Series Chronology
1985 - (CY 1984 1/2) - 4Runner introduced with 2.4L 4-cylinder engine.
1986 - Hi-Trac front suspension added.
1986 - Turbo available on SR5 grade.
1987 - SR5 trim available on both passenger and truck models.
1987 - Minor exterior styling revision.
1988 - 3.0L V6 engine available.
1989 - Second generation introduced.
1989 - 2WD 4Runner available.
1990 - Among "Best Buys" - Consumers Digest magazine.
1990 - "Best Compact SUV in Initial Quality," J.D. Power & Associates.
1991 - "Best Compact SUV in Customer Satisfaction," J.D. Power.
1991 - "Best Compact SUV in Initial Quality," J.D. Power.
1992 - Minor exterior styling revision.
1992 - "Best Compact SUV in Customer Satisfaction," J.D. Power.
1992 - "Best Compact SUV in Initial Quality," J.D. Power.
1993 - "Best Compact Sport Utility," IQS, J.D. Power.
1994 - Safety modifications, optional 4-wheel ABS on V6 models.
1994 - "Best Compact SUV in Initial Quality," J.D. Power.
1996 - Third generation introduced.
1996 - 2.7L 4-cylinder and 3.4L V6 engines available.
1996 - "Compact 4-Door SUV Best Buy" Runner-up, Four Wheeler.
1996 - "Most Appealing Compact SUV," J.D. Power.
1997 - Introduction of 2WD SR5 model.
1997 - "1997 Top Three Vehicles in Initial Quality - Compact SUV," J.D. Power.
1997 - "Best SUV," Consumer Reports.
1997 - "Top 10 Trucks Overall Resale Value After Three Years of Ownership," ADP Autosource Survey.
1997 - "1997 Total Quality Award - Medium SUV Segment," Strategic Vision, Inc.
1998 - Minor interior changes.
1999 - New, standard multi-mode 4WD system on 4Runner Limited, redesigned front fascia and numerous upgrades on all 4Runner models
1999 - "Best Compact SUV in Initial Quality," J.D. Power
1999 - "Best Compact SUV Segment," J.D. Power
2000 - Among Consumer Guide?s Recommended Midsize Sport-Utility Vehicle 
2001 - Receives standard-equipped 3.4L V6 engine and automatic  transmission, new interior features and three new colors
2001 - Among Consumer Guide's Recommended Midsize Sport-Utility Vehicle 
2002 - 4Runner receives minor enhancements.
2002 - Intellichoice named Best Overall Value Compact Sport Utility Class Over $20,000
2002 - Intellichoice named Best Overall Value Sport Utility Under $28,000 (SR5 2WD) 
2003 - Fourth generation 4Runner introduced.
2003 - Truckin's SUV Magazine "SUV of the Year" award
2003 - Recipient of a Popular Science?s "Best of What's New" award
2003 - Among Consumer Guide's Recommended Midsize Sport-Utility Vehicle 
2004 - Optional third-row seat available on Limited and SR5 models, backup camera available with Navigation system.
2004 - Named "Most Dependable Midsize Sport Utility Vehicle" by J.D. Power & Associates.
2004 - Among Consumer Guide's Recommended Midsize Sport-Utility Vehicle 
2005 - Receives engine, transmission, safety and cosmetic enhancements
2005 - Named Edmunds.com Editors' Most Wanted SUV Under $35,000
2005 - Money Magazine named 4Runner "Best Mid-Size SUV" in its "Best Car Values 2005" March 2005 issue
2005 - Among Consumer Guide's 2005 Recommended Midsize SUVs
2006 - IntelliChoice Motorist's Choice Award - Intermediate Utility
2007 - AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) in Premium Mid-Size SUV Category
2008 - 4Runner gets standard first- and second-row side-curtain airbags, active front headrests and a Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) cut-off switch.
