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2025 Toyota 4Runner Is Finally Here as a Turbo Hybrid Tacoma SUV

After 15 years, Toyota’s adventure machine is reinvented as an off-roady Tacoma SUV with optional turbo hybrid power.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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I was starting to doubt that I would ever see a new Toyota 4Runner, but it's finally, really happening. Gone is the old one that hung around for 15 years with its ancient platform and five-speed automatic; here to stay is the sixth-generation 4Runner with a 2.4-liter turbo-four, available hybrid tech, more trims than ever including a new Trailhunter off-road model, and a whole lot of fresh styling to keep things modern for years to come.

There's no confusing this new 'Yota with its predecessor. It looks like its own thing with angles and creases everywhere, especially up front where the fascia is high and tight. The 4Runner clearly resembles the Tacoma, just like it has in years past, but their faces aren't identical. Instead, it's a development of the design language that Toyota is using across its truck and SUV lineup, particularly the body-on-frame models that share the TNGA-F platform. That includes Tundra, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Tacoma, and, now, 4Runner.

Toyota's design crew worked in a few callbacks to retro models. What would a new off-roader be without 'em? We already knew the drop-down back glass was returning, as it should, but take a look at the rear quarter glass, too. It wraps around the top, if ever so slightly, which pays tribute to early 4Runners—the ones with removable tops. It's still a shame we can't get that in a modern Toyota, but I digress.

Let's Take a Look Under the 4Runnin' Hood

Having given the 4Runner's exterior a good once-over, let's run through the powertrain stats. The gas-only 2.4-liter turbo—which comes standard in the SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, and Limited trims—makes 278 horsepower and 317 lb-ft of torque. Both of those figures are up from the old 4Runner's 4.0-liter V6 with 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. (That's also way better than the first time the 4Runner offered a four-cylinder: the gutless but unkillable 22RE.) When paired with an electric motor and a 1.87-kilowatt-hour battery, total output climbs to a stout 326 hp and 465 lb-ft of torque. That hybrid powertrain is available on TRD Off-Road and Limited, as well as standard on everything above those including TRD Pro and the new Trailhunter and Platinum trims.

No matter which power plant you pick, an eight-speed automatic is the only transmission on offer. Pour one out for the manual we so hoped for. Maybe, with enough public outcry, Toyota will do like it did with the Supra and give the 4Runner a stick at a later date.

As before, the 4Runner will be sold with two-wheel drive, part-time four-wheel drive, or full-time four-wheel drive, depending on which variant you snag. The 2WD models feature an automatic limited-slip differential, while 4WD models pack that in addition to a two-speed transfer case. Toyota also installs locking center differentials on full-time 4WD models like the Limited when spec'd with the hybrid powertrain, as well as on the Platinum trim.

I'm not sure how many people are towing big loads with their 4Runners, but for anyone interested, it's rated for a max capacity of 6,000 pounds with both the gas-only and hybrid powertrains.

2025 Toyota 4Runner Trailhunter Toyota

More Fun to Choose From

The new Trailhunter model brings with it a slick suite of upgrades. It starts with an electronic rear locker and also includes a push-button sway bar disconnect, 33-inch Toyo Open Country all-terrains, Old Man Emu 2.5-inch shocks with rear external piggyback reservoirs, steel rock guards, and skid plates. Heck, it even has a snorkel in case you find yourself with the truck's hybrid battery and engine submerged in a water crossing. Now that's what I'm talking about.

The Trailhunter boasts 9.2 inches of ground clearance—more than any new Land Cruiser, which makes do with 8.0 inches. The big boy 4Runner also wins in the off-road angle categories with 32 degrees of approach and a 24-degree departure angle compared to the Land Cruiser's 31 and 17. As such, this new ‘Yota is positioned as a top choice in the brand’s impressive four-wheeling lineup.

It's interesting to see Toyota's treatment of the 4Runner with two top-shelf off-road trims. Of course, we've already seen this approach with the Tacoma TRD Pro and Trailhunter, but the fact that the dual halo models carry over to the adventure SUV gives us something to think on. Toyota is giving a lot more info on the Trailhunter at launch, but it's worth noting that the Tacoma TRD Pro's trick IsoDynamic seats with built-in air-over-oil shock absorbers are missing from the 4Runner TRD Pro.

Finally, reinforcing that the 4Runner is a mass-market vehicle and not some niche four-wheeler is a new Platinum trim. It focuses on comfort and livability more than rock-crawling and trail-driving. The gloss black exterior accents allude to its more phosisticated ethos, as do the heads-up display and heated second-row seats. It's like a Limited but nicer, essentially, and you know people will buy 'em.

Less Modest, More Modern Interiors

Some 4Runners will feature an eight-inch infotainment screen, though most are likely to get the Mac Daddy 14-inch display. We've already seen it in other new Toyotas and for the most part, it's a good system to use. Operation is fairly simple and the resolution is crispy, marking quite the departure from the Toyota screens of old. It's in your face, no doubt, but you'll appreciate the clarity of a 360-degree camera feed when you're stuck between a rock and a hard place off-road. If you just want to use it for Apple CarPlay, that's cool too.

Likewise, a seven-inch gauge cluster is standard on lower trims while snazzier models get a 12.3-inch digital instrument display. That means a high-end 4Runner like the Platinum or TRD Pro packs more than two feet of screen real estate in front of the driver. It's almost like Toyota stayed in the same analog lane with dials, knobs, and buttons across most of the dash, then veered hard left into digital. Such is life in the new car industry these days.

Still, a lot of the key functions feature their own dedicated controls. Take the transfer case toggle, for example—it has a single-purpose flipper switch that swaps between 2WD, 4HI, and 4LO. Other off-road doo-dads like Multi-Terrain Select, which is now usable in both 4WD settings, and the much-improved Crawl Control are selectable via a dial within easy reach for the driver. You don't even need to fumble through multiple touchscreen menus to view the different camera angles; you just push the button and it pops up. In that sense, Toyota has thought out the UX clearly.

Something everyone should be happy about is the standard inclusion of Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 and all that comes with it. The pre-collision system with pedestrian detection is a big plus when driving around town, as are road sign assist, lane tracing assist, and full-speed range dynamic radar cruise control. I understand that all sounds like a bunch of marketing mumbo jumbo, and it kind of is, but the fact Toyota tosses its best safety equipment into every 4Runner is a plus. It may not have hands-free driving like some other SUVs do, but you know what? This works. It's more than fine.

From left to right: The 2025 Toyota 4Runner Trailhunter, TRD Pro, and Limited. Toyota

What to Expect Next

Well, it's probably smart to expect to see these everywhere once they go on sale this fall.

It's anyone's guess how long this 4Runner will stay around. I was still in school when the outgoing generation debuted—elementary school, that is. But the new model is far better poised to face the future given its small displacement, forced induction powertrain, and the obvious hybrid element.

I don't anticipate Toyota rushing the 4Runner to full electrification anytime soon. The automaker has built its reputation on hybrids and doesn't view EVs as the move, at least not yet. What you see here is probably what we'll get for the foreseeable future, and I'm cool with that.

The 4Runner is finally modern again, even if that's what the traditionalist Toyota diehards lament as they read this. If you prefer simplicity, you're better off getting an old one. But if you want a new-age adventure mobile, this seems like a stellar platform.

Got a tip or question for the author? Contact them directly: caleb@thedrive.com

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