2014 Toyota 4 Runner

2014 Toyota 4 Runner

2014 Toyota 4 Runner

By Steve Kursar –

The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is the last true SUV in a long list of pretenders. Many of its competitors are capable but not as truly rugged. Want to drive off-road again and again with your family in the back seat? Well, there’s only one affordable mid-size SUV that can handle the stress.

Back in the late eighties when the Ford Explorer made the American car buying public SUV-crazy, automakers fell over themselves to introduce their own SUV. Soon, every manufacturer had reconfigured their truck platform to bring an SUV to their respective showrooms. But, as gas prices rose and as consumers complained of the harsh ride afforded by these body-on-frame SUVs, the automakers made a clever switch.

They created the crossover: they took a car-based platform and built what looked like an SUV on top of it. Now they had a vehicle that got better fuel economy and drove like a car but could not brave a ranch road. Well, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is NOT one of those. It’s a true body-on-frame SUV that can take most things that you can throw at it. But wait, there’s more…

The 4Runner handles beautifully and doesn’t show any harshness on the highway. The Toyota designers updated the styling for 2014. So the 4Runner looks hip and cool driving either to the Galleria or the Piney Woods. The rear compartment has an optional rear heavy-duty sliding tray that allows you to save your back and keeps things organized.

The interior is remarkably quiet and refined with all the tech features that you expect in any new car. It’s roomier than most of its competitors, and the cabin materials are designed to withstand more wear and tear as well.

There’s only one engine offered in this model, the 270 hp, 4.0 liter V8 that develops 278 pound-feet of torque. It feels a little heavy driving on the highway, but that’s what a true SUV does, which is why you should expect fuel economy that’s also a bit heavy at 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway. At a base MSRP of $32,820, you get a ton of rugged capability at a mere fraction of the price of a new Toyota Land Cruiser, the 4Runner’s big brother in the Toyota lineup. It’s nice that Toyota is keeping the spirit of the SUV alive in a sea of crossovers.