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2010 Toyota 4Runner Preview

2010 Toyota 4Runner Preview

By Jeff Youngs, December 31, 2009
2010 Toyota 4RunnerCritical Knowledge:
  • All-new, fifth-generation 2010 Toyota 4Runner retains body-on-frame, truck-based design
  • Shares platform with the Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • Taller, wider and longer than the previous 4Runner
  • New bumpers, grille, head and tail lamps
  • Large diameter wheels and tires
  • Completely redesigned, larger interior featuring unique cargo area
  • Available in three grades: SR5, Limited and Trail
  • New Trail model is designed to maximize off-road performance, features high ground clearance, a hood scoop, unique 17-inch wheels, black outer mirrors, front and rear bumper guards and dark smoke treatment on the head and tail lamps
  • Offered in rear- (2WD), part-time 4-wheel-drive (4WD), and full-time, multi-mode 4WD configurations (with locking center differential)
  • Choice of 157-hp, 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 engine
  • 4-cylinder engine mated to 4-speed automatic transmission, while V-6 gets a 5-speed automatic
  • Optional fold-flat third-row seat allows for 7-passenger capacity
  • 17-inch wheels on SR5 and Trail models; 20-inch wheels on Limited
  • Three new colors for 2010: Shoreline Blue Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Classic Silver Metallic
  • Available in the fall of 2009
Introduction
Originally introduced in 1984 as one of the first of a new breed of vehicles-the midsize SUV-the 4Runner has been an unqualified success for Toyota (the company claims to have sold over 1.5 million 4Runners over the years). And for all of its success, both in terms of sales and its reputation for quality and reliability, the 4Runner's basic characteristics-rugged body-on frame construction, 4-wheel off-road capability, comfortable midsize cabin-haven't changed at all. Rather than mess with a successful formula, Toyota has spent the last 25 years steadily refining and improving upon the original.

The 4Runner's success has also paved the way for other Toyota SUVs. As of the 2009 model year, Toyota offers no fewer than six different SUV models-the 4Runner, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Land Cruiser, Sequoia and RAV4. If you include the segment-busting Venza, the number is seven, more than any other brand-foreign or domestic.

With a fresh new design inside and out, revised model and engine lineup, and enhanced cargo and off-road capabilities, the redesigned, fifth-generation 2010 Toyota 4Runner aims to build on its prior success. Available in top-of-the-line Limited, well-equipped SR5, or a Trail grade for those who require maximum off-road capability, the new 2010 Toyota 4Runner will be available in the fall of 2009.

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2010 Toyota 4RunnerDesign
The redesigned 2010 Toyota 4Runner is taller, wider and longer than the model it replaces, and the vehicle's exterior design features a more rugged, powerful stance, according to the automaker. Large diameter wheels and tires were added to not only improve off-road performance, but also enhance the 4Runner's truck-based characteristics, the company says. In addition to its styling emphasis on ruggedness and outdoor adventure, the new design "utilizes a combination of Toyota's classic boxy form and progressive styling," according to the company. All 2010 Toyota 4Runner models feature new bumpers and wider shoulders, with newly designed head- and taillights, which Toyota says offer a "newly-minted, technical design quality" and better nighttime performance. Turn signals on SR5 and Limited V6 grades are now incorporated into the outside mirrors, along with puddle lamps. In addition to its distinctive front grille, the SR5 grade also adopts oversized fenders and mud guards. A roof rack comes standard for hauling equipment for outdoor activities. Three new colors are available for 2010: Shoreline Blue Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Classic Silver Metallic.

On the inside, the all-new 4Runner features a larger interior that has been completely redesigned. The cargo area has been re-engineered for maximum versatility, Toyota says. More cargo space is available in the 2010 model due to the fold-flat second-row seats, which, the company says, do not require removal of the headrest for rearrangement. For models with three rows of seats, the fold-flat third row seats are split 50/50. They can be folded from the side, or at the rear, using separate one-touch mechanisms. Toyota points out that with this new arrangement, more cargo space is available without removing seats, and longer items can be conveniently stored. Up front, a new, brighter, higher-visibility dash houses the instruments and gauges. Off-road controls are housed in one location, in the overhead console. Compared to those in the previous 4Runner model, the front seats have a greater range of adjustment, both vertically and front to rear. For second-row passengers, a newly sculpted front seatback shape provides additional knee space. A center armrest has been added, and the second-row seats now individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps. Third-row seating has been enhanced with a larger, more supportive seating area. The interior also sports newly designed color schemes, using Black (Limited only) and Sand Beige. Graphite or Sand Beige fabric comes standard on SR5 and Trail models.

2010 Toyota 4RunnerModel Lineup
The redesigned 2010 Toyota 4Runner is a 4-door midsize SUV, available in three grades (SR5, Limited and Trail) and in either rear- (4x2) or 4-wheel drive (4x4). The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast, the company says. It is distinguished by a hood scoop, unique 17-inch wheels, black outer mirrors, front and rear bumper guards, and dark smoke treatment on the head and tail lamps. The Limited and SR5 grades make extensive use of chrome for a premium look, according to Toyota.

In terms of creature comforts, air conditioning is standard on SR5 and Trail grades, while automatic dual-zone climate control is standard on the Limited. Leather interior is standard on the Limited grade and optional on SR5. A Smart Key system, featuring keyless entry with push-button start, is standard on the Limited grade. The tailgate window, which powers down for added utility just like on previous 4Runners, has jam control, as well as the moonroof and power side windows. Another convenience feature is an available pull-out cargo deck that is capable of holding up to 440 pounds of weight, according to Toyota. The cargo deck slides out to make loading heavy items easier. When extended, the cargo deck can also be used to provide covered seating when the tailgate is raised. Models with the sliding deck also feature a 6.4-liter storage box behind the rear seat.

