Toyota chose the Texas State Fair and its truck friendly audience as the venue to debut its latest 4Runner model. For 2010 this body-on-frame SUV is both wider and longer, further differentiating it from the Highlander crossover.
Toyota has opted to drop the V8 engine for the new model, instead offering a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278- ft-lbs of torque. That’s a total of 36 more horsepower than the old V6 engine, and 10 more ponies than the old V8. Fuel economy has been improved, but isn’t exactly stellar, with 17/23 mpg (city/highway) for the 4×2 and 17/22 mpg for the 4×4 model. The tow rating for V6 models is 5,000 lbs.
Also new for 2010 is the addition of an entry level 2.7-liter four cylinder engine with 157-hp and 178 ft-lbs of torque. The four-banger is only available on the 4×2 SR5 model and, oddly, doesn’t offer much improvement in fuel-economy with a rating of just 18/23 mpg.
Three model choices will be offered, including the SR5 model, an on-road-friendly Limited model with added creature comforts and 20-inch wheels and a Trail grade model that offers true off-road capability with higher approach and departure angles, more ground clearance and a standard locking rear differential.
Additional off-road features include Toyota’s A-TRAC system on all 4×4 models, that can send power to any one wheel. Trail grade models get the CRAWL feature with five low-speed settings for different terrain. A Multi-Terrain Select system also lets the driver choose how much wheel slip is needed. All 4×4 models get Downhill Assist control, while all V6 models get Hill-start Assist Control.
The market for real SUVs like the 4Runner has all but dried up in North America as consumers switch to car based crossovers. That being said, Toyota seems to be taking the right approach by catering more to the off-road crowd than to soccer moms who are more likely to find themselves in a Venza.
GALLERY: 2010 Toyota 4Runner
Official release after the jump:
2010 Toyota 4Runner Add to the Rich Heritage With More Power, Better MPG
TORRANCE, Calif. (September 24, 2009) When the first Toyota 4Runner sport utility vehicle (SUV) was launched back in 1984 it was a revolutionary new vehicle based on the mechanics of the four-wheel-drive Toyota pickup truck. The 4Runner combined the versatility and go-anywhere ability of four-wheel-drive with the comfort and utility found in passenger cars.
Twenty-five years, four generations and more than 1.5 million sales later, the 4Runner continues to evolve while remaining close to its roots. The all-new fifth-generation 4Runner is even more rugged and athletic, and packed with more power and better mileage. A completely redesigned interior and unique cargo area make the newest 4Runner smarter, more comfortable, and more versatile than ever.
“Backed by a quarter-century of heritage combined with the integration of the latest comfort, convenience and performance technologies, the all-new fifth-generation 4Runner has evolved into one of the most advanced mid-sized truck-based SUV’s on the market while at the same time staying true to its roots as a rugged and durable off-roader,” said Bob Carter, group vice president and general manager of Toyota Division.
More rugged than the Highlander and more versatile than the FJ Cruiser, the 4Runner combines the toughness and durability of body-on-frame construction with multi-use design that excels at a wide variety of tasks.
The newest 4Runner is taller, wider and longer for 2010, and is available in a variety of configurations. It will be offered in three models, top-of-the-line Limited, a well-equipped SR5, plus a Trail grade for those who require maximum off-road capability.
Drivetrain configurations include rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 and full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential. All 4×4 models are equipped with a 4.0-liter V6 mated to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission. The 4×2 models will be equipped with either a 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a four-speed ECT automatic or the 4.0-liter V6 with the five-speed ECT-i automatic. Optional third-row seats allow for up to seven-person capacity.
The design strategy for the new 4Runner emphasizes a more rugged, powerful stance. Large diameter wheels and tires were added to not only improve off-road performance, but also enhance the 4Runner’s truck-based characteristics. 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.
All 4Runner grades feature rugged new bumpers and wider shoulders, with newly designed head- lamp and tail-light systems, which offer a newly-minted, technical design quality and better nighttime performance. The front ends square fender flares meld with a muscular profile that links with a beefy and square rear bumper and back door.
Aluminum alloy wheels are 17-inches in diameter on SR5 and Trail grades and 20-inches on the Limited, and include a full size spare.
In addition to its distinctive front grille, the SR5 grade also adopts overfenders and mud guards to help tackle inclement weather and off-road conditions. A roof rack comes standard for hauling equipment for outdoor activities.
The Trail grade is designed to maximize off-road performance with a superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast. It can be distinguished by a unique 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 add to the muscular design with special touches that provide a premium appearance. The front end includes a chrome-plated front grille insert, fog lamp bezel and front bumper molding. Front and rear overfenders and side skirts are color-keyed. Chrome plating is also found on the side molding, roof rack and rear bumper.
Turn signals on SR5 and Limited V6 grades are now incorporated into the outside mirrors, along with puddle lamps.
