By on March 16, 2016

Ford Troller T4, Image: Ford Brazil

I can’t believe it, but I’m about to argue that the American market needs another SUV. Seriously. No, please, don’t click away.

Really, beyond the various Wrangler derivatives, are there any true sport utility vehicles offered here any longer? Everything else is a unibody cute-ute or some monstrous limo/wagon hybrid that can’t handle a curb, let alone a rocky trail.

Plus, it has the perfect name for both the writers and readers of TTAC: Troller.

The Troller T4 is a Brazilian built offroader, inspired by the Jeep. But now that Ford owns Troller, there are plenty of Blue Oval influences throughout.

Troller T4 interior

It’s now based on the global Ranger platform, sharing a diesel five- cylinder and the six-speed transmission. And look at the interior! It reminds me of a previous-generation F-150. The styling is a bit funky, certainly, but functional.

Troller T4 in mud

Those odd vents behind the front wheels are sealed air intakes, to minimize the chances of water ingestion during river fords. The Troller is so beloved in the homeland that there is an off-road rally/race series specifically for this truck — Copa Troller — where water crossings are obviously needed.

We’ve talked about it before; Ford needs a real hardcore SUV in the lineup. This might be the truck to wear the beloved Bronco badge. Base price in Brazil is around $32,000 USD, which sounds on the money for our market. It’d need a petrol engine here. The 3.5-liter Ecoboost would be a fun choice.

Ford, please. Do it.

[Images: Ford Brazil]

Chris Tonn is a broke classic car enthusiast that writes about old cars, since he can’t afford to buy them. Commiserate with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram.

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57 Comments on “Foreign Affairs: Troller T4, Brazil...”


  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Really, beyond the various Wrangler derivatives, are there any true sport utility vehicles offered here….

    Not sure why you wouldn’t include the 4Runner. A buddy of mine bought one about six months ago, forgive me, I can’t recall the option package name but it has been up in the mountains on pretty gnarly trail and performed just fine.

    • 0 avatar
      Chris Tonn

      Oh, crap. Forgot about the 4Runner. Apologies, Toyota fans.

    • 0 avatar

      The Land Rover Defender as well as LR4 are not Jeep-derived, although Defender is certainly Jeep inspired. The Land Cruiser is, amazingly enough, derived from a Jeep CJ. You can say the same about UAZ Hunter (and Patriot). In addition, a few small SUVs that are not Jeep derived can be found here and there. Lada Niva, Suzuki Jimny/Samurai/Sidekick, Daihatsu Rocky/Rush, Mitsubishi Montero are not Jeep-derived in any meaningful sense.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Note “offered here”, though – the Rest Of The World has plenty.

        You can’t get a (new) Defender in the US, let alone a UAZ or Lada.

        (I think the LC and sibling Lexus LX are disimplied by the idea that the target here is Less Than Gigantic; thus “sport” in “sport utility”, despite being perfectly capable off a road.

        Otherwise most 4WD trucks would qualify, with their offroad packages.)

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I like how they basically said “IDGAF” and put a nasty aftermarket radio in there.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I think the interior would be a hard sell in the US market at $32. Maybe for a year or two until the newness went away.

      • 0 avatar
        eliminator

        Even with freight expenses, it should be below 32k: in Brazil cars are heavily taxed – something like 35% (yes, 35%!!!), but, obviously, exports are not taxed.
        Maybe the problem would be certifying it to US market

  • avatar
    Fonzy

    It’s Ford’s FJ Cruiser. Around the same price too.

  • avatar
    Rday

    Thank God it is not a Fiat/chrysler bastard. We need for FCA to go away and take a ‘dirt nap’. Generally the more competition there is the better. Too bad that it is a ford. their reliability and longevity is not what i would call encouraging.

  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    That 32k for a base model sounds steep – would anyone know if the conversion takes into account taxes, fees, etc that might drive the cost up? I’ve read in a few places that Brazil has one of the highest costs of owning a vehicle.

    That being said – if its based on the global Ranger platform and looks somewhat on the smaller side of things, that would be a beast with 2.7 Ecoboost.

    Sign me up.

    • 0 avatar
      PeriSoft

      Apparently, the base Focus in Brazil is $22k vs 17k in the US. The Titanium seems to be $30k USD in Brazil; here it’s $23. I’m not sure if the equipment / engine levels match completely either. So it seems likely you’d be looking at around $10k less.

      That said, it’s a rather different vehicle and sold in different volumes, and presumably the Troller has more local content (which is a huge tax advantage) – so maybe the difference wouldn’t be as much? I’m not an expert.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “And look at the interior!”

