Icon Vs. Stock 4Runner Suspension

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Icon Stage 2 Vs. Stock 4Runner Suspension

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Ride Quality on the Icon Stage 2 Suspension Vs. Stock 4Runner Suspension

We had a question come in from a 4Runner owner with KDSS on the difference between the Icon Stage 2 Suspension Vs. Stock 4Runner Suspension. After a couple months of really smashing this suspension, we now have the ability to give some realistic “what to expect” expectations from the Icon Suspension. We just rolled through the Baltic Ridge Trail with the new Icon Stage 2 Suspension and the 34″ Toyo Tires on the 4Runner. After this trip, it was perfect timing for this question about Icon’s 4Runner Suspension to come in.

The only thing that we have to say here is that the customer service with Icon is not that great. They make a great product but it really is difficult to get anyone on the phone. When you buy a $3000+ product, you would think you could make a call and get ahold of someone. With Icon, this is something to consider. It’s difficult, to say the least. We have still not spoken to anyone at Icon in over a month. And, we consistently call because we actually do have questions about their products and products to be added to make up another stage.

What’s The Difference Between Stock & Icon Suspension?

Really enjoying your site! I’m a newbie to any 4×4 vehicle mods and I have a question about the Icon Stage 2 suspension for 4runner with KDSS. What was the ride like after install compared to stock? My stock suspension is shot on my 2012 Trail Edition 4Runner and rather than have the dealer install another set of stock shocks I’m considering the Icon’s. My 4Runner is mainly used on dirt roads around New Mexico with a good amount of highway miles as well. I work as a photographer so I travel a fair amount around the state. This vehicle is not a showpiece for me to parade around town, I want shocks that are durable and good off road but don’t rattle my teeth off around town. I have stock size BF AT’s if that matter at all in this equation? I will do install myself.

Icon Stage 2 Suspension – Worth It for 4Runner Owners?

Icon Stage 2 Suspension - Worth It for 4Runner Owners?

From stock 4Runner suspension to the Icon Stage 2 4Runner Suspension, there are some feature/ benefits and downfalls depending on what you call a downfall. The benefits highly outweigh the downfalls of the Icon Stage 2 Suspension. From on-road to off-road, there are some real differences that you should note before you buy this $3000+ suspension.

Overall Benefits Of the Icon Stage 2 Suspension

After the Icon Stage 2 Suspension, the suspension is much tighter. Less body roll, tighter cornering, everything feels tighter. Braking is way better, as your tires wear and your suspension wears, you can feel it when you break. With the upgraded Icon Stage 2 Suspension or any suspension, I’m sure for that matter, your braking is much more firm and stable with less steering wheel shake and rattle. Also, when it comes to braking on the 4Runner, you have a pretty harsh nosedive with the stock suspension. With the Icon Stage 2 Suspension, your nose dive on braking is almost eliminated.

Icon Stage 2 Suspension – Freeway?

Freeway driving is much better I think. At high speeds and big drops, the icon definitely performs. Freeway driving with the Icon Stage 2 Suspension is smooth and incredibly responsive. Because the suspension is much tighter, your lane shifting, braking, and feeling of the road is much better. Lane changing is smooth and tight. Braking is quick and responsive (given you have good brakes) with less nose dive and the feeling of the actual road is much smoother at high speeds.

Icon Stage 2 Suspension  – Around Town?

The only downside I see is around town at low speeds, you can feel more of the road. It’s like driving an AMG Benz. It’s just tight and you can feel the road. Large Bumps. Medium Bumps. Little bumps, you can feel it all. But the dips and whoops are pure butter. The suspension does what it’s supposed to for sure. This suspension was not built for around town driving. It was built for high-speed performance and off-road performance.

Icon Stage 2 Suspension  – Off-Road

Obviously off-road with the Icon Stage 2 Suspension is way better. And by way better, I mean, when aired down, the trails are butter. Everything is so much more comfortable. On every trail you hit, there is going to be some erosion. When you come to these humps, the Icon Stage 2 Suspension feels smooth and buttery. When you hit these humps in a stock suspension, you and your passenger jump up in their seat. When you are approaching a drop or dip in a trail, the extended travel icon shocks really do handle incredibly well by absorbing the drop.

Icon Stage 2 Vs. Other Stages (Icon Suspension Real Life Examples)

Here is another question we got on the Icon Suspension. 

Message: Hi, I was reading through your website on ideas for my 4Runner which is currently stock. I have a question in regards to the stage 2 icon lifts you use. Why did you choose the stage 2 as oppose to stage 3, 4, and so forth? Aside from costs, would you say that a higher stage would be better? Thanks for your help. I love this site! So helpful.

Stage 2 Icon Vs. Icon Stage 3-7 Suspension Systems 5th Gen 4Runner

What’s up man, thanks for the kind words. The overall reason why we went with the stage 2 over the other stages was cost. Point blank. It’s not cheap by any means but you will feel a HUGE difference when going from a stock suspension to the stage 2 with the extended travel coilovers and the tubular UCAs. The Stage 2 Icon Suspension is probably the best bang for your buck in terms of a “quality” aftermarket suspension. With the extended travel coilovers and the UCAs being the highlight of upgrades.

Everything else and all the other stage’s of the Icon Suspension are just more beef my and can take a bit more abuse. The billet UCAs, for example, are just straight bling. Can they take “more” abuse, articulation and pressure, probably but not by much in my book. We know a guy that runs the billet UCAs and he thinks they are just about the same.

For the front and rear, if you add the remote reservoirs, your ride quality will be a bit smoother on and off road but mostly off-road. Everything on-road with the Stage 2 Icon Suspension, remote reservoir or no reservoir is tight. You will see tighter braking, handling, less nose dive, less body roll, etc. Everything is tight, much more enjoyable to drive.

Going up in stages for the Stage 2 Icon Suspension, you are really just saying “I want to seriously rock crawl or race my 4Runner”. By adding each new component of the icon stage set-up, you add more stability and control overall and more importantly, you are putting less stress on the stock components of your 4Runner.

In a perfect world, yeah go with a stage 7 Icon Suspension. But, if you are not taking your 4Runner on serious rock crawling trails (let’s be honest, few of us really are) and you are not racing through the Baja, then grab a Stage 2 Icon Suspension and call it a day.

At The End of The Day?

I would much rather have the icons over the stock suspension any day of the week as a daily driver and occasional off-road 4Runner.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Jay Hemphill

    Thanks for writing this and for the fast reply. I ordered the Stage 2 setup today(11-20)! Cant wait to hit the mountains after the install! Your site is going to hurt my bank account! But hey, if I wasn’t dumping extra cash into my 4Runner it’d be going into camera lenses.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Awesome! Congratulations man. It has been an awesome suspension so far. We have it installed for about 3 months now and no problems. Everything with the stage 2 suspension has been great. From a reduction in nosedive and body roll to an increase of performance on the trail, the Icon Suspension has been pretty stellar.

      Have fun out there!

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