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A white 2025 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is driving through a muddy trail.

Are the New Tech Upgrades for the 2025 Toyota 4RUNNER Worth the Hype?

With the newest sixth-generation Toyota 4Runner making the media rounds and getting a lot of hype and attention for the updates and overhauls that Toyota is bringing to the midsize off-road focused SUV, sometimes it’s good to slam on the brakes and take a critical look at the offerings to see what’s really changed and whether some of the feature updates are worth the hype. This rings especially true for potential SUV shoppers who are already gearing up to place orders for the new 4Runner at a Toyota dealer near their location. So, I think it’s wise to do a critical breakdown of the upgraded tech featured in the 2025 4Runner and see how they measure up to the outgoing model year and if they’re worth the hype that they’re receiving.

Upgraded Touchscreen, Better Visibility

The later model years of the fifth generation 4Runner came with an 8-inch touchscreen across the board. The screen wasn’t bad, and of course, for the years while the fifth-generation models were in service, the 8-inch offering was mostly on par with what you would get in various vehicles between 2014 and 2020. However, past 2020, most vehicles began increasing touchscreen sizes to better accommodate the more advanced infotainment suites they had to offer. Toyota didn’t really get the memo or care all that much when it came to the midsize SUV because the 4Runner just kept running with the 8-inch screen all the way up until the sixth generation refresh. That’s when they decided to swap it out for something almost twice as large.

The 2025 4Runner now comes with a completely revamped available 14-inch HD diagonal touchscreen. To say that it’s an upgrade over the outgoing generation might be a bit of an understatement. The older touchscreen was nestled into the center control stack and was angled almost below the driver cluster, meaning that the driver had to look over and down at the touchscreen, which was also mildly obstructed by the many knobs, dials, and buttons enveloping its presence. It almost seemed like the poor 8-inch touchscreen was being suffocated by the console housing.

The complete opposite is true for the 2025 4Runner’s HD touchscreen, which now sits outside of any housings and is angled in such a way that it makes it much easier for the driver to view just as well as the front passenger. Also gone are all of the buttons, dials, and knobs that used to surround the touchscreen. It’s now a completely clean and very robust tech stack featuring AM and FM radio, SiriusXM Satellite functionality, plenty of configurable apps, and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support right out of the gate. It’s a massive upgrade over the outgoing model year, and in that regard, yes, the new infotainment suite in the 2025 4Runner is worth the hype.

The black and a silver dashboard and interior of a 2025 Toyota 4Runner.

New Digital Driver Information Display Replaces the Optitron Cluster

The upper-end trims of the outgoing 4Runner generation had access to a digital cluster known as the Optitron instrumentation display. This design featured an LCD display of the tachometer, speedometer, fuel gauges, coolant temperature, odometer, and trip meter. An accompanying multi-information display also worked in tandem for outside temperature information, a clock for the time, and average fuel economy. This was a fairly clunky display design for the driver, even when it was introduced for the fifth-generation models.

However, Toyota decided to finally bring the information cluster up to par for the 2025 4Runner, and they altogether scrapped the Optitron display. The new 4Runner completely forgoes the old Optitron setup, which kind of sounded like it was an abandoned Transformer that Mattel decided to leave off the product line back in the 1980s. Instead, Toyota opted for a very impressive 12.3-inch HD digital display cluster. Gone are the three bulky gauges, and now, there is just one clean display. Not only that, but like most other digital display clusters, you can now customize the driver display to include other infotainment settings and media, including music, navigation, maps, and vehicle telemetry. You can monitor fuel economy and trip data and alter adaptive cruise control settings or drive modes. It’s very comprehensive, easy to use, and configurable, so in that regard, yes, the new digital display cluster is certainly worth the hype.

Removable JBL Audio Speaker With Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity

Tech features on an off-road SUV typically don’t include anything too wild, but sometimes they manage to include some features you literally just do not expect to see, and one such feature is the removable JBL audio speaker with wireless Bluetooth connectivity. No, that is not a typo. You read that correctly. The 2025 4Runner comes with a removable JBL audio speaker with Bluetooth connectivity. It’s part of the overall surround sound speaker system included in the new generation 4RUnner, and it’s a really neat feature, if I must say so myself.

