Automotive

Published on September 8th, 2019 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez

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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 thelooks and the capability departments thanks to two new offerings. The newNightshade Special Edition will offer Limited buyers a sleek, sporty packageaccented with black features that include 20-inch black wheels, black bumperand grille accents, and black interior trim on the steering wheel, centercluster, 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, the4Runner 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. Ohyeah, and it offers room for up to seven passengers. Whether blazing trails ornavigating the concrete jungle, 4Runner is up to the task.

GetWhere You Need to Go

Regardless if the destination is a secludedtrailhead, local boat ramp, or traffic-clogged school drop-off zone, the4Runner delivers with everyday comfort, versatility, and proven Toyotareliability. 4Runner’s strength originates at its tough-as-nails body-on-frameconstruction featuring a 4-link rear axle and coil-spring suspension. But thattough chassis is also the source of 4Runner’s comfortable ride. You don’tsacrifice 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-timemulti-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 ruggedlysinister covered in mud, but clean it up and it looks ready for a relaxingnight out. All 4Runners are equipped with projector beam headlights and LEDrear combination lamps. The SR5 and TRD models ride on 17-inch alloy wheelsthat are available in three designs: 6-spoke (SR5, SR5 Premium), 7-spoke (TRDOff-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 theircolor-keyed bumpers and overfenders, hood scoop, and silver painted front andrear bumper accents. “TRD Off-Road” badges adorn the C-pillars.

The top-of-line Limited is the only 4Runnerwith a chrome-plated grille insert and exterior trim, and its 20-inchmachine-finished wheels and P245/60R20 tires are exclusive to the model.

Black is the name of the game for the newNightshade Special Edition. Based on the Limited grade, Nightshade offerspremium black accents such as black front and rear bumper spoilers, outermirror and door handles, window moldings, rockers panels, door garnish, roofrails, black badging, black chrome front moldings, and even a black exhausttip. Black 20-inch wheels help complete the unique sporty exterior. Inside,black interior trim features include the steering wheel, center cluster andconsole panels, shift knob and shifter panel, and inner door grips. Nightshadeis available in select colors: Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallicand Blizzard Pearl.

EngineGuts

The 4Runner’s gutsy 270-horsepower4.0-liter V6 routes its stout 278 lb.-ft. of torque through a 5-speed ECT-iautomatic transmission with sequential shift mode. Dual Independent VariableValve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’sentire operating range. There’s plenty of torque for towing, hence theinclusion of a standard integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness on allgrades. All 4Runner models can tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds, with a maximum500-pound tongue weight.

The 2WD models feature a standard AutomaticLimited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). This function of the traction control(TRAC) system allows some wheel slippage to help the vehicle dig out from sandor 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 withselectable low-range. By distributing drive force to any one wheel in contactwith the ground, A-TRAC can help maintain traction when it senses wheelslippage occurring on terrain irregularities and slippery patches.

Exclusive to the 4Runner Limited, thefull-time 4WD system uses a Torsen® center differential with locking featureand a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The system uses a 40:60 torquesplit in most driving situations and alters that in response to slippage. Ifthe front wheels are slipping while the vehicle is turning, the Torsen®differential changes the split to 30:70. If the rear wheels slip while thevehicle is turning, the differential changes to a 53:47 split.

AddedTraction

The 4Runner is fortified by a supportingarray of technologies that enhance the capability provided by the high-strengthchassis and 4WD. Standard Hill-Start Assist Control (HAC) provides additionalcontrol when accelerating from a stop on a steep incline by helping to hold thevehicle stationary for approximately 5 seconds while the driver transitionsfrom the brake pedal to the accelerator. Limited and SR5 models equipped with4WD also feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augmentslow-speed descending controllability by helping to maintain a constant slowspeed and prevent wheel lockup, allowing the driver to concentrate primarily onsteering.

The 4Runner TRD Off-Road, Off-Road Premium,and TRD Pro models add the capability of an electronic-locking reardifferential and Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature. The latter helpsmaintain a constant speed in slow-speed off-road situations, enhancing vehiclecontrol when driving up, over or down obstacles. With the transfer case shiftedinto low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and braking force to propel thevehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speedsettings. The driver can focus on steering without having to also modulate thethrottle or brake pedal.

As conditions on the trail change, the4Runner TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro driver can adapt thevehicle with the Multi-Terrain Select system. A dial is used to select the modethat matches prevailing terrain and conditions, adjusting wheel slipaccordingly. For example, on loose terrain such as mud and sand,more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in thevehicle’s favor. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such asV-ditches, slopes, and ridges — uphill or down. In this mode, wheel slip isminimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. On 4RunnerTRD Off-Road models, an overhead console groups the off-road control switchesinto one location.


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