Published on September 8th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota 4Runner, 35th Year Of Off-road Ability
4Runner, 35 years of family duties in the Americas!
This is not a Prado or FJ Cruiser alternative. This is Toyota’s answer for a growing segment called ‘large family SUV’ which is big business in North and South America. This is Toyota’s answer to American made large sized SUV’s for family use that doubles as a true road trip across American family vehicle. This the 4Runner.
Since its introduction in 1984, Toyota 4Runner has built a reputation as the do-anything adventure vehicle. In those 35 years, 4Runner has evolved to offer more creature comforts, safety and tech, but the reason it is still beloved has less to do with changes and more to do with what hasn’t – namely never losing its core DNA as a body-on-frame SUV up for anything.
For 2019, the 4Runner gains in both the looks and the capability departments thanks to two new offerings. The new Nightshade Special Edition will offer Limited buyers a sleek, sporty package accented with black features that include 20-inch black wheels, black bumper and grille accents, and black interior trim on the steering wheel, center cluster, console panels and shifter, just to name a few.
The 4Runner TRD Pro returns in 2019 with some significant changes, the most crucial being an all-new suspension package that includes 2.5-inch Fox Internal Bypass Shocks for impressive off-road performance that doesn’t sacrifice on-road handling. 4Runner TRD Pro also gains a TRD Roof Rack, standard JBL Premium Audio and moonroof, and an updated front skid plate with red TRD lettering.
Regardless of the grade or package, the 4Runner is as versatile as ever. It is a family-hauling, boat-towing, hill-climbing sport-utility SUV that can adapt to just about any situation. Oh yeah, and it offers room for up to seven passengers. Whether blazing trails or navigating the concrete jungle, 4Runner is up to the task.
Get Where You Need to Go
Regardless if the destination is a secluded trailhead, local boat ramp, or traffic-clogged school drop-off zone, the 4Runner delivers with everyday comfort, versatility, and proven Toyota reliability. 4Runner’s strength originates at its tough-as-nails body-on-frame construction featuring a 4-link rear axle and coil-spring suspension. But that tough chassis is also the source of 4Runner’s comfortable ride. You don’t sacrifice one to get the other.
The 4Runner offers the choice of 2WD, part-time 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case, or, in the Limited, full-time multi-mode 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case and locking center differential. All four-wheel-drive models offer a generous 9.6 inches of ground clearance. All 4Runner models come with a full-size spare tire.
The Toyota 4Runner can look ruggedly sinister covered in mud, but clean it up and it looks ready for a relaxing night out. All 4Runners are equipped with projector beam headlights and LED rear combination lamps. The SR5 and TRD models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels that are available in three designs: 6-spoke (SR5, SR5 Premium), 7-spoke (TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium), or a TRD alloy painted matte black (TRD Pro). The TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium are distinguished by their color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, hood scoop, and silver painted front and rear bumper accents. “TRD Off-Road” badges adorn the C-pillars.
The top-of-line Limited is the only 4Runner with a chrome-plated grille insert and exterior trim, and its 20-inch machine-finished wheels and P245/60R20 tires are exclusive to the model.
Black is the name of the game for the new Nightshade Special Edition. Based on the Limited grade, Nightshade offers premium black accents such as black front and rear bumper spoilers, outer mirror and door handles, window moldings, rockers panels, door garnish, roof rails, black badging, black chrome front moldings, and even a black exhaust tip. Black 20-inch wheels help complete the unique sporty exterior. Inside, black interior trim features include the steering wheel, center cluster and console panels, shift knob and shifter panel, and inner door grips. Nightshade is available in select colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Blizzard Pearl.
The 4Runner’s gutsy 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 routes its stout 278 lb.-ft. of torque through a 5-speed ECT-i automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s entire operating range. There’s plenty of torque for towing, hence the inclusion of a standard integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness on all grades. All 4Runner models can tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds, with a maximum 500-pound tongue weight.
The 2WD models feature a standard Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). This function of the traction control (TRAC) system allows some wheel slippage to help the vehicle dig out from sand or snow, for example. The available part-time 4WD system uses Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) and bolsters off-road capability with a two-speed transfer case with selectable low-range. By distributing drive force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, A-TRAC can help maintain traction when it senses wheel slippage occurring on terrain irregularities and slippery patches.
Exclusive to the 4Runner Limited, the full-time 4WD system uses a Torsen® center differential with locking feature and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The system uses a 40:60 torque split in most driving situations and alters that in response to slippage. If the front wheels are slipping while the vehicle is turning, the Torsen® differential changes the split to 30:70. If the rear wheels slip while the vehicle is turning, the differential changes to a 53:47 split.
The 4Runner is fortified by a supporting array of technologies that enhance the capability provided by the high-strength chassis and 4WD. Standard Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) provides additional control when accelerating from a stop on a steep incline by helping to hold the vehicle stationary for approximately 5 seconds while the driver transitions from the brake pedal to the accelerator. Limited and SR5 models equipped with 4WD also feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augments low-speed descending controllability by helping to maintain a constant slow speed and prevent wheel lockup, allowing the driver to concentrate primarily on steering.
The 4Runner TRD Off-Road, Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro models add the capability of an electronic-locking rear differential and Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature. The latter helps maintain a constant speed in slow-speed off-road situations, enhancing vehicle control when driving up, over or down obstacles. With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and braking force to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings. The driver can focus on steering without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.
As conditions on the trail change, the 4Runner TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro driver can adapt the vehicle with the Multi-Terrain Select system. A dial is used to select the mode that matches prevailing terrain and conditions, adjusting wheel slip accordingly. For example, on loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges — uphill or down. In this mode, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. On 4Runner TRD Off-Road models, an overhead console groups the off-road control switches into one location.