By on February 5, 2016

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro front

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

4.0-liter DOHC V6, port injection (270 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm; 278 lbs-ft @ 4,400 rpm)

Five-speed automatic

17 city/21 highway/18 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

17.7 (Observed, MPG)

Base Price (SR5): $34,615*

As Tested: $43,160*

* Prices include $960 destination charge.

Since the introduction of its fifth generation, the Toyota 4Runner has been sold in three flavors: the base SR5, the loaded Limited, and the off-road focused Trail. But Toyota has a history of making small batches of special edition models and, for 2015, the carmaker showed off the Trail-based TRD Pro.

The TRD Pro featured unique suspension with remote reservoir Bilstein shocks and taller springs, black TRD wheels wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler A/T tires, unique skid-plates, grille, badges, interior trim, and one special red color.

For 2016, the TRD Pro is back, and this time it’s in everyone’s favorite color: Brown Quicksand!

In recent months, I’ve read numerous reviews of Toyota’s body-on-frame sport utility vehicles and I couldn’t help but notice the similar themes. Reviewers (as they call themselves) say the SUV drives poorly, it’s old school, too thirsty, doesn’t tow enough and is generally underpowered. Those are the same people who complain that modern CUVs are just tall wagons with no real off-road abilities.

Ugh.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro rear snow

The 4Runner can be thought of a modern interpretation of an industrial Land Cruiser before it went all glam-glam. It’s a body-on-frame vehicle with a live rear axle designed with simplicity and off-road ability in mind. It does not handle like a sport sedan. It won’t win any drag races. It won’t tow a house due to its soft suspension, which is required for proper axle articulation when the road stops being a road. Those compromises go over the heads of those who attempt to understand what the 4Runner is by looking at a spec sheet versus its car-on-stilts competitors.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro interior details

The simplicity is evident everywhere in the 4Runner, from its squared-off, two-box body and proven powertrain, to its soft suspension setup and its dashboard adorned with big knobs and buttons. The engine is designed to run on third-world gas with wet spark plugs and infrequent oil changes for many hundreds of thousands of miles. It’s a vehicle that can be driven to Chile and back without a hiccup, where so called state-of-the-art engines would be firing its engine lights more than its cylinders by the time it got you across the Panama Canal. And, good or evil, Toyota trucks own the Middle East. If that isn’t the biggest testament for their durability, I don’t know what is.

Those who are looking for more power, improved ride, handling, and increased towing capacity should look at the Lexus GX 460 or the Toyota Sequoia. Both are body-on-frame SUVs with V-8 engines and third-row seating. The GX and the 4Runner are very similar, but the GX has all the typical Lexus luxury features and an air suspension setup that allows for a 6,500 pound towing capacity. The Sequoia is just a bigger vehicle overall, designed more for on-road use, with a towing capacity of 7,400 pounds.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro details

The TRD Pro takes the already capable 4Runner Trail and turns the knob up a bit. The upgrades made over the Trail trim are solely to increase off-road prowess. It sits more than an inch higher than other 4Runners, which allows for more wheel articulation, and its great looking black TRD 17×7 wheels give it a wider stance, despite being half an inch narrower. Part-time 4WD system (the same as on the Trail model) is fortified by an electronic-locking rear differential, Crawl Control, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system that adjusts wheel slip via the stability control system.

Yet, the biggest change is the simplest of all: the TRD Pro ditches the 4Runner’s typical highway tires in favor of Nitto Terra Grappler G2 all-terrain rubber. Automakers don’t typically fit off-road tires on vehicles from the factory as they are pricier and tend to be significantly louder than on-road units, potentially discouraging buyers during their five-minute dealer test drives. However, they made a world of difference when I got caught in a snowstorm; they gripped like winters, a vast improvement compared to the provided highway tires. When in 4WD High, the TRD Pro had no issues on New Hampshire’s unplowed, hilly roads. Yet, I couldn’t help but think the 4Runner’s braking performance would be improved with BFGoodrich A/Ts in place of the Nittos.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro front snow

Foul-weather traction aside, the TRD Pro’s on-road matters are pretty much identical to any other 4Runner, stock or slightly modified. It rolls over road irregularities with authority and exhibits body dive during braking, which takes some getting used to. The biggest — if not the only — difference I noticed was in traversing a very uneven dirt road; where my own SR5 kind of bounced up, the TRD Pro absorbed it with aplomb. However, it would take a challenging off-road course to notice the extra capabilities offered up by the TRD Pro’s extra suspension travel and improved approach and departure angles.

The TRD Pro is available with very few factory options. The seats are covered in something called SofTex, which looks like leather but isn’t, that’s supposedly more durable and easier to clean. The dash features Toyota’s Entune infotainment with a rather low-resolution navigation screen and a multitude of audio input sources. Notably absent for 2016 is a sunroof, which is both good and bad. It’s good because tall drivers gain some much needed headroom, which also helps with visibility, but it’s bad because motoring in the summer months with the sunroof open and the tailgate window down provides an airy, quiet breeze unique to the 4Runner.

sr5 trd pro rear seat

Many modern SUV buyers are asking for three-row seating. That’s available on the SR5 and Limited 4Runners, but not on the Trail and the TRD Pro. That lack of seating, however, increases cargo capacity aft of the second row. Even more space is just a folded seat away as the 40/20/40 split-folding second row drops flush with the floor, but those seats don’t slide or recline. Other drawbacks: weak headlights and a car-like seating position with driver’s legs straight out thanks to the 4Runner’s full frame eating into legroom.

Being an enthusiast of expedition-style off-roading, as opposed to rock-crawling or muddin’, I found the TRD Pro to be a perfect package. At the same time, it left me wondering: Why didn’t Toyota simply replace the Trail model with the TRD Pro? The Trail is suppose to be the off-roader of the group.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro rear

The 2016 4Runner TRD Pro starts at $43,160. For sake of comparison, a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon varies between $37,000 and $46,000, depending on options. A comparably equipped Jeep Grand Cherokee varies between $39,000 and $45,000.

For those who desire one of the most capable off-road vehicles on the U.S. market, and like the idea of a factory stock vehicle with a warranty, the TRD Pro is easily one of the best and worth putting on your shopping list.

Kamil Kaluski is the East Coast Editor for Hooniverse.com. His ramblings on Eastern European cars, $500 racers, and other miscellaneous automotive stuff can be found there. The gray 4Runner in pictures is his. It is modified with a slight suspension lift, which is why the two 4Runners appears to be the same height despite the TRD Pro being higher from the factory, wheel spacers, which is why the wheels look wider, and rock sliders/steps.

Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. provided the vehicle for the purpose of this review.

2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro side snow

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227 Comments on “2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Review – Take Two!...”


  • avatar
    Cactuar

    What is the hood scoop for?

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Good god that is fugly color.

    Needs some “TEXAS EDITION” badges stat!

  • avatar
    JimZ

    “The TRD Pro is available with very few factory options.”

    is there an option for “not look like it has a severe cleft lip?”

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      It appears the only way to fix that is facial surgery after delivery.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        I saw a picture of the 4Runner nose clip on a Tacoma so it should work the other way around.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          Tacoma and 4Runner cannot share front clip parts. The two vehicles looked similar for a long time, but they’ve pretty much deviated since the beginning of the Tacoma in 1996.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            I can confirm that Tacoma front clip swaps at something people do on 96-02 4runners.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            I didn’t know the gen 1 Taco and gen 3 4Runner were that close. I know gen 2 taco and gen 4 4Runner onward cannot swap.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Yep the 4th gen 4runners switched to a Prado 120 frame that deviated significantly from the US Tacoma, 3rd gen 4runners share a frame with Prado 90s, and the front part of the frame on a gen 1 Tacoma is just about the same as those two.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      JimZ,
      Buy a bull bar and some driving lights like all off roaders need. A bar really changes the character of the vehicle while offering real body protection and a high lift jacking point.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        @BigAl – I don’t know of any “bull bars” that are actually rated to withstand the stress of being used as a jack point. They probably exist and in reality it is very dangerous to use a “hilift” to gain clearance for extrication.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Lou_BC,
          Lou, do you know how a bull bar is fitted to a vehicle?

          It become apart of the chassis, if you jack from a chassis, (unless it’s a FCA product by the sounds of it) you can jack from a bar.

          We even jack off of rear steps as they are fitted to the chassis as well or even the rims.

          I think you should learn about off roading. Here’s a cut and paste;

          “With four easily accessible Hi-Lift jack points, the Summit rear bar is ready for the most demanding off road use.”

          …………………………………………..

          Here you go, I’ll even help you with a link;

          Summit Rear Step Tow Bar

          The all new Summit Rear Step Tow Bar combines class leading design, proven ARB engineering and a no compromise approach to protection and performance. Built around a tubular steel subframe that is finished in a textured black powder coat, the Summit rear bar includes an integrated tow hitch, provisions for an ARB air compressor and trailer camera wiring, 50 amp Anderson plug and trailer plug wiring.

          With four easily accessible Hi-Lift jack points, the Summit rear bar is ready for the most demanding off road use.

          http://www.arb.com.au/products/protection-equipment/rear-end-protection/

          Lou, have you ever off roaded around the back of BC like you claim????? Off roading isn’t driving down your dirt driveway, either.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Big Al, no need to have an aneurism. In the US/Canada, bullbars are generally flashy but useless pieces of junk that bolt on to the frame but have no actual structural integrity to hold up the vehicle. Heck they make them for all sorts of CUVs. Over here, an aftermarket steel/aluminum bumper that is welded/bolted to the frame is called just that, a bumper. Like you state, these bumpers (from ARB or a bunch of other vendors) can be used with a Hi-Lift jack to raise a dug in 4wd, and are actually intended to deflect rocks and trees (to a degree).