    I’d really rather not…

  • avatar
    Hummer

    $32k gets you into a brand new 4Runner, and the 4.0 in the 4Runner is more appealing than anything at Ford other than maybe the 5.0.
    A vehicle like this would either need to start at $20k or be ready for a short life span, there’s just no way something that looks like it was designed in a 3rd world could make it here.

    But I agree America has an extremely limited selection of SUVs

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      $20K is low, but I could see it selling around the same price as the Wrangler, slightly better equipped (standard doors and roof, that sort of stuff).

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      So I was looking to replace my 01 Jeep Grand Cherokee and on paper the 4 runner was perfect, albeit expensive. To get it was going to sell the Jeep and E46 wagon. Went to go drive one last week and hated it. Bobbed and weaved like a drunken sailor. Seriously my 01 Jeep was better in every way driving wise (no where near as good reliability and resale). I think I am getting too old for new 4 door wrangler, so we do need something else. Even if it is 30k. Used Xterra is my last hope now.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Xterra drives A LOT worse than a 4Runner, the rear leaf pack is way too soft in a failed attempt at ride comfort. Instead, any highway expansion joint causes very unsettled sideways axle hop (which seems to be inherent to leaf-sprung solid rear axles as it is).

        The 4Runner is likewise tuned towards a comfortable ride with soft springs, but manages unnerving sideways motion much better IMO. Soft springs + huge suspension travel = sailing on the high seas when driving on the road. The KDSS option totally transforms the drive, but you pay for it. Stiffer springs would solve the problem as well, at the expense of ride comfort.

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          Thanks for the heads up about Xterra. I thought it would ride stiffer but guess not. I’m used to lots of suspension travel, my jeep has a slight lift but even with solid axles front and rear it just handles way better. Must be the 1000+ pounds of weight it doesn’t have over the 4runner. I read about the KDSS from the BB here but wasn’t able to find one a a dealers lot. I should try the Tacoma as well.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Hate to tell you, but the only real off-roader that drives and handles well on-road is the Land Rover LR4 (aka Discovery outside of the US and Canada). I’m not recommending one, but maybe it’s worth a test drive just so you have a frame of reference.

      • 0 avatar
        White Shadow

        Yup, the current generation is an absolute joke when it comes to driving dynamics. Toyota really dropped the ball with the 5th generation 4Runner. It’s been around for 7 model years already, but it drives worse than the 4th gen 4Runner (which I owned for 10 years) and those were around from 2003 – 2009. The real problem is that Toyota cut costs by decontenting the 5th generation and the driving dynamics took a big hit. I’m hoping the next generation return to 4Runner to its former glory, and it would be great if they made them good looking again too. The 5th gen is just too ugly for me. Almost Pontiac Aztec ugly!

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          I don’t need one that handles well. My Jeep is by no means a canyon carver, but I don’t want horrible handling. The 4 runner was scary on on ramps.

          I look at the LR4 and to get one I could afford it would have 30k-40k miles so I think of goingthe Doug Demuro(?) Car Max warranty route. But really the only reason I considered spending 35k on a 4 runner was because it would last forever and hold its value. The LR4 won’t do either and I would feel horrible pin stripping it in the woods.

        • 0 avatar
          Hummer

          My 2016 4Runner has a little bit of bump steer which I’m used to but was a little surprised to see on such a small vehicle that’s as modern as it is, Another problem is that some roads that have “odd” asphalt conditions caused a weird resonance and shaking (I’ve only seen this on like 10 different roads), and finally I would have to say the rear axle is more noticeable than any GM SUV I’ve ever driven which kind of surprised me, since my GM Spring over axles were all designed 10-20 years ago.

          Other than those 3 issues I think the ride is phenomenal, the seats could use some work, less is NOT more when it comes to seat comfort.

          Also I’m not sure if you test drove a brand new 4Runner or used, but I’ve heard the handling improved remarkably in the 2015 update over the earlier 5th gens.

          • 0 avatar
            JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

            Lol You bought a terrible SUV. The only thing worse than how it drives is how it looks.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            John did a 4Runner steal your boyfriend? I see in it the last truly utilitarian, reasonably sized and priced SUV, that has unmatched long term reliability and durability.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          As far as decontenting goes, yes it was a real shame to lose the multi-mode 4wd transfer case that was across the line (unless you got a V8 with mandatory fulltime 4wd). But I will posit that the current (’14+) 4Runner is a nicer place to spend time in than a 4th gen in terms of interior as far as material quality is concerned.

