2013 Toyota 4Runner Review By Dan Poler


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2013 Toyota 4Runner


By Dan Poler
Rocky Mountain Bureau
The Auto Channel

Once a segment leader for SUV’s, today Toyota’s 4Runner is something of a curiosity. Where the rest of the world has shifted to unibody construction, the venerable 4Runner has stuck to body-on-frame construction with a host of features that stay true to its go-anywhere image. But is the market still looking for a vehicle like this?

Although the marque been around since 1990, the current-generation 4Runner debuted for the 2010 model year. 2013 brings us no significant changes to the vehicle; a mid-cycle refresh is on tap for the 2014 model year. Our tester came as a Limited trim model, which brings 20-inch wheels and offroad tires, an adaptive suspension system, automatic headlights, keyless ignition and entry, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather seating surfaces, heated front seats, HD radio, and a touchscreen audio system.

On the outside, the 4Runner carries a distinguished, edgy, and aggressive look, courtesy of its high, blocky front grille and emphasized body-color fender flares. Its 9.6 inches of ground clearance have it sitting high off the ground, and the 20-inch wheels fitted with big 246/60R20 tires compliment the look. The downside to this look, however, is it brings with it the aerodynamic properties of, well, a shapely brick. A shapely brick on 20-inch wheels. At the back, the top-opening rear hatch has a power sliding window which can be opened either from the tailgate or by driver control, a nice and unique touch in the segment.

Inside the cabin, we find quite a fair bit of hard plastic, and much of it in matte silver. Displays and gauges are predominantly red segmented LCD’s. Although somewhat cheap-looking at first glance, in the 4Runner these materials come together nicely and feel at home – a contribution to the rough-and-tumble nature of the vehicle. Seating positions are high, and the tall dash and short front window provide a perception of piloting an airplane rather than an SUV. There are a number of unique features throughout, such as a button to activate “Party Mode” for the audio system – which tunes it to work better with the rear hatch open – and not one, but two AC outlets – one of which is good for a hefty 400 watts.

Driving the 4Runner on pavement is something of a lackluster affair. The 4-liter V6 puts out a respectable 270 horsepower, but for a vehicle with a curb weight just shy of two and a half tons, that’s not as much horsepower as it may seem. The 4Runner struggles to gain speed, struggles to overcome the resistance of its own weight. Upshifts from the 5-speed automatic are laggy and hesitant. It leans into the corners. Sure, there’s a Sport mode for the transmission, although it just seems to chop off the 5th gear. We averaged 20 MPG overall, a reasonable return for a vehicle of the 4Runner’s capabilities.

Offroad performance is where the 4Runner shines, through tried-and-true features like low-range gearing in four-wheel-drive, a proper solid live axle in the back, and the unique Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System – developed by an Australian company, KDSS can disengage stabilizer bars when it detects a wheel has dropped, enabling better traction with less roll over rocky terrain.

Despite shortcomings in its on-road performance, the overall comfort and off-road capabilities of the 4Runner really make it shine. More functional day-to-day than a Jeep Wrangler, and larger and more comfortable than a Nissan Xterra, its rugged looks, body-on-frame construction, proper low-range gearing, and substantial towing capability make the 4Runner an excellent choice for those spending a lot of time off the pavement. But as the market has moved in another direction, and by staying true to its roots, the 4Runner is unquestionably a vehicle in search of its driver.

Specifications

2013 Toyota 4Runner Limited
Base Price: $31,490.00
Price as Tested: $44,217.00
Engine Type: DOHC 24-Valve V6
Engine Size: 4.0-Liter
Horsepower: 270 @ 5,600 RPM
Torque (lb-ft): 278 @ 4,400 RPM
Transmission: 5-Speed shiftable automatic
Wheelbase / Length (in): 109.8 / 189.9
Curb Weight: 4,805 lb
Pounds per HP: 17.8
Fuel Capacity (gal): 23 
Fuel Requirement: Regular unleaded
Tires: Bridgestone Dueler H/T 684 II; P245/60HR20
Brakes: Ventilated disc
Suspension, front/rear: Double wishbone / solid live axle
Ground clearance (in): 9.6
Drivetrain: Full-time 4WD w/ A-TRAC and locking center differential
EPA Fuel Economy - MPG
city / highway / observed: 17 / 21 / 20
Towing capacity (lb): 5,000
Base Trim Price: $41,030.00
Options and Charges
Voice-activated touch screen w/ integrated backup camera display, JBL AM/FM 4-disc CD changer with MP3/WMA playback capability, 16 speakers including subwoofer, SiriusXM satellite radio with NavTraffic, auxiliary audio jack, USB with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth: $1,155.00
Cargo cross bars: $185.00
Protection package: $403.00 (carpeted floor mats and cargo mat, mudguards, door edge guard)
Running boards: $599.00
Delivery: $845.00
Price as tested: $44,217.00

Get complete specifications on these vehicles:

Complete specifications on these and other vehicles are available at the New Car Buyers Guide!

-->

Home | Buyers Guides By Make | New Car Buyers Guide | Used Car Super Search | Total New Car Costs | New Car and Truck Reviews
Automotive News | TACH-TV | Media Library | Discount Auto Parts

Copyright © 1996-2014 The Auto Channel. Contact Information, Credits, and Terms of Use. These following titles and media identification are Trademarks owned by The Auto Channel, LLC and have been in continuous use since 1987 : The Auto Channel, Auto Channel and TACH all have been in continuous use world wide since 1987, in Print, TV, Radio, Home Video, Newsletters, On-line, and other interactive media; all rights are reserved and infringement will be acted upon with force.

Privacy Statement | Size Does Matter | Media Kit | XML SITE MAP | Affiliates

Send your questions, comments, and suggestions to Editor-in-Chief@theautochannel.com.

Submit Company releases or Product News stories to submit@theautochannel.com.
Place copy in body of email, NO attachments please.

To report errors and other problems with this page, please use this form.

Link to this page: http://www.theautochannel.com/