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"New Car Review: 2018 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD" By John Heilig

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

By John Heilig
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel

REVIEWED MODEL: 2018 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD

ENGINE: 4.0-liter V6

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic

HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 270 hp @ 5,600 rpm/278 lb.-ft. @ 4,400 rpm

WHEELBASE: 109.8 in.

LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 191.3 x 75.8 x 71.5 in.

TIRES: P265/70R17

CARGO CAPACITY: 47.2/89.7 cu. ft. (rear seats up/down)

ECONOMY: 17 mpg city/20 mpg highway/17.4 mpg test

FUEL TANK: 23.0 gal.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,750 lbs. #/HP: 17.3


COMPETITIVE CLASS: Nissan Pathfinder, Ford Explorer, Mazda CX-9

STICKER: $40,235 (includes $960 delivery, $1,940 options)

BOTTOM LINE: The truck-based 4Runner is in its 34th year, and is starting to show its age with a rough ride and less refinement than similar-sized crossovers.

Toyota’s 4Runner standard SUV is 34 years old, and I remember the event where the vehicle was first introduced. the RAV4 was the vehicle of choice to drive to the event in Maryland. When we got there, snow messed up all the plans, even though we were in 4-wheel-drive vehicles, and the event was eventually aborted (but not before lunch), and we drove home.

Today’s 4Runner is a far more capable vehicle than that of 1984, but it’s still rough around the edges. While the body-on-frame 4Runner competes with other standard SUVs, it is also of a size that competes with crossovers, like the RAV4, and the better ride quality of the CUVs make them more appealing.

For example, the 4Runner has a front suspension that consists of an independent double wishbone construction with coil springs and a stabilizer bar. The rear suspension is a four-link rigid type with coil springs and a stabilizer bar. Ride quality betrays the 4Runner’s truck-based heritage, and the 37.4-foot turning circle diameter proves it. Ground clearance is a healthy 9.6 inches.

However, even though I am harping on the rough ride, we have one section of road in our area that was “roughed up” for a repaving and left that way. The 4Runner is the only vehicle to smooth out that surface.

The 4runner is equipped with Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), a $1,750 option that allows extended wheel travel at low speeds for greater off-road capability and control. Soon after the 4Runner arrived in my driveway we were blessed with more than a foot of snow. I shifted the 4Runner into low-low and navigated the mess the town plows left in my driveway. The 4WD shifter takes a strong arm to maneuver it and is otherwise easy to use, once you figure out where it was last.

There’s enough power under the hood with a 4.0-liter V6 pumping out 270 horsepower. Acceleration is good, with the associated noise, but it isn’t too bad. Overall engine noise isn’t too bad. That healthy engine allows for 5,000 pounds towing, with a maximum 500-pound tongue weight. An integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness are standard.

The tall entry is aided by assist handles on the passenger A pillar and handles over all four doors. The running board (a $345 option) helps.

Front seats are comfortable and rear leg room is good with a flat rear floor that will go well with center passengers back there. The 4Runner could use a power liftgate, but when it’s opened it reveals 47.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats up and 89.7 cubic feet with them folded flat. To create the flat floor you pull the seat cushion into the foot well, remove the rear headrests and then fold the seat backs.

There is a small infotainment screen with the usual options, including Toyota’s Entune Audio Plus system with a connected navigation app (a $345 option) that includes a 6.1-inch screen, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, eight speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, and much much more.

We were generally pleased with the 4Runner, although my wife didn’t particularly like the tall entry height. It isn’t perfect, but it has a lot of capability, as long as you aren’t looking for a Lexus-style ride.

(c) 2018 The Auto Page Syndicate

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