Friday, April 22, 2011
Smooth Stylishness in an SUV: Toyota 4Runner
Versatility, one of the key characteristics that made SUVs so popular, is found in abundance in the 2011 Toyota 4Runner. This SUV has long been one of the best on the market, and its latest version is no departure.
It is comfortable, durable, powerful and nice looking.
The 4Runner was redesigned in 2010, and we can honestly say that with this vehicle, each new design seems to be a little more appealing than the last. That's certainly not the case with all vehicles.
The 4Runner's style is bolstered by its 17- or 20-inch cast-aluminum wheels, skid plates, heated outside mirrors with turn indicators, fog lights, black fender flares and sunroof.
Toyota has dropped its experiment of equipping some 4Runners with four-cylinder engines. Now the only power plant is a 270-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 with 278 pounds-feet of torque. The engine is linked to a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission with intelligence (ECT-i) and sequential shift mode.
The 4Runner shares its platform with Toyota's FJ Cruiser off-road vehicle. Its trim levels remain Limited, SR5 and Trail. You can select rear-wheel or four-wheel drive with the Limited and SR5, and the Trail has part-time dual-range 4WD. The Trail also has the Crawl Control feature that helps maintain control when ascending or descending hills. On the Limited, there is an X-REAS adaptive suspension damper feature designed to smooth out the ride.
Toyota says the 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 pounds.
Fuel economy is adequate for an SUV this size, at 17 mpg in the city and 22-23 mpg on the highway.
Interior creature comforts are numerous and include XM Radio, Bluetooth connectivity, USB port, JBL six-disc CD changer with 15 speakers and subwoofer, voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system with integrated backup camera, water-resistant fabric- or leather-trimmed and heated eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, and a refreshed tachometer featuring an ECO driving indicator and average fuel consumption gauge.
The 4Runner offers an optional third-row seat, allowing you to haul seven passengers. For more cargo space, take advantage of the fold-flat second-row rear seats and an available pullout cargo deck that can support up to 440 pounds.
Toyota says its Star Safety System, found on the 4Runner, consists of vehicle stability control with traction control and an antilock brake system with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. There is also hill start assist control and front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags for the second and third row.
The 4Runner ranges in price from around $30,000 to about $40,000.
The 4Runner remains an outstanding SUV, thanks to its size, styling, smooth ride and versatility.