Toyota grafts one of its angriest faces ever onto its evergreen 4Runner during a mid-cycle refresh; cabin gets similar updates.
A 4.0-liter V6 is the single source of power for the whole lineup; five-speed automatic transmission and two optional 4×4 systems carry over.
Even though nearly every other competitor has “gone soft”, the 4Runner continues to use a separate chassis underneath its bolt-on body. That’s because Toyota’s hard-working truck stubbornly refuses to become a jacked-up car. To make the 2014 model a little easier to spot, it features a slightly redesigned snout with more angular projector beam headlights with smoked lenses, and a huge lower grille and bumper. The latter is body-color on most, although top-end Limited get a flashier metal insert. Underhood, the 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 which, as Goldilocks once famously declared, “is just right” and it also earns a respectable 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. All models are equipped with five-speed-automatic transmissions. The four-wheel-drive option gets you a part-time system with a two-speed transfer case (it has a low range) in the SR5 (it’s standard with Trail models). Meanwhile, the luxury-skewed Limited’s 4×4 option is a full-time unit with a locking center differential controlled by a console switch. Dashboards and other interior bits are similarly refreshed, with softer materials and leather-wrapped steering wheel and a new audio system. Base SR5 4Runners feature air conditioning, eight-way power driver’s seat, eight airbags (including two front-knee inflatables) and chrome roof rails, while 4×4 models are also equipped with Hill Start Assist that keeps the vehicle from rolling backward when stopped on an incline and Hill Descent Control to prevent unintended out-of-control acceleration on a downward slope. The Trail Edition lives up to its name by including a system that sets the vehicle at a specific speed while operating in low range over extremely rough ground. Instead of bouncing your foot back and forth between the brake and throttle, you just have to work the brake. As well, the Multi-terrain Select allows the driver to add or reduce the amount of wheel slip, depending on surface conditions such as loose sand or solid rock. Limited content includes the Display Audio system with a touch-screen and on-screen apps (optional on lower trims), leather interior, 15-speaker audio system, dual-zone climate control, backup camera and a sliding rear cargo deck that can support up to 440 pounds. As was previously the case, a third-row seat can be added to SR5 and Limited models.
Base price (incl. destination): $31,400
Type: Four-door sport-utility vehicle
Base engine (hp): 4.0-liter DOHC V6 (270)
Layout: Front-engine, rear- /four-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Five-speed automatic
MPG (city/hwy): 17/23 (4×2)
Safety: Front airbags; front-knee airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; stability control; traction control
Weight (lb.): 4,300