The Toyota 4Runner is mighty impressive—would you guess that the present fifth-generation model entered production back in 2009? The styling still feels fresh and the reliability is just as impressive as you’d expect. However, given the market’s ever-increasing need for fuel efficiency, it’s clear that the 4Runner, with its five-speed automatic, among others, needs to pass the torch.
The Japanese automaker remains mum on the topic, but it’s clear that a sixth-generation of the 4Runner midsize SUV is close. And since the company has already published the details on the limited updates the 2023 model is getting, we’re not expecting the sixth-gen 4Runner to arrive sooner than 2023 (2024 model year).
Toyota’s current North American range has already welcomed some massive changes. So while the 2022 Tundra full-size truck is all-new (the aftermarket even built a 6×6 Tundra), we can say the same about the 2023 Sequoia full-size, three-row SUV. Speaking of which, the 2024 Grand Highlander, a three-row mid-size SUV, has been confirmed for a debut in February next year, at the 2023 Chicago Auto Show.
Not all news is positive, though, as the all-new J300 Land Cruiser full-size off-roader that debuted last year is no longer available Stateside. Its Lexus LX600 luxury sibling has survived, though.
Speaking of which, the new TNGA-F truck platform underpinning the two models, as well as the said Sequoia, should get a slightly more compact version for the expected 2024 4Runner and 2024 Tacoma mid-size truck.
Sixth-generation 4Runner exterior design
Of course, Toyota isn’t simply going to copy the front end of the J300 Land Cruiser and paste it onto the sixth-generation 4Runner. However, since there are no spyshots of the future model, digital artist Marouane Brembli (aka The Sketch Monkey) did just that in his effort to help us visualize the 2024 4Runner.
The rendering done by the pixel master even used the GR Sport trim of the Land Cruiser, with the more dynamic-looking front fascia appearing to fit the side styling of the current 4Runner surprisingly well.
As for the real deal, the 4Runner, while having a few decades of market presence, isn’t a heritage model like the Land Cruiser. So we’re not expecting retro nods for the design of the former’s sixth generation.
Engine changes for the 2024 Toyota 4Runner
The current 4Runner packs a naturally-aspirated 4.0L V6, which is mated to the said five-speed slushbox. Nevertheless, the industry’s push for efficiency and the engine diversity of popular competitors like the Ford Bronco and the Jeep Wrangler means we should receive multiple powertrain choices for the next-gen machine.
The range is likely to start with a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder that offers 275 hp and 317 lb-ft torque on the all-new Lexus NX 350 compact luxury SUV, which would tie the present V6 for power and one-up it in the torque department.
Now, since Toyota has committed to offering at least one hybrid version in each model line by 2025, the new 4Runner is also likely to get such a powertrain. However, with multiple gas-electric options currently in use by Toyota and Lexus models, it’s difficult to tell which one will power the mid-size SUV.
The carmaker could also throw in a turbocharged V6 range-topper to compete with the US rivals mentioned above.
As far as an all-electric 4Runner goes, the extensive EV concept range presentation Toyota and Lexus have done last December featured nothing that would hint at a 4Runner EV.
Instead, the cult car that is the retro-shaped FJ Cruiser, which borrows quite a few bits from the 4Runner, has seen its design translated into an apparently more compact battery-powered crossover concept that Toyota has confirmed for production meanwhile.
Even with all the updates received over the years, the cabin of the current Toyota 4Runner does show its age. So this will be one of the areas that will benefit the most from the generation change.
And while practicality will still be king, you can expect the latest generation of Toyota infotainment on the 2024 4Runner, with this including a 14-inch touchscreen as an option.
And, until Toyota delivers some official details on the sixth-generation 4Runner, you can check out the digital birth of this creation in the YouTube clip below.