Essentially, when it’s locked into place on the front passenger side dashboard, it works like a typical speaker: It outputs sound from whatever media you happen to be listening to in the vehicle. But what separates it from other vehicles is that you can press a button, dislodge it from the dashboard, and take it with you. So long as you stay within range, the speaker will continue to output sound wirelessly. So, if you want to position the speaker for an outdoor party or to jam while you’re on a camping trip, it works perfectly for such an occasion.

What’s more, it also has volume controls and playback buttons on the exterior, along with indicators for whether it’s connected or powered on. Even better yet is that you can keep it charged with a USB port, which works nicely if you want to keep listening to your music and charge the portable speaker too; so just plug in a charging cable into the speaker and then plug that cable into any of the available USB ports inside the 4Runner and it basically means you can indefinitely keep the portable speaker charged and ready even while it’s disconnected from the front dashboard port. It’s a really cool and really useful design for people who regularly find themselves in need of some good high-quality audio while out by the campfire or down by the beach.

Wireless Smartphone Charging

One new tech addition to the 2025 4Runner is wireless smartphone charging. The charging pad is in an interesting position and angle, as it’s directly in front of the gearshift and positioned in a way that makes it look like it’s just part of the front console design. In reality, it’s angled so that you can actually charge your phone and also make use of it from a convenient position when you need to access it. It’s quite an ingenuous setup. The wireless charger is also directly next to two USB charging ports and a smartphone storage bin to the right.

Basically, what this does is that it gives you an opportunity to keep your devices very close by if you plan on charging them with cords, or you can keep your device out in the open and easy to access via the wireless charging pad. That’s a huge step up from the previous generation, 4Runner, which was absent of such a convenient feature. You could still charge your smart device, but you had to use cords and keep your device semi-hidden under a slot beneath the media controls. It was highly inconvenient, especially if you wanted to use your smartphone while it was charging, which you could not do with the fifth-generation models unless you had a long enough USB charging cord. But even then, there wasn’t a place on the flat surface of the console to place the phone while it was charging since directly beneath the smartphone slot where the USB charger was located on the center console was a cupholder. The whole redesign of the center console to accommodate wireless charging and the ability to use the phone while it charges has been a brilliant move by Toyota.

A white 2025 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is off-roading after leaving a Toyota dealer.

Standard Rearview Mirror Plus an HD Rearview Camera

Every vehicle has a rearview mirror. There’s no big surprise there, and the 2025 4Runner doesn’t do anything new by having a rearview mirror. However, what is quite impressive is that it has an added HD rearview camera that you can turn on for a clearer high-definition view behind the vehicle. So, the 2025 4Runner has a rearview mirror that works like a typical rearview mirror, but if, for whatever reason, you don’t have good visibility or you can’t clearly see what’s directly behind you, you can flip the rear camera switch and swap the rearview mirror’s view from an actual mirror to an HD screen of what’s directly behind the vehicle. You can even modify the settings so you can get it set up exactly the way you want when it comes to visibility settings. It’s not a huge tech feature, but it is a really cool one, and in terms of the hype, I would have to say that it’s definitely worth its weight in hype.

Enough Tech Features to Keep Market Momentum?

Many Toyota vehicles are extremely popular even when they’re old. This is because Toyota has a reputation for making high-quality vehicles that last a long time. While the previous generation 4Runner was extremely long in the tooth, it was and still is considered a very reliable and very functional midsize, off-road capable SUV. With the new 4Runner set to hit the stage with lots of new upgrades from the powertrain and aesthetics to the interior creature comforts and cargo capacity, it’s definitely looking like there is enough to lure in plenty of potential shoppers with what’s on offer. But are the tech changes enough to maintain the momentum on the market and keep people racing to a Toyota dealer to get their hands on one? Well, time will tell, but even from a functional point of view, the new tech features definitely seem like they could help make the 2025 4Runner live up to the hype.

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