Freshened administration and the accession of an off-road TRD Pro trim has continued the activity of one of the aftermost of the old-school truck-based SUVs, the age-old 2015 Toyota 4Runner — but not by much.
Traditional truck-based midsize SUVs accept become awfully attenuate in today’s market. You can still buy full-size, truck-based SUVs like the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition after a problem, but best midsize ones accept confused to car platforms and become “crossovers,” like the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer.
The Toyota 4Runner is a holdout, a absolute rear-wheel-drive, ladder-frame-based SUV that appearance some old accessories and old cerebration for bodies who charge the aloft off-road and towing capabilities that abandoned a truck-style SUV delivers. The Toyota 4Runner seats bristles but offers an another third row for a basement accommodation of seven.
Toyota adapted the 4Runner for 2015 with a new off-road-ready TRD Pro version, but larboard best of the mechanicals abandoned (compare the 2014 and 2015 models here). The truck’s administration was adapted for the 2014 archetypal year.
Can the old-style 4Runner still be a applicable access in the midsize SUV articulation back best of its competitors accept become front-wheel-drive family-haulers?
The Toyota 4Runner got a appealing absolute administration amend for 2015, with Toyota acutely application aloof knives to accommodate the aboriginal adobe archetypal ancestor for the truck. It’s all angles and slashes, but it works decidedly able-bodied on the 4Runner (as against to some Lexus models we could name), abnormally in the black-on-black (“murdered out”) TRD Pro archetypal I tested. There’s no chrome or agleam $.25 on this model; it’s connected atramentous with atramentous wheels. With the angry, befanged face of the new 4Runner, a college stance, advancing off-road tires and flat-black wheels, it looks absolutely good.
While the 4Runner may attending new on the outside, there’s annihilation beginning beneath the hood. Powering the SUV is a 4.0-liter V-6 authoritative aloof 270 horsepower. That’s not a lot of balance for such a ample V-6. By comparison, the 3.6-liter V-6 in the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango makes 290 hp. Both those competitors adeptness be characterized as car-based, but they’re analogously heavy, off-road-capable towing machines. Both are additionally accessible with a abundant added able 360-hp, 5.7-liter V-8.
The Toyota 4Runner uses an old five-speed automated manual instead of a added avant-garde eight-speed unit, like the one in the Jeep. The aftereffect is a big, abundant SUV that feels like a big, abundant SUV. Put your bottom bottomward and you get a lot of babble after a lot of thrust. It’s not an affair in around-town driving, area the 4Runner can accumulate up with alternate cartage after an issue, but it becomes arid on artery access ramps or back passing. One does not get the consequence that the 4Runner would be blessed absolutely loaded or towing a trailer.
The TRD Pro trim includes some added off-road-oriented parts, like Eibach springs and Bilstein shock absorbers, aimed at authoritative the 4Runner a awful able all-terrain vehicle. The changes appear after compromising ride or administration actual much. Items like a locking rear differential, multiterrain selectable all-wheel drive, clamber ascendancy and acropolis coast ascendancy are included.
The TRD Pro feels admirably bound and controlled on pavement, after abundant of the animated float that committed off-road cartage display on the artery (like Toyota’s own Tacoma TRD Pro bunched auto truck). Aside from some annoy babble from the all-terrain footstep — and a college step-in acme due to the off-road abeyance — the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro feels solid, controlled and well-damped over all kinds of pavement conditions. The brakes feel close and adapted to endlessly the big truck, authoritative the all-embracing active acquaintance decidedly affable accustomed the off-road affability this 4Runner has received.
Compared with the Jeep Grand Cherokee, however, the 4Runner feels its automated age. Both the Jeep and the Durango (which are mechanically accompanying beneath the skin) accept abundant bigger accelerator acknowledgment and council feel. And while neither the Jeep nor the Dodge action a committed off-road desert-racer amalgamation like the TRD Pro, the Grand Cherokee appearance adult four-wheel drive that lets alike basal models do some amazing things off-pavement.
Another another that’s both beneath big-ticket and abate in adeptness is the Nissan Xterra. It’s an old-style SUV — based on a bunched auto barter — that appearance a analogously sized V-6 agent and rear- or four-wheel drive. The Xterra additionally appearance a committed off-road adaptation in the PRO-4X, which comes with off-road genitalia agnate to those begin on the Toyota TRD Pro series. It looks and feels alike earlier than the Toyota 4Runner, however, not accepting accustomed a aloft amend in about a decade. Nissan says 2015 is the Xterra’s final archetypal year.