2008 - AutoPacific's Vehicle Satisfaction Award (VSA) for Premium Mid-Size SUV
2008 - AutoPacific and Intellichoice.com's Motorist Choice Awards for Premium Mid-Size SUV
2009 - Trail Edition package available exclusively for the 4Runner SR5 with V6 and 4WD
2009 - "Best Multi-Activity Vehicle in Initial Quality," J.D. Power.
2009 - SEMA Show most accessory friendly vehicle award
2010 - All-New fifth generation 2010 MY 4Runner launches in November 2009
2010 - All-new 4Runner named "Four Wheeler of the Year" by Four Wheeler Magazine.
2011 - IntelliChoice "2011 Best Overall Value" - SUV segment
2011 - J.D. Power & Associates Vehicle Dependability Study "Most Dependable MidsizeCrossover/SUV"
2014 - Kelley Blue Book"  "2014 Best Overall Value - Top 10 Vehicle
In mid-1984, for the 1985 model year, Toyota brought to market a revolutionary new vehicle - the 4Runner.  Based on the mechanicals of its rugged and strong-selling four-wheel drive pickup, truck, the 4Runner combined the versatility and go-anywhere ability of 4WD with the comfort and utility found in passenger cars.  It had a fiberglass top covering the cargo area. This top could be removed for open-air driving. 
The first -generation 4Runner was little more than a pickup truck with a covered rear cargo area.  Its emphasis was on utility.  With seats in the front only, the rear of the vehicle was intended to be used for cargo (or camping equipment, bicycles, etc.).
The second-generation 4Runner was designed to carry up to five passengers.  It included a rear seat (with seatbelts for three occupants) which could be folded flat for additional storage space.  The passenger model was available in the SR5 grade, and included a larger fuel tank and more luxurious interior appointments.  Both models were powered by the legendary 2.4L 22R four-cylinder engine coupled to a five-speed manual transmission with two-speed transfer case, and all had manual locking front hubs.
In 1986, Toyota added the Hi-Trac independent front suspension to 4Runner, giving it more ground clearance and improved ride quality.  In addition to the improved ride, Toyota gave the 4Runner an injection of power with the addition of a turbocharged engine available on SR5 models.
For 1987, the SR5 trim was available on all models, both truck and passenger, but the turbo engine was still confined to passenger models.  Slight changes to the grille, headlights, and striping were also new for 1987.
More power was on tap for 1988, as Toyota introduced the 3.0L V6 engine to the 4Runner.  Because the V6 was more suited to the off-road environment that the 4Runner was designed for, the turbo model was discontinued, leaving only the V6 and four-cylinder engines.
For the 1990 model year, but introduced in spring of 1989, Toyota unleashed an entirely new breed of 4Runner.  Based on the completely redesigned line of pickup trucks, the new 4Runner was muscular and aggressive looking, but still capable of delivering the off-road performance for which Toyota's four-wheel-drive trucks had long been known. The vehicle was now available in either two- or four-door configuration, with either a four- or six-cylinder engine and with either two- or four-wheel drive.  The new styling eliminated the removable fiberglass top, making the vehicle quieter and more weather tight.  A minor styling revision took place in 1992 for the 4Runner, with flush headlamps and new grille and molding treatments, and leather seats became an option. 
In 1994, safety was emphasized and 4Runner received side-impact protection, a center (third) brake light, and the option of four-wheel anti-lock brakes on all V6 models.  Fully optioned with a CD-player, eight-speaker stereo, sunroof, leather seats and anti-lock brakes, 4Runner's price was approaching $30,000 - quite a departure from its beginnings some 10 years earlier as a glorified pickup truck.  But 4Runner hadn't forgotten its off-road heritage, and remained as strong a back-country performer as ever.
For 1996, Toyota's most popular SUV received a complete redesign, including all-new engines, chassis, interior and exterior styling, enhanced safety equipment and added utility.  It was the first 4Runner to not share either body panels or a frame with Toyota's compact pickup trucks.          
