In our experience, the Toyota technologies worked as advertised, and allowed our testers to dial in just how much involvement they wanted from the vehicle. Unlike other Toyota products, we didn't feel that the 4Runner's electronics were overly intrusive. The learning curve can be a little steep at first, but in an afternoon, even a newbie wheeler can traverse tough trails like a pro.
The 4Runner has sturdy underbody protection and 9.6-inches of ground clearance, but a low hanging front crossmember met its share of rocks during our test. If we could make any changes to the Trail package, we'd add a front locker and some sort of rocker protection. Otherwise, the Trail package is well thought out, solid, and clearly aimed at enthusiasts. Whether you are an offroad novice or a seasoned pro, the 4Runner suits drivers from both ends of the experience spectrum.
While other manufacturers are shying away from capable body-on-frame SUVs, we applaud Toyota for continuing the 4Runner tradition and offering a truly trailable rig right out of the box. The Trail version, which is one of the most comprehensive offroad packages in the segment, deserves special mention for bringing Land Cruiser technology to a more affordable price point. The 4Runner is a multi-purpose SUV that is even better in its fifth generation. For that, we are awarding it our 2010 Four Wheeler of the Year award.
What's Hot: Potent V-6, flexy suspension, well-sorted chassis, Trail package is solid
What's Not: Down market interior materials, controversial styling
Our Take: The best IFS 4Runner to date, and our 2010 Four Wheeler of the Year
From the Logbook:
"The doors sure are tinny sounding when you shut them."
"The 4Runner practically drives itself over the rocks!"
"Structure is solid as a rock."
"Driving position feels almost aircraft like with all the overhead controls."
"Crawl control rules, now where is that button?"
"Ten grand less than the Lex GX but just as wheelable. Nice!"
"Active-Trac, Schmactive-Trac-there's just no substitute for that rear locker."
"Needs a better tire for such a capable trail machine."
"Overall, the most trailworthy IFS 4Runner ever, with a few strange design quirks."
|SPECIFICATIONS AS TESTED
||Toyota 4Runner Trail
|Price as tested
|Options as tested
||Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System ($1,750); Voice-activated touch-screen navigation system with JBL AM/FM/MP3 4-disc CD changer with 15 speakers in 9 locations ($2,420); carpet floor mats & cargo mat ($204); destination ($800)
|Bore x stroke (in)
||3.70 x 3.74
|Mfg.'s power/torque rating @ rpm
||270 @ 5,600/ 278 @ 4,400
|Mfg.'s suggested fuel type