Toyota 4 Runner: All That We Know About Toyota’s Bad Boy
The 4Runner started life back in 1984 as nothing more than a Toyota Hilux with a fiber glass top on the rear to cover the bed but these days, it has grown to be a strong contender in the SUV game.
In South East Asian countries, it was succeeded by the Fortuner although here in the US, the 4Runner is its own entity existing in a world that fits in right between brawny V8 SUVs and tiny four-banger crossovers.
The 2018 model has given new life to this legendary Toyota but has it become a better car than before? Let’s find out.
Toyota 4 Runner Features
Driving and Performance:
Starting off at a price of $35k, the 4Runner comes in a whopping 7 trims but regardless of how you spec this car, the engine bay houses the same 4-liter V6 in every iteration.
The SR5 and SR5 Premium models have optional rear-wheel drive or part-time 4WD with Active Traction Control (or A-Trac, a little silly but okay…) while the others come with part-time 4WD as standard with Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Multi-terrain Select and Crawl control (aka CRAWL…still silly) so obviously the main focus is on off-roading. Check.
That V6 under the hood produces a healthy 270 bhp at 5600rpm and 278 lb-ft of torque at 4400 rpm and even the famed TRD Pro with every off-road goodie imaginable has the same power and torque output.
As the max torque is available at just 4400 rpm, the mid-range oomph is what this car is all about and that makes it perfect for off-roading and destroying tiny rocks unfortunate enough to end up under the 4Runner.
As the 4Runner is based on the Toyota Hilux which happens to be a pickup truck, it borrows a similar ladder-frame chassis and not a monocoque one like every other mid-range SUV in the market.
So the classic pickup body roll is almost unavoidable but the folks at Toyota have done everything to minimize it with better suspension and dampening.
Overall, in the performance department, this Toyota performs like a shrunken Land Cruiser; albeit a little less refined.
On the inside, Toyota has tried to uplift the standard of materials in the cabin with a redesigned layout clothed in faux leather and decent-quality plastics. Toyota 4runner seats feel great and settling into a comfy driving position is easy with overall decent visibility.
The new Multi-Information Display is pretty convenient to use and displays useful information like temperature, clock, and fuel economy at a glance.
Along with Bluetooth and voice command controls, there’s cruise control, keyless entry, backup camera and dual-zone automatic control meaning Toyota desperately wants this car to go head to head with more sophisticated SUVs and that’s working out really well so far.
The 4Runner mpg gives a combined fuel economy figure of 18 MPG which means it gives 17 MPG in the city and 20 MPG on the highway. Pretty decent figures for a car with an engine as large as this.
Apart from the tough 4WD powertrain, the other aspect that truly distinguishes the 4Runner from the rest of the competition is its unapologetic exterior design. While every other player in the market has settled for a swooping, sedan-like body, the 4Runner flips all that upside down with a sturdy and tall body structure with bulky front and rear bumpers much like an untamed 4WD dune buggy.
Everything is purpose built and there is absolutely no element of subtlety which makes it an acquired taste but if you’re a true off-road enthusiast, you won’t be ashamed of being seen in one of these.
In the age of SUVs becoming softer and easier to live with for the purpose of attracting the average Joe that spends most of his time in a boring, civilized city, the 4Runner is directed at a very different customer.
This mid-range SUV belongs to the kind of driver that wakes up in the morning, gets into the 4Runner and massacres sand dunes and rocks on his way to get some coffee…in another city.
The 4WD system is wildly capable and has backup from the car’s brilliant A-Trac traction control and CRAWL, the interior is much better than before and won’t make you feel like you’re living in a cave with a grizzly and on top of that, it’s a fun, macho SUV. If all that sounds interesting, you might be a prospective 4Runner buyer. So go get one.