The base audio system in the SR5 has an AM/FM/CD player with 8 speakers. Standard audio on the Trail and Limited grades (optional on SR5) is an AM/FM/MP3 CD player with 8 speakers, integrated XM satellite radio (free for three months), USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth, and steering wheel audio controls. The optional premium JBL audio system has a 6-disc in-dash CD changer and 15 speakers. For models equipped with the optional navigation system, a 4-disc CD changer is used, and XM satellite radio, Bluetooth, and iPod with MP3 control functions are included, with 15-speaker JBL audio. The navigation system includes a large 7-inch monitor that also allows the driver to monitor fuel consumption.

2010 Toyota 4RunnerHardware
Sometimes, less is more, and Toyota has apparently decided that the availability of a V-8 engine in the new 2010 4Runner just isn't that important. Whether that decision has to do with the company's desire to be considered the "greenest" automaker on the planet, was based on government CAFE regulations, or was simply a response to customer preferences, the bottom line is that, for 2010, a 4.0-liter V-6 is the largest engine available on the Toyota 4Runner. Nonetheless, Toyota has attempted to make up for the lack of a V-8 engine by modifying and increasing the power of the 4Runner's V-6, which now makes 270 horsepower-34 more than the V-6 in the 2009 model, and 10 more horsepower than the optional V-8 of the previous generation. But while the new V-6 has more horsepower than last year's V-8, its torque rating is lower-278 lb.-ft compared to 306 lb.-ft. for the V-8. All 2010 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 models are equipped with the V-6 engine, which is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission. Base engine for the 2010 Toyota 4Runner 4x2 models is a 2.7-liter 4-cylinder unit, producing 157 horsepower. It is mated to a 4-speed automatic transmission.

EPA fuel economy estimates for the V-6 are 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway for the 4x2, and 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway for 4x4 models. The 4-cylinder engine delivers 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. With the new 4.0-liter engine, maximum towing capacity for the 2010 Toyota 4Runner is 5,000 pounds, up from 3,500 pounds for the 2009 model.

4Runner SR5 and Trail models can be equipped with a 2-speed, lever-operated, part-time 4WD system with neutral position, while the 4Runner Limited is equipped with full-time 4WD with a locking center differential. The new 4Runner also includes a stronger rear differential compared to the previous model, thanks to a gear ring that has increased in size from 7.87 to 8.18 inches, according to the automaker. Aluminum alloy wheels are 17 inches in diameter on SR5 and Trail grades, and 20-inches on the Limited.

2010 Toyota 4RunnerSafety
Standard on the new 2010 4Runner is Toyota's Star Safety System, which includes stability control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), and anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD) and brake assist (BA). A system of 8 standard air bags includes front, side-mounted and knee air bags for the driver and front passenger, and side curtain air bags for all three rows of seats.

The 2010 4Runner offers Toyota's new Safety Connect telematics system. Available by subscription, with or without the optional navigation system, Safety Connect offers four safety and security features: Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance. If the air bags deploy, or if the vehicle senses a severe rear-end collision, the Automatic Collision Notification system is designed to automatically call a response center. If a response agent cannot communicate with the occupants, the agent can contact the nearest emergency-services provider to call for help. Pushing the "SOS" button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency, as well as to obtain roadside assistance for other needs. If a 4Runner equipped with Safety Connect is stolen, after a police report is filed and the driver contacts the response center, agents can work with local authorities to help locate and recover the vehicle. Safety Connect is optional on SR5 and Trail grades and standard on 4Runner Limited, and comes with a one-year trial subscription.

Also, a rearview monitor system is standard on Limited and Trail grades and optional on the SR5. The system displays the view behind the 4Runner in the rearview mirror, helping to keep track of hard-to-see objects to the rear of the vehicle. A rear clearance sonar system is standard on SR5 models.

2010 Toyota 4RunnerTechnology
The new 2010 Toyota 4Runner features a number of advanced drivetrain technologies designed to enhance the vehicle's off-road capabilities. Previously only available in the Land Cruiser, the 4Runner Trail offers Toyota's Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) as an option. According to Toyota, KDSS radically improves terrain-following ability by disconnecting the stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain. To enhance grip, the 4Runner's A-TRAC system-standard equipment on all 4WD models-can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, Toyota says. Also, an electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.

The 4Runner Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that allows the driver to dial in wheel-slip control to match the terrain. For example, in loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel spin to work in the vehicle's favor. On bumps or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip, according to Toyota.

Also standard on the 4Runner Trail is Toyota's Crawl Control (CRAWL). CRAWL is an adjustable electro-mechanical system that can be tuned to match the terrain by selecting any of five speed levels. According to Toyota, the system maintains an appropriate speed that keeps the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components. The CRAWL feature helps make traversing difficult terrain easier and safer. With the transfer case shifted into low range, Crawl Control regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five low-speed settings. This allows the driver to maintain focus while steering over very rough level ground or steep grades, without having to also modulate the throttle and brake pedals.

All 4Runner 4WD models feature as standard Toyota's Downhill Assist Control (DAC), which is designed to augment the low-speed descending ability of low-range gearing by holding the vehicle to a target speed with no driver intervention, the company says. All V-6-equipped 4Runner models come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to keep the vehicle stationary while starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.

The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control, Toyota says. X-REAS automatically adjusts the damping force of shocks when driving over bumpy surfaces, or when cornering. The system uses a center control absorber to cross-link shocks on opposite corners of the vehicle, substantially reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs. With X-REAS the new 4Runner corners flatter, smoother, and handles choppy pavement easier.

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