          In regards to handling, the 4th gen was definitely the most car-like 4Runner ever, I think it mostly came down to just how much ground clearance they lost. They advertised 9.1 inches of ground clearance, but in reality it was barely over 8 inches under the front skidplate. With the 5th generation, things were returned to the way they should be (IMO). Along with that increased ride height inevitably comes more body motion, since they did not want to sacrifice ride quality. My 3rd gen with 10+ inches of clearance has less brake dive than rental 5th gen SR5s that I’ve had, but you pay for it in terms of how you get a lot more beat up by the road. I would honestly take the softer setup and sacrifice some control.

    • 0 avatar
      RobertRyan

      Very limited indeed

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus_3.0_AX4N

      ” there’s just no way something that looks like it was designed in a 3rd world could make it here.”

      Says the man who bought the ugliest utility vehicle since the first Compass or maybe the Aztec. Even the Isuzu VehiCROSS wore its ugly better. Youre proof positive that no matter how ugly a given vehicle is, SOMEBODY will buy it.

      Id actually take a used VehiCROSS over the keys to a new 4Runner. Maybe a Suzuki X90 lol

      • 0 avatar
        formula m

        JohnTaurus you are the delusional commenter that says the Chrysler 200 is far better than a Camry. How’s that working out?… Chrysler 200 production has stopped since you shared your knowledgeable insight.

        4Runner is one the best vehicles on the planet.

        Enjoy your garage full of orphaned 200’s, X90’s and VehiCross. Amazes me you feel compelled to share your opinions publicly

  • avatar
    TonyJZX

    $32k USD probably is loaded with that Brazil tax. Its also probably not ncap 5 euro 5 whatever.

    It has an overwhelming 3rd world China spec look and feel inside and out.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    This would be perfect for jumping over curbs at the Whole Food parking lot.

    • 0 avatar
      Frank Galvin

      Don’t forget that’s also ideal for vegan and/or hippy intimidation at Whole Foods. Nothing like seeing a jacked-up 4×4 emitting diesel particulate circling the lot and drawing disdainful scornful stares from the local Feel the Bern crowd. As an aside, I live in a really, truly, left-wing place best described as a Peoples’ Republic. I make it a point to have lunch at the local Whole Foods right before a major snowstorm. Panicked hippies, vegans, and other ne’er-do-wells provide great entertainment.

  • avatar
    RS

    The US Ranger/Bronco should have this covered.

    And it will need 4 doors to sell better here. See Wrangler.

  • avatar

    Why can’t VW make an SUV out of Amarok? That can’t be too hard. For crying out loud it’s sold in Europe.

  • avatar
    Sigivald

    “Really, beyond the various Wrangler derivatives, are there any true sport utility vehicles offered here any longer”

    The G-class?

    Too bad nobody can afford one, and those who can would never, ever take it off-road, no matter how capable it is.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Anyone notice how much like the Toyota FC Cruiser this thing looks? Honestly, unless it’s a true pop-top as in removable, it will probably do no better than the FC did.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    It puts me in mind of Korea’s own Jeep variant, the Ssangyong Korando.

    It was literally a Jeep copy.
    https://es.autodata24.com/i/ssangyong/korando/korando-k4/large/ae58b9a9b7d787135df8dd007a968b8c.jpg

    Then it was a sorta Jeep copy.
    http://bestcarmag.com/sites/default/files/308356Daewoo-korando-1.jpg

    Now it haz a sad as an Equinox thing.
    https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/5/57/SsangYong_Korando_e-XDi_200_4WD_Sapphire_(V)_%E2%80%93_Frontansicht,_31._Dezember_2012,_D%C3%BCsseldorf.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      I actually like that, ‘sorta Jeep copy’ thing.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        It has a handy full rear swing door.

        http://ipocars.com/imgs/a/e/b/n/p/ssangyong__korando_c_4_x_4_2000_6_lgw.jpg

        And was available with removable half soft top like an Hombre.
        http://auto-database.com/image/ssangyong-korando-cabrio-kj-2003-pictures-74328.jpg

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Korandos were (are?) sold in Russia and are pretty well respected for what they are. Near-UAZ capability without the massive build quality defects from the factory, at only a slight price premium. Like the Ssanyong Musso, the old Mercedes underpinnings are pretty solid and long lasting.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        They seemed to hold up well to SK, lots of them around in a nation not known for enjoying old cars.

        The Musso was a bit derp, but in two-tone I could get with it in some trims.
        http://auto-database.com/image/ssangyong-musso-fj-1995-pictures-73900.jpg

        Window line always bothered me.