Available in two- or four-wheel drive, in base, SR5 and Limited trim, and with two engine choices, there was a 4Runner for everyone.  Engine choices were a 2.7L four-cylinder or a 3.4L V6, both multi-cam, multi-valve designs.
The new chassis was stiffer, and was two inches longer to increase wheelbase for a more stable ride.  Front suspension was a coil spring with double wishbone design replacing the previous Hi-Trac system, which resulted in greater wheel travel and ride comfort.
Other features on the new 4Runner included a one-piece lift-up tailgate with power window, larger outside mirrors, much increased interior volume with greater head and legroom and a lowered step-in and cargo loading height.  For safety, dual airbags were included along with four-wheel ABS, side-door impact beams and ALR/ELR seatbelts front and rear.
For 1997, 4Runner saw only minor changes, including the addition of a 2WD Limited model, revised seat fabric in SR5 models, the ability to order 16-inch alloy wheels on 2WD models and two new Preferred Equipment Packages.
For 1998, minor interior changes were made to 4Runner with the addition of rotary-style HVAC controls, a new four-spoke steering wheel and revised audio head units.
The third generation 4Runner entered its fourth year with more standard features and options than any 4Runner to date.  All 1999 4Runners received a redesigned front bumper, valence cover and grille with multi-reflector headlamps with an auto-off function, a new center console with dual cupholders, an overhead console with garage door/sunglass holder, two power outlets in the center cluster and an LCD odometer with digital dual trip meters.
In addition, SR5 grades featured as standard heated outside mirrors and cruise control as well as an upgraded optional Sports Package which included color-keyed bumpers with
projector fog lamps, fender flares, a new wheel design and a sporty hood scoop.
The 1999 4Runner Limited model received a new multi-mode 4WD system as standard.  The new multi-mode feature is actually a full-time all-wheel-drive system with 2WD capability and can be used in normal driving conditions on all types of roads including dry, hard surfaces such as pavement.
For 2001, all 4Runner models were standard equipped with the 3.4L V6 engine and automatic transmission, Vehicle Skid Control with traction control, multi-mode 4WD and a 2WD/4WD selector switch and a pre-wired trailer hitch harness.  The brake booster was changed to hydraulic assisted and the rear differential lock was discontinued.  The 2001 4Runner also boasted new interior additions and three new exterior colors.
The 2002 4Runner had equipment and available packages. All 4Runner SR5 models featured standard 15-inch aluminum alloy wheels with P225/70R15 tires, while the SR5 and Limited grades have a new chrome license plate garnish.  The Sport Edition was enhanced with perforated aluminum front skid plate, new interior sport fabric, Sport Edition badges and embroidered floor mats.  A new Chrome Package is available on the SR5 grade to provide a more upscale appearance.  The package includes chrome front grille, side mirrors, door handles, wheel arch moldings, tail lamp garnish, rear license plate garnish, exhaust tip and available 16-inch high-gloss alloy wheels.
The 2003 4Runner was completely redesigned and offered numerous technological advancements and firsts for Toyota. It was larger, roomier, delivered more power, produced increased fuel efficiency and provided improved ride comfort.  The all-new 4.0L V6 aluminum engine was Toyota's first all-aluminum engine in a light truck (available in Winter 2002) and delivered 245 hp at 5,200 rpm, with 283 lb-ft torque at 3,400 rpm. 4Runner offered a 4.7L i-Force V8 engine for all models with an output of 235 horsepower at 4,800 rpm and 320 lb-ft of torque at 3,400 rpm. Both engines were LEV-certified.  The 2003 4Runner was the world?s first use of a Torsenâ torque-sensing limited-slip center differential in a mid-size SUV transfer case. 
Vehicles powered by either the V6 or V8 engines featured the Torsen technology.  The V8 engine was paired with Toyota's first use of an ECT-i five-speed automatic with overdrive in a light truck. All 4Runners came standard-equipped with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and 4WD models also get Downhill Assist Control (DAC).
