Review: 2013 Toyota 4Runner Limited – Boxy, but Goody

2013 toyota 4runner limited

The 4Runner is celebrating 30th anniversary this year and is in its fifth generation.  The test vehicle is the 2013 Toyota 4Runner Limited and it is one of the more popular SUVs in Colorado Rocky Mountain region.  What makes the 4Runner so appealing after all these years?  Check out this review.

STATS Starting Retail Price As Tested Price HP / Lb-Ft
2013 Toyota 4Runner Limited $41,030 $44,217 270 / 278
EPA Rating MPG As Tested MPG
Rating: LEASE IT! 17 / 21 Combined 18 Combined 19.0

First Impressions

2013 Toyota 4Runner has a boxy and chunky design inside and out.  It has a manly appearance on the outside and giant knobs on the center section remind of a child’s toy.  This SUV is all about ruggedness and ease of use. And the Limited model adds luxury into the mix.



This 4Runner rides on 20s.  Yep, the Limited model has 20 inch wheels and relatively low profile tires for an off-road worthy SUV.  It may be meant more for cruising shopping malls than for off-road bashing, yet it’s still not afraid to get dirty.  The styling of the 2013 model is getting dated (2014 model gets a facelift).  Family lineage to the 4Runners of early 1990s is very clear in the design.  Exterior looks tough.  It is one of the few SUVs, which still can be called an SUV because of its body-on-frame design.

Interior of this beast appears larger than the exterior may suggest.  There is plenty of head and legroom front and rear.  The 4Runner can be ordered with a third-row seat, but those are only meant for small people.  The test vehicle did not have a third row and it makes for a lower cargo floor in the back and lots of space for anything you want throw back there.



This generation of the 4Runner can be had with a 4.0-liter V6 only.  The V8 option is no more.  As much as the V8 sound will be missed, this V6 kicks out a good 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque.  It’s sending the power to the full-time 4WD system via a 5-speed automatic transmission.  The power and acceleration are adequate, but this is not a performance SUV or crossover.  You will not win many stop light races, but this good old motor is plenty powerful for any off-road adventure.

The 2013 model has a selectable “Eco” mode which numbs the throttle and adjust transmission shifting as to minimize fuel usage.  It actually does a good job, as I got 22.4 MPG on one highway trip.



The 4Runner has a very comfortable, quiet, and smooth ride.  You may think that the 20 inch wheel will make it harsh, but the combination of suspension tuning and tire selection smooth out most bumps and pavement joints.  The steering feels relatively tight and precise.  It may not be as great as some of the performance crossovers, but it’s impressive for an old fashioned SUV.  This truckster makes easy work of a twisty mountain road or an off-road trail.  It feels at home in any environment.



Nissan Xterra and Jeep Wrangler Unlimited immediately come to mind as the competing body-on-frame SUVs.  The 4Runner is the roomiest of this bunch and does offer an optional third row.  These three have nearly identical acceleration performance at a mile above sea level.  All can tackle a tough off-road trail, but the 4Runner Limited is priced well above others.

On the TFLcar scale of:

  • Buy it!
  • Lease it!
  • Rent it!
  • … or Forget it!

I give the 2013 Toyota 4Runner Limited a Lease It!  I like this Toyota off-roader, however I cannot give it the coveted TFLcar Buy It! rating because of the value proposition on the Limited model.  At $44,217 as tested price, it is around $6,000 more than the luxurious Wrangler Unlimited Sahara and about $12,000 more than the Nissan Xterra PRO-4X that I recently tested.  I would give the Buy It! rating to the more affordable 4Runner SR5 or Trail models.  Those have more off-road friendly wheels and tires and a lower price tag to boot.

Check out this fun and informative TFL video where the 2013 4Runner Limited goes up against the 2014 model in an acceleration test.

Andre Smirnov
Andre Smirnov

Andre Smirnov is a life-long automotive enthusiast, writer, reporter, and software engineer. He has been a contributor at TFL since 2011. When not working or spending time with the family – you can find him tinkering in the garage or simply ‘going for a drive’.