reach. And I can see my blindspots again (a challenge with the Tahoe as the rear set headrest would cover my right rear quarter panel). Several critics give it a sub-par rating on pavement - even with the standard X-REAS system. I'd like to disagree as its well mannered on-road, especially considering the fact that we drove it over 1,700 miles upon purchasing it and use it regularly for daily driving. We haven't taken it off-road yet; but I'm sure it can manage more-so than your slew of car based crossovers claiming to be SUVs that've flooded the market as of late. Now no vehicle is perfect. The MPG match our faithfully departed Tahoe which not only has 2 more cylinders; it also has almost a liter in a half in displacement as well. It also needs another gear as you'll tend to notice the needle flying up and down the tachometer when in traffic in its attempt to find the right gear. At the end of the day we were looking to go back to our roots and purchase another 4Runner to see if Toyota stepped up there game both aesthetically and athletically. In the looks department, they did (specifically in Limited trim) as I still haven't gotten used to the aggressive face of the SR5s, Trails, and TRD Pros. If you can get passed the face and plan on going the off-road route regularly, then opt for the TRD Pro or Trail Editions to see what everyone's talking about regarding the "S" in "SUV." If you're looking for a nicely equipped, daily driven, on pavement for most of the time body-on-frame SUV that can still impress off-road look no further."

22 people out of 35 found this review helpful

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