5 Popular Throttle Controllers For The 5th Gen 4Runner – Improve Throttle Response & Dead Spots When Accelerating + Improve Drivability & MPGs
If you’ve been driving around in your 4Runner and wished the gas pedal had a more responsive feel, plug-and-play throttle controllers may be just the solution for you. Whether you want your 4Runner to feel faster or you want to save a little money at the pump, these devices suit a wide range of driving styles. They install in under 15 minutes and require no mechanical knowledge.
Since throttle controllers are plug-and-play, they also retain your factory warranty. If you aren’t a fan of the results, simply unplug the throttle controller to revert back to factory settings. It’s genuinely a no-risk mod that you should consider if you’re unhappy with the way your gas pedal feels.
What Are Throttle Response Controllers?
Throttle controllers are popular among 4Runners for two main reasons.
The first is that the 4Runner only has five gears, which with factory tuning, leaves much to be desired. Coupled with the additional weight of mods, you’ve got pretty sluggish acceleration, to say the least.
The second reason is that only some people want to potentially avoid voiding their factory warranty (or possibly run into complications at the least) or fork over the cash for a true vehicle tune (which can run $400+ depending on where you live).
An engine tune may offer actual performance gains but are more difficult to revert back in comparison to a controller. If you try and take your rig with a custom engine tune to a dealer for any technical work, they might turn you away. Some people take the position that the dealers can’t identify if a tune is being run, but your 4Runner will operate differently, and a good technician will be able to tell.
Throttle controllers differ from an actual engine tune in their simplicity. Essentially, an engine tune overwrites your vehicle’s programming regarding throttle response, fuel input, etc.
A throttle controller, however, simply controls the electronic timing delay between your gas pedal and its position sensor. Reducing that input lag leads to a more responsive-feeling gas pedal when you step on it. This is all a massively over-simplified explanation, but you get the basic idea, hopefully.
All of the popular throttle controllers listed below have a few things in common. They have anti-theft modes and vehicle-specific programming and are plug-and-play. From there, it’s really a preference on the feature set and price point.
1. Pedal Commander
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- Pedal Commander Throttle Controller ($300): Check Price
- One of the most popular, you know exactly what you’re getting
- 36 modes (4 programs, 9 fine tunes)
- Physical buttons + app control
- 2-year warranty
Pedal Commander is probably one of the most well-known brands on this list. Coming in at $300, they’re priced at the higher end as far as throttle controllers go, but you know exactly what you’re getting. Pedal Commander is tried and true, and many swear by it.
Similar to Fukin Tuned, it also offers four main programs with nine adjustments within each, for a total of 36 modes. There is no wordplay on the modes with Pedal Commander, and it instead has standard naming conventions such as Eco and Sport modes. Controls are both via physical buttons for quick adjustments and through the Pedal Commander mobile app.
The app itself is designed to be more visually appealing. It has motion graphics and switches colors and car icons depending on the mode you choose. Appropriately, the City mode, which is one of the most popular modes for 4Runner owners, has a truck icon. It also displays current speed (GPS estimated), temperature, and location. Pedal Commander spent a little more money on developing their mobile app and it shows.
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- PedalBox+ Throttle Controller ($320): Check Price
- Made in Germany
- Auto custom tune
- Wired controller + mobile app for mode control
- 21 settings (3 programs, 7 fine tune in each), memory function
- 5-year warranty
PedalBox+ is unique on this list in that it’s made in Germany – if that matters to you. Aside from that, they also offer an automatic tune mode, similar to Throttle Grenade. Design-wise, their wired controller looks like a remote rather than a rectangular box. The faux-brushed metal does give it a higher-end look, however.
There are two models of PedalBox, a non-plus and a plus model. The former lacks Bluetooth and mobile app controls. With the PedalBox+, you also get updates via the app, and for $20 extra, seems like a no-brainer over the more basic sibling.
It features 21 total modes in the form of three main programs and seven fine-tune adjustments. PedalBox offers a 5-year warranty on the device. Some of the reviews are a bit mixed, so make sure to do your research here.
3. Fukin Tuned
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- Fukin Tuned Throttle Controller ($180): Check Price
- No physical buttons, app-controlled via Bluetooth
- 36 settings (4 programs, 9 fine tunes)
- Anti-theft mode
- Unique throttle maps for each vehicle
- Free software updates/app
- 2-year warranty
A newer option to the market, Fukin Tuned targets the more budget-focused with their throttle controller that comes in at $180. While their controller undercuts some of the competition, that doesn’t come at the cost of quality. Where Fukin Tuned decided to save money was with the physical design.
The controller still offers four programs with 9 fine-tuning adjustments in each; however, all controls are done through their free mobile app. If you prefer to quickly adjust settings via physical buttons, this may not be the best option for you. If you’re the set-it-and-forget-it type, this may be all you need.
To compensate for this, Fukin Tuned has made their app completely free, along with continuous updates. The device itself carries a 2-year warranty for peace of mind.
Their mobile app takes its design after a motherboard BIOS UI and looks technical. It makes you feel like you’re really tweaking electronics (which you technically are). It may not appear to be the most polished app, but IT users may appreciate it.
4. EVC iDRIVE
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- iDRIVE Throttle Controller ($210): Check Price
- 22 modes
- Comes in multiple colors
- Physical button control
- Lifetime warranty
iDRIVE offers a modest 22 modes compared to its competition, but don’t count them out. If aesthetics are important to you, the iDRIVE controller is offered in multiple color options. This is a no-frills throttle controller that focuses on its primary function without extra features, hence its lower price tag.
Despite its price, the iDRIVE still carries a lifetime warranty, and while you are limited to physical buttons for control (no mobile app), the $210 price tag and warranty make it a compelling option.
5. Sprint Booster
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- Sprint Booster ($290): Check Price
- Compatible with both manual & automatic transmissions
- Extra compact, low-profile design
- 18 modes (2 programs, 9 fine tunes)
- Extra simple operation
The Sprint Booster controller is a super simple option and the most compact device on this list. If you’re looking for the most unobtrusive throttle controller, this may be your best bet.
The controls are extremely basic, with a single LED that is either illuminated red (Race Mode), green (Sport Mode), or off (Factory Mode). Upon pressing selecting one of the two modes, there are simple left and right arrows to adjust through nine fine-tune settings.
This may also be the safest option if you frequently adjust throttle response settings on the fly. While not recommended, only having only two buttons gives you the best chance of keeping your eyes on the road.
Some people buy throttle controllers to make their rig feel a little peppier. Others, especially in the recent trend of rising gas prices, get them for the Eco modes and potential fuel savings. Whatever your reason, they’re a great way to customize the driving feel of your rig while retaining its warranty. If you’re unimpressed with the results, then simply unplug the controller, and your rig is back to factory spec the next time you turn the engine over.
I was skeptical at first; however, now I can see the appeal. While they don’t make a night and day difference, it allows me to switch things up every now and then. When I’m feeling more spirited, I can kick on Sport mode (or the like). When I’m hauling the family around, I can throw on Eco mode to help fight against the effects of running oversized M/T tires (or at least hope to).
I’d definitely recommend at least trying out a throttle controller; you might be surprised at how much the driving characteristics of your 4Runner can change. If you don’t like it, reverting back to factory settings is plain and simple.