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SAFETY | 8 out of 10
'Good,' frontal offset; 'good,' side impact; 'good,' rear impact; 'acceptable,' roof strength
Four stars overall; four stars, frontal; five stars, side
Rearward visibility is slightly hampered by thick roof pillars, but not enough to necessitate a rearview camera.
The Toyota 4Runner has earned fairly good crash-test scores in the past, and while this year's results haven't been generated, it's safe to say they'll carry over since no major structural changes have taken place.
A body-on-frame layout coupled with a tall-wagon body can be a challenge for safety engineers. Still, the Toyota 4Runner has earned top 'good' ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in frontal, side, and rear impact. The only letdown has been its only 'acceptable' rating for roof strength (related to rollover). And in federal NCAP testing, the 4Runner has earned four (out of five) stars overall, including four stars for frontal impact and five stars for side impact.
All 4Runners come with a passel of safety features plus a toolkit of electronic aids that should make some off-road situations a bit safer. Each 4 Runner has eight standard airbags, including front side bags, side-curtain bags for the second and third rows, and front knee bags for the driver and passenger. Safety Connect, a button-activated, concierge-style system that's similar to General Motors' OnStar, is available.
In addition to the requisite electronic stability control and anti-lock brakes, they also get Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) for safe uphill starts, plus Downhill Assist Control (on 4WD models), to help maintain a slow, steady speed down steep slopes. For parking assistance (or perhaps spotting when off-roading), some also include a small screen built into the rearview mirror. Some form of rearview camera is standard on all models, while rear parking sensors are an option on some models.
Safety scores aren't yet updated, but last year the Toyota 4Runner performed very well in NHTSA and IIHS tests.