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtemnykh,
            We use bars as protection. Most are used for reducing damage when hitting wildlife.

            Our bars tend to go up to the top of the bonnet/hood as well.

            A bull bar is not a bumper bar as you described.

            From a structural integrity perspective I do believe not all bars are the same, even here. I prefer a steel bar over an alloy bar any day.

            But, as Lou’s comment inferred it is dangerous. It is actually safer to use a high lift jack than the manufacturer supplied jack. As the manufacturer supplied jack requires placing under a vehicle. A high lift jack will not fit under a vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @BigAl – IT IS DANGEROUS!

            You get around 40 inches of extension with the vehicle wheels off the ground and things can get sketchy.

            A friend of mine was knocked out when one slipped and he lost his grip on the handle. The handle struck him in the jaw. We took him to the ER and some of the staff I knew said they seen one guy break his jaw and a few others get serious injuries.

            I was doing extraction training with a local fire department and the training Captain had a long list of “do’s and don’ts” with them.
            He preferred not to use them, WHY? Increased risk.

            He did have some cool suggestions like using long bolts to make “Pegs” or spike like pins on the base to dig into the ground to prevent slippage as well as having an assortment of “plates” to put the jack base into so they do not sink into soft ground.

            I have two Jackall jacks. One has 48 inches of lift and the other 36. The 48″ will start to bow as you approach the 40″ mark with the full weight of the vehicle.

            The problem I see with the current trend in off-road bumpers is the curved up ends and rounded edges to allow sliding over obstacles. There aren’t any secure purchase points for the jack.

            Another tidbit, if you are going to mount bumpers or ANY armor that is sturdy enough to protect and use as “jack off points” (YOUR WORDS…I’ll leave that one alone – my gift to you. LMFAO) then that will subtract quite a bit of weight from the truck’s cargo capacity. That should be considered when buying a truck.

            Didn’t you say that the Titan Warrior concept would be a great off-roader? Minus 200-300 lbs in armor weight from cargo weight and you might as well leave it at home!

            The arrogance and condescension in your posts is why you are everyone’s favorite “bored Millennial creation”.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou, like anything in life, identify the hazard then risk assess.

            When you friend injured himself he obviously screwed up.

            When jacking a metre you guys must of realised the stability of the vehicle, and or had chocks and blocks to hold the vehicle as you jacked.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            BigAl –
            “When jacking a metre you guys must of realised the stability of the vehicle, and or had chocks and blocks to hold the vehicle as you jacked.

            Where do you put those wheel chocks or wheel blocks when you are buried in mud over the tires?

            Where do you put the wheel chocks or wheel blocks when you are buried in deep snow or soft sand?

            To quote you……….

            “Off roading isn’t driving down your dirt driveway, either.”

            “I think you should learn about off roading.”

            Better luck next time!

            The arrogance and condescension in your posts is why you are everyone’s favorite “bored Millennial creation”.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Lou,
            No wonder your friend injured himself.

            I would never recommend using a high lift jack in the mud.

            You should of used one of those airbag jacks that run off of the exhaust.

            As Forrest famously quoted “Stupid is as stupid does”.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Bafo- At the time of the incident I described, exhaust airbags did not exist. The truck was in a mud hole with firm ground front and back.

            Even on flat level solid ground a hilift jack can slip.

            “The arrogance and condescension in your posts is why you are everyone’s favorite “bored Millennial creation”.”

      • 0 avatar
        JimZ

        I’d rather just buy something I don’t hate instead of spending even more money to conceal an ugly vehicle’s looks.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          JimZ,
          I bought at the time the fugliest vehicle on the market short of a Ssyangyong product a BT50.

          Similar in the fashion that this 4Runner has tried to use the corporate Toyota look, Mazda tried to use the Mazda corporate look on the BT50.

          I needed a roo/bull bar on the front with driving lights so I didn’t car as it hide the front end quite well and the pickup actually looks quite good.

          It amazing what some of those after market products can do.

          Look at a Spartan SUV without those plastic flares around the wheel wells and other chrome and plasticky bits to enhance the aesthetics.

          Most major 4×4 after market suppliers do spend a lot of effort in the design of their products.

          What amazes me is simple issues like a decent off road suspension could be had for nearly the same price as the manufacturers suspension, maybe a hundred or so dollars more. And yet most manufacturers fit sh!t off road springs and shockies. Tyres are the same.

          My pickup came with Dunlop Grand Trek crap, I would never recommend these for any vehicle other than a manicured dirt road.

          Even Ford with the FX4 package, which is supposed to be an off road package is made useless by the fron air dam/spoiler that draps and scraps when it’s in mud only as deep as the side wall.

          The FX4 is more of an appearance package with a few good bits.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I still can’t get past the sad catfish face on these. They used to be nice looking trucks.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      Heh.. great minds think alike *and* simultaneously!

      I guess it’s that Asian carp worship infecting overseas design houses.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The Asian are threatening Walleye and Perch. I can’t stand for this.

        • 0 avatar
          RideHeight

          *Mmmm… perch*

          Damn invasive species!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            My favorite meal I’ve had at a restaurant is Great Lakes pan fried perch on top of garlic smashed potatoes and a hash brown wreath topped with a warm lemon/caper/thyme/butter sauce. I NEED IT NOW!

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            OMG… that sauce! FEED ME!

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            They come to the table with a warm carafe of it and pour it over the perch. Excellent presentation.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Hells Bells.. it’s Friday!

            Now my wife and I have to go for perch tonight. There’s a place just a few miles away and I’m going to demand a lemon sauce.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            I’m sure there are plenty of decent fish places in Wisconsin.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            No, dey don’t like fish much dere. Maybe way down Sout’ in like Meeadison could be.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            The first time I visited Wisconsin, I saw “cheese curds” on a menu. Having spent entirely too much time in the effete east, curds conjured imagery of pencil necked men in skinny jeans and thick rimmed glasses praising the sustainability of organic cottage cheese. Avoid at all costs!

            I didn’t learn until the last day of my visit that, Wisconsin being fat for a reason, what they were actually selling was delicious deep fried cheese.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Akio gonna fish-lip all his models.

  • avatar
    EX35

    We are considering purchasing a Limited model w/ the third row because we now need a larger SUV. There’s a lot to love about the T4R, but I’m not sure I can convince the wife that it is appropriate as a family cruiser versus CUVs (which I hate). Any T4R owners out there that use it primarily as family transportation (with only occasional offroad use) ?

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      A really good friend of mine just purchased a 2015 to replace his well used/worn out Nissan Frontier CC.
      His biggest lament was the unavailability of MT. Otherwise, he loves his 4Runner.

      It is really hard to go wrong with one of these, re-sale is off the chart. One of the few rigs available that buying new makes more sense than used. The last forever and for the most part are simple to fix.

      The only downside I can see for the 4Runner is the gas consumption. You would think Toyota could have addressed this issue. Pretty sad that a Suburban with far more HP and Torque can deliver real world MPG well above the 4Runner.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Very poor MPG, I agree. Especially considering it’s a 6.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Wrangler is no different.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          In my rental experience, a SR5 4Runner got 20 mpg over the exact same route that a Explorer Limited with the NA 3.5 got….21mpg. I’d definitely be wiling to make that sort of “sacrifice” to drive an immensely more capable vehicle. Across the board, most of the larger midsize SUVs aside from the CVT Pathfinder and newest Pilot seem to live in that 22ish mpg highway range, not much better than a lot of the BOF suvs they replaced

          • 0 avatar
            TonyJZX

            That’s about the same as the Toyota FJ40. The 2 to 3.0 liter turbodiesels needs to get out there.

            They do 28mpg plus combined.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        When will they fit the Atkinson’y Taco engine? Or is that one simply unable to deal with 25 octane gas, soaked spark plugs and the occasional air strike?

        The companion Prado sells well on genuine utility/necessity, and at what looks like a substantially bigger markup, in many less developed countries, so I’m not sure how far Toyota is willing to bend to satisfy purely US concerns.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        “can deliver real world MPG well above the 4Runner”

        Nope. I don’t care how low GM makes those lip spoilers, a 6000lb Suburban will not get better real world mileage than a 4Runner. Maybe in steady state flat highway cruising, but no more.

        The 4.0L in the 4Runner hits the sweet spot (IMO) of a simple design without direct injection or cylinder deactivation, has good drivability, and returns reasonable mpg (20 real world highway mpg, 17-18 harder mixed use).

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Per EPA: Up to 16 city, 23 highway for the Suburban.

          Up to 17 city, 22 highway for the 4Runner.

          Which makes sense, because the ground clearance kills mileage at cruise, but lower weight makes for better city.

          (75hp and about a hundred pound feet of torque ain’t nothin’… but neither is the extra 1,000 pounds the Suburban carries.)

          (Fuelly numbers do not suggest the Suburban typically gets higher “real world” mileage than the EPA numbers.)

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            There aren’t many Suburbans on Fuelly in general, but their bell curve is centered around 15mpg on the 2013 models (they had a meager sample size of 7… so take that for what it is worth). The 2013 4Runner bell curve is centered around 18mpg. On flat slogs across the midwest with no traffic, the Suburban probably can pull better numbers. But, as Sigivald says, when you deviate from those ideal conditions, all those air dams and long gears aren’t going to save the Suburban from the add’l 1000lbs.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Sure, my mom had a 2005ish with the glorious V8, from back when normal people were allowed to have V8s. It was a good back seat and seemingly a cubic acre of cargo space and only the brakes needed something more than standard TLC.

