New Platform, Redesign, V6 Engine – What We Know So Far About 2021 Toyota 4Runner

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The upcoming 4Runner will need an update. Definitely. Most fans expected the redesigned model in 2020, but Toyota is taking another year for the development of the new SUV. It will pay off. According to the latest news, big things are on the way. Besides the redesign, outside and inside, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner is getting a new engine. Even two are possible. And there are no strong rumors about the hybrid. By downsizing the current V6, the SUV will be sportier and agile, while keeping high outputs and strong performance.

The new body is going to be one of the highlights of the upcoming 2021 Toyota 4Runner. The SUV will look completely different. Designers are changing the platform and complete look of the big rig. The inspiration will be an all-new Rav4. Lighter materials in the body will also make a 4Runner more efficient. Interior layout will be updated. Possibly, we could see more models with seven seats. Infotainment features will be revisited for the 2020 year model, and by the next appearance, Toyota will develop the new generation of Entune system.

2021 Toyota 4Runner redesign

New Architecture Will Make 2021 Toyota 4Runner More Versatile

Let’s start from the platform. The new concept will underpin the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. The New Global Architecture (TNGA) is taking place instead of an old one. For example, this will offer a possibility to install a manual gearbox. 4Runner will probably be one of the kind with such setup in the US. Overseas, we will see more SUVs riding on the same concept.

So, what else does the new platform brings? The 2021 Toyota 4Runner will be able to get a new, smaller powertrain. Well, the SUV could be smaller overall, but we still don’t have such info. One thing is sure – the vehicle is going to be lighter. Designers are using a lot of aluminum recently, and so it will be with 2021 4Runner. On the other hand, we can find rumors about the stronger frame, although these speculations about beefed-up unibody platform sound funny. Well, there are advantages of this move as well – better safety and improved fuel economy. Still, the tough task is to keep the off-road capabilities.

What Will 2021 Toyota 4Runner Look Like?

Some even mention the replacement. We don’t think it is going to happen. Independent rear axle is a sure bet. Toyota will add this kind of suspension to the entire 4×4 lineup. However, the key of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner success is in its look. The new Rav4 shows promise and its larger sibling will carry over design solutions for the next edition. The redesign will bring new front fascia and the SUV will have more ground clearance. So, Toyota will be after the off-road model after all.


4Runner is a 7-seat SUV. It will keep this layout for the base trim levels. The Japanese company could expand the offer with a three-row configuration available for the premium versions. We won’t see it as a part of TRD lineup. Off-road SUVs need more comfort and space inside. The vehicle will use Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in 2020. Same features will be part of the new Entune infotainment system for the following season.

2021 Toyota 4Runner vs Rav4
The 2021 Toyota 4Runner will share the design language with the new Rav4

New V6 Engines

Currently, the SUV is one of the most capable models in the market. It belongs to the mid-size class but carries a huge 4.0-liter V6 engine. With it, the 4Runner develops 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The towing capacity of this model is 5,000 pounds, and buyers can upgrade an RWD with a full-time AWD. However, the most impressing specs are these TRD Pro model is offering. The downside is a fuel economy. Current 4Runner returns 18 mpg combined.

Engineers found a solution. Or two. First one is to downgrade the engine and install a 3.5-liter unit for the upcoming 2021 Toyota 4Runner. That is the same drivetrain Tacoma truck is using. It offers more power – 278 hp but lacks some torque – 265 lb-ft. Still, the key is in a six-speed automatic transmission. The engine Tacoma is borrowing can pair that gearbox.

The other solution is a straight-six engine. We are not joking. Recently, you can see Toyota raising the interest in such powertrains. The new Supra carries the one and gets 335 hp and 365 lb-ft of torque. A turbocharged 3.0 engine is a result of a partnership between Toyota and BMW. This cooperation will continue in the future, and there are strong indications the new 4Runner could be the first SUV with a straight-six unit. However, we are afraid since it is turbocharged. According to first tests, the engine works as smooth as un-turbocharged V6. Well, this is not a final decision by the Japanese carmaker, just a rumor we can hear. We won’t find out the truth in next year or so.

2021 Toyota 4Runner straight-six
Partnership with BMW will bring more Toyotas with straight-six engines

What’s Next for 2021 Toyota 4Runner?

The army of fans is eagerly waiting for official updates about the 2021 Toyota 4Runner. The SUV is not coming any time soon. But, when the first official info appears, it will steal the moment. Although we expected more updates on the TRD Pro model and possible diesel engine, the focus is currently on design. So, after the 4Runner hits the new generation, we will see what does Toyota prepares next for its popular SUV.


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  1. The Chevy Trailblazer was always available with a straight-6 engine. I’ve got one sitting out in the driveway.


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