In an age of downsizing, lightening, and increasing political correctness, Toyota is introducing a redesigned 4Runner whose only concession to the changing times is the deletion of a V-8 engine from the options list. To soothe that hurt, the 4.0-liter V-6’s output swells beyond that of the old V-8—270 hp, compared to 260. Off-road aficionados will rejoice that the 4Runner will remain dedicated chiefly to the trail, and will still be built on the platform the current model shares with the FJ Cruiser.

Although the platform is not new, everything else about the 2010 4Runner is. The new sheetmetal is a welcome change—the outgoing 4Runner’s look dated to 2003—and continues Toyota’s recent streak of daring designs. The big, inward-slanted headlights lend a furrowed look to the 4Runner’s mug, while the slab sides and beefy, squared fender flares give it a tough, masculine look. An upright greenhouse and a broad, flat hood promise to satisfy those who want their trucks to feel big from behind the wheel, and the slimmer, forward-canted C-pillar pays homage to the Land Cruiser.

The furnishings inside have been completely overhauled as well, with richer materials and a modernized design finally abolishing the dated cockpit of the previous model. A third row of seats remains an option, and the second row gains the ability to recline.

Still Ready to Pre-Run Baja

Leaving the on-road polish to the Highlander, the 4Runner will teem with off-road equipment, from a locking center differential and two-speed, lever-operated transfer case to anti-roll bars that disconnect for increased suspension articulation and the Land Cruiser’s “crawl control” low-speed cruise control.

Available powertrains will be the aforementioned V-6 or a 2.7-liter four-cylinder producing 157 hp and paired with a four-speed automatic. The V-6 will hook to a five-speed auto and will be the only engine powering all-wheel-drive models.

Three trim levels will be available: Trail, SR5, and Limited. Although all three offer the same 9.6 inches of ground clearance in four-wheel-drive spec, the Trail sports tweaked bodywork front and rear to maximize approach and departure angles—33 and 26 degrees, respectively, versus 25 and 24 for SR5 and Limited models. Trail models will come standard with crawl control, Multi-Terrain Select—which toggles stability- and traction-control settings to maximize traction on different surfaces—and part-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and electronic locking rear differential. A locking center differential will only be available on Limited models.

Kitschy, Kitschy Koo

Toyota is borrowing a few ideas from Chrysler’s catalog of chintzy add-ons, with features like a sliding cargo deck to ease loading of heavy items and a “party mode” for the stereo that pumps up the bass and transfers the sound to the rear at the touch of a button. We’ll take one tailgating at a football game when it launches later this fall and report back on its effectiveness.

With the smaller engine, pricing will begin below the 2009 model. The two-wheel-drive, four-cylinder model will begin at $28,300 including destination, and the Limited will sticker at $40,600.

View Photos

View Photos

About The Author

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.