By Cars.com EditorsJuly 29, 2013
About the video
Similar to Toyota's light-handed touch in updating the Tundra pickup truck for the new model year, the 4Runner boasts subtle, though welcome, changes for 2014.
(upbeat music) (car breaking) I'm Mark Williams for cars.com. And we're here in the Allegheny Mountains of Pennsylvania, where we've been given the opportunity to drive the new 2014 6th generation Toyota 4Runner.
Not a lot of significant changes, but enough details for us to take a closer look. As far as the exterior design, Toyota made a conscious effort to make the 4Runner similar to, in a certain way, its smaller brother, the FJ Cruiser. A lot of the design cues in the 5th generation 4Runner headlights and taillights were carried over. Now they're trying to soften that. In fact, they've created a completely unique headlight for the 2014 4Runner, as well as a new grill for each of the three trim packages. What we're sitting in right now is a trail edition 4Runner, which means manual shift 4-wheel drive, also has a new setup for the AC controls. Much easier, much simpler to see. And also it has a second generation Entune system, which works more like an iPhone than any other radio you've probably experienced. The big money here for the change for 2014 is in the gauge cluster, right in front of the driver. No longer do you have the big giant speedometer right in the center and small gauges around it. But now you have something a little more readable and a little more conventional with tachometer and speedometer on the outside and an information screen right in the middle that you can scroll through and get different information from your vehicle and especially the engine. At the back of the 4Runner, still very familiar, very similar to the 2013 model, but they have included a few details that will make this vehicle unique and maybe a little more stable at higher speeds. Not the least of which is the vortex generator. It might just look like a bubbled out piece of plastic, but it is supposed to help with stability at higher speeds on highways. Also new LED lights are incorporated into the rear taillights as well. As noted earlier, not a lot of mechanical changes here. Still has the 4-liter V6 engine and still has the same chassis setup that it had before. 5-link rear suspension, coil springs upfront. As far as how the 2014 model handles compared to the 2013, almost identical. You still have the same responsive feel. You still have something that's very capable of getting you, especially with the trail edition, through any type of dangerous 4-wheel drive expedition. As far as the limited, it still offers a lot of value for the money. Toyota gave us a great chance to take these trail edition 4Runners on some pretty nasty 4-wheel drive trails. We've had a lot of rain around here so there was a lot of Pennsylvania mud. What we found with the crawl control and the ATRAC system, very impressive at getting yourself out of situations that you wouldn't even dream of taking another bigger, stronger vehicle through. Backseat seating strategy is still the same, 60-40 split for rear seats, but the materials Toyota has improved. Stitching is noticeably better. And some of the materials that they're using on the different trim packages are of a higher quality. The rear seats themselves still flip and fold the same way. Pulling up the seat, dropping the head rest, rear seats fall right down. Another feature that we really like that's a carry over from the 2013 model, the sliding rear deck. Pulls out cargo, stores cargo. Makes family living certainly a lot easier. Now there's gonna be three different trim packages: SR5, trail and limited. But Toyota's strategy now is to try to pack both the SR5 and the trail with more standard features. So they're essentially gonna try to stay the same price, but will have a lot more technology and improvements for the 2014 model. Also, the limited, as noted, is gonna be a great value for the 40 and $45,000 average price that a lot of those models are gonna go out the door. For more details, driving impressions and pricing of the 2014 Toyota 4Runner, go to cars.com. (car engine revving)
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