      Having said that, the unibody vehicles have come a long way in the last decade. The Pilot that replaced the 4R is a substantially better everyday vehicle in comfort, noise, economy, maneuverability, towing (a pop up, that is) passenger space… Not to say I don’t miss the old tank and still want one for myself, but you accept when you get one that you’re making compromises for capability you’ll utilize a week past next never.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      Mine is primarily the family car. Let me tell you a tale. In 2014, we had a Prius v and a 2010 4Runner. I was dying to get an FR-S, so we swapped the v for an FR-S and the 4Runner for a Rav4 Limited. The Rav4 was a great CUV for our family. It had all the bells and whistles (smart key, proximity locks, power liftgate, memory seats, navigation, blind spot warning, lane departure warning, auto dimming high beams) and returned a solid 27mpg in mixed driving. I never loved it like the 4Runner I traded in, though. When the Rav was totaled by an unlicensed, uninsured Ohio driver that crossed center, I had to replace it. With my wife planning on getting a MINI Clubman in the next year or so, I had more latitude with the replacement. The first car I test drove was a 4Runner Trail Edition with KDSS and that is ultimately what I took home. The handling is really improved by the KDSS, the mid-cycle refresh did the interior wonders. Gas mileage is 19-20 with around 75% hwy/interstate. The cargo area is enormous if you can pass on the 3rd row seating. It was a beast in the heavy snowfall that we had 2 weeks ago. One nice, unexpected thing was that my front facing 3 year old daughter can actually see out of the side windows. As Sam said above, you will make compromises versus a midsize CUV like the Highlander that gives you a lot more on the spec sheet than the 4Runner. The 4Runner trades off a little family friendliness for the offroad capability.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Spot on assessment of the RAV4. We took one on a trip, in Limited trim, and it did everything it was supposed to do very well. Two bulky car seats and a lot of cargo? Swallowed with ease. Decent comfort, highway manners, and economy? Yup. Sandy & steep wash crossing necessitating good approach & departure angles and some ground clearance? No problem whatsoever. But I just couldn’t develop much affection for it.

        Now, the unapologetic truckishness of the 4Runner would be a different story. I think I’d quite like it. Glad you like yours.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The Rav4 is a very rational left side of the brain sort of car. It’s only real failing is a way-too-stiff ride and some horrid interior material choices. But in day to day use it is almost perfect for the average consumer. The 4Runner swills more gas and is more expensive to buy, but gosh they are great to drive and to own. It really sounds like cliché BS, but the feeling of freedom and ability to just go tearing down some old Jeep trail without a care in the world is as good as it gets for me. I love visiting my folks up in rural NY and going bopping down rutted logging roads, there’s no worry or need to pick a careful line, I just bounce along, into mud puddles and over small logs. A Rav4 could technically make it, but with much more careful driving and a totally different driving experience for the driver, full of “oh crap what did I just scrape.”

    • 0 avatar
      BlanketSlayer

      I have a 2014 Limited with the 3rd row. The 2nd row slides which is the only way the 3rd row is functional. I have 3 kids and it does work for us, but there are compromises when it comes to space in comparison to a crossover or the massive volume of a minivan. I primarily drive my CTS-V and the wife drives the 4Runner, but I’ve also had a 2007 V8 4Runner Limited and 4Runner’s are probably one of the only vehicles I’m an unabashed fanboy of.

      For family duty, the Limited works. However, like Quentin mentioned in other comments, if I was the primary driver, it would be the Trail with the KDSS all day. I really don’t like the 20inch rims and tires on the Limited and prefer the looks of the Trail and TRD Pro. But the full time 4WD takes any work out of getting traction in all conditions. For as much as it cost, it would have been nice to have a rear DVD system (and that wonderful 4.7L V8 from the old 4Runner).

      It’s definitely a real truck, unlike the crossovers and rides more like it. But that is part of it’s appeal to me. Having the 3rd row when you have 3 kids is wonderful because you can keep them separated on long trips and save some mental sanity. If I only had 2, it would have been the Trail edition for sure.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      Sounds like your wife has probably figured out that since you need primarily family transportation with only occasional offroad use, you need a CUV rather than a TRD Pro 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      Reino

      We do and love it. My wife is an attorney and this is her daily. When we clean the mud off, it has a sharp look that easily rubs elbows with luxury SUVs.

      However I advise against buying it for reasons you described. The third row in these is extremely cramped (we didn’t even buy the package). This is not a large SUV on the inside. The floor is high. If you need to regularly use the 3rd row, then you are better off with the Sequoia or LC.

      We do a fair amount of off-road driving, and also tow a pop-up with ease. Many of the dedicated off-road features–while cool–are unnecessary on 90% of trails.

      Gas mileage is what you’d expect. As is on-road handling–better than a truck, but worse than most anything else.

    • 0 avatar
      slance66

      I was considering a Limited as well. Test drove it nine times. I ultimately got a little Mazda CX-5, which is more practical for what I do. But every time I see a 4Runner Limited I have buyer’s remorse.

      I did convince my wife however, here’s how. Resale value and low maintenance cost. The reality is, if you are dropping $42k on a new vehicle in that size class, there is nothing that will cost you less over time. The resale will make up for the gas penalty, which isn’t all that large really. 19-20 mpg vs. maybe 23-24 for most CUVs.

      I really should have gotten one. Maybe I’ll give my Mazda to my daughter in 4 years and get a GX460.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    4Runners dont appeal to me but I definitely see the appeal for their target demo. I just think its a shame they did away with the V8.

    • 0 avatar
      Sam Hell Jr

      Lots of wheel time behind a V8 4Runner. That car was a vehicular middle finger extended toward the elements.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        Mother nature knows that rust never sleeps. She has to play the long game against the V8 4Runner.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I can’t get with the industrial nature of the 4Runner’s interior. It used to be much nicer, and they’ve handicapped it over the years. It looks more like a Ridgeline inside now. And it’s just more and more ugly outside all the time.

          I’d just go with the GX and get a used one. Because the interior on that is beautiful.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            I agree with the accusations of outer ugly and inner cheapness. It seems like Toyota is toying with the loyal customer base, leaving the utility and off road capabilities fully intact but keeping cabin materials far below the $36K asking price just to see how badly they want that body-on-frame goodness:

            “oh, you love your 4Runner and will pay 99% of MSRP for a decade old one with 200K miles on it? Well how about now that it feels like a Hyundai Accent inside? No, still willing to pay? How about now that we’ve given it Nuclear Fish Face!?”

            That said, I want one and will strongly consider it in a few years if I think I can get the family out into the backcountry enough to justify it. Fish face and all.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Oh you like the A/T tires and special paint color? Suck on these vinyl seats and no sunroof!

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            30-mile.

            It’s a Land Cruiser variant in the rest of the world. And priced accordingly. The US is getting a comparative steal on the 4Runner.

            Personally, I’m a huge fan of simple, manual, physical switch gear, instead of the madness that passes for acceptable above $15K these days. The late FJ and S2000 are the ultimate high points so far. Stripper pickups aren’t that far behind.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            With the ’14+ gaping maw upgrade, the material quality is actually pretty good anywhere you make contact with (IMO). I own a ’96 with basically the epitome of quality Toyota interiors and having had some new SR5s as rentals I can honestly say the new trucks aren’t giving up much if anything in material quality.

            Corey the GX’s issue is that it is saddled with low hanging plastic trim, and you lose the fantastic lowering rear window glass, the 4Runner’s reason d’etre as it were.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I know, those dang running boards and the like. I still like the GX anyway. I’d never use a roll down rear window.

            The GX looks so good in that deep cinnamon red, and also pearl white.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            stuki,
            I’d want info on per vehicle profit margins and when the development costs for this rig are paid off to know whether my joke or your serious assertion are true. They ran the Tacoma for 10 years here with no real upgrades and continued to raise the price over that time.

            My interior quality complaints are not physical knobs vs. touchscreens, it’s the kinda flimsy tactile quality of those knobs and the visual assault of hard silver painted plastics everywhere. I found it chintzy, overstyled, and low-rent. The speedometer’s a mess as well, style over substance. I don’t remember the 2002-2009 generation being quite this bad.

            Granted, full size pickups have been offering crap interiors for decades and that only recently seems to be turning around, so it isn’t just the 4Runner.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            stuki,
            The Toyota Fortuner we have is based on the new Hilux and I think it starts around $50 000 AUD or $35 000 USD. This is with a diesel and is a mid spec vehicle with bling and creature comforts.

          • 0 avatar
            Quentin

            30-mile fetch – Check out the interior of a refreshed trail edition when you get the chance. My biggest complaints about my 2010 SR5 were the easily-scratched, silver-painted plastic on the console, dash, and handles. The gray plastics on the IP and the gauges were also not impressive. The 2014 refresh went a long way in correcting those issues. The Trail, in particular, is all black with very nice black painted plastics around the console. There is a flake in the black paint and it really looks sharp. I also prefer the Softex to the real leather that was in my 2010 SR5 w/ premium package. It is a consistent material rather than one material on the high rub areas and another for your bottom. The contrast stitching also looks great.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Consider one more interesting factoid in the comparison to the older 4Runners with their vaunted soft touch interiors: my ’96 Limited (V6, auto, 4wd, moonroof, leather, premium audio, locking rear diff) stickered for about $35k in 1996 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that’s almost $53k! So the current generation of 4Runner is definitely a bargain, considering that something like Quentin’s Trail Edition Premium has all of the features and then some compared to mine. Okay so a few of the interior panels may not feel as nice (and even that is debatable). I’d say the bigger loss is the lack of chrome steel bumpers and the aforementioned thinning of sheetmetal and paint, as is the trend with all new cars unfortunately.

