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Thursday, December 31, 2009



Remember the days when SUVs were S-U-Vs? 4x4s were 4x4s and off-roading was something you did on the Rubicon Trail, not on the curb outside your child's elementary school. Even as Toyota is (hopefully) returning to its roots with the FT-86, at the other end of the spectrum Toyota is using this 4Runner to prove the company still cares about unique products for unique people.

Let's face facts: the Toyota 4Runner is not the main thruster in Toyota's SUV family anymore. Not with HAC, DAC, A-TRAC, KDSS, auto LSD, Crawl Control, VSC cutoff, skid plates and a website called TrailTracker.com. Not without hybrid availability or models named Sport and SE.

Still, y'ought not be misled. A top-end Toyota 4Runner is fitted with a 15-speaker JBL sound system, voice-activated GPS, a backup camera, and power-operated heated leather seating. Toyota wouldn't want to completely forsake what the 4Runner has become in returning to what the 4Runner once was.


Engines: 157/270 horsepower; 178/278 lb-ft of torque from a 2.7L inline-four or a 4.0L V6

Base USD Price: $27,500

Cargo Capacity: 89.7 cubic feet behind front row

Maximum Towing Capability: 5,000 pounds

City Mileage: 17 miles per gallon

Sales Stats: Toyota 4Runner sales in '08 were less than half what Toyota achieved only a few years prior, on a consistent basis, in fact. 2009 has been even worse. Compared with last year, '09 sales are off by about 65%. One way to fix such stagnant figures is to return the vehicle's roots with style and purpose. That's exactly what's been done with the Toyota 4Runner. Whether or not that will take 4Runner sales in North America to Highlander or RAV4 levels remains to be seen.

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