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Josh Rosenberg By Josh Rosenberg
Updated Dec. 21, 2023



2010 Toyota 4Runner: Has It Aged Well? Possible Mechanical Problems To Check Before Buying, And It's Pros And Cons Today

Related: How To Get The Lowest Price On A "Brand New" Toyota 4Runner

While historically high new and used car prices have forced buyers to look for "older" vehicles that may have aged well as a way of saving money, the issues of reliability and dependability have become even more crucial.

2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5

And the good news on the 2010 4Runner is that history has now proven it deserves a strong reputation for reliability. Toyota, as a brand, is known for producing durable and long-lasting vehicles, and the 4Runner falls well within that reputation. In fact, it's one of Toyota's most reliable models.

Both owners and automotive experts often praise the 4Runner for its robust build quality, capable performance, and ability to withstand tough conditions, including off-road adventures.

And many 2010 4Runner owners report driving their vehicles well into high mileage (200,000+ miles) with minimal issues when proper maintenance schedules are followed.

Still, all vehicles have some reported mechanical issues, including some that may be more specific to a particular model, even those with strong reliability reputations. That's just a natural part of car ownership.

So here, ...

- We'll list the mechanical problems that some owners have experienced which should be checked before buying one today.

- Next, we'll take a look at the overall pros and cons of buying a 2010 4Runner all these years later.

- Then we'll review its features as it was originally released in 2010.

- And finally, we'll suggest ways of buying one today at a low price.


But first, and very importantly ...

Things To Do When Considering An "Older" Vehicle

Locate Lower Mileage Vehicles: They are certainly out there to be found with careful and patient shopping. Be willing to drive a distance if you have to.

Vehicle History and Maintenance: Ask for the vehicle history report (CarFax or AutoCheck) as well as documented maintenance and repair records. If not provided by the Dealer or private seller, it's best to move on.

Pre-Purchase Inspection: Have the vehicle independently inspected before making a final decision. This usually will cost in the $150-$200 range but is well worth it given the potentially thousands in savings over the long term.

And My #1 Price Tip: Please always get online price quotes at auto sites such as CarsDirect.com and Edmunds.com (both, actually), whether looking for a new or used car. Competition among dealers for your business does amazing things to prices, and it's so easy. It really does make a difference.


Also, Always Know The Value Of Your Trade-In

Whether you are trading or selling on your own, it's just a good idea ... even whether you are in the market or not at the moment. You can then use this important information for a number of purposes ... to negotiate with a dealer, or to know how to price your car in the retail market, or simply to know the value of one of your assets, which is always a good idea.

Getting trade-in values online tend to vary a lot from site to site. But I've found the one at Edmunds Trade-In Quotes is particularly comprehensive and accurate.

It's free and just takes a couple of minutes. I think what helps its accuracy is the inputs will include either your plate# or VIN# followed by many simple, but specific, yes/no questions. It really focuses in on the detail of the specific vehicle.


2010 Toyota 4Runner Mechanical Problem Watchlist:

The 2010 4Runner has generally earned a solid reputation for reliability, but like any vehicle, it did have some reported issues by some owners that should therefore be checked before purchase.

It should be noted that not every 4Runner experienced these problems, and Toyota's overall reliability record suggests that the majority of 2010 4Runners have been durable and dependable vehicles when getting regular maintenance and prompt attention to any issues.

Timing Chain: Some owners reported issues with the timing chain, which could lead to engine problems or failure. This wasn't widespread, but it's something to be aware of and monitor.

Water Pump Failure: There were occasional reports of water pump failures, which could cause coolant leaks and overheating issues.

Transmission Issues: A few drivers experienced transmission problems such as rough shifting or slipping.

Suspension Components: Some owners noted premature wear on suspension components like ball joints and control arms. This could lead to handling issues or unusual noises while driving.

Electrical Problems: Some minor electrical issues were reported, including problems with the power windows, door locks, or dashboard electronics.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Pros

Reliability and Durability: Despite its age, the 2010 4Runner retains Toyota's reputation for reliability, often lasting well into high mileage, which means it could still offer ongoing and dependable service if well-maintained.

