In today's automotive marketplace, rugged truck-based SUVs are slowly going the way of the buffalo as buyers seek easy-riding, family-friendly unibody crossovers. But there's still a market for a true sport utility, and the Toyota 4Runner is one of the best. Now for the 2014 model year, Toyota brings impossible-to-ignore new styling and a host of updates to make its trail-ready SUV even better.
You don't have to look to see changes for 2014: the 4Runner gets an all-new front-end design that could be called "cutting-edge" or "just plain weird", depending on your point of view. A mix of 90-degree angles, scoops and block-like surfaces, it will undoubtedly makes a statement. A contrasting-color front skid plate lets you know the 4Runner means business, and all trim levels now come standard with a roof rack. We love it.
The 4Runner still comes packing the same 4.0-liter Toyota V6 engine with 270 horsepower, coming mated to a 5-speed autobox and either RWD or 4x4 setups, the latter featuring a locking center differential and a multi-mode transfer case with CRAWL mode. Fuel efficiency improves slightly for 2014, now 17 city/23 highway with RWD and 17 city/22 highway on 4x4 models.
A thoroughly updated interior features higher-quality materials with more soft-touch surfaces, along with the new-generation Toyota Display Audio with Entune infotainment system. Rear passengers now get additional legroom thanks to redesigned front seatbacks, and the new Optitron instrument cluster provides all manner of extra performance info.
The new 4Runner will be available starting in late Summer 2013. Pricing is as yet unreleased, though should stay about the same as the current 2013 model, which starts at $32,335.