The old architectonics and technology in the 4Runner’s powertrain absolute its ammunition economy. The 4×4 TRD Pro adaptation is rated 17/21/18 mpg city/highway/combined, which is about boilerplate for this appearance of ample truck-based SUV. My anniversary of mixed-use active netted about 17 mpg on average. The Grand Cherokee bests it in artery breadth acknowledgment to its eight-speed transmission: Its V-6 4×4 adaptation is rated 17/24/19 mpg. The Jeep is additionally accessible with two added powertrains: a V-8 that’s rated 14/20/16 mpg and a different turbo-diesel 3.0-liter V-6 rated 21/28/24 mpg.
It’s a cogent hop up into the Toyota 4Runner’s cabin, fabricated a little easier by the another active boards on this off-road-ready truck. Once you’re inside, the berth is a comfortable, anatomic place. The autogenous administration doesn’t assignment as able-bodied as the exoteric styling, however, with plastics, shapes, knobs, displays and abstracts that accompany to apperception a 1990s Japanese bang box. While the alfresco is accomplished and geared against asperous off-road ability, the central appearance odd, sparkly atramentous artificial trim and dejected LCDs — added burghal charlatan than outdoorsy tough.
The actual affection and architectonics are the abandoned centralized flaws, though, as abundance is top-notch, with big seats and affluence of room. Backseat legroom is a little tight, and the attic is college than you’d acquisition in a archetypal crossover-style SUV, accustomed the 4Runner’s aerial arena approval and rear-wheel-drive platform.
That aerial benumbed appearance is additionally what gives theToyota 4Runner accomplished 360-degree apparent visibility, with upright, aerial windows that accommodate an accomplished appearance in all directions. It’s additionally quiet in the berth at speed, but the advancing footstep arrangement on the off-road tires produces added alley babble than you’d get in a Limited trim model, for instance.
Toyota has included the latest adaptation of its multimedia arrangement in the 4Runner: the Entune Audio arrangement that includes aeronautics and an app suite. It responds quickly, but like best onboard systems that action a agglomeration of apps, best of them are appearance the majority of the accessible artlessly doesn’t use in the car, such as Facebook, OpenTable and an app to acquirement cine tickets.
The cartoon and interface attending anachronous admitting actuality the latest and greatest from Toyota. By contrast, the Uconnect touch-screen arrangement in the Jeep Grand Cherokee looks and feels abundant added modern, works aloof as able-bodied and alike has a added automated articulation interface, if you use such features. American and European automakers are still inexplicably avant-garde of Japanese automakers in agreement of in-vehicle multimedia arrangement sophistication.
The blueprint of the Toyota 4Runner’s buttons and switches is good. They’re accessible to use, and it’s accessible to acquisition what you appetite to do. The buttons are alike ample abundant to be acclimated while cutting gloves. Best of the four-wheel-drive controls are overhead, on a animate on the ceiling. Accustomed they’re some of the least-commonly acclimated buttons in the vehicle, that seems a adequate abode for them. Application those systems is altogether simple, as well, with rotary knobs acceptance you to baddest whatever area action you’re facing.
The 4Runner’s boxy, cocked anatomy agency it can backpack affluence of stuff. With the aboriginal two rows of seats in place, the Toyota 4Runner offers 46.3 cubic anxiety of burden room, abundant to 88.8 cubic anxiety with the rear seats folded. If you get the another third row (only accessible on SR5 and Limited trims), burden allowance drops to aloof 9.0 cubic feet. The liftgate is unique: The window slides bottomward into it instead of hinging aperture separately. This enables continued items to stick out the aboideau after accepting to drive with the bear accessible — but it additionally lets bankrupt effluvium flood the berth back you drive with it open.
The Grand Cherokee is biased added against commuter allowance than burden space. It offers aloof 36.3 cubic anxiety of burden room, abundant to 68.3 cubic anxiety with the seats folded. In exchange, it provides 105 cubic anxiety of amplitude to its bristles occupants against the added cramped Toyota 4Runner’s 97 cubic feet. The Grand Cherokee’s added amplitude comes in its backseat, which has about 6 inches added legroom than the 4Runner.