For 2004, an optional third row seat became available on the 4Runner Limited and SR5 models. A backup camera became available with the navigation system.
The 2005 4Runner gained more power for its available V8 engine. Equipping the 4Runner's available 4.7L i-Force V8 engine with the variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system and an electronic throttle control system with intelligence (ETCS-i) increased output from 235 horsepower to 270. Torque rose from 320 lb-ft. to 328 lb-ft. With the V6 engine, a five-speed automatic transmission replaced the four-speed automatic, improving performance and fuel efficiency.
All model grades featured minor trim changes for 2005, plus advanced driver and passenger SRS airbags. The Limited grade?s available navigation system used upgraded operating software for better performance and greater convenience. The standard VSC system incorporated an Auto-LSD function, which eliminated the need for a mechanical limited-slip rear differential.
4Runner received freshened exterior styling and minor interior upgrades for 2006.  The 4Runner's front fascia received a new grille, bumper, headlamps and fog lamps, while the rear received a new bumper and combination lamp.  In addition, the vehicle gained redesigned overfenders and lower cladding and is available in three new colors, Driftwood Pearl, Nautical Blue Metallic and Shadow Mica.  Dorado Gold, Stratosphere Mica and Pacific Blue were discontinued.      
SR5 models received a chrome grille, door handles and rear license plate garnish.  Sport Edition models received a smoked chrome grille and headlamp bezels.  Eighteen-inch alloy wheels became standard on the Limited grade.
Power adjustable seats became standard on Sport Edition and SR5 V8 models and available on SR5 V6 models.  Memory seats become standard for Limited models.  In addition, unique, seat fabric was updated for SR5 and Sport Edition grades.  Limited grades received black, wood-grain trim.
The 4Runner carried over for the 2007 model year with no changes.
For 2008, the 4Runner was largely a carry-over vehicle, with these exceptions: It received standard first- and second-row side-curtain airbags, active front headrests and a Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) cut-off switch.
For 2009, Toyota offerd two new 4Runner packages, the Trail Edition and the Urban Runner.  The Trail Edition package added a locking rear differential, Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), Bilstein shock absorbers and 16-inch alloy wheels. The Trail Edition package distinguished the 4Runner with color-keyed grille, door handles, rear license plate garnish and ?Trail Edition? badging, as well as black tubular side steps and tubular roof rack. Seats covered in water-resistant material and charcoal fabric bolsters also came standard.  The perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel integrated controls for the standard AM/FM/CD audio system with six speakers, WMA/MP3 CD and iPod® capability, Bluetooth® wireless connectivity, and a detachable TomTom® personal navigation unit. The Trail Edition package was available in Titanium Metallic, Natural White and Shadow Mica.
Adding a new dimension in style, value, and upscale luxury, an Urban Runner package was available on 4Runner Sport Edition models.  Standard exterior features included 18-inch six-spoke aluminum alloy wheels, unique rear spoiler, color-keyed grille, Urban Runner badging, XREAS Sport Enhanced Suspension badging, chrome exhaust tip, and black-painted tubular side steps and tubular roof rack with crossbars.  The 4Runner Urban Runner was available in only three exterior colors, Black, Titanium Metallic and, new to 4Runner, Blizzard Pearl.
Inside, the Urban Runner audio system featured an integrated portable Tom Tom® personal navigation device.  Additional standard interior enhancements included an AM/FM/CD with six speakers and WMA and MP3 compatibility, Bluetooth®, stone Alcantara® fabric seat inserts and dark charcoal bolsters with eight-way power driver seat and four-way power passenger seats, leather-trimmed shift knob, perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio controls, chrome door handles, and black wood-grain-style interior trim.
Optional Urban Runner equipment included a double deck cargo system with net, HomeLink® universal transceiver, auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass, and a 115-volt AC power outlet. 
