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August 18, 2023 8:32 pm by

2015 Toyota 4Runner: Used Car Buyer’s Guide

2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 driving on road

Quick Take

  • Pros: legendary reliability record, excellent off-road abilities, strong resale values
  • Cons: not very fuel efficient, truck-like ride and handling, interior feels dated

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner is an excellent choice for anyone seeking a reliable used SUV with strong off-road capabilities. Toyota’s reputation for dependability shines through in this model, and it’s highly praised by owners for its robust build quality and durable engine and transmission, which can rack up 200,000 miles or more with relative ease. Off-road enthusiasts will appreciate the 4Runner’s superior abilities, especially in the Trail and TRD Pro trims.

However, there are some downsides. Its fuel efficiency is below average for the segment, and some may find its ride and handling less than refined in on-road driving. Also, the interior design and infotainment system both feel dated compared to some more modern rivals.

2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro driving off-road


  • Part of the 4Runner’s fifth generation (2010-2020)
  • The rugged TRD Pro trim joins the lineup for 2015

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner is part of the storied SUV’s fifth generation, which began in 2010. This model year is significant for introducing the TRD Pro trim, adding an even more focused off-road option to the lineup. Since the 4Runner received a notable refresh in the previous 2014 model year, the 2015 iteration sees no other significant changes.

Toyota offers the 2015 4Runner in four main trims: SR5, Trail, TRD Pro, and Limited. The SR5 is the base model, while the Trail variant emphasizes off-road capabilities. The new TRD Pro trim takes off-roading to a higher level with unique suspension and design elements, while the Limited trim adds luxury touches for those who want comfort without sacrificing the 4Runner’s core strengths.

Each trim is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine paired with a five-speed automatic transmission, and buyers can choose between rear-wheel drive (in SR5 and Limited) or part-time four-wheel drive (across all trims). This array of options allows the 2015 4Runner to cater to diverse needs, whether prioritizing off-road adventure, daily utility, or a blend of both.

2014 Toyota 4Runner driving on road

Driving Impressions

  • Standard V6 engine provides adequate power
  • Excellent off-road abilities, especially the Trail and TRD Pro trims
  • Steering and handling lack refinement in on-road driving

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner employs a 4.0-liter V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. Paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission, it provides decent acceleration, but don’t expect a sporty feel. The 4Runner handles like a traditional SUV, which means steering is more on the truck-like side, and you’ll notice body roll in sharper turns.

Off-road is where the 2015 4Runner truly shines, particularly the Trail and TRD Pro editions. With features like Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control, and an available locking rear differential, these trims offer genuine off-road capability, whether navigating rocky paths or muddy trails.

For those who need to tow, the 2015 4Runner also offers a towing capacity of up to 4,700 pounds. While that may not lead its class, it’s sufficient for pulling small trailers, boats, or other recreational equipment.

2014 Toyota 4Runner engine

Fuel Economy

  • EPA ratings of 17 mpg city, 22 mpg highway for RWD; slightly lower for 4WD
  • Owners report lower-than-expected fuel efficiency, especially during off-road use

Fuel efficiency is not one of the strong suits of the 2015 Toyota 4Runner. With EPA ratings of 17 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) versions, the 4Runner falls below average within the midsize SUV segment. The four-wheel-drive (4WD) variants are slightly less efficient, dropping those numbers a bit further.

Real-world impressions from 4Runner owners tend to confirm the official ratings, with some even reporting slightly lower efficiency, particularly when engaging in heavy off-road use. This isn’t entirely surprising, as the 4Runner’s off-road focus, weight, and body-on-frame construction contribute to its thirstier nature.

2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 interior

Interior and Features

  • Rugged and practical design with ample cargo space
  • Accommodates up to seven passengers with available third row
  • Lacks Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner’s interior design reflects the vehicle’s off-road heritage. Materials are chosen for durability rather than luxury, which fits the 4Runner’s outdoorsy persona. While not plush, the cabin offers a straightforward layout that appeals to those prioritizing utility.

Most versions of the 2015 4Runner offer seating for five passengers. The front seats provide good comfort for long drives. The second row can be a bit tighter but is generally suitable for adults. An optional third-row seat is available in some trims (SR5 and Limited), expanding passenger capacity to seven; however, it’s best suited for children.

The 4Runner’s infotainment system includes a 6.1-inch touchscreen as standard, offering basic functions like Bluetooth and a rearview camera. Though lacking Apple CarPlay or Android Auto integration, the 2015 4Runner still provides a decent level of connectivity and convenience features for the era.

Storage and cargo space are ample, aligning with the 4Runner’s reputation as a versatile SUV ready for various tasks, from daily commuting to weekend adventures.

2014 Toyota 4Runner IIHS crash testing


  • Essential safety features are included, but advanced driver aids are lacking
  • Good but not great ratings from NHTSA and IIHS

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner offers a relatively basic suite of safety features. A rearview camera is standard across all trims, and higher trims, such as the Limited, provide additional options like parking sensors. Stability control, anti-lock brakes, and eight airbags are also standard, covering fundamental safety needs. However, advanced driver aids such as adaptive cruise control or lane-keeping assistance are not available for this model year.

The 2015 4Runner received four out of five stars from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), reflecting a commendable but not exceptional performance in crash tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2015 4Runner received “Good” ratings in most categories, except for a “Marginal” rating in the small overlap front driver-side test.

2015 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro on a dusty trail


  • Renowned for long-term durability
  • Some owners have noted issues with paint quality
  • Average maintenance and repair costs for the segment

The 2015 Toyota 4Runner is known for its overall reliability, which has become synonymous with the Toyota brand. Its rugged body-on-frame construction and dependable V6 engine contribute to its reputation for long-term durability. Many owners report reaching high mileage with relatively few problems, reinforcing the 4Runner’s standing as a vehicle built to last.

That said, no vehicle is without its quirks, and some owners of the 2015 4Runner have noted issues with paint quality, experiencing peeling or chipping more readily than expected. While this concern isn’t universal and not a mechanical flaw, it’s something to be mindful of when inspecting a used example.

Regarding ownership costs, the 4Runner tends to be average for the segment. As previously noted, its fuel efficiency isn’t stellar, which can contribute to higher operating costs over time. But maintenance and repair expenses are generally in line with other midsize SUVs, particularly if the vehicle has been well cared for.

2014 Toyota 4Runner exterior rear view

Which One to Buy

If you’re in the market for a used 2015 Toyota 4Runner, we recommend the following configurations.

Best Overall: 4Runner SR5

The SR5 trim offers a valuable combination of features without venturing into the luxury price range. Its standard V6 engine, rearview camera, and available four-wheel drive provide the core characteristics that make the 4Runner a popular choice for outdoor enthusiasts and those needing a sturdy family vehicle.

Off-roader’s Choice: 4Runner Trail Edition

The Trail Edition brings additional off-road prowess with features like a locking rear differential, crawl control, and Multi-Terrain Select. These enhancements make it a standout choice for those who intend to take full advantage of the 4Runner’s off-road heritage. Additionally, the Trail Edition tends to be more readily available than the rarer TRD Pro on the used market.

Budget Pick: 4Runner SR5 with RWD

By opting for the rear-wheel-drive variant of the SR5, buyers can often find a more affordable entry into the 4Runner lineup. This choice retains the model’s durability and essential features but may be available at a lower price point, particularly in markets where four-wheel drive is unnecessary.

Photos courtesy of Toyota and IIHS


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