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How Much Can a Toyota 4Runner Tow?

How Much Can a Toyota 4Runner Tow?

The 4Runner is a top-of-the-line SUV from Toyota with impressive specs and performance capabilities across the board, but how much can it tow? 

The standard towing capacity for a Toyota 4Runner is 5,000 lbs. All Toyota 4Runners from the 3rd, 4th, and 5th generations can tow at least 5,000 lbs, with V8 models featuring an increased towing capacity of 5,000 to 7,300 lbs.

The towing capacity of the Toyota 4Runner can vary depending on the trim and model year of the SUV, which is why it’s best to verify your vehicle’s towing capacity in the owner’s manual.

Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity 

When Toyota launched the 4Runner in 1984, it was considered to be a revolutionary vehicle for its time.

The 4Runner combines the rugged nature of a four-wheel drive pick-up with a practical design that makes it perfect for commuting and casual driving.

This is a family car and a utility vehicle in one package, all with a very impressive towing capacity. Most 4Runners can tow anywhere from 5,000 to 7,300 lbs, depending on the trim and model year of the vehicle. 

The towing capacity of the 4Runner is outstanding, which has been a major selling point of the SUV since it was first announced.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that each model year and trim of the Toyota 4Runner is a bit different, and you ultimately need to confirm the specs and capabilities of your vehicle before you put it to the test.

V6 Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity 

V6 Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity 

The V6 Toyota 4Runner is the most common variation of the SUV. Most V6 Toyota 4Runners made from 2003 to 2023 have a standard towing capacity of 4,700 to 5,000 lbs.

However, some models have been known to have an increased capacity of 5,300 lbs, which can be pushed slightly over the limit in the right conditions.

V8 Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity 

The V8 4Runner models have enhanced specs and more powerful engines.

These 4Runners are heavy-duty SUVs with an increased towing capacity ranging from 5,000 to 7,300 lbs depending on the trim and model year. 

Given the spread for towing capacity with V8 models, I highly recommend that you confirm your 4Runner’s specs and performance capabilities before you start towing. 

Toyota 4Runner Towing Capacity by Generation 

The Toyota 4Runner has been in production for nearly 40 years, and you can expect a considerable amount of upgrades to the vehicle’s performance since it was first released – including the towing capacity. 

This is a breakdown of the towing capacity for the towing capacity of each Toyota 4Runner generation:

  • 1st Generation – 2,000 to 3,000 lbs
  • 2nd Generation – 3,500 lbs
  • 3rd Generation – 5,000 lbs
  • 4th Generation – 5,000 to 7,300 lbs
  • 5th Generation – 5,000 lbs

What Happens if You Overload a Toyota 4Runner’s Towing Capacity?

The 4Runner is a tough and reliable vehicle through and through, but it does have its limits. Given the 5,000 lbs recommended towing capacity, you should stay within this limit if you want to keep your 4Runner in working order. 

Overloading the towing capacity of your Toyota 4Runner puts serious strain on your vehicle, and you run the risk of damaging it permanently.

These are some of the issues that can develop if you overload your Toyota 4Runners towing capacity:

  • Engine Failure
  • Transmission Failure
  • Accelerated Brake Wear
  • Warped Chasis
  • Damaged Tires 

Exceeding the 4Runner’s towing capacity also increases safety risks while driving. Any number of things can go wrong if you’re hauling more than your 4Runner can handle, which is why it is best not to risk it. 

How Much Can a Toyota 4Runner Haul in the Cargo Area?

It’s important to distinguish towing from hauling cargo in the vehicle itself.

The 4Runners towing capacity is much greater than what it can handle in its cargo area, with 1,500 lbs being the recommended figure.

How Much Can a Toyota 4Runner Haul in the Cargo Area

Exceeding 1,500 lbs in the cargo area puts strain on your vehicle, which could potentially damage your 4Runners mechanical components.

How Does Towing Affect the Toyota 4Runner’s MPG Rating?

Given that the Toyota 4Runner is a large, heavy-duty SUV, you should not expect a stellar mpg rating. The 2023 Toyota 4Runner has an mpg rating of 17mpg city and 21 mpg highway. 

Naturally, the mpg rating diminishes as soon as you start towing. It’s important to understand that many different factors play into how many miles per gallon you will get when towing, such as the total payload, vehicle trim, and driving conditions. 

With that said, a lot of 4Runner owners have reported an mpg rating of about 10 to 13 mpg when towing 5,000 lbs. This figure is slightly better when driving solely on the highway at consistent speeds. 

What Can You Tow With a Toyota 4Runner?

Owning a Toyota 4Runner opens up a lot of doors for road trip adventures thanks to its exceptional towing capacity. However, many people often utilize their 4Runners as utility vehicles to haul cargo for work.

If you own a Toyota 4Runner and have not put the towing capacity to the test, you are probably wondering what your vehicle can handle.

Toyota designed the 4Runner to be dynamic and versatile so that drivers can confidently haul loads from point A to point B. 

As a general rule of thumb, if it weighs less than 5,000 lbs, your Toyota 4Runner should not have any issues towing the cargo. If you own a V8 Runner, then you can take on even bigger loads thanks to the increased towing capacity. 

These are some of the most common things that drivers tow with their 4Runners:

RVs & Campers

The Toyota 4Runner can take on adverse terrain and is rugged in nature, making it one of the best SUVs for camping and road trips. 

Towing a camper is one of the best things about owning a 4Runner, and if your RV weighs less than 5,000 lbs, you should not have any issues when towing.

These are some of the most common RV classifications that the Toyota Runner can tow:

  • Pop-up Campers
  • Travel Trailers 

Most travel trailers and campers weigh between 1,200 and 3,500 lbs for standard models, implying that even some of the earliest 4Runner models and basic trims can handle towing campers with these specs. 


A day out on the water is the perfect way to spend your weekends, which is why a lot of Toyota 4Runner owners use their SUVs for towing their boats.

Given the 4Runner’s standard 5,000 lbs towing capacity, you have a lot of options for boats that your SUV can tow, such as: 

  • Bowrider Boats
  • Catamarans
  • Cabin Cruisers
  • Sailboats

Cargo Trailers

Although the 4Runner is a great adventure SUV, plenty of people prefer to use it as their utility vehicle.

Transporting cargo for work is a standard for many industries, and the Toyota 4Runner is one of the most reliable SUVs for the job.

Most cargo trailers weigh 2,700 lbs when empty, giving you at least 2,300 lbs for any cargo you need to tow.

Tips for Towing with a Toyota 4Runner

One of the best things about owning a 4Runner is the ability to tow additional cargo. 

However, towing also puts more strain on your vehicle, implying that you need to approach hauling additional weight with caution.

Keep these tips in mind when towing with your Toyota 4Runner:

  1. Balanced weight distribution
  2. Stay within your towing capacity limits
  3. Check your brakes
  4. Obey all traffic laws
  5. Avoid towing in overdrive 
  6. Do not exceed the speed limit

Key Takeaways to Towing With Your Toyota 4Runner

The standard towing capacity for a 3rd, 4th, or 5th generation Toyota 4Runner is 5,000 lbs. 

V8 Toyota 4Runner models feature an increased towing capacity of 5,000 to 7,300 lbs.

Exceeding the limit of a Toyota 4Runner’s towing capacity increases the risk of engine failure, transmission failure, brake wear, warped chassis, and damaged tires.

Zach Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! Having owned a wide variety of vehicles in my life, I was astounded at how hard it can be to find answers to common automotive questions. Rather than sit idly, I decided to create this website to help others!