For 2010, Toyota introduced the all-new fifth-generation 4Runner.  The new 4Runner was even more rugged and athletic, and packed with more power and better mileage. A completely redesigned interior and unique cargo area made the newest 4Runner smarter, more comfortable, and more versatile than ever.
The 2011 4Runner adds brake override technology as standard equipment.
For 2012, the 4Runner SR5 and Limited grades offered newly available automatic running boards. The 4Runner SR5 and Trail models came with standard SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, USB port with iPod® connectivity and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® wireless technology.
Standard for the Limited grade, and optional for all other 4Runner models, a new display-type audio system incorporated the most in-demand connectivity features. Those offered included navigation, Toyota Entune™ services, XM Satellite Radio (with 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and text/e-mail-to-speech. The Toyota Entune system is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once the smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune's features are operated using the vehicle's controls or, for some services, by voice recognition.  Entune offers mobile apps for Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Pandora®. Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.
The 2013 4Runner carried over nearly unchanged with the exception of the SR5 4x4 transfer case changing from a lever type to a switch type and the USB port relocating from the glove compartment to a more convenient location in the lower center console.
The 4Runner received a significant redesign, with a rugged new exterior design, and interior refinements that added comfort and convenience without sacrificing its hallmark performance capability and excellent value.
The Trail grade featured new color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, and it continued to be distinguished by an aggressive hood scoop and silver painted front and rear bumper accents. All grades now came standard with a roof rack.
In addition to the distinctive new grille, the premium Limited's front design stood apart with a chrome-plated grille insert and chrome front bumper that extended to the fog-lamp bezels. The side molding, roof rack and rear bumper were also chrome trimmed. The headlamps also changed from halogen to projector beam, with both the headlamps and redesigned rear combination lamps on all 4Runner grades featuring LED lamps.
Both the SR5 and Trail grades rode on 17-inch alloy wheels with a new wheel-design for both, while the Limited continued to ride on 20-inch alloy wheels, which were now painted black prior to machining to add contrast.
Inside, both the SR5 and Trail grade added standard Soft Touch door trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob provided a premium feel and atmosphere.
The SR5 received a new bright and highly visible Optitron instrument panel that housed speedometer, tachometer, voltage, fuel and coolant temperature gauges, plus a multi-information display that offered multiple functions.
For second-row passengers, a sculpted front seat-back shape provided additional knee space. The second-row seats, which included a center armrest, individually reclined up to 16 degrees in four steps for relaxing passenger comfort. The 40/20/40 second-row seat configuration had a one-touch walk-in function, making access to the third row easier.
The SR5 and Trail grade came standard with comfortable fabric-trimmed seating available in Sand Beige, Graphite or Black. Available SofTex seats offered a soft, rich feel. New for 2014, the SR5 added a standard eight-way power driver seat.
The Limited came standard with a leather-trimmed interior with new ventilated driver and front passenger seats in Sand Beige, Black and a new Redwood color. Front seats were also heated with eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar support and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat. Both front seats were standard with memory settings.
Fresh off its restyle for 2014 that bolstered its rugged good looks, the 4Runner heads into 2015 offering a new TRD Pro edition engineered and equipped for even greater off-pavement capability.
The TRD Pro Series comes fortified for trail duty with TRD front springs, TRD Bilstein high-performance shocks with rear remote reservoirs, Nitto Terra Grappler tires and a TRD front skid plate. The TRD Pro Series looks the tough part, too, with 17-inch black TRD alloy wheels, unique front grille, black bumper accents and special badges. Color choices include black, white and, exclusive to this special model, Inferno.
What does it mean?
4Runner:  Combine "4-wheel drive" and "off-road Runner", and you have 4Runner, Toyota's fun-to-drive midsize off-road vehicle.
Where is it built?
All 4Runners are built at the Tahara Plant in Tahara, Japan.
**NOTE:  All chronology dates are model year, unless noted otherwise.  CY refers to "Calendar Year."**