|2010 Toyota 4Runner
By Derek Mau
2010 is just around the corner and Toyota is ready to release the next generation of their midsize SUV – the 4Runner. The all-new 5th generation 4Runner is due to arrive at dealerships late November and CarReview was invited to preview Toyota’s midsize SUV.
Staying true to its origins, the new 4Runner is built on a traditional body-on-frame chassis and can get serious when straying off the beaten path. With body panels blockier than a pit bull’s head, the new 4Runner looks stocky, very muscular, and more athletically capable than Bo Jackson (before his hip-replacement surgery). A completely redesigned interior and unique cargo area make the newest 4Runner smarter, more comfortable, and more versatile than ever. Available in three models, top-of-the-line Limited, a well-equipped SR5, and the Trail grade for those who require maximum off-road capability.
Drivetrain configurations include rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 and full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential. All 4×4 models are equipped with an improved 4.0 liter V6 mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The 4×2 models can be equipped with either a 2.7 liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed automatic or the 4.0 liter V6 with the five-speed automatic. The 2.7 liter 4-cylinder engine produces 157 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, while the 4.0 liter V6 cranks out 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. The fifth generation 4Runner has better fuel economy and 34 horsepower more than the previous V6 and 10 horsepower more than the optional V8 of the previous generation.
Seventeen-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard on SR5 and Trail models, with 20-inch wheels standard on the Limited, with all models getting a full-size spare. Exterior styling is another major change for the4Runner, with a new wider, more rugged fender and bumper design accenting new headlights and taillamps that improve nighttime visibility.
The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with a superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the active outdoor enthusiast. It can be distinguished by a unique hood scoop, unique 17-inch wheels, black outer mirrors, front and rear bumper guards and dark smoke treatment on the head and tail lamps.
Off-road fun is still part of the equation for the 4Runner and the Trail grade offers all kinds of goodies. To enhance grip, the A-TRAC system and electronic-locking rear differential are standard on the Trail grade. The A-TRAC force distribution system ensures any one wheel with grip gets the power. Toyota’s optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) radically improves terrain-following ability by disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.
Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) system is also standard on Trail grade models, which helps keep vehicle speed low for navigating particularly tricky or steep terrain. CRAWL is an adjustable electro-mechanical system that can be tuned to match the terrain by selecting any of five speed levels. With the transfer case shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five low-speed settings.
The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control. X-REAS automatically adjusts the damping force of shocks when driving over bumpy surfaces, or when cornering. The system uses a center control absorber to cross-link shocks on opposite corners of the vehicle, substantially reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs. Read our review of the 2009 4Runner outfitted with the X-REAS system for our impressions of this dynamic suspension system.
For the interiors, Toyota revised the dashboard and introduced new radio, gauges, and climate controls. The 2010 4Runner also offers a lot of entertainment features, including a standard five-speaker (Trail) or eight-speaker (SR5) CD stereo system with XM satellite radio capability. A premium 15-speaker JBL audio system is available, and adds Bluetooth, iPod and MP3 control. When it’s time to tailgate before the big game, the 4Runner’s premium JBL sound system even has a “party mode” that biases output to the rear of the vehicle and cranks up the bass.
Other notable features is the sliding cargo trail which can be very useful at tailgate parties or just hanging out at the back of the truck. We also liked how the power window and power door lock switches were mounted high on the door panel. Very convenient when reaching for those switches and it frees up more space on the door for water bottles and other trinkets.
Safety is a big concern with the new 4Runner as well, and all models get the Star Safety System, which is Toyota’s designation for a roster of electronic nannies including stability control (VSC), traction control, electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), brake assist and ABS. Passive safety features include eight standard airbags for front, side and knee airbags in the front row, and side curtain bags for the second and third rows.
Prices for the all-new fifth-generation 4Runner will range from $27,500 for the SR5 grade 4×2 with a four-cylinder engine to $39,800 for the Limited grade 4×4 V6. The pricing represents an excellent value as 4Runner starts with a price point more than $1,000 less than the current generation’s lowest price model. The MSRP of the most popular selling 4Runner, the SR5 4×4 V6, will remain the same as the previous generation at $30,915 even though it receives more than $1,700 in added equipment. Value is further enhanced on all 4Runner grades with an array of performance, safety and convenience upgrades.
Toyota 4Runner Sport Specs
|The official website of Toyota – www.toyota.com|