          • 0 avatar
            Coopdeville

            Eye of the beholder and all that. I actually really enjoy the ’14 and up look, weird gaping maw and all. Much prefer it even to the more generic previous gen, but only without all the running boards and other goodies. Looks best plain, like it was meant to be utilitarian and therefore looks better without the suburban running boards and 20’s.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Quentin,
            Good to know, thanks. I think the last one I was in was MY2013. Looking at this article’s pics, I can see some of what you are talking about and it looks like an improvement.

            gtem,
            Wowzers, I didn’t realize they cost that much back in the 90s, that does bring some decent perspective. I still want better gauges on the new one, though :)

            coopdeville,
            I think a Trail in dark grey hides some of the weirdness and looks alright. Better than the truly off-putting chrome maw of the Limited.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “my ’96 Limited (V6, auto, 4wd, moonroof, leather, premium audio, locking rear diff) stickered for about $35k in 1996 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, that’s almost $53k!”

            Yep, and that’s *base model GX* money now!

            As far as I can tell the base GX compares pretty favorably in feature stack, too.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @bafo

            The 4Runner is built off of Prado underpinnings. We don’t get the HiLux here, so no Fortuner either :( I believe all of ours are still built in Japan, like the bigger 200s, although Latin America may get locally built ones.

            Fortuners are, AFAIK, along with HiLux’, all built in lower cost locales. Thailand, in particular. Which, of course, tend to strongly correlate with locales where assembly workers and local engineers have more first hand experience with driving and maintaining vehicles, on the kind of crummy roads and trails BOF vehicles are still mostly useful for…..

            Next gen 4Runners could be Fortuner based, if Toyota figure they can fit the requisite for US bloat on the slightly smaller HiLux underpinnings, without making the vehicle even more rollover prone than it already is. But then again, we would still need the Prado chassis for the Lexus GX, which Toyota probably makes as much from selling 1 of, as they do from 6 4runners, so the 4R may still stay a cut priced, better bodied, somewhat de-, or at least differently-, contented Prado.

          • 0 avatar
            kit4

            I fully expect the next gen 4Runner to be a return to the interior quality of prior models. The newer Toyota interiors have been big step ups. Look at the refreshed Sienna, new Highlander, and the Tundra.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            stuki,
            The new Hilux/Fortuner are the very similar in size to the Taco/4Runner.

            Here the FJ Cruiser is the “cheap” version of the Prado/70 Series chassis/platform.

            So far my impression of these two vehicles are Toyota didn’t explore developing the vehicles to the same degree as the Ranger/Everest or Amarok.

            Toyota in Australia is paying for this now. Hilux has again been outsold by the Ranger. If you include the BT50 with the Ranger as they share a common platform/engine/drivetrain combo the “Ranger’s” are far more popular and around the same price as the Hilux.

            Toyota has even reduced the price of the Hilux after it’s release here to be more competitive.

            I do think once the new Frontier along with the Colorado/Canyon are in full swing you’ll see the proportion of midsizers move away from Toyota.

            The cheapest full chassis midsize SUVs we have based on a pickups is the Mitsubishi Challenger, then followed by the MUX-2 and Colorado2 both based on the GM Colorado platform. Izuzu uses it’s own drivetrain which is supposed to be a fantastic piece of kit.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            stuki,
            Sorry, also the new Fortuner is supposed to be sold in the EU and other OECD markets.

            It appears Toyota has is moving it up into newer and richer markets. The Everest was the same and look at the new Everest, it’s quite a nice and capable SUV.

            Don’t confuse the old vehicles with the newer vehicles, as the world is changing.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @Bafo.

            I wish we would get the Fortuner here as well, but doubt it, as we don’t get the HiLux “companion.” Which is kind of a bummer, albeit will likely never happen, since full sizers are so dominant amongst work trucks over here, and our childish CAFE regs disproportionately discourage sale of smaller, yet still “hard working,” trucks. We don’t get the Ranger, either. Nor the Amarok. But we do get more and more leather trimmed, crew cab, long bed daily drivers with class 6 grade diesels in them……

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      If only it said “GMC” on the 4Runner…

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Haha, sick burn 28 :-)

        Truthfully though, in this case I’ve never really cared for the mid-size BOF SUV. Of any stripe. The 4Runner is kind of the poster child for this class. So I’m really saying I’ve never cared for the really trucky midsize suv. 4Runner, Pathfinder, TrailBlazer (though I think the Atlas is rad), Explorer, Liberty, what have you.

        Mainly cause I dont offroad, and I’d rather have a pickup, or something like a Forester.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        Haha, sick burn 28 :-)

        Truthfully though, in this case ive never really cared for the mid-size BOF SUV. Of any stripe. The 4Runner is kind of the poster child for this class. So I’m really saying I’ve never cared for the really trucky midsize suv. 4Runner, Pathfinder, Blazer, Bronco, XJ Cherokee (I know its unibody but it fits in)

        Mainly cause I dont offroad, and I’d rather have a pickup, or something like a Forester.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      davefromcalgary – I’m with you in the fact that I can’t build any interest in one of these. The same can be said for the Wrangler Unlimited. A well equipped Wrangler is on par with this price wise but is much more Spartan inside. I’d lean to this because the interior is better and mechanically much more durable than the Wrangler.

      As a side note – I find it odd that off-road packages tend to get coupled with bling that most would not want in a serious off-road vehicle.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    OK. I kind of get this vehicle. But if this exists, then why would someone pay double – yes, $85K! – for a Land Cruiser?

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      The Land Bruiser is more of a Range Rover while the 4runner is more Land Rover.

      Do you vacation in the Hamptons or rock crawl at Moab?

      • 0 avatar
        Signal11

        That analogy makes no sense.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          Range Rover is/was luxury for Brits who chase foxes on horseback. Land Rover is a little more of a rugged image. You notice that the “DEFENDER 90” wasn’t a Range Rover – it was a Land Rover.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Isn’t proper British hunting all but outlawed these days?

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            Uggg… I make a tongue in cheek, wink and a nudge assertion and the kids get all pedantic on me.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Ohhh, no. I wasn’t questioning your comparison, I agree with it! Just considering the modern legality issues surrounding traditional fox hunting.

            And somewhere in England, between the agricultural owner of the aged Defender 90 and the moneyed Range Rover Vogue owner lies the well-equipped Subaru wagon county set.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Actually, in the UK pickups have increase significantly, from selling nearly none to selling a few.

            I do believe Land Rover do make some very premium SUV with the Disco, that are nearly on par with the Rangie.

          • 0 avatar
            Signal11

            Land Rover is the brand.

            Range Rover is a model of that brand, as were the Series, Defenders, Discos, LRs and everything else. Been that way for decades.

            I’ll be I’m just as old, if not older than you are. =)

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            Signal11,
            The Brand was called Rover.

            Rover initially made the first “real” bikes. Rover manufactured the Land Rover, Range Rover, Rover motor cars.

            It seems it’s history is like that of many British auto manufacturers.

            Here’s some interesting info on Rover;

            “After developing the template for the modern bicycle with its Rover Safety Bicycle of 1885, the company moved into the automotive industry.”

            “The Polish word now most commonly used for bicycle – rower originates from Rover bicycles”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rover_Company

    • 0 avatar
      hubcap

      Sometimes people want what they consider the best and sometimes how much something costs becomes relevant in said consideration.

      Bigger, more expensive equates to better. Or something like that.

    • 0 avatar
      TonyP

      The Land Cruiser is in a different league and than the 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      The LC V8 takes armor much better than the lighter Prado/4R. That’s one reason……

      Perhaps more usefully for many, it tows better and have more 3rd row space. It’s also overbuilt to bottom out better if smashing the frame into the ground is more of a regular occurrence than something that occasionally happens while vacationing in Moab.

      Toyota has increasingly moved the big Land Cruiser away from it’s roots as a specialized off road vehicle for people who “wheel”, and more towards a vehicle for those who want the utility of a modern CUV/Minivan/Limo, but who just happen to live, or at least drive, on seriously shitty “roads.” The 4Runner is better at almost all things recreational offroading, but less versatile for rich guys in countries with a somewhat challenged “road” infrastructure.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        “countries with a somewhat challenged “road” infrastructure.”

        Like this one is becoming.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @28-Cars, +1. I was so happy to find a vehicle that met my needs and had 65 series sidewalls without having to swap to smaller wheels.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Heck 65 series on my Civic is barely cutting it when I take the surface roads to get home when the interstate is backed up. However my old 4Runner feels fully at home blasting through the third world environment that is the near-Eastside of Indianapolis.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Yes, I absolutely will “take two.” Where are the keys?

    I love this.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    I love the look of this 4Runner. The color is perfect. That said, when I bought my 4Runner a few months ago, I went with a Trail. I wanted a moonroof (not available on the Pro) and the KDSS (not on the Pro). Plus, when I showed my wife the Pro, she thought it was too aggressive looking. She does drive the 4Runner quite often, so her opinion matters. I’d certainly like the TOYOTA grille, but I don’t think it works on my red 4Runner, so I’ll be leaving mine factory stock.

