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The 2025 Toyota 4Runner’s Engine Is a Callback to the Legendary 22RE

Let’s just say four-cylinder performance has come a long way.

byCaleb Jacobs|
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We could spend a decent amount of time talking through all the 2025 Toyota 4Runner's retro features. The wrap-around rear quarter glass? It's taken from the first-gen 4Runner. The drop-down back window? That's a staple, too. But the new 'Yota has another callback component that's maybe a little less obvious: its 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine.

Anyone who has spent time around first- and second-gen 4Runners will remember the venerable 22R and 22RE power plants. I hesitate to call them "power plants" because the latter maxed out at something like 116 horsepower and 140 lb-ft of torque, and that was only after a host of upgrades like swapping from a carburetor to electronic fuel injection. Still, they were nearly unkillable and you could find them almost anywhere, because Toyota stuffed the 2.4-liter lumps in pretty much all of its body-on-frame offerings from the early 1980s to the late '90s.

Then, if that isn't enough, Toyota even made a far smaller batch of 22R-TE engines that were turbocharged. Really! From '86 to '88, Toyota sold 4Runners with turbo gas four-cylinders. Those made 135 hp and 173 lb-ft, so quite a bit more than the naturally aspirated engines.

Flash forward to today and both the Tacoma as well as the 4Runner feature an identically sized four-cylinder. This new one is called the T24A-FTS, and as you'd expect, it's drastically different from its spiritual predecessor. It's turbocharged and even electrified in some cases, making 278 hp and 317 lb-ft of torque in gas-only applications as well as 326 hp and 465 lb-ft in hybrid guise. That makes it the most powerful engine ever put in a 4Runner by far, even outdoing the fourth-gen's 4.7-liter V8 we so loved. (That made 235 hp and 320 lb-ft, in case you were curious.)

I can't help but hope there's some intentional connection between the 22RE and this new 4Runner engine. I'm not there at the Toyota event myself but my pal José Rodríguez Jr. is, so he's asking the brand's people on our behalf. I'll update this post with their response, but even if they don't claim any ties to the old four-banger, that won't keep me from associating the two in my head.

It'd be even better if Toyota caved and gave us a new six-speed manual 4Runner. There's a legitimately strong case for building them as the Tacoma has one and so much is shared between the two nameplates, from their engine to the TNGA-F platform and even some of the interior pieces like the center console. Imagine driving a lightly spec'd sixth-generation 4Runner, hearing the turbos whir and rowing your own gears. The old 22R had plenty of induction noise with its wheezing carb; it would only be fitting to hear the mechanicals in the new model while click-clacking through a 6MT.

Anyway, yeah. The 22RE is dead—long live the T24A-FTS.

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

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