BY GERRY MILES
I remember when the 4Runner was essentially a plastic, hard topped capped off version of a Tundra or Tacoma pickup with an optional bench seat that would have been luxurious on a buckboard but rivaled the uselessness of the rear seat in my CJ-7.
Still, it provided a 4-wheeler’s dream: seating and a roller across the rear truck bed, truck functionality and a new style that was immediately embraced.
Now into its 5th Generation, the 2014 4Runner appears as muscular and squared as ever, a comfy SUV (interior refinements in PR speak) resting behind the rugged Tundra’s front facade and the marque’s legendary powerful engine and powertrain to do the pushing or pulling to places off the beaten or snow-covered paths.
The new 4Runner will be offered in 3 grades. All grades now feature a roof rack as standard. Optional third-row seats on SR5 and Limited boost capacity to 7 people and gives Toyota a chance to say they have a ‘third-row’ SUV.
- value-driven SR5
- top-of-the-line Limited
- Trail grade for off-road capability.
- 4Runner will offer three power-train setups
- rear wheel 4×2
- part-time 4×4
- full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential.
Every 4Runner comes equipped with a 4.0-liter, 270 hp V-6 mated to a 5-speed ECT-i automatic transmission. It’s one of the few vehicles that still offers a transfer case.
Here’s the full Toyota press release on the 2014 4Runner. Enjoy.
TORRANCE, Calif., April 27, 2013 – – For nearly three decades, the Toyota 4Runner mid-size SUV has been a stalwart for off-roading enthusiasts seeking a SUV with rugged, go-anywhere capability. Currently in its fifth-generation, 4Runner continues as one of the few fully capable mid-size SUVs, and the redesigned 2014 4Runner receives a rugged new exterior design, and interior refinements that add comfort and convenience without sacrificing its hallmark performance capability and excellent value.
The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with comprehensive suspension technology that yields optimal off-road capability with a smooth ride and comfort more often associated with crossovers. The 2014 4Runner is available in three grades: a well-equipped, value-driven SR5; top-of-the-line Limited, and a Trail grade for those who want maximum off-road capability. Optional third-row seats on SR5 and Limited allow for up to seven-person capacity.
4Runner owners will have the choice of a rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 or a full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential. All models are equipped with a powerful 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower V6 teamed to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission and one of the few vehicles that continues offer a transfer case.
4Runner’s Rugged Exterior Design Projects Its Off-Road Heritage With a Premium Refinement
The refreshed 4Runner features a redesigned front fascia that conveys a more rugged and aggressive appearance. This includes a muscular front grille, and edgier smoked headlamps for a more forceful look. The SR5 and Trail grades feature a color-keyed grille insert and front bumper that is surrounded by fog lamps set in sharply cut inlays that extend from the headlamps down to the bumper.
The Trail grade features new color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, and it continues to be distinguished by an aggressive hood scoop and silver painted front and rear bumper accents. All grades are now standard with a roof rack.
In addition to the distinctive new grille, the premium Limited’s front design stands apart with a chrome-plated grille insert and chrome front bumper that extends to the fog-lamp bezels. The side molding, roof rack and rear bumper are also chrome trimmed. The headlamps have also changed from halogen to projector beam, with both the headlamps and redesigned rear combination lamps on all 4Runner grades now featuring LED lamps.
Both the SR5 and Trail grades will ride on 17-inch alloy wheels with a new wheel-design for both, while the Limited continues to ride on 20-inch alloy wheels, which are now painted black prior to machining to add contrast. All grades continue to come standard with a full-size spare.
The 2014 4Runner will be available in eight exterior colors that include new additions: Super White; Attitude Black Metallic; Barcelona Red Metallic; and Nautical Blue Metallic. They will join carryover colors that include: Blizzard Pearl; Classic Silver Metallic; Magnetic Gray Metallic; and Black.
New Interior Styling Has a refined style with the Comfort expected of a Mid-size SUV
The 4Runner exterior updates are complemented by touches of refinement on the inside. Both the SR5 and Trail grade add standard Soft Touch door trim, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and leather shift knob provide a premium feel and atmosphere.
The SR5 receives a new bright and highly visible Optitron instrument panel that houses speedometer, tachometer, voltage, fuel and coolant temperature gauges, plus a multi-information display that offers multiple functions. An Eco-Driving feedback system allows the driver to monitor fuel consumption in real time. On 4Runner Trail, an overhead console within easy reach organizes the off-road control switches into one location. A compass indicator and outside temperature display add functionality. A manually controlled air conditioning system is standard on SR5 and Trail grades; the Limited features an automatic dual-zone climate-control system.
For second-row passengers, a sculpted front seat-back shape provides additional knee space. The second-row seats, which include a center armrest, individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps for relaxing passenger comfort. The 40/20/40 second-row seat configuration also has a one-touch walk-in function, making access to the third row easier. Third-row seating is available on SR5 and Limited grades and features a roomy, supportive seating area.
The SR5 and Trail grade come standard with comfortable fabric-trimmed seating available in Sand Beige, Graphite or Black. Available SofTex seats offer a soft, rich feel. New for 2014, the SR5 adds a standard eight-way power driver seat.
