Price change: Base prices increase from $735 to $2,975, depending on model; prices include a destination charge that is $25 higher at $1,120.
On sale: Now
Which should you buy, 2019 or 2020? 2020. The overdue addition of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, plus the standard safety features, tip the scales to the 2020 models despite the higher prices.
Toyota’s body-on-frame, mid-size 4Runner SUV gets Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with Amazon Alexa, as standard features, finally catching up to competitors who have provided smartphone interfaces for years. All 2020 versions of the 4Runner also have as standard the Toyota Safety Sense-P package that includes automatic emergency braking, lane departure and sway warnings, automatic high beams and adaptive cruise control.
Related: What’s New With Toyota in 2019?
Other changes include a new instrument panel that incorporates an 8-inch touchscreen for all audio systems. The SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road Premium and TRD Pro models also gain as standard a smart key with push-button start.
The 2019 lineup returns intact, but prices are higher on all models, from $735 on the base SR5 models to $2,975 on the TRD Pro. Base prices are up by $1,285 on Limited and Nightshade models, and by $2,100 on the SR5 Premium and TRD Off-Road Premium.
All models come with a 270-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission. TRD models come with standard four-wheel drive, the others with a choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. Seating arrangements range from five to seven with the available third row.
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The 4Runner remains true to its heritage with the off-road-capable TRD models, and the truck-based body-on-frame design gives it maximum towing capacity of 5,000 pounds. Clumsy on-road handling, though, makes it less pleasant to drive than most crossover SUVs, plus 4WD models have a high step-in height due to the 9.6-inch ground clearance (2WD models have an even 9 inches of clearance). Hefty curb weights that start at 4,400 pounds take a toll on fuel economy, too. Bottom line: You have to really want or need the 4Runner’s truck-based design to choose this SUV over a car-based crossover, such as the Toyota Highlander, for family duty.
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