14 Tips For Test Driving A Toyota 4Runner

Finding the right mid-size SUV like the Toyota 4Runner is important for off-roading or general use. But before you seal the deal, go for a test drive.

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What should I know before I test drive a 4runner?

Whether buying a new or secondhand Toyota 4Runner, do a test drive. Also you should inspect the interior and exterior of the car. Then, check the engine and even adjust the seats to note functionality. Testing the Toyota 4Runner before buying helps you learn much about the vehicle. 

We spoke with experts in the industry, including auto technicians, about the importance of test-driving a vehicle. They insisted this was crucial and gave us tips for test-driving a Toyota 4Runner before buying.

14 Toyota 4Runner Test Drive Tips

1. Inspect the Car

Before starting the engine, you need to inspect the Toyota 4Runner visually. Trust your eyes and go around noting every inch of the vehicle. If possible, do this alone without the interference of the sales rep so you won’t miss anything.

Walk around and take note of the different parts of the exterior. If possible, have a notebook and write down any issue you may notice. The details will come in handy when it is time to complete the purchase.

Check the exterior of the Toyota 4Runner, then open the doors and check out the interior. Does it have the cargo space you need? Does the sliding rear cargo deck work, and is the grille in position? How does the frame of the vehicle appear to you?

All these are crucial observations every driver must make before a test drive. That way, you can be aware of any discrepancies you must raise with the sales rep. Also, remember if the vehicle is new or secondhand and the nature of the controls.

Apart from noting any issues with the car, you can also have a moment to see how it feels, especially the steering wheel. Can you get in and out easily? Is the seating suitable? Does it feel like a car you want to drive, or do you prefer to look at another vehicle? Is the steering wheel comfortable, and is the car sophisticated enough?

2. Note the Age

There’s the option of purchasing a new 4Runner or a used one. The good news is you can find a secondhand model that’s in great condition. However, you need to know all the details about this vehicle before purchasing it.

The age of the 4Runner matters because it also determines matters like fuel economy. A good vehicle, when tested, will help you make the best decision. Also, age is important for the insurance institute when seeking insurance.

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3. Change the Seat’s Position

Every driver has a sitting position they like once inside a vehicle. This is why all vehicles come with a seat-adjusting system in place. The system makes moving the seat forward or backward easier to enjoy a comfortable drive.

So, enter the vehicle, note the steering wheel’s position, and adjust the seat. Is it easy to adjust the driver’s seat on the Toyota 4Runner? This is an important observation before you agree to purchase the vehicle.

If you find the seat tough to adjust, request that they fix it. If you drive the vehicle out of the showroom as is, you might be forced to fix the issue yourself. So, have them look at the seat adjustment system if you notice an issue.

A vehicle with an impossible seat adjustment is not the best to drive. You end up with an uncomfortable ride experience rather than enjoying a wonderful escape. This is especially important if you want to use the 4Runner for serious off-roading.

4. Check the Engine

Now that you’ve noted the state of the driver’s seat, pop the hood. It’s important to check out the engine of the Toyota 4Runner for fuel economy purposes. Note oil leaks that can affect the vehicle’s condition, especially during challenging off-roading experiences.

An oil leak is a sign of serious issues with the car’s engine. So, fire up the engine, then get under the hood to note any issues. Apart from noting any leaks, listen to the vehicle’s engine you want to purchase. Are there any odd noises coming from it? Has the truck seen a million miles or not?

Driving the car off the showroom for a test drive is easy. However, this means you might miss an issue with the engine. So, fire it up, then listen for any odd noises from the vehicle and note them down.

As the engine keeps running and the vehicle remains stationary, go down on all fours and check for puddles or drips. Bring an auto tech along to help you make a proper 4Runner engine diagnosis before you complete the deal.

The seller might have cleaned the hood and other vehicle parts and left the undercarriage. So, don’t be shy about lying on your back and observing what lies underneath this vehicle. Use a source of light and go through every inch of the undercarriage.

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5. Check the Interior Design

Go back inside the vehicle after inspecting the engine and undercarriage. Write down all your observations then check the interior. There are some standard features that the 4Runner has, such as the 5-seat layout and an infotainment center.

Take a look at the interior design of this vehicle. Go beyond the cargo space, and inspect the seats. Seat on the driver’s seat, the passenger’s seat, and the rear seat. How does the rear seat feel? Are they comfortable, or will they make the journey seem too long?

The interior is just as important as the exterior of a vehicle. The Toyota 4Runner has a standard interior layout that includes 5 seats with cloth upholstery. On top of that, you get an infotainment center with an 8-inch screen that you must test.

Check out the different infotainment center features in the Toyota 4Runner, including Android Auto and AppleCarPlay. Does every feature work? Does the Bluetooth connection work? Are all the USB ports functioning correctly?

Remember, you want to listen to music or a podcast while driving, so check the infotainment center. Note how easy or hard it is to use the touch screen in the vehicle. If it doesn’t work, remember to raise this with the seller.

6. Assess the Cargo Space

Mid-size SUVs are popular for the bigger body structure and the interior space. You should check the SUV’s cargo space and cargo cover when inspecting the interior. Note how much cargo space you have in the vehicle you intend to purchase.

The 4Runner can fit a second and a third row. Have the folks at the dealership install the second row and note down the cargo space. Then, ask them to fit a third row and repeat the process. This is crucial, especially if you intend to carry cargo such as luggage when traveling and add cargo cover.

