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Since its launch nearly four decades ago, the 4Runner has impressed as a sturdy vehicle that can handle all terrains. Is there a best year Toyota 4Runner?

The 4Runner is an excellent performer off-road and delivers a smooth and comfortable ride on paved roads for those who want the best of both worlds. It is a vehicle that can be driven every day and turn into an excellent off-roader to meet your weekend excursion demands.

2013 is the best year for Toyota 4Runner, as this model is equipped with many features that make it an excellent off-roader and a comfortable vehicle on paved roads. The 2013 model also has abundant safety features and earns impressive ratings for crash tests and reliability from federal agencies.

The 2013 model features a trim for every owner. For those looking to use the vehicle on paved roads, a rear-wheel-drive variant delivers ample power and very good ride quality. The Trail trim is equipped with excellent off-roading electronics and equipment for the best experience for off-road enthusiasts. The Limited trim comes with advanced luxury features that suit comfort-seekers.

Car experts believe that the 4Runner is an excellent choice for off-roaders. It flaunts a body-on-frame design, in which the body is mounted on a sturdy and strong frame that is prebuilt. The vehicle provides excellent reliability and does not disappoint in mud, sand, snow, or rocky surfaces. It has an excellent ground clearance and can handle approach angles of up to 33 degrees, making it a favorite among off-roading enthusiasts.

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2013 Toyota 4Runner

The 2013 4Runner is an excellent option for those who require a mid-sized, seven-seater SUV with off-roading capabilities. With a powerful engine and a variable four-wheel drive as an option, 2013 4Runner can tow up to 5000 pounds.

The undercarriage of the vehicle is covered with skid plates. These plates protect the vital components under the vehicle and can be found on the front suspension, engine, the 4x4 transfer case, and the fuel tank.

The vehicle runs through mud, over rocks, and even on soft sand and snow without difficulty. Whether you use it for trekking off-road or like to use it on the pavements as a spacious seven-people transporter, you will find the 2013 4Runner sturdy and reliable.


The 2013 4Runner appears to be a tough and rugged vehicle. It has a high beltline and wide wheel wells. It seems to have borrowed a few design features from the bigger Sequoia and Tundra. However, it still maintains a traditional and conservative SUV look thanks to the wide C-pillar, which steeply slopes downwards.

2013 4Runner combines the impressive looks of a pickup truck at the front with a practical wagon in the rear with an upright and confident stance. Other 2013 SUVs seem to flaunt a softer and toned-down look, featuring a more family-oriented appearance. But the 4Runner maintains a muscular and old-school look.

Carrying the traditional and old-school trend into the cabin, the interior of the 4Runner feels chunky and upright. Again, something about the ambiance reminds us of the Tundra and Sequoia.

However, Toyota has paid a lot of attention to details throughout the interior. The dashboard flaunts a macho look, and all the controls are easy to access. The gauge cluster is quite big, and all gauges are easy to read while keeping your eyes on the road.


Whether driving around the city or long highway cruises at high speed, the 2013 4Runner feels athletic and responsive on paved roads. Take it off-road, and it continues to deliver as if it were designed for rugged terrains.

Irrespective of the trim level and whether your chosen model is a 2WD or a 4WD, the 4Runner's handling and steering response are excellent, far better than what we would expect from a vehicle of this size and weight.

However, this is not a green light to take the 4Runner swerving over twisty roads or through corners at high speed because you will be quickly reminded that you are sitting in a high vehicle.

Pop the hood, and you find a 4.0-liter V6 engine, which produces 270 hp and 278 lb.-ft of torque. The vehicle is responsive and agile whenever you need extra power, such as climbing over steep hills, overtaking the highway, or even taking off when the light turns green.

The engine is coupled to a five-speed automatic transmission, which is smooth and responsive. It complements the engine's power to make the 4Runner responsive and fun to drive.

The Trail grade variant is equipped with numerous electronic systems that work together with the off-road hardware on the vehicle.

  • The Crawl Control ensures that the 4Runner maintains a slow and steady speed when running on slippery surfaces.
  • The Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) is an optional system that allows more wheel travel when encountering rough and bumpy terrains. This system gives the vehicle good traction and allows for a more comfortable ride.
  • The Multi-Terrain Select System helps maintain traction on surfaces such as soft sand or snow. The driver selects the terrain the vehicle will run on, and the electronic system changes the suspension and throttle to optimize performance in the selected conditions.

Some trims are equipped with the X-REAS system, capable of adjusting dampers and tweaking the suspension to deliver better cornering abilities.

The base trim, SR5, comes as a rear-wheel drive or an optional part-time four-wheel drive. The

Trail trim comes only as a four-wheel drive, and the Limited trim is equipped with a slightly different four-wheel-drive system that is better suited for driving on paved surfaces.

Space and Comfort

The 4Runner is designed to offer a smooth and comfortable ride with its smart seating design. But due to its tall and narrow design, the vehicle compromises a little on cargo space.

The front seats are supportive and wide enough to fit people of any size. The perforated leather hide gives them a luxuriant touch and feel. The second-row seats can comfortably seat taller adults and are also supportive thanks to the contours, which are hardly found on rivals. However, the third-row seats are best suited for children or young adults, as it can be quite difficult to enter and exit the third row.

