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Ancient Toyota 4Runner Still Selling Strong Even Though a New One Is Coming

There's value in simplicity, and the 4Runner has perfected that by keeping things mostly the same for 15 years.
Toyota

Toyota released its first-quarter sales report for 2024 and wouldn’t you know it, people still love the 4Runner. They love the age-old SUV, its slow V6, and its borderline prehistoric five-speed automatic so much that sales were up 60.2% compared to the same period last year. You see, while those attributes I just rattled off may deter some folks, that simplicity is what draws so many people to the rig. And on the eve of the first new 4Runner in 15 years, buyers are scooping them up while they still can.

There were 33,823 4Runners sold during the first three months of this year, while in Q1 2023, Toyota moved just 21,116 of them. The contrast is stark, then, but it’s worth noting that the 4Runner got off to a seriously tough start last year. If anything, it was the outlier as what we’re seeing now in 2024 is more in line with the model’s usual sales.

The 4Runner outsold every other Toyota SUV besides the RAV4 in Q1. Toyota

Still, we have to acknowledge the current-gen 4Runner’s strength to pull these numbers so deep into its production run. It’s been treated to more refreshes than that pocket tee I’ve left in the dryer for three days but underneath, it’s largely the same as it was in 2009. It’s the only model on sale in the U.S. that still offers a five-speed automatic while the Ford Bronco, a major competitor, has 10 speeds. The naturally aspirated V6 is the only engine on offer as well, and even the tradition-loving Jeep Wrangler gives people the option for a small displacement turbo power plant if they want it.

A new generation is coming, however, and it’ll ride on the same TNGA-F platform as all of Toyota’s body-on-frame vehicles. Think the Tundra, Tacoma, and yes, the new Land Cruiser. We don’t know for sure but it will likely sport the automaker’s 2.4-liter turbo-four, with or without hybrid assist, and an eight-speed auto. That would make it mighty similar to said Land Cruiser, which features that engine with a standard hybrid powertrain. It remains to be seen how Toyota will differentiate the two SUVs that have both traditionally sported heavy off-road focus.

In the meantime, people seem pretty satisfied with the 4Runner in its current form. We’ll see how they take to a modernized version when the sixth-gen truck is revealed later this year.

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