The market is brimming with likable five- and seven-passenger crossovers, but only a few midsize SUVs like the Toyota 4Runner. What's the difference? The 4Runner sits atop a truck platform and can easily take you through the deepest snow and potholes on your way to work, or on a true off-road adventure if that's your thing.
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2016 Toyota 4Runner Overview
What's New for 2016
The 4Runner receives minor equipment upgrades only.
Choosing Your Toyota 4Runner
Every 4Runner gets a 4-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and a five-speed automatic transmission. Four-wheel drive with low-range gearing is either standard or available on all trim levels. Owing to the 4Runner's truck roots, all examples come with a tow hitch, underbody protective plates, and hill start and descent assists. The third row available on some models boosts seating capacity to seven.
Toyota offers the 4Runner in six trim levels to suit almost every need:
The SR5 and Limited are geared toward active families who want a go-anywhere vehicle with room for everyone. The Trail is the choice for drivers who regularly leave the road for recreation, while the TRD Pro (which is actually a tad more expensive than the Limited) is best suited to dedicated off-road enthusiasts and competitors.
2016 Toyota 4Runner Review
The 2016 Toyota 4Runner endures as one of the most rugged and off-road-capable body-on-frame midsize SUVs. It remains mostly unchanged, sustaining its duties to serve the dual purposes of a daily driver and occasional trail-going vehicle with seating for up to seven when properly configured. For the 2016 model year, the 4Runner gets an upgraded audio system standard with cell phone navigation integration and a slight bump in towing capacity.
Pricing and Equipment
The 2016 Toyota 4Runner is offered three trim levels starting at $33,510 for the base SR5. Moving up a notch is the 4Runner Trail starting at $36,415, and then the Limited priced from $41,825. The TRD Pro, with its unique style and off-roading prowess, starts at $41,550.
At the top of mainstream 4Runner trims, the Limited adds many creature comforts and styling for an attractive package that competes with many two- and three-row crossovers, such as:
- 20-inch alloy wheels
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Front and rear parking sensors
- Chrome-colored body accents and door handles
- Keyless entry and ignition
- 15-speaker JBL audio system
- Leather upholstery
The 2016 Toyota 4Runner in either trim is a rather unique offering in the growing SUV market, being one of the rare body-on-frame offerings in the midsize segment. The 4Runner SR5 and Limited trims offer optional three-row seating raising the total capacity from the standard five to seat seven.
The Toyota 4Runner has a 4-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The proven engine and transmission give the 4Runner plenty of low-end grunt to tow up to 5,000 pounds in the SR5 two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive trim, as well as in the Limited trim rear-wheel drive variant.
- On road, the 4Runner exhibits confident power, with assured and predictable acceleration to 60 mph from a standstill in 7.8 seconds.
- An available four-wheel-drive system incorporates low-range gearing, locking rear or center differential, crawl control, and selectable terrain modes.
- Excessive body roll on the street when taking tight corners or sharp exit ramps at speed.
- Underwhelming EPA fuel mileage estimates at 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for the four-wheel drive models. (17 mpg city/22 mpg highway with rear-wheel drive.)
- Exceptionally light and artificial steering feel.
- Good fit and finish through clever user of molded plastics throughout the cabin conveying long-lasting durability.
- Simplistic control layout on the dashboard with user-friendly infotainment tech features.
- Plentiful seating room up front and in second-row seats.
- Unwanted body motions going over bumps are transmitted into the cabin, especially in the Trail and TRD Pro trim variants.
- Abundant use of hard plastics diminishes perception of quality.
- Cramped third-row seating, which is best suited to small children.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The 4Runner has a multi-purpose demeanor -- it excels at going off-road but still proves to be an acceptable vehicle for commutes, family trips, and utilitarian duties.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
With the growing precedence of car-like crossover utility vehicles that get exceptional fuel mileage figures, the 4Runner seems to fall quite short of being economical at the gas pump.
The Bottom Line
In a segment that has switched almost entirely to car-based crossovers, the 2016 Toyota 4Runner endures as a truck-based SUV that delivers off-road ruggedness, utility, versatility, and a history of providing reliable transportation.
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