The Toyota 4Runner is an old-school SUV, pure and simple.

    The Toyota 4Runner is a throwback inside the midsize SUV phase. In contrast to the once-tough Ford Explorer and Nissan Pathfinder which have morphed into three-row crossovers on unibody platforms, the 4Runner’s basis stays rugged-first, with body-on-frame structure. And whereas Ford and Nissan now provide an arsenal of media and security applied sciences; by comparability, the growing old Toyota cannot sustain.

    But even with the 4Runner’s old-school make-up and frozen-in-time gear listing, Toyota nonetheless manages to maneuver a good variety of them. Final month, 9,669 4Runners discovered new properties. That does not match the 15,484 examples of the extra family-friendly, three-row Toyota Highlander bought throughout the identical interval, but it surely’s respectable for a automobile that is eight years into its present mannequin cycle, with bones far older than that.

    Grey beard

    Take a detailed have a look at the 4Runner and you will uncover the tried-and-true parts. Beneath the hood sits a four.Zero-liter V6 making 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque — an engine that initially debuted within the 4Runner 15 years in the past. With Eight-, 9- and even 10-speed transmissions distinguished within the auto trade right this moment, the 4Runner nonetheless rocks a 5-speed automated.

    Nothing fancy with a four.Zero-liter V6 and 5-speed transmission.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    That stated, this historic powertrain continues to be lots easy. Throttle response is close to prompt at tip-in, energy supply is linear all through the rev vary and the gearbox fluidly performs well-timed up- and downshifts. Energy is neither ample nor briefly provide, merely satisfactory for pulling away from stops in a brisk method and getting up to the mark for expressway merging.

    Gas financial system shortfalls, in the meantime, cannot be masked. The EPA says the 4Runner with four-wheel drive is estimated to return simply 17 mpg within the metropolis and 21 mpg on the freeway. Over the course of two fill-ups in my 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Highway, I noticed 16.7 mpg. Compared, an all-wheel-drive Jeep Grand Cherokee with a V6 and eight-speed automated is estimated to return 18 mpg within the metropolis and 25 mpg on the freeway.

    In comparison with a contemporary crossover, the 4Runner sacrifices some journey compliance given its body-on-frame structure. It bounces over pockmarked roads for a extra truck-like journey, although an optionally available adaptive suspension helps issues keep fairly easy, retaining physique roll in test. Responsive steering makes maneuvering round city straightforward sufficient and the brakes are sturdy, however seize onerous midway by means of the pedal stroke requiring a quick acclimation interval.

    A extra truck-like journey, however nonetheless compliant.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    Off-road, the upgraded suspension provides the ute some further wheel journey that, together with a locking rear differential and low-speed Crawl Management cruise management system, higher equip this TRD Off-Highway mannequin for path responsibility.

    Simply the fundamentals

    From a visible standpoint, the 4Runner seems to be beefy and purposeful. In TRD Off-Highway trim, the 4Runner solely receives small tweaks, with model-specific C-pillar badges, silver bumper accents, a hood scoop and black-painted wheel inners to set it other than different fashions.

    For the inside, the Off-Highway will get a TRD shift knob, flooring mats and pretend carbon fiber heart console trim. Like the outside, the design is simple, with enormous management knobs and switches for the air con system, and useful storage cubbies to stash all of your stuff. Cloth seats are removed from luxurious, however comfortable with serviceable legroom for passengers in each the primary and second rows.

    There’s lots of onerous plastic in there.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    Within the trunk space, there’s an optionally available sliding cargo deck for fast and straightforward loading and unloading of things. You can carry lots of stuff, too, with 46.three cubic-feet of house behind the rear seat — that is greater than the Grand Cherokee’s 36.three. If that is not sufficient, folding the rear seats flat opens up 88.Eight cubic-feet of actual property to swallow tenting gear or the bounty from warehouse membership procuring expeditions.

    There’s, nevertheless, an enormous serving to of onerous plastic surfaces within the 4Runner. A lot of the sprint is constructed from it and varied controls really feel hole and low-cost. In a midsize SUV with a price ticket within the $30,000 vary, this cheaper materials is less complicated to just accept, however in one thing with an as-tested worth of $40,725, it is a bit of a letdown.

    Tech deprivation

    Quarterbacking cabin infotainment is Toyota’s Entune system with a 6.1-inch touchscreen, navigation, Bluetooth, eight-speaker sound system and satellite tv for pc radio making up the sunshine expertise choices. Touchscreen response is swift and navigation route calculations occur rapidly, however general the system is subpar, missing noteworthy options like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Pinpoint accuracy can be obligatory when making an attempt to hit the tiny icons on the small display screen — you may end up hitting the improper buttons extra typically than you want.

    On the protection tech entrance, the listing of options begins and ends with a backup digicam. So if you need options like blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warning with lane maintain help, adaptive cruise management and rear cross site visitors alert, you are going to need to look elsewhere.

    My 4Runner

    Despite the fact that I am not a critical off-roader, any 4Runner ending up in my storage could be a TRD Pro purely due to its seems to be with a novel grille, underbody skid plate and exclusivity issue. The high-performance Bilstein shocks and particular springs for a taller journey peak are additionally cool, however possible would by no means be absolutely utilized. It will be painted Tremendous White to distinction properly with the black wheels. I’d additionally equip it with operating boards, to make getting out and in simpler, and the sliding rear cargo deck. With all that, the worth tag of my excellent 4Runner is $44,819.

    Not for everybody

    There are a lot of shortcomings to the 4Runner with its veteran drivetrain, less-than-stellar gas financial system, lack of creature comforts and slim expertise choices, however there’s one thing nonetheless undeniably cool about it. When driving it, you aren’t getting misplaced in a sea of options. There’s magnificence within the simplicity.

    No frills, only a easy midsize SUV.

    Jon Wong/Roadshow

    Driving a no-frills automobile just like the 4Runner is refreshing. It is an ideal SUV for individuals who subscribe to the less-is-more mind-set. But when it is fashionable accoutrements you search, the 4Runner is not for you.

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