    • 0 avatar
      NoGoYo

      That sure is a knockoff of a Jaguar grille!

  • avatar
    wstarvingteacher

    Love it. Of course I am sold on the idea of SUVs. Live far enough south that a diesel is a good idea year round. There are a lot of these that appeal to me. They just aren’t sold in the U.S. Am waiting to see what sort of reliability/durability reputation the Renegade develops. Drive a 4 runner and really don’t have any intention of going back to a pickup.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      I think going from your ’95 stick shift 4Runner to a Renegade would quite unequivocally be the single biggest leap downwards in reliability/durability that anyone’s ever made. Now, considering the Toyota’s 21 year age of course age related wear will require attention, but seriously, I cannot fathom making that trade.

      • 0 avatar
        Vulpine

        “I think going from your ’95 stick shift 4Runner to a Renegade would quite unequivocally be the single biggest leap downwards in reliability/durability that anyone’s ever made.”

        You’re making an assumption based on no valid data. Granted the two vehicles are quite different in many ways (the 4-Runner is notably larger) but the Renegade is proving itself capable for what it is. Reliability needs time to become established.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          Re: reliability
          We have valid data that FCA quality is in the dumps, the 9 speed transmission has a plethora of issues.

          Re: durability
          You seriously think a Fiat unibody crossover is at all comparably durable to a BOF SUV that literally borrows its fully boxed frame and drivetrain from a Hilux? This generation of 4Runner (Hilux Surf globally) also makes quite a few cameos in Afghanistan where it is a local warlord favorite, and has even been used by our own special forces:

          linkhttp://www.brian894x4.com/images/Mil4runner1.jpg

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            “We have valid data that FCA quality is in the dumps, the 9 speed transmission has a plethora of issues.”
            — What we had was a variety of people who didn’t give the transmission time to program itself to their driving habits; the same was true for the Cherokee when it first came out and we don’t hear a lot of people complaining about that one any more. Simply put, it’s different and people driving them for the first time don’t understand that difference, so they think they’ve got a problem.

            “You seriously think a Fiat unibody crossover is at all comparably durable to a BOF SUV that literally borrows its fully boxed frame and drivetrain from a Hilux?”
            — I’m not comparing a Fiat unibody crossover to a Hilux. Compact SUVs are all on their way to being unibody beasts, whether you like it or not. The simple fact that the 4Runner is BoF means it’s far bigger than the Jeep Renegade just as the Jeep Wrangler is far bigger than the Renegade. The Renegade is far more capable than any other “space frame” SUV on the market outside of Jeep’s own larger models on soft roads (and some ‘no road’ locations) and that locking tri-diff design is part of the reason why. Yes, it will be a little harsh when locking and unlocking due to the dog-tooth design of the clutches. As far as real capability, it has managed to surprise owners who currently own a fleet of modified Wranglers as to where it can go… though they also acknowledge its limitations which seem more due to its relatively low horsepower than to any 4×4 gearing limitations.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            FCA is currently killin it with 4/10 worst car spots on the Consumer Reports list! Yay!

            https://www.yahoo.com/autos/consumer-reports-names-worst-vehicles-182900152.html

          • 0 avatar
            Vulpine

            While I do study CR’s reports along with everything else available when I make an automotive purchase, it is by no means the only or even the most heavily-weighted measure. I’ve found they grossly overstate some issues and understate positive aspects of vehicles to make them look worse than they really are; much like any prejudiced commentator. They don’t have to be paid by a competitor to offer a bad report on a car; they only have to be prejudiced themselves… and I believe they are.

      • 0 avatar
        wstarvingteacher

        @gtemnykh. After I made the comment I googled the vehicle because I’ve been thinking a lot along those lines lately. My left knee has suddenly remembered it belongs to an old man (72yo).

        I’m not thinking along those lines now. Troublesome 9 speed automatic was the kicker. Was really thinking to replace the Nissan Cube with it before my CVT becomes troublesome. Now my thoughts have pretty much gone along the “devil you know” line.

        How long can a 4Runner last. Possibly longer than an old guy’s driving career.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    The Bronco will fill this niche. Same basic concept. Don’t expect two doors through. Ford isn’t going to waste time with that.

    • 0 avatar
      Vulpine

      If it doesn’t have a 2-door version, bball, a lot of people won’t even consider it. Four doors means it’s an Explorer, not a Bronco. Remember, the Explorer was effectively an offshoot from the small Bronco II which was based on a short wheelbase Ranger chassis.

      Two doors represents ‘sporty’ as in SPORT utility vehicle; four doors represents ‘utility’ as in sport UTILTY vehicle.


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