The Limited comes standard with a leather-trimmed interior with new ventilated driver and front passenger seats in Sand Beige, Black and a new Redwood color. Front seats are also heated with eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat with power lumbar support and four-way power-adjustable passenger seat. Both front seats are now standard with memory settings.
Powerful 4.0-liter V6 Helps Take 4Runner Anyplace, Anytime
The 4Runner 4.0-liter V6 generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s operating range. Fuel economy ratings rival some crossover SUVs with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for 4×2 models, and 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4×4. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds and all vehicles feature an integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness as standard equipment.
4Runner Balances Full Off-Road Capability with Smooth Around-town Handling
A double-wishbone independent front suspension, combined with a variable-flow rack-and-pinion steering, help give the 4Runner precise control on demanding roads. Coil springs over gas shocks are used at all four wheels for a comfortable ride and controlled handling. The four-link rear suspension maximizes off-road axle articulation, whileproviding a smooth ride for rear-seat passengers on and off pavement.
The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control. With X-REAS, 4Runner corners flatter, smoother, and handles choppy pavement more easily. 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.
The 4Runner SR5 and Trail 4×4 models have a two-speed, part-time four-wheel-drive system with neutral position, maximizing fuel efficiency when a 4×4 configuration isn’t needed. The 4Runner Limited is equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch.
The A-TRAC traction control system is standard equipment on all 4×4 models. The system can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery patches virtually transparent to the driver. An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.
The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast. The Trail grade offers an optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). KDSS significantly improves terrain-following ability by dynamically disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.
Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature is standard on the Trail grade. The system helps maintain an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components.
With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings. This allows the driver to maintain focus on steering over rough level ground or steep grades without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.
The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that dials in wheel-slip control to match the terrain. In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.
All models come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to hold the vehicle stationary before starting on a steep incline or slippery surface. All 4Runner 4×4 models feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augments the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle, allowing time for the driver to a target speed with no driver intervention.
Versatility and Convenience Provide Comfort and Utility
An array of convenience features and versatile seating configurations provide the 2014 4Runner with ample passenger comfort and utility. Fold-flat second-row seats provide a level load floor in the 4Runner, and it is not necessary to remove the headrests to fold the seats flat. The available third-row seat is split 50/50 and folds flat. The seats can be folded from the side or at the rear, using separate one-touch levers. With this arrangement, more cargo space is available without removing seats, and longer items can be conveniently carried.
A Smart Key system featuring keyless entry with push-button start is standard on the Limited grade. The system allows the driver to unlock or start the vehicle by carrying the keyless remote. The cargo door window has jam control, like the moonroof and power side windows.
An available pull-out cargo deck is capable of carrying up to 440 pounds to make loading and unloading heavy items easier and to provide seating for tailgating and campsite relaxation.
All 4Runner models come standard with a 120V outlet and two additional 12V outlets.
A front and rear clearance sonar system is standard on Limited models, and a rear-view backup camera is now standard on all 4Runner models. The system displays in the audio screen, increasing visibility at the rear of the vehicle.
New Audio Systems Include Standard Entune™ Multimedia System
New for 2014 on SR5 and Trail grade 4Runner models is Entune™ Audio Plus, which includes Toyota’s Entune multimedia system, an AM/FM/MP3 CD player with eight speakers, integrated SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio (includes 90-day trial subscription), USB port with iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth® hands-free phone capability and music streaming.
Standard on the Limited grade is the new Entune Premium JBL Audio system, which incorporates today’s most in-demand connectivity features. It includes the Entune multimedia system, a JBL® premium sound system with navigation, SiriusXM Satellite Radio (with a 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes® tagging and 15 speakers. The navigation system includes a large seven-inch monitor.
Entune is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers mobile apps for Bing™, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable®, and Pandora®. Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.
Standard on all audio systems is a unique “party mode” audio setting that is ideal for tailgating, raises bass response and shifts sound balance to the rear of the vehicle. Party mode is in addition bolstered by rear liftgate-mounted speakers, which function with or without party mode selected. The pole antenna has been dropped in favor of a new in-glass antenna.
Toyota’s Exclusive Star Safety System, Eight Standard Airbags, Safety Connect
The 4Runner features Toyota’s standard Star Safety System™ that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST) brake-override system. VSC helps the driver to ensure control by compensating for front and rear wheel slip. The system uses selective braking and modulated engine output to help keep the vehicle in line with the driver’s steering inputs. On 4×2 vehicles, the Auto LSD (Limited Slip Differential) system allows for better traction on slippery sections of roadway. The four-wheel ABS with EBD provides the 4Runner with optimal brake proportioning, regardless of vehicle load.
Eight standard airbags includes front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side-curtain airbags for the second and third rows. All 2014 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger, and three-point seat belts for all seats.
The 2014 4Runner Limited offers the Safety Connect™ telematics system. Available by subscription, with or without the optional navigation system, Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. When Safety Connect is ordered, it includes a one-year trial subscription.
In case of either airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision, an Automatic Collision Notification system is designed to automatically call a dedicated response center. If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to dispatch assistance.
Pushing the in-vehicle “SOS” button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance needs. If a 4Runner equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle.
4Runner Includes Toyota Care Complimentary Maintenance
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The 4Runner will also come standard with Toyota Careä, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.