The 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s Surprisingly Terrible Safety Rating

by Gabrielle DeSantis

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is the type of SUV that people love. It’s rugged, stylish, and it comes from a reputable car manufacturer. Yet the 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s safety ratings are surprisingly bad. In the IIHS’ crash tests, the Toyota 4Runner had some pretty disappointing results. Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner safe?

2021 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner a safe SUV?

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner isn’t winning any safety awards. Its small overlap front: driver side test rating is especially low. The 4Runner received only a marginal in this category. Additionally, the safety cage received a poor rating, which is the worst that a vehicle can get. 

The safety cage is important because it helps to distribute energy from a car accident. Crash zones are in the middle front of the car, so it’s important to test how well a vehicle would do if the front corners of the vehicle were to collide with something. In these types of accidents, the crash energy can push wheel wells into the vehicle, injuring people in the cabin.

Additionally, the lower leg/foot subcategory within the driver injury measures receives only an acceptable rating. All other subcategories, such as head/neck, chest, and hip/thigh receive a good rating. 

The moderate overlap front is better, but still not perfect

The moderate overlap test is conducted by having a vehicle travel at a 2-foot tall deformable aluminum honeycomb barrier at 40 mph. A dummy the size of an average adult man is in the driver seat. 40% of the width of the vehicle on the driver’s side hits the barrier. This test simulates what would happen if two vehicles of the same weight hit each other in a frontal offset crash at just under 40 mph. 

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner does pretty well in this test. It receives a good overall evaluation, as well as a good result in the structure and safety cage and most of the driver injury measures. It’s in these subcategories that the 4Runner has a problem; the head/neck. This only gets an acceptable rating, though all other subcategories are good. 

The 2021 Toyota 4Runner isn’t the easiest SUV to put car seats into

The child seat anchors in the 2021 Toyota 4Runner receive only a marginal rating. The IIHS evaluates the LATCH system which stands for Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children. The IIHS notes that although you can technically use seat belts to properly install a car seat, LATCH systems are supposed to make installing them even easier, and therefore safer. 

The overall evaluation of the 2021 Toyota 4Runner seat belt tethers are only marginal. The IIHS notes that although the anchors are easy to find, people may confuse other hardware for them. They’re also too deep in the seat and it takes too much force to attach a car seat to them. 

Although the 2021 Toyota 4Runner has a lot going for it in terms of style and reputation, it’s worth taking its  safety ratings into account. Although most of the safety ratings are good, the small overlap front: driver side test result is particularly concerning. It may be worthwhile to explore what else is out there that might have better safety ratings. 

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