The dashboard and console feature simple controls arranged sensibly. The off-roading controls are located in a separate console overhead, making the dashboard clutter-free and simple. The buttons and knobs are fairly large and can easily be operated without hassle, even when driving.

One significant trait worth mentioning is 4Runner's impressively quiet ride. As a vehicle built for off-roading, it is comfortable and quiet on the road, even when cruising at highway speeds. There is minimal road, wind, and vehicle noise in the cabin, making long trips more enjoyable.


There are numerous standard safety features on the 4Runner. These include:

  • Eight standard airbags, including frontal, curtain airbags for the second and third row, and front passenger and driver knee airbags.
  • Safety Connect is a system that allows you to get connected to an emergency service helpline at the push of a button. The Safety Connect agents can send out emergency services to the vehicle's location.
  • Antilock brakes keep the wheels from locking up during hard braking, allowing the vehicle to maintain traction and the driver to retain control.
  • Braking assist detects emergency braking and helps stop the vehicle by optimizing the pressure on the brakes.
  • Electronic stability control keeps the vehicle's performance in check. If the vehicle is pushed beyond limits, this system can reduce engine power and even engage brakes to ensure that the driver maintains control of the vehicle.
  • Daytime running lights which make the vehicle more visible from a distance.
  • Traction control detects and corrects the power to the wheels if the system notices a loss in traction on any of the wheels.

There are additional safety features that come on different variants, such as

  • Hill-start assist keeps the vehicle from rolling back when starting a vehicle from a stop on an upwards hill.
  • Downhill assist ensures that the vehicle maintains a steady speed when descending steep slopes. This feature is available only on four-wheel-drive variants.
  • Rearview camera with a screen built into the rearview mirror.

The tall and narrow body of the 4runner is challenging to equip with safety features. Yet the vehicle scores quite well in tests by federal testing agencies.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gives "Good" ratings to the 2013 Toyota 4Runner for crashworthiness. IIHS also awarded the vehicle with Top Safety Pick status, thanks to the high safety ratings.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) somewhat agrees with the IIHS regarding the 2013 4Runner. This agency awards the vehicle with a four-star overall rating, with five stars for side impacts, four for frontal impacts, and three stars for rollover resistance due to the 4Runners' tall and narrow body.


At first glance, the 4Runner appears more oriented towards off-roading enthusiasts, looking for a rugged and sturdy SUV closely related to a pickup truck. Even the base variant, SR5, comes equipped with numerous standard features. The Trail trim is an excellent choice for those who like to take their family or friends on off-road trails. If you want more conveniences and features, consider the Limited trim, which has features that match those of the Land Rover.

The SR5 trim is the entry-level variant, and it comes equipped with:

  • Infotainment system with satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, Aux input, and an integrated MP3 player
  • Steering wheel mounted controls for the audio system
  • Cruise Control
  • Power windows, mirrors, and door locks
  • Keyless entry

The Trail trim is outfitted with a lot of four-wheel-drive features and adds on to the SR5 with:

  • Improved audio system
  • USB port
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • iPod connectivity
  • Power adjustable front passenger and driver seats
  • Moonroof
  • The 4WD features include Multi-terrain variable modes and crawl control
  • Sliding cargo deck to reveal an underfloor storage compartment

The limited trim further adds

  • HD radio
  • 15-Speaker JBL sound system with Party Mode, which directs the sound to the rear and tailgate speakers
  • 6.1-inch touchscreen with navigation
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • Heated front seats
  • GPS tracking with Safety Connect Telematics

Fuel Economy

Given its tall and bulky design and that a V6 engine powers it, the 4Runner is not all that bad when it comes to fuel economy. It earns EPA ratings of 17 mpg when driving around the city, 22 mpg on highways, and 19 mpg for combined driving for the two-wheel-drive variants. Add the four-wheel drive, and the numbers move to 17 mpg for city, 21 mpg for highway, and 18 mpg for combined.

Although these numbers might not appeal to sedan or crossover owners, they are lower than many competing vehicles such as the Grand Cherokee and other large SUVs and trucks.

Price Range of 2013 Toyota 4Runner

The prices of the 2013 4Runner start from around $24,000 for the base trim with rear-wheel drive and go up to around $30,000. The average price sits around $27,000. The prices vary according to location, mileage, vehicle condition, and options installed.

Reliability of 2013 Toyota 4Runner

The car has received a reliability score of four on a scale of five as per J.D Power ratings. This score signifies that the 2013 4Runner is well above many other average vehicles regarding reliability.

Insuring a 2013 Toyota 4Runner

It is best to do some research before selecting an insurance company. Insurance costs vary due to several factors, including how much coverage you require, deductible value, and insurance type. On a personal level, factors like credit score, location, age, and even gender can lead to variations in cost.

It is best to acquire quotations from several companies and analyze them to see which one offers the best value for money. Proper homework can help you save yourself from throwing away your hard-earned money.

Best Year Toyota 4Runner

About The Author

Charles Redding

Charles Redding

I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.

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