Car Review: 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium

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As the list of serious 4×4 SUVs dwindle away, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium is just what the off-road, truck-loving folks ordered. Currently in its fifth-generation, the 4Runner continues as one of the few fully capable mid-size SUVs. 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. We drove the 4Runner enough to realize this is one tough customer!

EXTERIOR

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 headlights have also been changed from halogen to projector beam and the redesigned rear combination lamps now feature LED lights. The SR5 as tested 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. 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.

Both the SR5 and Trail grades ride on 17-inch alloy wheels with a new and unique wheel design to 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 look of the 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium is very distinctive on the road, commanding attention with the aggressive front end.

INTERIOR

There are plenty of full-size pickups that would crave the cabin space of the 4Runner with the well thought out spacing, touches of refinement and made-for-work toughness. The SR5 and Trail grades 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 the 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, while the Limited features an automatic dual-zone climate-control system.

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Toyota reveals the new 5th generation 4Runner for 2014

Toyota has sold nearly 2 million 4Runners since its introduction back in 1984—and about 75% of them are still on the road. (Or still off-road…) This year, they are releasing the 5th generation of the rugged, go anywhere vehicle, and we got a chance to get a first look at the 2014 4Runner before it hits showroom floors in September or October.

The exterior was given an update, with an aggressive new front facia sporting a muscular front grille and smoked headlamps that flare wide off the front end. Available in the same three trims as the previous year—SR5, Trail for maximum off-roading, and top-of-the-line Limited—the Trail still sports the hood scoop, and the Limited gets 20-inch wheels, painted black for added style and contrast, and enough chrome to keep a posse happy.

Still one of the only SUVs with a truck’s body-on-frame construction, giving the 4Runner optimal off-road capability, it’s coupled with a suspension technology that gives it a smooth ride more often associated with crossovers.

All three trims will get the same engine: a 4.0-liter V6 that pushes 270 horses and 278-lb-ft of torque, allowing the 4Runner to tow a max of 5,000 lbs. with the integrated tow-hitch receiver on the back end.

Toyota has made the interior of the 4Runner a little more refined and a little more “premium” looking for the 5th Gen as well. We finally get a Smart Key system with keyless entry and pushbutton start, although it only comes standard on the Limited. The SR5 and Trail now get a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, with the option to swap the fabric trimmed seats for the Limited’s double-stitched leather.

But the best new feature we love is the standard Party Mode. Ideal for tailgating, Party Mode is a unique audio setting that shifts all the sound to the rear of the 4Runner, especially the liftgate mounted speakers, and pumps the bass for maximum enjoyment in the campground or stadium parking lot.

The new 4Runner is slated to be available starting in September, and from what they’re telling us, the goal is to keep the price points to 2013 levels. And we’ll be test-driving one of the first production models on an off-road course in late July, so watch for that review.

  

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