The compact sport-utility vehicle segment is becoming as crowded as a high school math class these days, but one of the standout students continues to be the Toyota 4Runner. Homework complete and the curve carefully considered, the Toyota 4Runner crafts an easy A.
Experience plays a big part in the lure that Toyota creates in all segments. The Body-on-Frame construction of the 4Runner furnishes added strength and safety while reducing noise and vibration. Body-on-Frame weaves major considerations of expense and mpg together in a way that benefits consumers. It’s a more economical build and the mpg sacrifice, due to increased weight, still retains a 17/21 ratio in the base SR5 that retails for $34, 210. Click here to see the Body-on-Frame assembly process from Toyota.
Keeping up with the technology of others in its class, the 6.1-inch high-resolution touch-screen keeps the Entune Premium Audio with Connection or Integrated Navigation and App Suite ready and waiting for instructions as the driver navigates everything from the school-year to the wilderness. The third row seating is perfect for extra cargo whether it be human or gear. This seven-passenger provides front and rear 12v power outlets and up to 88 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats down. An available slide-out rear cargo deck can support up to 440 lbs.; tailgating just got real.
The 4.0 Liter DOHC 24-Valve V6 Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing engine with intelligence reaps a robust 270 hp @5600 rpm and 278 lb.-ft. of torque through a 5-speed automatic transmission. Sporting around town eliminates the need for a 4WD option in place of the standard RWD, but still renders the hauling capacity that most soccer Moms and Dads dictate. For those off-roaders moving up the model scale to the TRD Off-Road or Off-Road Premium pushing the limit is granted with a part-time 4WD system that includes Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) standard. Hill Start Assist Control (HSA), Multi-terrain Select, Crawl Control (CRAWL) and locking rear-differential authorizes wheels to function independently to manufacture the true off-road experience that many 4Runner customers need and desire.
Toyota Racing Development (TRD) is a racing division backed by Toyota that has been equipping the toughest of dirt-seeking mudders for years. The TRD Pro is easily spotted with its TRD 17-inch matte-gray alloy wheels and other standard features in-line with the goal of earth exploration like Performance air filter, brake pads, oil filter, Pro Blisten® shocks and TRD-tuned front springs to go with its personalized TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate. TRD Pro rings in at $42,400.
Options abound in the 4Runner realm. As the owner of a 4Runner myself, I find it to be a vehicle I would choose again. Loyalty is a cornerstone for Toyota and I am a faithful member. Features that I enjoy are the versatile cargo/seating options, traction control, cabin comfort, smooth ride and reliability; ours has over 160,000 miles. The 4WD adds a bit of spring to the general handling, but essentially gives the feel that most off-roaders enjoy.
No matter which SUV you choose, be sure to test-drive the Toyota 4Runner. It shoots to the top of the class by satisfying your need for safety, reliability, style, and versatility.