Reviews

2015 Toyota 4Runner Walk Around

The Toyota 4Runner is shaped like a truck, with a flat roof and flat window lines. It’s a big box with a wide stance and edgy wheelwells There are no pinched, tucked or wraparound pieces trying to make this SUV pretty. The fenders suggest muscle and the bumpers suggest heft, even with their angles for clearance and climbing. The grille is pronounced and the lights stick out, front and rear. The standard roof rails and trailer receiver add to the impression that this truck is meant to be used.

The TRD Pro raises the ruggedness to another level. Its massive black grille pays tribute to the early Toyota Baja offroad racers, and its P265/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler tires set it apart. The eye-catching skid plate adds a chunk of wow, and, with the front end lifted by one inch to make room for the additional inch of wheel travel, the mechanical pieces of suspension and steering are visible. Beefy red Eibach springs wrap around fat polished Bilstein dampers, while axles and rack-and-pinion steering arms hide their joints inside three black accordion boots on each front wheel.

SR5 and Trail are styled to project rugged good looks and a sporting nature. Nothing speaks macho like a bumper that looks like a brush bar is built in; none of that bolt-on towel rack stuff for the 4Runner. Trail has a faux hood scoop, its own wheel style, color-matched exterior trim and bumpers, and a dark smoke treatment on the headlights and tail lights.

The Limited comes on lower-profile, narrower P245/60R20 tires mounted on alloy wheels. It gets more chrome and a less pronounced proboscis; it’s still a blunt instrument, it’s just shinier. All models come with a proper full-size spare, and the Limited has a matching alloy spare. Like the SR5 and Trail grade, the Limited has a rear spoiler that houses the rear wiper, keeping it tucked away from harm but not as easy to clean. Optional retractable running boards stay out of harm’s way on the road or trail, but should have an out position on the switch so you don’t have to crack a door open to clean them off.

Interior Features

The Toyota 4Runner interior was designed to be practical and utilitarian. The cabin is trimmed in textured materials appropriate for a vehicle likely to carry dirty boots, dogs and kids. The Limited model achieves those things while lolling in the lap of luxury, namely leather including the third row for kids.

The front seats are comfortable and supportive, with good adjustability working in concert with the tilt/telescoping steering wheel. The seats wide enough for an average body, with low bolsters on the seat cushion and taller side bolstering on the seat back that provides support on winding roads without making the driver’s seat hard to get into.Two fabrics are offered, in addition to leather.

Second-row 60/40 seats have a comfortable recline and fold flat. If you order the 50/50 folding third-row seats the second row slides forward to ease rear access. Neither rear access nor second and third-row room matches three-row crossovers, many of which are larger outside, nor the Durango. The two-row Jeep Grand Cherokee, the shorter Nissan Xterra, and the creative Jeep Wrangler Unlimited have more second-row head and legroom, but the 4Runner has more cargo space (about 90 cubic feet behind front seats and 46 behind the second row).

The steering wheel is a thick four-spoke. The Optitron instrument cluster is crisp and clear, switchgear easy to sort out, and the Entune line of audio and navigation systems quick to master. Top models link vehicle settings to paired smartphone, so your phone brings your radio stations, climate control settings and so on. Cabin lighting is blue. Although all 4Runners have the 2/4-wheel drive control on the console ahead of the properly gated shifter. The Trail models have more controls in the overhead above the rear-view mirror.

Three 12-volt outlets are located in the glove box, the center console stack, and the cargo area. An available 120-volt AC outlet, useful for charging batteries or running appliances at the campsite, is located in the cargo area. Some sound systems have a party mode that adds bass and shifts audio power rearward for listening with the hatch open.

For two-row 4Runners a sliding load deck cargo floor is available, rated for 440 pounds. This could be useful as a pull-out picnic or work table, for jumping dogs to get in or out without scratching bumpers, or even forklifting big boxes in. The loss in cargo volume is negligible and there’s a good-size well underneath it.

The rear hatch has a vertically-sliding power window that can be controlled from up front, at the back, or by key remote. This can be used for loading lighter things in back or to promote increased flow-through ventilation with minimum wind noise, and likely appreciated by some smokers or anyone who carries stinky cargo. Since it’s contained in the hatch it need not be lowered before the hatch is opened. It does use a rear wiper that parks above the window, so sometimes when washing the glass the muck streaks back down.

Interior

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