    • 0 avatar
      Willyam

      Congrats! I’ve always wanted one, but as the new price goes up, so does the used (if anyone can ever be convinced to sell before 225k).

      The mid-80’s versions waaay back when were amazing vehicles, and it’s good to see they haven’t lost their market.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Did Toyota budge at all on the price, or were you stuck pretty close to MSRP?

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Invoice is ~10% off the sticker. I was able to negotiate to just a hair above invoice. I think what helped me was the fact that mine was a pretty loaded up TE. Mine, with KDSS, is about $3k more than a comparable SR5 (as far as leather, nav, moonroof, etc.) The SR5s and Limiteds seem to sell a lot better around here. Judging by the posters on T4R.org, it sounds like it isn’t super difficult to get just above invoice if you shop around and are flexible with color/options. The Pros are much more difficult to get at invoice. Most of those seem to go for $1k to $2k off sticker.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      Unless you’re running away from cops around dessert metlabs or Humboldt weed farms, or perhaps support dirt bikes, you got the choice one. KDSS is an absolutely amazing improvement for the 4R and Cruiser driven more normally. The best thing to come out of Oz since stupid amounts of beer in a hot, dry dessert.

      I’d personally prefer the 3 row setup, not for the 3rd row, but because the way the 2nd folds in those make it much easier to sleep in the back, but I wouldn’t give up KDSS for it.

      Bigger gas tank, and/or the internationally available 4cyl diesel, and a proper (from the FJ) tranny, and it’s the last and almost only car anyone outside dense urbanity would ever need.

  • avatar
    Jim Broniec

    The thing I love about 4Runners (beyond their insane durability) is that you can see the heritage of earlier models in the current model.

    I see glimpses of my 1998 SR5 in the TRDs and SR5s of today. If the damn thing would ever die (185,000 miles on her as I type this) I might replace it with the TRD pro.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I’m in the same situation. I’m infatuated with these new trucks but at 125k and a rust free frame/body, my ’96 Limited is just getting started. My biggest criticism of the gen 5 trucks is that the sheetmetal seems awfully thin and ding-prone, and that the rear glass area has decreased significantly. But there’s a whole lot to like there. Same 20mpg highway average that I get in my ’96 that weighs almost 1000lb less and with 100 less hp.

      • 0 avatar
        Coopdeville

        IMO your generation is the best looking body style, hands down. Something very clean and classic in that look.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Yep, it seems silly but I always find myself doing double-takes when I walk away from my 4Runner in a parking lot, not something I can say about my little commuter Civic. The one missing element on mine is decent A/T tires, soon to be corrected. I’m planning a trip out West in it to do some of the more reasonable passes in Colorado and such, the current highway-tread General Grabber HTS tires don’t cut the mustard for that intended use.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            gtemnykh – I have General Grabber AT2’s on my truck. They are surprisingly quiet for what they are. The only negative is the square tire shape will pull you around a bit when in pavement ruts. Mine are 10 ply so that may be a contributing factor.
            I’m thinking that I’ll need to replace them around 40,000 miles. The wear is decent for a winter rated tire that sees a moderate amount of dirt road use and light 4×4 use( You can’t be all that bold in a 20 ft long truck).

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Lou, grabber at2s are very much in the running. I want to maintain a quiet highway ride and not lose much efficiency, while gaining some offroad traction and perhaps most importantly, puncture resistance. Recently took a ride in a friend’s lifted montero limited with e-rated duratracs and it was awful to be honest. I’m actually leaning towards something milder like Michelin ltx at2 or Firestone destination at2, both supposedly good on the road. My plan is to drive out from Indiana to southern Colorado and do the Alpine loop and some of the other milder trails. Shying away from anything really hardcore becuase I need to drive this thing back home,im not exatcly an expert offroader, and I’ll have my fiance and maybe even our two dogs with me.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            This past summer I went down to my local independent tire dealer and got a set of Hercules Terra Trac AT2s for my truck. The cheap Pep Boys all terrains that were on it were worthless on anything but dry pavement.

            I’ve found the Hercules to be quiet (for AT) and great in just about everything I’ve thrown at them. Rain, snow, ice, light mud – just great. The do pack up with mud a bit but if you hit the gas and spin them harder they have no problem letting go of that mud.

            They were roughly the same price as General and Cooper etc, but cheaper than BF Goodrich truck tires.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            gtemnykh – I considered the Michelin LTX AT2 but it did not have a winter rating. The LTX AT2 comes with a tread wear guarantee. It would be a good compromise between road and dirt use.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Lou, I have dedicated snow tires for the winter so no worries there. I had noticed the poor snow performance of the Michelins.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            gtemnykh – I used to run separate winter tires on my trucks but haven’t been able to justify the extra cash outlay this time around. It is a superior approach. We run separate winter tires on my wife’s van.

  • avatar
    ThirdOwner

    >The GX and the 4Runner are very similar, but the GX has all the typical Lexus luxury features and an air suspension setup

    It (GX) may also have components that are made to a higher lifespan standard, like in the LandCruiser. To me, that would be the main reason to go GX.

    In my car the clutch pilot bearing has been getting progressively noisier at 90K miles. It’s a $25 part that in order to be replaced requires the transmission to be taken out. How much did the car manufacturer save on that pilot bearing to hand down a $1000 repair to me at this post-warranty time?

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      What are you driving?

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      Probably not. I haven’t seen any evidence that Lexus trucks are made to higher standards than Toyota trucks. If anything, the air-suspension and some of the fancier components on the GX may go sooner than the components in the 4Runner.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That being said, I’ve never ever seen a busted GX.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Both the 4Runner and GX are built in the same Tahara plant that makes the Land Cruiser Prado 150 for the rest of the world. The GX is the same Prado 150 body shell but with an awful spindle grille tacked on. There is no evidence of any difference in actual drivetrain hardware.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I hardly ever see them. I do recall seeing the original generation some, but nowadays I don’t see those either (even though gen 1 GX ran for way too long without update).

            I’m sure they’re over in Poland etc. now like you suggest.

          • 0 avatar
            ThirdOwner

            @gtemnykh Toyota’s web site also shows Tahara as a LandCruiser plant. Both 4Runner and GX may take the same size wheel bearings for example, but the bearings could be made to a different lifespan spec.

            You may very well be right – I’d just like to have the facts either way.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          I bet that they are out of the country as soon as they hit auction. I’ve never seen one that wasn’t purchased new.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I have a family friend whose 2004 GX finally needs its air suspension replaced at 160,000 miles. He also had to buy a rebuilt differential, and says that his car occasionally disconnects the drivetrain from the transmission mid-trip, but shifting into neutral and back into drive rectifies it. He bought it new.

          Even still, can you imagine how many issues I’d have with, say, a 2011 X5 once it hit 160K miles?

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      A Volvo V50 5 MT. But probably not for much longer.

      Another example. I had the OEM alternator to finally say “farewell” at 11 years old (in a different vehicle). The mechanic who was replacing it bought a remanufactured one from his supplier – said he’s had good experiences with the company. And the part looked like new, with beautiful thick shiny wiring.

      However, the bearing failed less than 500mi after. I got the remanufacturer to exchange it for another one under their warranty, swapped it in myself, and the replacement alternator promptly repeated the bearing failure trick.

      So I called them with the details expecting them to acknowledge that whoever they sourced their bearings from was letting them down. Or at least sound concerned about it. Instead, they were suggesting I likely overstressed the alternator by over-tightening the belt. Except it also happened to the one the mechanic installed.

      I gave up on them and put a brand new (non-OEM) one. Still works 4 years later. And I’ll never buy anything from the remanufacturer company again. Too bad, the wiring was to be seen.

  • avatar
    Willyam

    Kind of a side question for the B&B…

    I’ve owned two Wranglers and an XJ (Cherokee). These were generally lightly modified and driven with a local 4wd club.

    I’ve also owned two WJ’s (recently bought one for peanuts from family) and they are amazing light off-roaders. However, with the advent in my current area of the lifted magazine-cover four-door Wrangler (dead giveaway to poser-hood is the stock spare or even lack of spare altogether), Jeeps seem to be divided into hard-core 40-inch mud-trucks or chrome-mobiles. Plus, land owners are all energy companies or ranchers now and they frown on trespassers.

    Is there anywhere one can wheel with friends who have 4runners, Xterras, FJ40’s, Grand Cherokee’s, etc? Where we can take the kids and get lost for a day or two without twisting axles or having to winch for hours?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Go West, young man. Our high percentage of public land means freedom to roam without frowny faces. Thousands of miles of dirt roads ranging from bladed gravel highways to faint two tracks.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @30-mile fetch, +1

        I’ll be replacing the inoffensive all-season tires on my AWD Highlander with some All Terrain tires as soon as all-seasons wear out. (Dealer put them on before I bought it).

        I’ll be doing that so that I can have more grip on that bladed gravel and more fun on those two lane tracks. A CUV with 8.9 in ground clearance is more than adequate for fun in the West. Makes it easier to get to places like Chaco Canyon and take in some ancient pueblo ruins.

        I’ll never Moab or Rubicon but I have no desire to.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “I’ll never Moab or Rubicon but I have no desire to.”

          Exactly. To me, dirt roads out here a means of exploration and getting to places. The fun is where the road goes, not the road itself and you don’t need a lifted Wrangler for that.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Yup.

        Here in Oregon anytime the weather isn’t simply abysmal every logging or forest service road in the State is clogged with Jeeps-and-equivalent.

