Last Updated on November 20, 2023
Breakdown Of Two Leading Throttle Controllers On The Market: Pedal Commander Vs. Fukin Tuned – Which One is Right for You and Your Build
Of the many things Toyota’s 4Runner platform has historically been known for, speed and performance generally don’t make the top of the list. In fact, those two categories may never make the list if we’re talking about speed or throttle control. Let’s face it, we drive body-on-frame minivans!
The reality is, the 4Runner is known for off-road performance, engine and transmission longevity, and just all around rugged performance even in it’s stock form. Undoubtedly, future generations will change the speed element with hybrid and electric options as they’re known for torque response.
Until we get to that point, speed and throttle response is something we can and should address now. In fact, there are tons of popular throttle response controllers on the market, and all claim to offer both increased and customizable throttle response. However, two stand out among the rest as they cover the gamut with throttle response options at two different price points.
Find it Online:
- Pedal Commander for Toyota 4Runner – Check Price
- Fukin Tuned – FT27 – Throttle Response Controller – Check Price
Before we break down both of these throttle response units, let’s cover some basics…
What Is A Throttle Controller?
In it’s simplest form, a throttle response controller connects directly to your acceleration (“gas”) pedal and adjusts the sensitivity of the pedals response to pressure. Generally, these are small devices that plug into your accelerator pedal and splice to the ECU line connector. I’ve yet to see one that’s not “plug and play” and in most cases, these can be installed in minutes (depending on your mounting preferences).
Many people refer to the lack of throttle response as “throttle lag”. If you own a 5th Gen 4Runner, then you know throttle lag is a very real thing and throttle control units aim to “correct” that issue.
Is The Throttle Response Customizable?
Some throttle response control units offer various settings that allow a driver to customize the pedal response to their personal desire. These settings can be adjusted by way of physical buttons on the unit itself, while other more luxurious models offer Bluetooth and app connectivity.
What may come as a surprise is that some who purchase throttle control units might not be buying for speed, but for economical reasons. Another widely known fact about the 4Runner is that it’s thirsty… real thirsty.
The EPA reports that the 5th Gen 4Runner averages 16.4 MPG for 2021 – 2022 models. Add sliders, steel bumpers, rooftop tents and a truck full of gear, and you’re average MPG drops to the lower teens pretty quickly.
Most throttle control units offer an “Eco” mode which effectively makes the throttle response more delayed. However, this feature claims to offer better overall mileage and aims to keep you at your 4Runner at the most efficient gas pedal pressure and speed.
Are Throttle Controllers Safe/Legal?
The short answer to this question is yes, throttle controllers are safe if used responsibly. After installing one, you would be surprised at how much pickup and speed you gain instantly by unlocking your vehicle’s power. And yes, they are legal.
If you’ve owned your 4Runner for some time, you’ve become accustomed to it’s handling, speed, and acceleration pedal response. And if you’ve gone to the gym for years without taking any supplements to increase your workout performance, you know your limits.
Now, take two shots of pre-workout or slam back a Red Bull before your next trip to the gym. You’ll be throwing dumbbells around the room like a madman! The same principal applies here, and so it’s highly advised that you install any throttle control unit and test the vehicles response in a very empty and/or safe area (i.e., an empty parking lot, a road that doesn’t see a ton of traffic, etc.). I can’t stress this enough.
Why Isn’t Pedal Response Like This Standard?
Automotive manufacturers can make pedal response better, but speed is generally not their primary concern. In today’s economy, gas prices are through the roof and fuel economy has become a driving factor in the design and manufacturing process. In addition to fuel economy, vehicles generally run bigger in the US compared to the EU, and manufacturers here try to balance out size and practicality.
So if you’re reading between the lines, using a throttle controller can have an adverse effect on your fuel economy. With the two we’ll break down below, each offers four (4) different settings and then varying sensitivity levels within each of those settings. A general rule of thumb is that, the higher you go in throttle response, the more likely you’ll see the MPG go down. But, that’s the beauty of being able to customize the response!
Pedal Commander Vs. Fukin Tuned
Now that you know what a throttle control units purpose is, what advantages they have, and how they work, let’s break down these two.
Both throttle controllers encompass varying features that make them slightly different. However, after testing both, we can say that both are effective in doing what they mainly advertise; they truly allow the user to customize their driving experience.
As an avid Apple CarPlay user, I’d love to see both Pedal Commander and Fukin Tuned build a car-friendly app that can be accessed through your radio display. One of the main drivers here would benefit Android Auto users.
As an added safety feature, Android Auto locks the users phone when in use and so on-the-fly throttle response adjustments sound like they’re not possible via the app. So, you’ll need a throttle response controller that has physical buttons allowing for the user to make on-the-fly adjustments. This is not an issue for Apple CarPlay users.
At the end of the day, it’s all a matter of preference and what features work best for you. For me personally, I opted to stick with the Fukin Tuned unit. The Bluetooth controls are more than enough for me and I don’t have a desire, nor a need, to physically see the device. Once I installed it, I tucked the unit itself behind the center console panel. Is that anti-American since I’m technically hiding the U.S. flag?!
The other driver here for me was the price point. The Fukin Tuned comes in close to half the price of the Pedal Commander. But again, my needs are different than the next user.
The bottom line is, both are great units and essentially perform the same; Fukin Tuned is more utilitarian and Pedal Commander is more of a luxury model. So, choose the one that best fits your needs.
Do you have one of these two throttle controllers? Let me know what your thoughts are in the comments.