GOOD-LOOKING, VERSATILE BRO-MOBILE CONTINUES WINNING STREAK
Base price: $38,655
As tested: $40,890
Your inner bro comes barreling forth as you head off to the supermarket, the game, the concert or to work (listed in order of importance) in this smooth-ridin’, handsome V6 with 270 horses. It doesn’t come with a baseball cap or a thumb drive with “The Best Of Dave Matthews,” but it should.
It’s got a part-time four-wheel drive system and a 5-speed automatic tranny that shifts like butter. 17-inch alloy wheels hug that road well, and the 4Runner handles as well as any Sport Ute in its class. You can take sharp turns without too much trepidation – but don’t try to pace that guy in the Viper up yonder, either. The interior’s sweet and slick, with high-quality components, a rock-solid steering wheel and all the latest high-tech gadgetry. The Tundra also did what I asked of it, accelerating, braking and turning quickly with no questions asked. You can’t ask for more than that.
A locking rear differential with multi-terrain select is available in case you get a hankering for mud, a hill of dirt, a forest stream or other dude-type recreation. Deploy “Crawl control” and everyone in the car will think you’ve gone off-roading a million times. It’s really designed for someone who hasn’t done it, though, and insures all make it home without Triple A’s help.
It’s V6 isn’t a monster, but that helps the vehicle achieve approximately 17 miles per gallon in city driving, 21 on the highway. That’s far from Prius territory, of course, but you’re not going to get third-row seating in a Prius, nor the 4Runner’s interior acreage where I jammed a whole week’s worth of lumber and a set of drums with room for the cooler, too. With seats folded down, you’ve got 90 cubic feet of cargo space.
You’ve also got up-to-the-second computer technology inside as well as a reverse camera, though every vehicle in this segment has those accessories. Some sweet options include a $1,750 Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System and a $350 Sliding Rear Cargo Deck.
The best SUVs walk a fine line between great looks while avoiding an overdose of McGaudy, and the 4Runner succeeds. For more information, click on Toyota4Runner.