        (I know because I see them, when I’m there in my Volvo going for mushrooms.

        Because the woods themselves are clogged with chanterelles in the fall.)

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      @Willyam – how far are you from North or Central British Columbia? LOL

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    The throttle calibration on this thing sucks, and in high altitude areas I’d say it needs the V8 (and would get the same mileage essentially). Otherwise a good vehicle. Maybe sell the TRD supercharger again?
    I’d actually get a GX but can’t deal with that barn door. Why would anyone want this over the 4runner lift gate and drop glass? Anyone?

    • 0 avatar
      ThirdOwner

      The dislike for the barn door seems to be a common thing. I don’t feel it. I had a Discovery for years and enjoyed not having to hoist that lift gate up all the time. I only wish it had the 4Runner’s roll-down rear glass.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Yeah I think my main issue is the lack of drop glass. For carrying lumber it’s nice and makes even more sense for the barn door as you can’t roll down with that partially open like one can tie down a semi open hatch.
        Does the GX glass lift up at all. Or is it fixed?

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        In the rain, the liftgate is soooo nice getting in/out of fishing/climbing whatever gear. Also, you don’t have to park 6 feet in front of other cars (and garage doors) in order to be able to get into the back. Tire changes in the mud does get more messy, though.

  • avatar
    Drzhivago138

    I can understand other people’s wants or needs, but I personally wouldn’t get any midsize SUV or CUV with a third row. Just too many compromises.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Drzhivago138,
      I agree. My friend has a Prado with the third row of seats and I asked him who uses them as they looked very uncomfortable for any person over 3 feet tall.

      It also takes away from the rear storage area, especially if you go out camping and off roading on weekends.

    • 0 avatar

      I specifically got the third row because I often have to drive my kids (2) and their friends somewhere (2 or 3) and the rear bench isn’t enough. It was my wife’s only requirement.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Kamil,
        That’s the identical excuse my friend uses!

        The guy owns a Prado and his wife will not allow him to off road in it. He wants to use mine!

        I asked why he didn’t buy a van, or as we call them people mover. I think they bought the Prado (like most vehicles) like most Australians’ as a middle class statement.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Sounds and looks like Kamil uses his 4Runner pretty seriously, but happened to appreciate the utility of some third row seats for hauling around his kid’s friends, what sort of excuse are you talking about? Makes more sense to me than to buy a van specifically for just that task, but then need another separate 4wd vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtemnykh,
            My usage of “excuse” in relation to Kamil’s explanation of how he utilises his 4Runner.

            To me it was my friends wife who appears to have had the most influence in the seating arrangements for the vehicle and he influenced her into buying the Prado, which is a pig on fuel with the 4 litre V6 gasoline engine.

            I do find it entertaining that they own a very capable off roader and the harshest off road environment it has so far encountered is the shoulder or a speed hump at the local shopping centre.

  • avatar
    tylanner

    I am infatuated with the 2011+ 4runners. Well, mainly the rigid resale value and muscular good looks.

    There is nothing in particular to get excited about with them but I think when you combine their promising resale prospects with relative model rarity you end up with a fun and reassuring SUV.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Good write up, if a little Toyota biased.

    I do like the suspension mods for the TRD. The tyres fitted to the TRD are a very good choice. They appear to be the “lighter” BFG AT’s, not the 10 ply.

    The front end looks like an abortion, sorry, it really needs be restyled.

    We don’t receive the 4 Runner in Australia and have the Prado. I would like to see a comparison done between three similarly equipped Toyota’s, the 4 Runner vs the Prado and even have a FJ Cruiser in the mix.

    Don’t do the test on pricing, but equipment, ie, suspension, drivetrain, etc.

    Even though I’m not a Toyota fan I do realise they do produce competent off roaders with a few excellent off roaders, if you are prepared to pay the Toyota tax.

    A nice engine for the 4 Runner is the new Toyota 2.8 turbo diesel, this will improve it’s off road capability and for you as an avid expeditionary off roader it will improve your range and reduce the amount of additional fuel you need to carry with a gasoline engine and of course offer the best possible off road engine, a diesel.

    Kamil, it seems you like these midsize full chassis SUVs, why not come down to Australia and have a look at what we have on offer and do some testing. It appears we have a much larger range of vehicles in this class ……. so long as you aren’t swayed by Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      For exp use, I wish the diesel was available here. Range isn’t all that great despite a decent size tank. I also feel infinitely more comfortable being around diesel cans than gas ones in 130 degree dessert heat while shooting guns and playing with incendiary devices.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        stuki,
        Here are reviews of the new Fortuner (based on the Hilux) and Prado. Both with the new 2.8 diesel.

        The Fortuner is rated at 7.8l per 100km (a bit over 30mpg in US gallons) and the Prado is 8.0l per 100km (29.5mpg) combined. So on the highway I would expect mid 30s mpg’s. I have found with the diesel figures they tend to be closer in real life usage than gasoline figures.

        Also, off road and low speed the diesels use significantly less fuel than a gasoline equivalent.

        http://www.carsguide.com.au/car-reviews/2015-toyota-fortuner-review-first-drive-36436

        http://www.caradvice.com.au/378284/2016-toyota-landcruiser-prado-review/

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          That’s an almost 50% bump in range compared to the gasser. To realistically well over 500 miles….. Plus much safer jerry can storage for additional range. Although I’m generally not much of a diesel fan, for SUVs like this, small diesels make mucho sense.

          With Toyota selling nothing else in the way of diesel in the US, fat chance they are going to go though the hassle of equipping every dealer with diesel chops for a relative niche vehicle like this, however. Here’s to hoping GM sells an absolute truck load of the diesel Colorado….

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Fuel range in the backcountry is one reason I have liked owning trucks with the largest possible fuel tank size. I had an F250 with dual tanks. There were a few long hunting and fishing trips I went on where I carried extra fuel but only used it to avoid paying the extra price charged by gas stations in remote areas. My current truck’s 135 litre (35 US gallon) so far has been adequate all on its own.

            A small diesel would be nice due to increased MPG but another reason it would be good is that if you do travel remote areas diesel tends to be more plentiful because it is used in large gen sets, and heavy equipment.

          • 0 avatar
            stuki

            @Lou,

            Even down here, where things are comparatively dense compared to BC and surroundings, added range is very nice. Up in the Great North, You’d think fuel tank size, and range, would be the first spec a car shopper looked at. The bigger thanks on HDs, are somewhat negated by only being paired with engines designed to pull road trains across the Rockies on 130 degree days.

    • 0 avatar
      Fordson

      “Good write up, if a little Toyota biased.”

      Yeah, I like how he kinds slides it in 3/4 of the way through this love letter that he owns one personally. A real clear-eyed, impartial assessment.

      Noting and agreeing with the numerous critiques of the styling, as it were, I wonder – is Toyota worried that while they might make conquest sales, they’d lose the current owner base if it weren’t ugly?

      • 0 avatar

        Please read any of my other reviews. Everyone can judge styling by themselves, so I never discuss it. And for the record I do not like the ’14+ facelift, but I like that they removed all the chrome off it.

        I have nothing to gain or lose by saying that I own one or not. In this case it showed some differences between the two models.

  • avatar
    SC5door

    So it comes with off road tires but carpeted floor mats? Come on Toyota, you could have saved yourself the $$ and just tossed in the rubber “all weather mats” instead of designing and specifying a different embroidered mat for this version.

    SR5 Premium for me. Nothing like having all the windows down including the trick rear one on a nice spring day. Absolutely loved going camping in my ex’s 4 Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      The SR5 premium makes a strong case for itself (moonroof+rear window = win), or even a plain jane SR5. What’s nice is that Toyota gives you the full compliment of skid plates, and the same amount of ground clearance (~10 inches) as a Trail. You get ATRAC too, a very competent offroad traction aid. Yes you miss crawl control and a true locking rear diff, but even without all that, the SR5 with ATRAC is massively capable with just a set of all terrain tires swapped on. I actually would bet that a new SR5 with ATRAC but no locker would outwheel my e-locker equipped ’96 as it sits in most low traction situations. My truck’s trump card would of course be its narrower size and significantly lighter weight.

      • 0 avatar
        SC5door

        Yea the locking diff, and all that stuff has no real importance to me. I wouldn’t wheel that large of a rig and a $40K one at that.

        The 09 we took out to the lake so many times was just right in size, although the seats were a bit too flat.

        I do appreciate the fact that the current one comes with a standard trailer hitch—not that I’d use it all the time as my old truck had one and I used it maybe 10 times in the 8 years I owned it.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        gtemnykh – does the locking diff have software nannies that control when it locks and unlocks?
        I drove a F150 with e-locker and it drove me nuts in 4×2 or even 4hi. It would disengage at speeds over 35 mph and only re-engage at speeds under 18 mph. In normal weather and terrain it wouldn’t be an issue but in deep snow and icy roads it was irritating.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          It is only for low speeds, and will only engage when in 4low. But its simply an electrically actuated solenoid in the rear diff. Why do you drive at higher speeds with the rear diff lock engaged anyways? Sounds dangerous.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            gtemnykh – It isn’t dangerous when in extreme weather conditions or traversing soft terrain. I had a rental F150 for 10 days and I did not like the way the programming of the nannies affected the e-locker or driving in crappy conditions. I’m talking about extremes as opposed to around town driving. My own F150 has a limited slip and because it works better with the nannies, I prefer it over the solid locker.
            A few years back I was in the back country checking out access and egress since my son’s scout troop was going on a winter campout. Most of the roads were old unmaintained logging roads. 1 1/2 feet of snow on the ground. One can touch 40 mph easily in some places especially approaching some longer hills. Having the nannies disengage a locker and reengage traction and stability control makes things worse. I could not make a few hills due to nanny intervention and had to back down. That is no fun.
            Same thing happened checking out an old logging road that has pretty spongy. Keeping one’s speed up helped prevent sinking in. The nannies reactivated due to that magical 35mph threshold and once again I’m having to back down a greasy hill.
            Deep sand is another area where momentum and using every bit of traction is important.
            I’ve talked to other guys that have had the same complaint.
            I probably am just an outlier in that regard. I’d love a Raptor just for the ability to shut off the nannies in extreme use but they are just too expensive in Canada.