Storage space is handy in many scenarios, so it’s enough. If not, see what other 4Runner models to pick.

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7. Test the Brakes

The braking system of the Toyota 4Runner must be top-notch for your safety. So, this is why you need to find out how the brakes feel before you buy the vehicle. Normal brakes are easy to use when you get a new or secondhand vehicle.

If the brakes feel stiff, have them checked out immediately. Part of your highway safety is ensuring you can stop easily and fast when necessary. The best brakes grab easily and smooth the stops, especially during emergencies.

Apart from noting how the brakes feel, you must test them while driving. This will be part of the test drive to see if you have control of the vehicle or not. A proper test drive is a long process that needs patience, especially when checking out the brakes.

There are different 4Runner models, so pick the one you like. After that, begin the process, and check the brakes.

8. Inspect the Wheels

Inspecting the brakes goes hand in hand with checking the wheels of the 4Runner. Go around the vehicle and note each wheel. Good quality tires can last long, but upgrading is important if you notice any wear. Also, check the running boards.

So, before you purchase a vehicle, note each wheel, and describe how it looks. Is it in good condition, or are the wheels worn out? Tire inspection must be part of this process to note if you need tire replacement when you purchase the vehicle.

Also, inspect the spare wheel that comes with the 4Runner. There is a difference in pricing for a vehicle with good tires and one that needs a new set of wheels. If possible. Have each wheel taken off to note the studs and wheel structure.

9. Pick a Route

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Do you want to test the SUV in different terrain to check its performance? Ensure you insist on picking the route for the test drive. The person assigned to you at the dealer may have some suggestions, but be sure to pick an area you prefer.

You might not be beyond certain points for security reasons, but it’s important not to limit your experience. Remember why you need this mid-size SUV and check if it’s up to par with what you want. If you want to go on adventures, state you want to head to different terrain. That includes the highway, flat areas, rocky areas, hills, and valleys.

10. Note the Driving Capability

After a wheel inspection, you can begin the test drive to note the drivability of the 4Runner. It’s essential to note how you feel once you hit the road. You can test the 4Runner in the city with nice and smooth roads.

After that, hit the country roads and test how the vehicle performs off-road. Get a top to understand the power train of this mid-size SUV, as this will reveal its drivability. Things to look out for during the drive include comfort, stability, handling, control, and utility.

It’s important to know the drivability of a vehicle before you purchase it. This is one factor to consider when test-driving the 4Runner. Handling showcases a vehicle’s powertrain, which determines how it drives.

Knowing and understanding these factors helps to determine the drivability of the Toyota 4Runner. That way, you can hit the ground running from day one. So, get to test drive the vehicle, even before finalizing on matters such as financing and security.

11. Reliability

Looking into the Toyota 4Runner paints a picture of this car. For starters, it’s good to understand that each vehicle has advantages and disadvantages. The Toyota 4Runner is a reliable vehicle for daily use in urban areas or on rugged terrain.

One reason that makes the Toyota 4Runner an adequate car is its powertrain. This is a vehicle whose performance is smooth throughout the day. But, one thing you should check from the moment you drive it off the lot is the jumpiness of the braking system.

The car you drive must come to a sudden stop without extreme nosediving and maintain ground contact when on the road. Unfortunately, the Toyota 4Runner’s performance is poor during panic stops.

12. Test Another Vehicle

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At the dealership, there may be several models of the Toyota 4Runner. After you come back from a test drive, pick another vehicle and test drive it. It’s important to test another vehicle before you make a final decision.

Buying a used SUV is expensive more, so picking out the right one is crucial. Financing is also not cheap, so be sure to get the soundest vehicle they have. If possible, arrange to test drive several vehicles available.

The day you walk into the dealership to buy a car doesn’t need to be the one you finalize the purchase. Avoid rushing the decision and note the difference between several vehicles.

Only after should you sign the papers, move money from your account, and get the keys to an SUV. Be sure even to have a look at towing capacity of the vehicle. Make sure everything is in fine condition.

13. Go Home and Come Back

After the test drive, go home, think about it, and return later. The sales reps will want to bring out the paperwork and begin arranging financing options. But insist on returning another day or even half a day later.

Give your mind time to process the entire experience and create a pros and cons list. This is usually after test driving the car 2 or 3 times, then hoping into another. Your mind needs time to process the information, so don’t be in a hurry to take the vehicle home.

If possible, review your notes with someone you trust. Let them come along for one test drive, and listen to their honest experience while riding in the 4Runner. Consulting an auto tech with tons of experience can help you decide if this car fits your needs and class.

14. Be Calm

The excitement of finding the vehicle you like and going for a test drive can easily carry you away. So, be calm and collected at all times.

The number one rule is patience, so don’t be in a hurry to take home the first vehicle you test after a moment behind the wheel. Also, engage only professionally with the sales rep to avoid getting swept up in a wave of emotions.

Instead, be polite, but avoid engaging too much. Remain focused on why you need this vehicle and find the best option. Ensure you focus on reliability during the test drive and save yourself from getting too attached.

Key Takeaways

  • Start by doing a thorough inspection of the interior and exterior.
  • Include an inspection of the engine and undercarriage.
  • Make sure to include test driving in various terrain.
  • Avoid rushing when you want to buy a 4Runner

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