Depreciation: This model has already undergone most of its depreciation, so a buyer will likely experience slower depreciation compared to buying a newer car.

Lower Purchase Price: Older models typically have lower initial purchase prices compared to newer ones, making them a more affordable option in the current high-priced used car market.

Off-road Capability: Known for its ruggedness, the 4Runner has excellent off-road capabilities. It's equipped with features like four-wheel drive, good ground clearance, and sturdy construction.

Parts Availability: Being a popular and widely-used model, finding replacement parts and accessories for the 4Runner should be relatively easy and possibly more affordable compared to newer or less common models.

Resale Value: 4Runners tend to retain their value well over time, making them a better investment if you plan to sell or trade in the future.

Cargo Space: The 4Runner offers ample cargo space, especially with the rear seats folded down, making it practical for hauling gear or luggage.

Towing Capacity: It has a good towing capacity, which makes it suitable for hauling trailers or boats.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Cons

Technology and Features: The 2010 4Runner might lack some of the modern features and technology found in newer models. This includes infotainment systems, safety features, and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

Maintenance and Repairs: While reliable, an older vehicle might require more maintenance and repairs compared to a newer model. Parts may start showing signs of wear, potentially leading to additional costs for replacements or repairs.

Safety Features: While it's not to say the 2010 4Runner is unsafe, newer models tend to have more advanced safety features that might not be present in this older version.

Fuel Economy: One of the main drawbacks of the 2010 4Runner is its fuel economy. It's not the most fuel-efficient SUV in its class, especially compared to more modern crossovers.

Ride Comfort: While it performs well off-road, its on-road ride might feel a bit rougher compared to more car-like SUVs due to its body-on-frame construction.

Third-Row Seating (Optional): If equipped with a third-row, it's quite cramped and not very suitable for adult passengers. This can limit the seating capacity and comfort.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Review

The 4Runner is a traditional SUV with a rugged demeanor and a "go anywhere" attitude. And the 2010 version, with its strong V6 engine, generous cargo space and excellent off-road capability, was once again a top pick in its segment.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Limited rear view

It also was the recipient of a fairly significant redesign. Based on the same platform as its rough-and-tumble sibling, the FJ Cruiser, the 2010 4Runner remained devoted to outdoor enthusiasts who value toughness in a taller, wider and longer package than the previous model.

While of course featuring its renowned solid rear axle for better off-road performance, the 2010 4Runner further upped the performance-ante with a new optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which is able to disconnect the front and rear stabilizer bars when traveling below 40 mph for increased wheel contact on uneven terrain.

And style-wise, this 4Runner's new front grille and fender flares produce an updated and edgier look.

Also new was the somewhat curious return to an available four-cylinder 4Runner (last offered in 2002). It's curious because it lacks the punch normally associated with a 4Runner and is mated with a basic 4-speed automatic transmission. And all while getting essentially the same gas mileage as the 4.0 liter V6.

Most buyers were again attracted to the V6, which received a power boost good for 270 horsepower (was 236) and 278 pound-feet of torque (was 266) while not sacrificing any fuel efficiency. The optional V8, however, was dropped.

Trims, Standard Features And Options:

The 2010 Toyota 4Runner is classified as a midsize SUV and is available in three trims: SR5, Trail and Limited.

Standard features on the SR5 include full power accessories, cruise control, air conditioning, a power rear window, foglights, 17 inch alloy wheels, skid plates, black fender flares and rocker panels, a trip computer, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel and a CD/MP3 stereo system with an auxiliary audio jack. In addition, the four-wheel-drive (or V6-equipped) models get heated sideview mirrors with turn signals and puddle lights, a tow hitch receiver, chrome roof rails and grille, and color-keyed fender flares and rocker panels.

