First Impressions: 2010 Toyota 4Runner

Expert Reviews Toyota

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

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.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

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 the 2010 Toyota 4Runner, with a new wider, more rugged fender and bumper design accenting new headlights and taillamps that improve nighttime visibility.

2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5

2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5

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.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail edition hood scoopTrail edition 17-inch wheels2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

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.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

2010 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition

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.

2010 Toyota 4Runner InteriorParty-Mode SwitchCrawl and Multi-Terrain Controls

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.

Carey Russ demonstrates the sliding cargo tray on the new 2010 4Runnerpart-time 4WDImproved 4Runner door panel

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.

2010 Toyota 4Runner Photo Gallery

Toyota 4Runner Specs

Toyota 4Runner Sport Specs

ToyotaThe official website of Toyota –

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  • molook says:

    On October 18, 2010 my 2009 Toyota Sienna dashboard VSC (Vehicle Skip control)/OFF TRACK and check engine lights illuminated. I took my van in for service immediately. The dealership made repairs that were covered under warranty, and assured me that the van was safe to drive.

    On November 24, 2010, the same VSC/OFF TRACK and check engine lights illuminated again. When I returned to my local dealership for service, I was informed that due to the Thanksgiving Holiday, the service department did not have availability until November 30, 2010. Service Advisor assured me that my vehicle was safe to drive, as long as I stayed in town, and wasn’t planning on taking the car on any long trips.

    However, I never got a chance to return my van to the dealership because on November 29, 2010 it started to make unusually loud noises and accelerated unexpectedly. Naturally, I attempted to stop by breaking, but the brakes were not functioning at all. I tried again and again to break, but to my disappointment the brake pedal did nothing, no matter how much I pumped it.

    Luckily, I was able to avoid hitting any pedestrians or cars by steering up the curb and into a lamppost. The van continued to accelerate uncontrollably until it finally came to rest on the steps of the County Courthouse!

  • Toyota will test its newest 4Runner and showcase the SUV’s capability and durability in the Mexican desert’s treacherous terrain. The safety is big concern in taking a new vehicle so Toyota 4runner is manufactured with Star safety system. Toyota crawl control is has features which will help vehicle to maintain speed.

  • kickME says:

    It seems to be really powerfull one. And… it looks great! I think 4runner (or Surf as I used to calling it) is the best of mid-size SUV…

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