Monday, November 3, 2014


The awesome look of the 2014 4Runner isn't just an image conjured up for marketing purposes. It's the reverse: a long time ago, the 4Runner was divorced from truck-based hardware and given a wagon body, with few concessions made to style. That's held true for decades now, and while we might like a ground-up fresh start every generation or so, the 4Runner at least remains honest to its mission. The beltline is high, the proportions are chunky, and the downward slope of the rear pillars are a direct callback to the ur-4Runner. 

A backup camera is now standard at all levels, as is trailer-sway control, and there are four new colors (two offered across the lineup, two others model specific). A new gauge cluster, steering wheel, a redesigned center-stack layout and seating materials are the only changes to the interior. 

The 4Runner's gauge layout is reconfigured with a more conventional two-dial (speedometer and tachometer) look with a new 2.2-inch information screen between the gauges. The air-conditioning controls have larger controls, and the radio screen is bigger to accommodate the new Entune system. 

A 4.0-liter V-6 engine, makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, and feels plenty quick either off the line or at highway speeds. Fuel economy is estimated at 17/23 mpg for rear-drive models, and 17/22 mpg for four-wheel-drive versions. V-6 SR5 models are offered either with rear-wheel drive or a part-time four-wheel-drive system, while Trail models are only offered with that 4WD system, with overhead controls. 

Limited models get a separate full-time four-wheel-drive system that's more road-oriented. The Limited gets standard 20-inch wheels and tires, while other models come fitted with 17-inchers.

On the road, it’s clear that Toyota worked hard to take some harshness out of the 4Runner. In a straight line, it’s comfortable, soaking up imperfections without any of the chassis chatter you’d expect from a body-on-frame rig. But that ride compliance means there’s plenty of nose dive any time you get frisky with the brakes, and left-right maneuvers introduce abundant body roll. 

Throw in an intrusively loud cabin at highway speeds and the 4Runner hardly feels worthy of its MSRP. Toyota hasn’t released 2014 pricing yet, but expect to see the 2014 model stick close to the 2013 edition’s $31,590 base price. Throw in four-wheel drive and Limited trim, and you’re looking at a sticker that should sail past the $42,000 mark.

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