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2010 4Runner

Originally Published in Trailer Life Magazine

From a towing perspective, Toyota’s 2010 4Runner SUV hasn’t changed all that much … but
that may be a good thing. The latest version of this popular vehicle is rated to handle a
5,000-pound trailer, and while it encompasses a wide range of functional and luxury
amenities, it still includes those details that make it a solid performer in its towing
class. New exterior styling emphasizes the rig’s bulkier, more “muscular” lines.
Larger-diameter wheels and tires complement that new look, but it’s what’s under the skin
that makes a difference with the 4Runner. Toyota chose to stick with body-on-frame
construction, meaning a separate chassis is mated to the body structure, and that gives the
4Runner its truck-like solidity and trailer-handling manners. Yet, the coil-sprung solid
rear axle and independent coil-sprung front axle maintain entirely civilized ride and
handling. Road time reveals the all-new 4Runner, despite being larger overall than earlier
models, is still fun for the driver. The optional 4.0-liter 270-hp V-6 and 5-speed ECT-i
automatic transmission are a proven powertrain setup that’s quiet and smooth but very
responsive. The 4Runner is available in 2WD and 4WD versions, with both part-time manual
and full-time multi-mode 4WD systems. The base 2.7-liter 157-hp four-cylinder engine and
four-speed ECT automatic are available only in 2WD 4Runners. We drove with four full-size
adults aboard and an optional third-row seat would provide snug seating for another two as
needed. Regardless of the load, power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel disc
brakes with all the features (ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist and
vehicle stability control) ensure the driver is in control. It should also be noted that
the4Runner has not been involved in the recent spate of Toyota recalls. EPA-estimated fuel
economy is as much as 17 city/23 highway for 2WD models and 16 city/22 highway for 4WD
4Runners. A Fully Redesigned Interior
Buyers can choose from base SR5 and upscale Limited trim and equipment levels, plus there’s
a Trail model for those with rugged off-pavement driving in mind. The 4Runner’s interior is
comfortable and well-planned for sensible driver use. The gauges and controls are legible
and functional, once you get used to them, and the layout is clean and contemporary
although somewhat busy, depending on how many optional gadgets are involved. An overhead
console is also employed when needed for extra controls or readouts. Fabric-trimmed seats
are standard, and leather-trimmed seating is optionally available. Eight-way adjustability
and an optional tilt-telescope wheel provide a wide range of driver-size accommodation.
Access to the third-row seating is via a split 40/20/40 second row bench seat. Both manual
or dual-zone climate controls, depending on trim level, make for a comfortable interior
atmosphere. The second- and third-row seats fold flat when the maximum cargo-carrying
capability is desired. An optional slide-out cargo deck with a 440-pound capacity can make
cargo access considerably easier. The new “Party Mode” setting for the stereo – which
optimizes the sound via the rear speakers to improve tailgating party entertainment – is
definitely a fun feature. Gadgets Galore
The great Darth Vader once said, “Don’t be too proud of this technological terror you’ve
constructed.” Despite this sage advice, Toyota’s engineers have gone electronic-accessory
and safety-gear crazy, and the company also loves its acronyms. Some are standard, some are
part of equipment packages, some are stand-alone options, and availability also depends on
the vehicle trim level. These features include but are not limited to:

  • STAR safety system with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) plus Traction Control
    (TRAC), anti-lock brakes (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake
  • Toyota Crawl Control (CRAWL) Trail Grade model
  • Driver and front passenger TAP (thorax, abdomen, pelvis) front-seat-mounted side
    airbags and front- and second-row (third-row airbags on models so equipped)
    roll-sensing side curtain airbags (RSCA) with cutoff switch.
  • Driver and front passenger knee airbags and active headrests
  • Daytime Running Lights (DRL)
  • Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS)
  • Anti-theft alarm and engine immobilizer (Trail and Limited models only)
  • Backup camera linked to an electrochromic mirror with integrated backup camera
  • Hill-start Assist Control (HAC)
  • Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) 4WD models
  • Downhill Assist Control (DAC) 4WD models
  • X-REAS Sport Enhancement Suspension System (Limited only)
  • Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS)
  • Voice-activated touch-screen DVD navigation system with JBL AM/FM/MP3 four-disc CD
    changer with 15 speakers and 16L woofer box, integrated XM radio with NavTraffic, USB
    port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability with music streaming via
    Bluetooth wireless technology, steering wheel audio controls.

Prices for the new 4Runner range from $27,500 for the SR5 grade 2WD with four-cylinder
engine to $39,800 for the Limited grade 4WD with a V-6. The SR5 4WD with V-6 starts at
$30,915. See your local Toyota dealer for complete information about these and other
components of the new 2010 4Runner. Although a bit complicated, the 4Runner remains a solid
choice as a mid-range-capacity tow rig. Toyota, (800) 331-4331, www.toyota.com.

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