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4Runner Towing Capacity: 4th Gen vs 5th Gen

The Toyota 4Runner has long been one of the most popular choices weekend warriors and hardcore offroaders thanks to its rugged construction, go-anywhere capabilities, the trusted Toyota name, and, let’s not forget, the awesome resale value. One of the key considerations for many buyers when choosing a 4Runner is its towing capacity, which can determine how much gear, equipment, or even other vehicles you can haul on your adventures.

Over the years, the 4Runner has gone through several generations of updates and improvements, each bringing new features, design changes, and performance upgrades. In this article, we’ll focus specifically on the 4th and 5th generations of the 4Runner and compare their respective towing capacities to see how they stack up against each other. We’ll examine the different trims and models available for each generation, as well as any notable changes in towing capacity between them. Whether you’re in the market for a used 4Runner or considering an upgrade from an older model, this comparison should help you better understand the towing capabilities of these two popular generations of the Toyota 4Runner.

4Runner Towing Capacity: 4th Gen vs 5th Gen

5th gen 4Runners have taken a bit of a hit in towing capacities compared to 4th gen models. Generally, 5th gen 4Runners have towing capacities of about 5,000 lbs while 4th generation 4Runners have towing capacities of about 7,300 lbs. In the table below, you’ll see the towing capacity of the various trims.

Generation Model Towing Capacity (lbs)
5th SR5 5,000
Trail Special Edition 5,000
Trail 5,000
SR5 Premium 5,000
Venture Special Edition 5,000
Limited 5,000
Nightshade Special Edition 5,000
TRD Off-Road 5,000
TRD Pro 5,000
4th SR5 5,000
Sport Edition 5,000
Limited 7,300
SR5 Sport 7,000
SR5 Sport V8 7,300
Limited V8 7,300
Urban Runner 5,000
Trail Edition 5,000
TRD Off-Road 7,000
TRD Pro 7,000

The towing capacity of both 4th gen and 5th gen 4runners is very comparable to other vehicles in its class. For example, other mid-size SUVs such as the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Explorer, and Dodge Durango have towing capacities ranging from around 5,000 to 7,500 lbs, depending on the engine and equipment package. Full-size SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition, and GMC Yukon can tow even more, with capacities ranging from 7,500 to 9,000 lbs or higher. Pickup trucks are also popular for towing, with many models capable of towing upwards of 10,000 lbs or more

What Can You Tow for 5000 lbs?

So what can you tow with a 5th gen 4Runner?

A towing capacity of 5,000 lbs can allow you to tow a variety of vehicles, equipment, and trailers, depending on their weight and configuration. Here are some examples of what you could tow with a 5,000 lb towing capacity:

  • Small to mid-size boats (e.g., fishing boats, bowriders, ski boats)
  • Small to mid-size travel trailers (e.g., pop-up campers, teardrop trailers, some small lightweight trailers)
  • Jet skis or other personal watercraft
  • Small utility trailers (e.g., for hauling small equipment, furniture, or supplies)
  • Small to mid-size cars or SUVs (e.g., for flat towing or using a tow dolly)
  • Snowmobiles or ATVs

What Can You Tow for 7000 Lbs?

So you want a bit more towing oompf and are considering a 4th generation 4Runner?
A towing capacity of 7,000 lbs allows you to tow heavier vehicles, equipment, and trailers compared to a 5,000 lb towing capacity. Here are some examples of what you could tow with a 7,000 lb towing capacity:
  • Mid-size to large boats (e.g., center console boats, cuddy cabins, some pontoon boats)
  • Mid-size to large travel trailers (e.g., fifth-wheel trailers, some larger bumper-pull trailers)
  • Large cars or SUVs (e.g., for flat towing or using a tow dolly)
  • Larger utility trailers (e.g., for hauling heavy equipment or supplies)
  • Horse trailers or livestock trailers
  • Enclosed cargo trailers

Remember, it’s important to ensure that your vehicle is properly equipped and rated for towing, and to follow all applicable laws and safety guidelines. In addition, you may need to consider additional factors such as sway control and weight distribution when towing heavier loads. It’s also worth noting that while a vehicle may have a maximum towing capacity of 7,000 lbs, it’s generally recommended to tow at a lower weight for better safety and handling.


The 4Runner is holds it weight well for towing capacity versus similar class vehicles. While it’s no F350, it still can tow smaller boats and trailers. Do you have a 4Runner? If so, let me know in the comments below what your experience towing with it has been.

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