The 2025 Toyota 4Runner Gets the Tacoma’s Honking Front Air Dam

It may not be pretty, but it should save you some gas money. Or, you can just take it off.

byAdam Ismail|
Toyota News photo
José Rodríguez Jr.


Despite all the clever engineering that goes into an SUV like the 2025 Toyota 4Runner, off-roading is as much a game of simple geometry as it is a matter of nuts and bolts. All the attention paid to things like overhang lengths and approach, breakover, and departure angles are designed to benefit you on the trail. Trouble is, what's desirable when you're crawling rocks can work against you on flat road for a number of reasons, which is precisely why the big, honkin' air dam below the front bumper of the new Tacoma immediately stood out to so many people—and not just because it's ugly. Wouldn't you know, the 4Runner, which shares so much with Toyota's midsize pickup already, has the same thing going on.

The picture above, snapped by my friend José Rodríguez Jr., demonstrates the difference the best. In the foreground is a 4Runner Limited, which is the 4Runner to buy if you want a comfortable, luxurious SUV that'll eat up highway miles. That one's got the air dam, as we can easily see. The Trailhunter-trim vehicle behind it, however, does not, and it's immediately obvious how a big rectangular chunk of plastic ahead of the front axle might keep it from clearing that rock. At best, it'd be a close call.

The TRD Pro and Trailhunter ditch the dam; the Limited (and it stands to reason other road-centric versions) will get it, as the plastic helps reduce drag and improve fuel efficiency. The Tacoma's chief engineer, Sheldon Brown, explained the necessity of the air dam to us as it related to the pickup last year. See, Toyota increased the frontal area of the truck, partially out of a desire to refine the geometry that caused the outgoing-gen's awkward seating position.

The front of a 2024 Toyota Tacoma TRD Sport, for comparison's sake. Jerry Perez

Unfortunately, the size of the dam necessitated by the design also made it too large to be retracted as an active air dam, for all the clearance reasons we've discussed. So Toyota fits them to the trucks and SUVs that would benefit, and skips them on the rowdier builds that would be hampered by them. Seems like the smartest possible play.

Besides, if you dislike the plastic chin that much, it's easy to remove—or, at least it is on the Tacoma. It's just a handful of bolts. There's no reason to believe the 4Runner would be any different, but we have asked Toyota for more details on that front, and will update this story should we learn anything. For what it's worth, the Land Cruiser doesn't employ any such drag-limiting device and, if we're going purely on aesthetics, it's the one I'd choose anyway.

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