Toyota is adding two new SUVs this year, the full-size Sequoia and the midsize Highlander, so it is restructuring the 4Runner lineup so it doesnt overlap either of the newcomers.
The midsize 4Runner is Toyotas most popular SUV, and this year it comes only with a V-6 engine and automatic transmission. The slow-selling 2.7-liter four-cylinder and five-speed manual transmission last years base powertrain have been dropped. Traction control and skid control also are standard across the board.
The 4Runner fits below the Land Cruiser and the new Sequoia in size and price but above the RAV4 in Toyotas lineup. The Highlander that is due next spring is slightly larger but is expected to have a lower price.
The 4Runners four-door body has a one-piece liftgate with a standard power window that lowers into the tailgate. It is about as long as the Chevrolet Blazer and Jeep Grand Cherokee with an overall length of 183 inches but is nearly 6 inches narrower than the Grand Cherokee.
Space for five passengers comes from a pair of front buckets and a three-place bench. Leather seats are standard on the top-shelf Limited and optional on the sporty SR5.
With a wide cargo floor, a rear seat that folds flat and a spare tire tucked underneath the vehicle, the 4Runner boasts nearly 80 cubic feet of cargo space.
Under the Hood
All models now use a 3.4-liter V-6 engine with 183 horsepower and a four-speed automatic transmission. 4Runner is still offered with either two- or four-wheel drive, but all 4x4s now use a full-time system operated by a dashboard switch that can be left engaged on dry pavement. A part-time 4WD system for use only on slippery surfaces has been dropped.
4Runner prices are higher than most rival compact SUVs, but Toyotas well-earned reputation for quality and high resale value offer some compensation. It comes with a smooth V-6, an easy-to-use 4WD system, high-quality materials and commendable assembly quality. Like most conventional SUVs, it has a firm, trucklike ride, but it is more comfortable than most rival vehicles.