    • 0 avatar
      stuki

      I hate rubber all weather floor mats when driving barefoot……

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    Before my wife and I married late last year (literally a little over a month as we were married on December 27), she wanted to offload her 2009 Jetta for something 4WD/AWD.

    Although I immediately thought of the Grand Cherokee, her choices were down to the Outback Limited or a 4Runner. When it comes to cars, we don’t see eye to eye. I buy used, she buys new. I buy Chryslers, she buys imports.

    Begrudgingly, I go with her to test drive both models. As someone that never really cared for Toyota, I have to admit that it was decent and I was somewhat impressed, crying-pig front fascia be darned. For $30-40k I’d rather have a JGC, but it certainly wasn’t a snoremobile like the overrated Camry/Corolla/Prius/etc is.

    If not for the huge year-end incentive the Subaru dealer had ($4000 off when all said and done), she would have picked the 4Runner. And I would have been okay with the decision. She looked so darned cute in it.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    Congrats!

    The first picture is taken at what has to be the worst possible angle one could take a picture of a 4Runner. In addition, you found the most hideous color available, something that appears to be taken from the 1985 Ford color palette of loose stool brown, for this picture.

    That front clip is – hideous. Anyone who buys a vehicle in that color should get a $4,000 rebate just for taking it off the lot.

  • avatar
    bucksnort

    Is the TRD supercharger available for the new 4Runners?

    This thing has a worse power to weight ratio than a Rubicon.

    Does anybody know what the final drive ration is? The Toyota website doesn’t provide it.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I had a Pentastar Rubicon 6MT and it is hands down a better engine/trans combo than in the 4runnner.
      We’d probably have a 4runner if they would do a TRD supercharger that is 50 state legal. But I don’t think they do.

      As stated earlier, I am not sure if its really the engine, but the throttle calibration is poor (basically seems to retard throttle body opening until you are 3/4+ into the pedal travel). The transmission NEEDS at least 1 more gear. On hills your constantly hunting between 4 and 5. Any real accel requires 3rd.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      No.

      I looked into it just now, and they have a supercharger for that *engine*, aftermarket (ala they call it the TRD one but I don’t think TRD is directly selling it?).

      But it’s for the Taco and FJ and includes a new sway bar and mounts for moving lots of stuff that’d be impinged on by the supercharger, and also the Taco/FJ variants of the engine evidently have different VVT tech, so the tune would be wrong.

      This is a job for the aftermarket in a few years, if it ever cares – it hasn’t about the previous post-2009 4Runners so far.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      3.73 gears.

      For the sake of apples to apples comparisons, here are Consumer Reports numbers for performance.

      Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara V6:
      0-30: 3.5
      0-60: 8.9
      45-65: 5.9
      1/4 mi: 16.8 @ 85.5
      City MPG: 12
      HWY MPG: 22
      Braking from 60, dry: 150.5 ft
      Braking from 60, wet: 180.5 ft

      4Runner SR5 V6 4WD:
      0-30: 3.0
      0-60: 7.7
      45-65: 4.9
      1/4 mi: 16.1 @ 89.2
      City MPG: 12
      HWY MPG: 24
      Braking from 60, dry: 131.1 ft
      Braking from 60, wet: 145.2 ft

      That said, I don’t think they are really in the same market. The Wrangler will go more places than the 4Runner (or at least with less body damage). The 4Runner is much more livable day to day with the bigger interior and IFS.

      Supercharger is not available. TRD couldn’t get it to meet their reliability requirements and have opted to discontinue their supercharger program all together. They didn’t say what was failing on their testing, but last summer was the deadline to get it working from what was leaked out to T4R.org. Underdog Racing (URD) has a supercharger kit that is about to hit the market, though. He has been running it on his 2010 4Runner since the summer of 2010. He has a lot of experience with the Tacoma supercharger for the earlier iteration of the 1GR, so he’ll likely release a solid kit… when it finally makes it to market.

      • 0 avatar
        bucksnort

        I agree, the T4R and the Wrangler are in different segments, a durable on road vehicle that can go off road versus a dedicated off road vehicle that can go on road. I have a built ’05 Rubicon that is indestructible but getting to be high mileage. The biggest drawback to the TR4 is the soft suspension, the lack of a front locker and the limited aftermarket support. One can literally build a Wrangler from either of two catalogs, 4WD Parts and Quadratec. Surprisingly, the TR4 back seat is more uncomfortable than my older Rubicon back seat. The new Rubicon back seats are like church pews but there is an aftermarket part to slant it back

        What I really don’t understand about Toyota is the lack of power from their V6’s. The competing Nissan V6’s make 40+ more hp. The lack of power in the Wrangler is probably good. They don’t need to go much faster. I may just drop a stroker straight 6 in my 05′ and keep it.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The 1gr in the 4runner makes every bit the same power as the vq40 in the Nissan, and with much less nvh. Check the specs! As an aside, the rear seats in jkus are unequivocally terrible from the factory. That and a ton less cargo room, and much lower payload. Regarding aftermarket, I’d say theres enough for 5th gens now to build a plenty gnarly offroader, perhaps nowhere near the rock crawler that a solid axle wrangler is, but conversely a 4runner even stock blows the wranglers out of the water for the kind of trips where high speed washboard is the order of the day, and carrying people/cargo comfortably.

          • 0 avatar
            bucksnort

            The older Nissan V6 in the Frontier put out more hp than the now discontinued small Toyota V8 in the 4R. I have two 3.7L Nissan V6’s in Infinitis at present 4, and 2 years old, 337 hp and 325 hp. The Lexus equivalent Toyota V6’s are not even close to those numbers.

            I already have an under-powered Rubicon. I don’t need another under-powered SUV. At least I can drop a factory sanctioned stroker in the Rubicon that will get me up to near new 4R hp with an old straight 6 in a 500lb lighter truck running 35’s. There is nothing that can be done to the new Toyota’s with a factory warranty.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            The VQ40 is really no bueno.

            -Too loud and agricultural.
            -Not all that powerful.
            -Consumes fuel like small V8.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Numbers are all well and good, but Toyota’s trusty 3.5L 2gr with a rated 268hp seems to have no problems keeping up with the current pack of 300hp+ motors from other manufacturers. A 302hp IS350 keeps up with a 328hp Q50. In an Xtrerra/Frontier, the VQ40 makes 261hp, the 4Runner’s 4.0L makes 278hp. The throttle calibrations are massively different, with the Xterra leaping off the line and the 4Runner rolling out smoothly unless you really bury the throttle. Many complaints centered around the 4Runner being too mild mannered, but in an offroad situation I know which one I’d prefer (not the jerky Nissan). For street driving, I will admit the Nissans are a blast, especially with a manual transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      No supercharger as of now. TRD is out of the supercharger business entirely, they just sell stickers and wheels now. There has been forum chatter from day one about Underdog coming out with a Whipple kit for the 2010+ V6 but six years later it hasn’t happened. The truck comes with 3.73s which really ought to be 4.10s even with the short stock tires.

      It’s a dog. I would have bought one otherwise.

  • avatar
    SunnyvaleCA

    Is it just me, or does everyone pronounce “TRD” as “turd”? This seems about as bad as announcing the deficiencies of your vehicle with a sign that says “limited.”

  • avatar
    White Shadow

    Ugly.

  • avatar
    frozenman

    Offering the 4.6 V8 in this and the Tacoma is such a ‘no-brainer’ it hurts, and all they can come up with is fake hood scoops :(

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The number 1 thing this truck needs is a V8, the 4.0, while getting very good fuel economy is simply too little for the truck, and losing weight is simply not the answer, this truck needs a V8.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Bigger engines? Seriously? This thing gets awful gas mileage. If Volvo can put a Turbo and Supercharged 4 cyl in the new XC90, why can’t Toyota? (The largest automaker in the world, after all!)…or at least a hybrid powertrain. Just because it’s still on a frame, is no teason not to give it a more efficient powertrain option.

    PS. Other than that, I love the 4runner and always have. I do respect it’s street, and off road, cred.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      No offense, but that is a truly terrible idea. The whole appeal of the 4.0L engine is that it is a simple, under stressed motor that runs on regular gas (or worse). What’s more likely to make it to 300-400k miles, one of those xc90 motors or the current 4runner engine? And people that buy these do in fact hold onto them for a decade or more.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I own a 2016, it gets excellent fuel economy, you need to check your source or have your source check the engine if they have a current 4R getting poor fuel economy.

      Why doesn’t Toyota do what Volvo does? Because Toyota is the number one automaker in the world and Volvo is a spec of dust that had to be bought by Ford and then the Chinese because it cannot successfully exist in the modern era. The Volvo engine is completely pointless show of doing something just because they can, and represents why Volvo is in the state they are in, simply put, they are out of touch.

      Last I checked the top three selling vehicles in America offered V8s, not hybrid drive trains.

