The Toyota 4Runner, brought out 30 years ago as basically a compact pickup/topper, is now in its fifth generation configuration and has morphed into a brawny mid-sized SUV. This last week I tested a 2013 Limited edition 4Runner that arrived at my place in Classic Silver metallic paint with a black leather interior.
Toyota is a 76-year old company ranking 11th in the world in revenue. Total global sales of its vehicles has tripled to 10 million since the 4Runner introduction in 1984, and the vehicle maintains its body-on-frame construction and will for the foreseeable future. Such construction results in a quieter, heavier machine – traits that were evident to me during the week-long test. My fuel mileage ended up just over 20 miles-per-gallon, and EPA ratings were 17 city and 21 highway – 18 overall. The fuel tank holds 23 gallons.
The 4Runner M.S.R.P. totaled $44,217, including freight, and the options were touch-screen DVD/navigation system ($1,155), cargo cross bars ($185), a protection package ($403), and running boards on the sides of the truck ($599). The Limited 4Runner was equipped with power windows/mirrors/windows/locks as well as pushbutton start and proximity ignition setup. Leather seats existed throughout the five-passenger car and the front buckets were powered, heated, and cooled. Of course the 40/20/40 back seat folds down, availing the occupants of the car almost 90 cubic feet of cargo space (47.2 cubic feet with the second row seating erect). The rear tailgate needs handling by human hands, but the rear glass opens by electric motor. Hence, the rear window wiper is concealed above the glass in the deflector. I liked the arrangements at the rear of the 4Runner.
The stereo in the Toyota was a 15-speaker JBL system, USB and Ipod connections were on hand, and a backup camera was installed as well as a moon roof. The only gadgets that were missing were lane departure warning, adaptive cruise control, and blind spot monitor. Ruth and I found the buckets to be supportive on our trip to Vail and the ride (coil springs at every corner) and guidance were suitable.
Horsepower of the 4Runner is rated at 270, and is supplied by a 4 liter V-6 with 278 lb.-ft. of torque. The four-wheel drive vehicle has a five speed transmission and performance in the mountains was adequate. I suspect a six speed (or more) transmission will be showing up in this model in a year or two.
Several friends told me they thought the 4Runner looked large, and as mentioned earlier the size has been increased over time. Styling involves a boxy design, and it grew on me as time went by. I also liked the way the lighting bulged from the corners, and the running boards were functional. Wheels were split six spoke alloys fitted with Bridgestone Dueler H/T P245/60R all-season radials. The Limited had ample amounts of chrome on the car.
Personally, the week with the 4Runner resulted in a pleasant surprise, and I see no reason why an SUV shopper would avoid the Toyota dealer and the 4Runners that are on their lot.