With as many iconic models as Toyota has produced, it is difficult to identify the greatest Toyota SUV of all time. Models such as the Land Cruiser FJ40 tend to dominate the discourse, but one model is frequently overlooked. The V8 4Runner was only available for a few years, but it makes a compelling argument as one of the finest Toyota SUVs ever produced.
When was the Toyota 4Runner equipped with a V8 engine?
From 2003 to 2009, Toyota produced the V8 4Runner as part of the fourth-generation model.
The Toyota 4Runner has been a mainstay for four decades and five generations. However, only a few of these model years featured V8 engines. During a portion of the 2000s, the SUVs were offered with a 4.7-liter V8.
Motor Trend reports that the 2UZ FE engine initially produced 235 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Once Toyota implemented variable valve timing, horsepower and torque increased to 260 horsepower and 302 lb-ft, respectively.
V8-powered 4Runners are now among the most popular SUV configurations. There are several explanations for this.
4Runner V8 had an upgraded 4×4 system
The inclusion of full-time four-wheel drive to V8-powered variants is one of the primary distinctions between V6-powered fourth-generation 4Runners and V8-powered models.
The majority of 4Runners have utilized manual part-time 4×4 systems. With the exception of the Limited specification, this is precisely how four-wheel drive functions in the majority of modern vehicles. However, V8 models of the fourth-generation 4Runner featured permanent all-wheel drive.
Full-time four-wheel drive, as the name suggests, delivers torque to all four wheels at all times. Instead of a rear-locking differential, the system employs a center-locking differential. It is comparable to the Subaru symmetrical all-wheel drive system.
The V8 4Runner was the most capable model for hauling.
The 4.7-liter V8-equipped 4Runners had greater towing capacities than all other 4Runner models.
These V8 models were the ones to choose if you required substantial towing capacity. Rear-wheel drive vehicles with the proper equipment can tow up to 7,000 pounds. That’s 2,000 pounds more than the 2023 4Runner’s maximum towing capacity. The addition of permanent all-wheel drive diminished towing capacity, but it remained considerable.
The 4Runner’s 2UZ V8 engine has a reputation for being one of the most dependable engines Toyota has ever manufactured.
Toyota has utilized the 2UZ in the 100 Series Land Cruiser as well as the Toyota Tundra. Owners are eager to share stories of these engines traveling hundreds of thousands of miles with minimal maintenance.
No engine is flawless, and the 2UZ V8 is no different. However, the V8 4Runner’s durability is ensured by its robust construction, abundant availability of replacement components, and numerous Toyota mechanics across the nation.
The motoring experience with a V8
The V8 4Runner provides a memorable driving experience in abundance.
While the standard V6 is an admirable utility, the optional 4.7-liter V8 is more likely to leave a lasting impression. Its low-end torque and thundering exhaust create an overall more visceral experience. True, it is an entirely subjective consideration. However, not all driving benefits can be measured or found on a spec document.
You can no longer obtain the V8 4Runner
With the introduction of the redesigned 2010 4Runner, Toyota removed the V8 engine option. Thus began an era of Toyota V8 SUVs. In fact, Toyota eliminated the V8 from all SUVs.
It is said that you always desire what you cannot have. This is undoubtedly the case with the V8 4Runner, as scarcity is a driver of demand. Fans of Toyota trucks have elevated the eight-cylinder SUV alongside other Toyota stalwarts. And its presence is warranted.