The Toyota 4Runner is a mid-size SUV manufactured by Toyota and sold throughout the world from 1984 to the present. In Japan it was known as the Toyota Hilux Surf. The original 4Runner was a compact SUV and little more than a Toyota pickup truck with a fiberglass shell over the bed, but the model has since undergone significant independent development into a cross between a mid-size and a full-size SUV. All 4Runners have been built at Toyota's Tahara plant in Tahara, Aichi, Japan or at Hino Motors' Hamura, Japan plant, and in Brazil. Its mid-size crossover SUV counterpart is the Kluger/Highlander. The Toyota pickup (upon which the 4Runner was originally based) underwent a major redesign in 1983 for the 1984 model year. Many other automakers were introducing mid-size SUVs in the mid 1980s (e.g., Ford Bronco II, Chevrolet S-10 Blazer, Nissan Pathfinder) and the pressure mounted on Toyota to develop a competing model.
Contributions by Bull-Doser, Milkmandan, and IFCAR.