2009 Toyota 4Runner

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15 CITY / 19 HWY
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What Changed for 2009:
  • Optional SR5 Trail Edition package
The 4Runner has been part of Toyota's U.S. model lineup since 1984. The original 4Runner was little more than a short-bed pickup with a fiberglass top, similar to the full-size Ford Broncos and Chevy Blazers of the 1970s. It wasn't until 1990 that the 4Runner became a proper SUV, with an all-steel body and available 4-door configuration. The current 4Runner is the fourth-generation model, which made its debut in 2003. Rather than switch the 4Runner to a car-based platform, Toyota introduced another midsize SUV-the Camry-based Highlander-and retained the 4Runner's rugged body-on-frame construction. Currently, the 4Runner is positioned between the Highlander and the full-size Sequoia in Toyota's SUV lineup.

The 4Runner is covered by a 5-year/60,000-mile limited powertrain warranty in addition to its 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper coverage.

Model Lineup
For the 2008 model year, the Toyota 4Runner was equipped with side-curtain air bags and active (anti-whiplash) front-seat headrests. For the 2009 model year, the 4Runner carries over unchanged with the exception of a new SR5 Trail Edition option. As before, the 4Runner is offered in three trim levels: SR5, Sport Edition and Limited. The SR5 comes with a chrome grille and door handles; fog lamps; black running boards; 16-inch alloy wheels; cruise control; power windows including the rear one; two 12-volt outlets; and remote keyless entry. The Sport Edition adds a stylish touch with a hood scoop; smoked chrome grille; tubular roof rack and side steps; and 17-inch alloy wheels with tires with raised white letters. That model also gets a tilt-and-telescoping and leather-wrapped steering wheel. The top-of-the-line Limited version features a body-colored grille; heated power mirrors; black roof rack; illuminated running boards; 18-inch alloy wheels; black wood interior trim; leather and heated front seats; and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass. While the SR5 and Sport Edition models get an AM/FM/CD 6-speaker stereo, the Limited adds a 6-disc CD changer. A 360-watt JBL Synthesis system with 10 speakers is an option on all versions. An optional third-row seat expands the 4Runner's seating capacity to 7. Three-row models get second-row seats that tumble forward to allow better entry and exit. The Limited version gets dual-zone climate control; all versions have automatic climate control.

For the 2009 model year, Toyota offers an SR5 Trail Edition package with the V-6/4WD powertrain. The package includes a locking differential; Active Traction Control; Bilstein shock absorbers; 16-inch wheels; color-keyed grille and door handles; special badging; water-resistant seats; and a leather-wrapped steering wheel with wheel-mounted audio controls for a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD unit that comes with a detachable TomTom personal navigation device. The audio system has MP3, iPod, Bluetooth and satellite radio capability. The Trail Edition package includes black tubular side steps and roof rack and is available in three body colors: Titanium Metallic, Natural White and Shadow Mica.

Each trim level of the 2009 Toyota 4Runner offers a choice of a 236-hp, 4.0-liter, dual-overhead-cam (DOHC) V-6 engine or 260-hp, 4.7-liter i-Force V-8 engine, both equipped with variable valve timing with intelligence (VVT-i) technology and a 5-speed automatic transmission. The torque rating on the V-8 engine is 306 lb.-ft. EPA fuel-economy ratings range from 18 mpg city/21 mpg highway on V-6 engine 2WD models to 15 mpg city/19 mpg highway on V-8 engine 4WD versions.

Rear-wheel drive is standard; it includes an automatic limited-slip differential for better grip. V-6 engine models offer a part-time 4WD system while V-8 engine models get full-time 4WD. Both 4WD systems get a Torsen differential that adjusts the power ratio based on steering feel and wheel slip. Each also has a 2-speed low-range transfer case along with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) and Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This serious off-road hardware makes the 4Runner a good choice for those who actually do venture off the beaten path, Toyota says.

The 2009 Toyota 4Runner is equipped with what the maker calls the Star Safety System, which includes anti-lock brakes (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), traction control, emergency braking assistance, and electronic vehicle stability control (VSC). The VSC-off switch allows a driver to disengage the system for driving conditions when slip is preferred, such as in some off-pavement situations. Front, side and 2-row side curtain air bags are standard. Mirrors strategically located in the rear-corner window pillars aid visibility when backing, as does a rearview camera included with the optional DVD navigation system and its 7-inch LCD screen.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2009 Toyota 4Runner receives 4 stars (out of 5) in frontal crash testing for both driver and front passenger, as well as 5-star side-impact scores for both front- and rear-seat occupants. The 4Runner receives 3 stars for rollover resistance for both the 2- and 4WD powertrains. Though it has not tested the 2009 model, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rated the seemingly identical 2008 version \"Good,\" the group's highest score.

The Toyota 4Runner Limited V-8 4WD model can be equipped with a rear auto-leveling air suspension for a smooth ride while off-roading or towing. It adds Toyota's X-REAS Sport Enhancement Suspension that diagonally links the compression chambers of the shock absorbers to improve on-road ride and lessen roll and pitch, the automaker says. X-REAS is standard on the 4Runner Sport Edition. According to Toyota, a sensor allows the 4Runner to produce a proper fuel-gauge reading even when the vehicle is positioned on an incline.


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