Test Drive Notes Library
- This thing is a beast. It really goes anywhere, and crawls over any surface. If you need an enclosed vehicle that handles steep, barely passable roads, the 4Runner will do it. And they’ve updated the interior enough that you’re not driving a stone age horse-cart the rest of the time.
- Part of the week long road test happened to include carrying a full load of cargo and people down a very steep, narrow, potholed dirt road down the side of a canyon to a river bank. Other vehicles couldn’t make it, but the 4Runner didn’t break a sweat. It even backed up the hill without skidding at all.
- Using the electronics that already work the stability control and ABS systems, Toyota has added several, electronically controlled off-road modes that make this thing even more unstoppable. We never had to use them, because even in basic, 4WD-high, the 4Runner never faltered.
- Toyota durability and reliability.
- Reminds us of what the Toyota Land Cruiser used to be, before Toyota upscaled it and starting charging $80,000 bucks for it. The 4Runner Trail Premium is more of a basic, capable, non-luxurious, go-anywhere truck. Although the definition of basic is now $41K, and includes things like a touch screen, Bluetooth, and a few modern safety features.
- Good amount of room in the cargo area, especially with the back seats folded down. Sliding platform helps with loading things.
- We got a little more than 18 MPG combined. For a real truck, that isn’t awful. The much more comfortable (but less off-road competent) Highlander only gets 20 combined.
- This thing looks capable. It looks like it could go absolutely anywhere.Think Tonka. Brings out the eight-year-old boy in most grown men. Looks even better when it’s dirty.
Test Drive Notes Library
- As great as it is off road, it’s highly compromised on road. The ride, handling, and braking are distinctly truck-like. They reflect the 4Runner’s original pickup-truck roots. We wouldn’t recommend the 4Runner as an everyday vehicle unless you really need its capabilities. For people who travel 99 percent on road, you can do better.
- Plus, unless you’re actually using this thing to do what it’s designed to do, you’ll probably come off looking like a poseur. I mean, who needs a quasi-monster truck to go to Starbucks for a decaf latte with 1 percent milk?
- Women are either intimidated or uninterested in it. So if you’re looking for a vehicle to help you attract women, this is not it. If you’re looking to attract men, however, this is your ride.
- It’s tall. Not a single person entered this vehicle without emitting a grunt while heaving him or herself up onto the seat.
- Rear cargo floor is high off the ground, too, which makes loading heavy objects difficult.
- The large, off-roady tires are noisy and contribute to loose handling on the highway.
- The engine, while it has plenty of grunt off road, wheezes a bit in normal highway driving. It’s an old-style, big, four-liter V6. In these days of much smaller, twin turbo V6s and powerful turbo 4s, this engine feels like it’s ready for an update.
- Touch screen is small, and it’s not always easy to make selections while driving.
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