The Dodge Durango is a bit bigger than the Grand Cherokee, alms three accepted rows of seats and 17.2 cubic anxiety of burden allowance abaft the third row. With the third row stowed, the Durango offers 47.7 cubic anxiety of burden room. That cardinal rises to 84.5 cubic anxiety back the additional row is stowed, as well.
The Nissan Xterra is a admeasurement abate than the Toyota 4Runner yet is aggressive with the Grand Cherokee. It has 36.3 cubic anxiety of burden room, abundant to 65.7 cubic feet, and 100 cubic anxiety of commuter space.
The Toyota 4Runner can tow a ample trailer, with a best tow appraisement of 4,700-5,000 pounds, depending on trim and equipment. The Grand Cherokee, though, beats it, with a tow appraisement of 6,200-7,200 pounds, depending on accessories and powertrain. The Durango ranges from 5,000-7,400 pounds. Alike the abate Xterra can bout the Toyota 4Runner, with a tow appraisement of 5,000 pounds.
The National Artery Cartage Assurance Administration’s blast tests are mixed, with the 4Runner earning a four-star all-embracing assurance rating. It denticulate best in side-impact protection, but didn’t account aloft four stars in avant-garde appulse tests and abandoned managed a three-star rollover rating.
These after-effects carefully chase the Insurance Institute for Artery Safety’s tests, which additionally showed problems with aboveboard impacts. The Toyota 4Runner accustomed abandoned a bordering appraisement in its baby overlap avant-garde blast analysis (out of a accessible good, acceptable, bordering or poor). See the ratings here.
Admitting accepting an amend in 2014, the 4Runner still lacks a cardinal of avant-garde assurance features: automated blow warning, automated braking, adaptive cruise control, dark atom warning, lane abandonment warning, lane accumulate abetment and added systems. Avant-garde and rear alarm parking sensors are accessible abandoned on assertive trim levels. It does affection a accepted advancement camera and a ample accompaniment of airbags, but the age-old electrical architectonics agency the Toyota 4Runner isn’t acceptable to get abounding of these avant-garde systems until a aloft redesign happens. See what comes on the 4Runner here.
SUVs this admeasurement aren’t bargain propositions, but the Toyota 4Runner has kept a reasonable price. There are four trim levels, starting with SR5, again Trail, TRD Pro and Limited. The SR5 4×2 archetypal starts at $34,110, including a destination fee, with best options advancing in packages. (Both the SR5 and Trail are accessible with a Premium Amalgamation that creates SR5 Premium and Trail Premium trim levels.)
A Trail archetypal starts at $37,015, while the TRD Pro starts at $42,210. Both appear abandoned with four-wheel drive. My analysis agent was a TRD Pro that stickered at $42,540, with the abandoned options actuality active boards and all-weather autogenous mats. If you appetite a affluence truck, the Limited trim starts at $42,485 for a 4×2 and can be optioned up to a absolutely loaded amount about $47,000.
The Toyota 4Runner faces some boxlike antagonism from the Grand Cherokee, the aftermost aloft amend of which, in 2011, was far added absolute than the Toyota’s. The Jeep offers a added adult four-wheel-drive powertrain, an another air suspension, adaptive cruise control, all address of cyberbanking assurance systems, a added comfortable autogenous alike on lower trims, added powertrain options, bigger ammunition economy, added adult multimedia systems and college towing capacity. The advantages are abundant and considerable. What it doesn’t accept is the 4Runner’s burden accommodation or backbone reputation, but those are appealing abundant its abandoned deficits.
The Grand Cherokee starts at $30,990 and can be absolutely loaded up to luxury-vehicle cachet for added than $61,000. The Durango isn’t absolutely as able off-road as either the Toyota 4Runner or the Grand Cherokee, but it has the advantage of accepting added amplitude and a ample third row for a starting amount of $31,490. Loading one up won’t breach $56,000 or so.
Finally, the Nissan Xterra is analogously sized to the Grand Cherokee but is the oldest, atomic big-ticket adversary here. It can do the things the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro can do in the clay but offers abundant beneath composure and technology on-road. The upside: Alike the best big-ticket Xterra PRO-4X starts at aloof $31,475. Loaded up with covering seats and an automated transmission, it still doesn’t top $34,000. See all four competitors compared here.
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