Car Buying Tips:

Learn to Negotiate Low Prices

Do This For The Best Trade-In Price

Understand Wholesale And Trade-in Values

Used Car Reliability Ratings

The 4Runner Trail is available with the V6 and 4WD only. Added standard features include power front seats, Bluetooth, water-resistant upholstery, a backup camera with a rearview mirror display, steering wheel mounted audio controls, upgraded gauges, a sliding rear cargo deck, smoked headlights and taillights, off-road tires, a hood scoop, Crawl Control (automatically adjusts throttle and brakes going up or down hills), a locking rear differential and an upgraded sound system with satellite radio and a USB port with iPod connectivity.

The top-of-the-line 4Runner Limited comes with leather upholstery, heated front seats, keyless ignition, keyless entry, driver power lumbar adjuster, dual-zone automatic climate control, 20 inch alloy wheels, Toyota's X-REAS adaptive suspension dampers, automatic headlights and an upgraded 15-speaker stereo system with a 6-disc CD changer.

Many of the Trail and Limited features might also be found on the SR5 model as options. Other possible options to be found, depending on the model, include the KDSS off-road suspension, voice-activated navigation, a third-row seat and a sunroof.

Engines, Powertrain And Gas Mileage:

Powering the 2010 4Runner is either a four-cylinder engine (on the 2WD SR5) that produces 157 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque, or a 4.0 liter V6 (all other models) that produces 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft . The inline-4 is coupled with a 4-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 is paired with a 5-speed automatic.

Both the SR5 and Limited models come with either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive (part-time on the SR5, full-time on the Limited), while the Trail is equipped only with part-time 4WD. When properly equipped, 5,000 pounds is the towing capacity for V6 models.

The EPA-estimated gas mileage numbers are very similar across all models. The 2WD four-cylinder 4Runner is rated at 18 mpg city and 23 mpg on the highway, while the 2WD V6 comes in at 17 mpg city and 23 highway. The 4WD V6 4Runner is rated at 17 and 22, respectively.

Safety:

Standard safety features on all 2010 Toyota 4Runners include antilock disc brakes (ABS) with brake assist, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length roll-sensing side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and front knee airbags.

Also, the 2010 4Runner received a perfect five stars for both front and rear side-impact passenger protection, and five stars for driver and four for passenger protection in frontal impacts.

2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5 interior

Interior:

This 4Runner's interior is attractive, well designed and user-friendly, while the Limited's cabin is very much like what you'd expect from a Lexus. Overall, the seating is comfortable and supportive. And new for 2010 was a nifty and useful "ECO" meter that lets you know how fuel-efficiently you're driving.

With its increased dimensions for 2010, the 4Runner is more spacious than the previous version, providing ample room for five passengers. However, the optional third-row is a bit cramped, making it more suitable for children or small adults. Maximum cargo capacity comes in at a respectable 90 cubic feet.

Drive:

The V6 2010 4Runner can go from a standstill to 60 mph in a fairly quick-for-its-class 8.2 seconds. With its satisfactory power and well-timed 5-speed automatic transmission, this 4Runner is capable and confident both around town and cruising down the highway.

The four-cylinder, however, is not 4Runner-like both in terms of its lackluster power and outdated 4-speed automatic. A better four-cylinder choice would be the Toyota Highlander with its 6-speed automatic and 30 additional horsepower.

Even though it's a traditional truck-based SUV, the 2010 4Runner possesses a smooth and controlled ride. But it is clearly at its best taking on off-road challenges. With 9.6 inches of ground clearance on 4WD models, its already excellent rugged-terrain ability is even further enhanced with the new KDSS.


Lastly, Suggestions For Getting The Lowest 4Runner Price

First of all, here's a Lowest Price Used Car Buying Guide that details a very effective method.

Here's another method that identifies Price-Distressed Cars Right On Dealer Lots. These are vehicles they are so desperate to unload they would welcome your wholesale offer.

In addition, you can also try the Public Car Auctions in your own geographic area. This article reviews what to expect at open-to-the-public car auctions and how to locate them.

And for those of you who might be interested in a "brand new" Toyota 4Runner if the price was crazy good, here's info on exactly How To Get The Best Price On A New Car. This works just phenomenally well.


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