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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 193 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

Quality but with a few "could be better"

By on Sunday, July 24, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,500

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: "Quality Built, good fuel mileage, comfortable ride"

Cons: "interior designed poorly, cargo area small"

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

"We bought new, Limited 4 wheel drive, with majority of the bells and whistles. It didn't come with the power running boards so we had the fixed running boards installed at time of purchase. What a joke! A child may be able to utilize the running board but they are so far under the vehicle that one cannot use the board as a step to enter the vehicle. I complained and was told they are more for decoration than functionality. The interior is boxy and you have very little room in the cargo area if you want to carry chains, tool kit and winter gear. You cannot recline the front seat if the rear seat is down utilizing the whole cargo area (we usually travel with two miniature schnauzers so want to make it comfortable for them). We have owned a 2003 Ford Excursion (which I regret selling); a 1999 Chevy Suburban and a 1996 Ford Explorer and feel this has the least interior room of all of them. The unit is quality and we usually get 20-22 mpg but there is probably more room in the Toyota Highlander than the 4 Runner. We didn't want the expense of the Sequoia and were looking for a bit better fuel mileage but the interior has really been a disappointment."

A Real SUV

By on Monday, July 11, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,200

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
10/10

Pros: "Handling, 7 seats, rear glass,"

Cons: "no power liftgate"

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

"After my car totaled in an accident, I found myself in the marker for a new car. I needed an AWD car with at least 7 passengers, that could haul a lot of stuff, including my family. My option were the Sienna AWD, Highlander AWD, Sequoia AWD, and Land Cruiser AWD. I later added the 4Runner AWD with the help of the salesman. I narrowed it down to the Sienna (sliding doors and cargo space, the Land Cruiser (split trunk), and the 4Runner. I ended up choosing the 4runner because it handled well in terrain,looked nice, and could fit lots of cargo.I was convinced to get it after seeing the window like power down liftgate glass. It could go up of down to let air or cargo in, and helped my dogs when they were in the back. The interior is very luxurious for an off road SUV. I bought the top of the line Limited. It has 7 seats (5 of which can fold down for cargo.) I do wish that the screen could be bigger. Another con is that there is no power tailgate, even thought the rear glass kind of makes up for it. When I drive to the mountains to go skiing or snowboarding, it handles like a pro on all types of terrain. It looks really nice on both the outside and inside."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

best 4wd i've had

By on Sunday, June 12, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 107,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "off road does very well. carries all we need"

Cons: "a bit of road noise, but it's not a luxury sedan"

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

"i have owned many different SUVs by many manufacturers. i was believing the jeep cherokee was the best. i wanted a part time four wheel drive, low range, easy clean interior. was getting ready to go back to jeep when i saw the advertising pamphlet for a Trail 4runner. took a while and finally got to sit in one and test drive it. we ordered ours the next day. we go out one to three days a week. mountains, desert, rocks, with the standard set-up we have gone places many would consider extreme off roading. the damage done? scratches to the paint only. no dents, or breakages. 107K, still running like new."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love my 4Runner!

By on Thursday, June 2, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

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
8/10
Comfort
9/10

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

"Growing up I always wanted a 4Runner. Not only for it's design but for it's unequaled reliability! When Toyota came out with the 5th Generation 4Runner I was even more impressed by the design so we eventually bought one. The ride quality on this 4Runner is very different from most true off-road sport utilities. The Limited comes with Toyota's X-REAS system and it acts like a sports car when driving on asphalt but off-road it still performs the way it should. Our only complaint is the lack of space when there is a car seat (but that's not Toyota's fault). Also, there is very little compartments to keep change, keys, etc. other than the glove box and center arm rest. Most vehicles have little pockets to keep stuff. I can only assume they do not have these because it's meant for off road and any open compartment wouls be emplty of it's contents pretty fast!"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Love My 4 Runner

By on Wednesday, May 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,000

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: "Comfortable, Reliable, Great Valu, Nice Appearance"

Cons: "None"

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

"Bought this vehicle new. Amazing SUV! Looks and runs great. Cannot tell it is 6 yrs old. We do take good care of our vehicles so they last longer than most. Have had no problems with it and it is very reliable. Had numerous calls recently to see if I wanted to sell it. NO WAY!"

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Good vehicle but needs some upgrades

By on Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,500

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Reliability & value retention"

Cons: "not as stylish and definitely with less options"

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

"Having owned several Grand Cherokees and now a 4Runner, I feel that the former gives you more bang for the buck. I know, or I'm told, the resale value or value retention of the 4Runner is far more superior than the competition, the aforementioned Grand Cherokee. However, the 4Runner, even the Limited, which is what I have, has subpar features that I consider pretty standard for even lesser "quality" vehicles. In comparison to the Limited Grand Cherokee (I owned 2 of those), the 4Runner has far less options. The interior layout of the GC is also much more stylish with a ton of options the 4Runner doesn't offer. The 4x4 knob on the 4Runner just looks out of place, as opposed to that of the GC, which looks pretty slick. Finally, the factory remote start on the 4Runner is a joke because it kills the engine once you unlock the doors."

2 people out of 12 found this review helpful

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