The rugged Toyota 4Runner stands alone among other SUVs this year. Refusing to conform to car-like chassis like much of its competition, the 4Runner doggedly clings to its tough-guy roots, pulling heavy loads and rumbling down the road—or off of it—with a powerful 4-liter V6. If you want to commute to work during the week and take an adventure off the beaten path on weekends, the 4Runner fits the bill.
The five-seat, midsize SUV comes in three trims: the base level SR5, upgraded Trail and decked-out Limited. All models have the same 270-horsepower engine. The SR5 can be had with rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive; the Trail comes with full-time four-wheel drive; and the Limited offers rear-wheel drive or full-time four-wheel drive. The 4Runner's towing capacity maxes out at 5,000 pounds.
All 4Runners come standard with six-spoke 17-inch alloy wheels; an integrated towing hitch and wire; Hill Start Assist Control; halogen headlights and fog lights; power windows and rear liftgate; a six-way adjustable driver’s seat; and a four-way adjustable front passenger seat. Safety features include antilock brakes, traction and stability control, active head restraints and an array of airbags.
The 4Runner Trail has upgrades like a moonroof, rearview camera, sliding rear cargo deck, and water-resistant seat covers. Crawl Control provides auto braking and throttle for tough off-road conditions.
The Limited increases luxury with heated leather seats, push-button start, dual zone automatic climate control, optional third-row seating, and Toyota’s Safety Connect system, which features auto collision notification, roadside assistance and stolen-vehicle tracking capabilities.
Upgrade packages are available at each trim level. The SR5 Premium Package offers amenities usually found on the Limited: third-row seating, adjustable leather-trimmed seats and a moonroof. Also available are navigation and the Entune system, which uses Bluetooth to support popular smartphone apps.
The Trail's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System bumps up off-road performance with extra support and articulation for tough terrain.
The Limited package provides 15 speakers, a subwoofer, NavTraffic, a four-disc AM/FM/CD changer, and a voice-activated DVD navigation system.
With all of its brawn, the 4Runner isn’t for everyone, and probably isn't the best choice for families who are less inclined to leave the comfort of paved roads. Cargo space and third-row seating are tight, and engine noise can be intrusive.
Yet the 4Runner has a lot to offer the right buyer—in addition to an interior that's one of the best in the segment, and superlative resale value.
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