Toyota’s 4x4s are trusted the world over for some of the toughest jobs — from transporting foreign dignitaries through war zones to traversing barren deserts. There’s even a saying out there along the lines of "If you want to get there, you need a 4×4; if you want to get back, you need a Toyota." Needless to say, Toyota builds some of the most capable and dependable 4x4s out there, and used ones make great, affordable adventure vehicles. Here, we’ve outlined six of the best used adventure-worthy 4×4 Toyota trucks and SUVs available for around $20,000.
2006-2009 Toyota 4Runner
The 4Runner has been around for decades now and remains one of the most popular off-road-oriented SUVs on the market. Offering body-on-frame construction with a solid rear axle, the 4Runner is truck like in its construction, and like every other vehicle on this list, offers true low-range 4-wheel drive. The current generation 4Runner, on sale since the 2010 model year, uses a 4.0-liter V6 engine making 270 horsepower. A Trail Edition trim level was offered that comes with a locking rear differential and Toyota’s slick KDSS automatic sway bar disconnect system, although you’ll have a hard time finding one for under $20,000. Your best bet at this price point is a well broken-in SR5 model, or even a 2006-2009 model from the 4Runner’s fourth generation, which was offered with either a 6-cylinder or a V8 engine. Filtering to show only examples equipped with 4WD yields around 100 2006-2009 fourth-generation 4Runners and over 300 fifth-generation 4Runners that would fit the bill. Find a Toyota 4Runner for sale
1998-2007 Toyota Land Cruiser
Nothing is tougher than a Toyota Land Cruiser. While most vehicles are built for a 10-year service life, Toyota designs and builds the Land Cruiser to last for a whopping 25 years without needing major mechanical refurbishment, meaning that even a 1998 model will still have a fair amount of life left in the tank today. While early examples of the current-generation Land Cruiser — on sale since the 2008 model year and known as the 200 Series — have yet to depreciate down to the $20,000 mark, the model that preceded it — known as the 100 Series — is now readily available for under $20,000, with well-used examples selling for as little as $7,000. Don’t be afraid of high miles — a Land Cruiser with 100,000 miles on the odometer is just getting warmed up, as these vehicles will easily go 250,000 miles. Every 100 Series Land Cruiser — sold from 1998 through 2007 — comes with a 4.7-liter V8 engine and full-time 4WD with low range, engaged by an old-school lever on the center console. 1998 and 1999 models were offered with an optional locking rear differential, while 2000 through 2007s come standard with Toyota’s Active Traction Control system, which can mimic the effects of a locker. On Autotrader, there are currently right around 100 1998-2007 Toyota Land Cruisers listed for $20,000 or less, all of which come standard with full-time 4WD. Find a Toyota Land Cruiser for sale
2007-2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota introduced the FJ Cruiser in 2007 as an homage to the original 40 Series Land Cruiser, with which it shares many styling elements, including its round headlights, white grille and wraparound rear windows. The FJ Cruiser was built on the same platform as the 4Runner and was meant as a competitor to the Jeep Wrangler, although it lacked the Wrangler’s configurability and solid front axle. The FJ Cruiser was and still is plenty capable off-road, though, offering good approach and departure angles, a true low-range 4WD system and good aftermarket parts support. It also came with unique, rear half doors hinged at the rear, similar to what you get in many extended cab pickups. This made for an overall quirky vehicle, and buyers love the FJ for its unique styling and good off-road performance. Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 — the same engine offered in the 4Runner today, with power outputs ranging from between 239 and 260 hp in the FJ, depending on model year. Transmission options consist of either a 5-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual. Seeing a slump in sales and feeling that it had more or less satisfied market demand, Toyota opted to discontinue the FJ Cruiser after the 2014 model year.
The FJ Cruiser holds its value remarkably well, given its funky styling and the fact that you can no longer buy one new today. Still, there are around 200 FJ Cruisers listed on Autotrader that offer 4WD for between $15,000 and $20,000. Find a Toyota FJ Cruiser for sale
2005-2015 Toyota Tacoma
One of the most popular off-road vehicles on sale, the Tacoma offers great 4WD features, a fun off-road aesthetic and excellent resale value (like every other vehicle on this list). That last one is a double-edged sword, though, as it can be difficult to find a used Tacoma that’s nicely equipped for a reasonable price without going back several model years. Buyers looking for a Tacoma for $20k should look to a 2005-2015 model, which make up the Tacoma’s second generation. Single, extended and crew cab configurations are offered, as are short and long beds. Like most pickups, the Tacoma can be configured just about any way you want it. Powering most Tacomas you’ll find from over these years is a 4.0-liter V6 paired with a 5-speed automatic. There are currently close to 700 2005-2015 4WD-equipped Tacomas listed on Autotrader that would work for someone looking for a tough Toyota truck with a budget of $20,000. Of these, around 600 come with the V6, while the remainder use a small under-powered 4-cylinder. While there aren’t a lot out there for under $20k, it isn’t a bad idea to hold out for a TRD Off-Road model, which will come with a locking rear differential, skid plates, a Bilstein suspension and all-terrain tires, making it ready for just about any adventure straight out of the box. As far as Toyota trucks go, the Tacoma sets the standard. Find a Toyota Tacoma for sale
2007-2013 Toyota Tundra
While it isn’t as maneuverable and doesn’t offer the off-road credentials of the Tacoma, the Tundra is a great tow vehicle, capable of pulling over 10,000 pounds when properly equipped. It also offers a huge cabin in crew-cab form, along with Toyota’s excellent reliability and resale values. Power comes from a strong, old-school 5.7-liter V8 that’s shared with the Land Cruise and the Sequoia and makes 381 hp. A TRD Off-Road package is offered that comes with a Bilstein suspension and skid plates, but it’s worth noting that no Tundra is offered with a locking rear differential, which gives it a lower ceiling when it comes to off-road capability. Still, thanks to its strong motor, serious towing and hauling capabilities, and great reliability, a Tundra will make a great companion in the backcountry — just don’t expect to take one on any tight, technical trails. There are currently over 500 4WD equipped 2007-2013 Tundras listed on Autotrader for around $20,000. Find a Toyota Tundra for sale
2008-2013 Toyota Sequoia
Long a more mainstream, value-oriented alternative to the legendary, but premium-priced Land Cruiser, the Sequoia isn’t known for its off-road prowess, but it does offer two things that everyone appreciates when venturing into the unknown: space and reliability. Needless to say, it’s befitting of its name. The Sequoia comes powered by the same stout 5.7-liter V8 offered in the Tundra and Land Cruiser, although it was sold with two smaller V8 engines in its early years as well. Other than its massive footprint, the Sequoia offers a true low-range 4WD system, but that’s about it when it comes to off-road tech. Still, throw on some all-terrain tires and a small lift, and you’ve got yourself one great big adventure truck with more than enough room for your whole family and all of their gear. There are currently around 75 2008-2013 Sequoias with 4WD drive listed on Autotrader for around $20,000 or less. Find a Toyota Sequoia for sale