      By the way, Toyota did offer a 4 cylinder in the current gen 4Runner, no one bought it and it was subsequently dropped. The V8 in the last gen didn’t seem to have that problem, it seems 50% of the last gens I see have the V8 badging.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “If Volvo can put a Turbo and Supercharged 4 cyl in the new XC90”

      Volvo is not building a truck with real world capability. Given the state of things such as VVT, cylinder deactivation, and the like I doubt a V8 would give much less real world mileage in the same package and thus this model really should offer a V8. If they offered a V8 and nobody bought it, I could them see dropping it.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    First of all, I said OPTION. Second of all, if Toyota is a leader in hybrid tech, why can’t it be applied?
    Last of all, I have a Volvo XC70 with a turbo 5 that has 205k miles on it, and you would never know by driving it. I am still on the original turbocharger too.
    So, before you bash Volvo cars, try owning one.

    PS. My gas mileage is 21 around town and 30 on the highway…on regular gas. There is also room inside, comparable to the 4runner, but with MUCH better seats!

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      “comparable to the 4runner”

      Your volvo has a very respectable 37cu ft of seats-up cargo room, the 4Runner dwarfs it with 47cu ft. Folding seats down the Volvo again has a good 71cu ft, the 4Runner blows it out of the water with 90 cu ft. I agree with seat comfort, but will add that the Volvo has a significantly tighter rear seat (width and legroom) than the current 4Runner.

      The older Volvo turbos are not necessarily proof of what this new turbo/supercharged engine run at massive cylinder pressure will do, but you’re right if there’s one solid thing about the P2 Volvo platform it’s the turbo engines. That and rust resistance/paint quality. I’ve dealt with used Volvos of that era, the front suspensions are trashed by 100k, the interiors showing massive wear, and the electronics are glitching out (solder joints cracking). I was glad to clean up and successfully sell my fiance’s old ’04 S60 with 124k miles for $3900. The front end had gotten some work done (tie rod ends and a balljoint or two), and it needed strut mounts/bearings replaced. Leather was very cracked and worn on the front seat, and the rubberized covering was peeling off of the plastic trim pieces. Outside, the plastic trim around the windshield and rear window was cracked and falling off. It had an SRS airbag light on and the driver’s info center was on a perpetual acid trip. I also replaced a window regulator piece. So not horrible, but for a barely 10 year old car with average miles for the year, I wasn’t particularly impressed either.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        He’s still trying to compare an SUV to a crossover, it’s a useless comparison no different than trying to compare a Honda dirt bike to a Ferrari.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Hummer,
          The similarity between an AWD CUV and a 4WD SUV is common enough.

          A chook chaser Honda and Ferrari comparison like you are suggesting is just ludicrous.

          Many in the market for a SUV or CUV are not buying for off roading at all.

          They buy them for the same reason 75% of all pickups are bought.

          Most SUVs with 4hi and lo will spend their lives driving to Lowes, soccer games, taking kids to school and sometime with the dog in the back.

          Just because a vehicle has certain capabilities doesn’t mean they will be used. Like pickup and CUVs and SUVs.

          This is why some manufacturers actually produce 2WD SUVs, yes, this might come as a surprise to you.

          A 2WD SUV, ie, Grand Cherokee is far less capable in “off road’ish” situations than an AWD Kia Sorento.

          So, how does this stack up against your views?

          The world is an amazing place, especially when you start to understand what makes the world tick.

          • 0 avatar
            Hummer

            Doesn’t matter what’s going through the head of the owners, the capability, the modibility, their manners and their ability to take a beating are leagues apart and one cannot compare the off-road ability, the street performance, or the fuel economy and expect that an intelligent decision can be made between the two types of vehicles.
            I would fully expect an AWD crossover such as a Sorento to outperform a 2WD crossover such as the Grand Cherokee, that doesn’t mean either of them are good off-road, but you can at least compare the two because they share the similarities of being crossovers.

            Who cares how they spend their lives it makes zero difference in what their capabilities are.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            I have to agree with Hummer 100% on this one.
            People buy Jeep Wranglers, pickups, and exotic cars because of their capabilities EVEN THOUGH the majority of buyers don’t need or don’t use all of those capabilities.

            If you build any of those vehicles or one’s like them to appeal to the majority of buyers then you will see those products fail.

            You can sell a poser a hardcore vehicle based on image but no one will buy a poser vehicle (well, almost no one).

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “my fiance’s old ’04 S60 with 124k miles”

        Such an impressive lemon-litany and Volvo wasn’t even Chinese yet :-D

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          The biggest issue for me was just how non-DIYable the work was, unless I had Volvo’s proprietary VIDA diagnostic software to reset the airbag error (after getting the instrument cluster circuit board rebuilt), same for the power window level resetting. I cut my teeth on Japanese stuff so I’m much more comfortable wrenching on J-cars, this Volvo had a lot of very unusual (for me) elements. Without getting too involved, I polished it up and cleaned the interior, made a good advertisement with nice quality photos, brought back the faded-to-grey plastic bumper trim with peanut butter and a coat of tire gel (looked like new!). The window I fixed after the buyer paid for the car as part of the deal. Like I said, we were glad to be rid of it and replaced it with a 2012 Camry SE 2.5.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “peanut butter and a coat of tire gel”

            Improvise, adapt, overcome! Stout fellow!

            Did the gel kill the smell?

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    EPA requirements will become more stringent in the near future, for cars AND trucks. Why do you think Ford has switched to aluminum, and GM will be too. The new mileage requirements are going across the board. Trucks included. Also, smaller engines with direct injection and turbocharging, as well as plug in hybrids, are the future. Not just Volvo, but ALL auto manufacturers.
    Just because gas is cheap now, does not mean mileage can remain poor. The pollution larger engines make, can no longer be acceptable. The world is changing, and the auto manufacturers must adapt world-wide.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      Do you have any idea what your going on about? The NOX emissions from going to direct injection and making the compression ratios higher on these small engines are making them more harmful to the environment, the average normal displacement gas engine today is putting out cleaner air than it takes in. I hope your talking about larger Diesel engines because larger low compression gas engines are not a problem for the environment.
      The EPA is in effect pushing for engines more harmful to the environment by pushing smaller engines. Similarly electric, whether full or partial aren’t catching on for the average consumer, billions have been wasted on that goal and what do they have to show for it, the Prius and a bunch of also rans. You cannot honestly use Volvo as an example for what the future holds, it’s simply not what consumers want or are willing to pay for, otherwise established companies such as Toyota and GM would be following suit with their midsize crossover offerings.

      We cannot continue to accept small NOX emitting gas engines in our society, it is a massive step backwards in the quest for keeping our air clean. Similarly we cannot continue to create superfund sites to build batteries when we have an abundance of clean NG and oil.

      Fuel economy now is better than ever, there’s not a single passenger (non-HD, non-lux)) vehicle offered on the market that gets poor fuel economy.

      • 0 avatar
        derekson

        Small gas engines do not emit NOx, they emit hydrocarbon particulates. Properly tuned gasoline engines do not produce NOx in any significant quantity because the most efficient way to combust gasoline is at stoichiometric ratios, so there is no excess oxygen to produce NOx byproducts.

        Direct injection engines do product particulates (soot), regardless of their fuel source being gasoline or diesel. Diesels are required to have filters to collect these particulate emissions (DEF).

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          @ derekson
          Direct injection engines do product particulates (soot), regardless of their fuel source being gasoline or diesel.

          They’re finding that non-gdi engines may be emitting carcinogenic particles as well. Anything with a cat apparently. Most of the research I’ve seen occurred at Rice University. EPA will probably be dealing with it once there is more research to back up the findings.

      • 0 avatar
        mcs

        >> Similarly we cannot continue to create superfund sites to build batteries

        Cleaner manufacturing processes are being implemented. I don’t see where any of the newer processes are creating anything resembling a super-fund site. In fact, there’s a pilot plant located right in heavily populated Cambridge MA on Brookline St. and you’d never know it was manufacturing batteries. There are houses right next to it.

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      kmars2009 – some vehicles especially ones sold globally need to be simple.

      The 4Runner for example is simple because for hardcore users that means easy to modify and/or easy to keep running.

      Why do you think the Jeep Wrangler is so popular with off-roaders?

      You literally could custom build one from scratch and never set foot inside a FCA dealer.

      There is a place for high tech and there is a place for K.I.S.S.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    Vehicles with TURBO 4’s…besides Volvo. FORD has several alternatives to V8 power…including turbo 6’s. Soon a turbodiesel. Chevy Malibu is now Turbo. Honda Civic is now turbo, Mercedes has many gas and Diesel turbo’s. Even the S Class has downsized, still V8 but turbo STANDARD. BMW turbo 4s and hybrid offered. VW Jetta now turbo 4 standard.
    Hasn’t anybody read other auto publications, or gone to the NAIAS?
    Smaller powertrains with turbo are going to be the standard, with plugin hybrid offered. Eventually, one day you will choose your vehicle, then choose smaller turbo, plugin hybrid, or all electric. That’s the way it WILL be eventually.
    The 4Runner is a great SUV. I really do like them, but I don’t see much future for them unless powertrains are changed and mileage is improved. Otherwise I’m sure there will be penalties for poor mileage.
    Sorry! It’s just the truth.

    BTW…I live in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area where smog still exists daily. CAFE requirements are demanding higher mileage by 2025. The smog is probably part of the reason.
    Also, do you think Ford went aluminum on the F150 and now the F250 HD for fun? I think not.


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