4Runner is available in six exterior colors. Three new colors, Shoreline Blue Pearl, Magnetic Gray Metallic and Classic Silver Metallic, join carryovers Blizzard Pearl, Salsa Red Pearl and Black.
New Engine Choices
The 2010 4Runner is powered by a new 4.0-liter V6, which now generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. Through the use of advanced engine management that includes dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), the new 4.0-liter engine offers the best of both worlds, adding more power while improving efficiency. For 2010, the new V6 engine produces 34 horsepower more than the prior V6, and 10 horsepower more than the optional V8 of the previous generation.
Additional mileage improvements have come from careful attention to wind flow, reducing aerodynamic drag to a Cd of 0.365. EPA-estimated mileage improves from 16 city and 21 highway to 17 city/23 highway for the 4×2, and from 16 city and 20 highway to 17 city/22 highway for 4×4 models. Both achieve an EPA-estimated 19 mpg combined, an improvement of more than five percent. With the new 4.0-liter engine, maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.
In addition to the upgraded V6 engine, a proven 2.7-liter four-cylinder engine with VVT-i is available on the 4×2 SR5 model. The gutsy DOHC, 16-valve 2.7 makes 157 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. Mated to a four-speed automatic transmission with 2.80:1 first gear and 0.753 overdrive 4th, the 2.7 delivers 18 city/23 highway mpg.
4×4 Capability Designed-In
To build on its tradition of rugged body-on-frame construction, the newest 4Runner shares the same platform as the FJ Cruiser. Extensive frame and body reinforcements have been added, using high-tensile materials to add strength without adding weight. SR5 and Trail 4×4 models have a two-speed lever-operated, part-time system with neutral position, while the 4Runner Limited is equipped with full-time, four-wheel-drive with a locking center differential and employs a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The new 4Runner is also equipped with a stronger rear differential over the previous model, thanks to a gear ring that has increased in size from 7.87 to 8.18 inches.
To enhance grip, the A-TRAC system is now standard equipment on all 4×4 models. The system can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery patches transparent to the driver. An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade. Axles house 3.73 gears, or 4.56:1 with the 2.7-liter engine and the differential housings have improved seals for better resistance to mud and water.
An array of advanced features, formerly only available in the Land Cruiser, further boosts off-highway capabilities. The Trail grade offers Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) as an option. KDSS radically improves terrain-following ability by disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.
Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature is standard on the Trail grade. CRAWL is an adjustable electro-mechanical system that can be tuned to match the terrain by selecting any of five speed levels. 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, or brake, pedals.
The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system which allows the 4×4 operator to dial in wheel slip control to match the terrain. 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 bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down.
All 4Runner 4×4 models are standard-equipped with Downhill Assist Control (DAC), which is designed to augment the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by holding the vehicle to a target speed with no driver intervention. All V6 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.
On-Road Driving Dynamics
The new 4Runner may be a truck-based SUV, but it offers the kind of drivability and riding comfort more often associated with car-based platforms.
Coil springs over gas shocks are used at all four corners for a comfortable ride and controlled handling. A double-wishbone independent front suspension, combined with new, variable-flow rack and pinion steering, makes for precise control on demanding roadways. The four-link rear suspension minimizes rear axle hop and assures a smooth ride for back seat passengers.
The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control. 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 more easily.
Every Safety Precaution Considered
On-road vehicle dynamics are further enhanced by a suite of high-performance, state-of-the-art safety systems. Standard on 4Runner is Toyota’s Star Safety System™, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-Lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) helps to ensure stability by compensating for oversteer or understeer. The system uses selective braking and modulated engine output to keep the vehicle in line with the driver’s intended course. On 4×2 vehicles, the Auto LSD (Limited Slip Differential) system allows for better traction on slippery sections of roadway.
The four-wheel ABS with EBD provides the 4Runner anti-lock stopping control with optimal brake proportioning, whether the vehicle is loaded or unloaded. Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), standard on all 4×4 models and the 4×2 V6, suppresses backward roll when switching from brake to accelerator. All 2010 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger, three-point seat belts for all seats, an energy-absorbing body structure and an energy-absorbing hood to help protect pedestrians.
A system of eight standard airbags includes front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags for the second and third row.
The 2010 4Runner now offers the 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.
In case of either airbag deployment or severe rear-end collision Automatic Collision Notification 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 dispatch assistance.
Pushing the in-vehicle “SOS” button allows drivers to reach the response center to request help in an emergency as well as for a wide range of roadside assistance 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 standard, factory-installed hardware on the 4Runner Limited and available via an active subscription. An included one year trial subscription will be offered on equipped new vehicle purchases.
A rear-view monitor system is standard on Limited and Trail grades and optional on the SR5. The system displays in the rear-view 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.
Everyday Convenience and Utility
The all-new 4Runner has been thoughtfully equipped with features and systems to create a comfortable travel space, allowing for convenient operation in everyday use.
The larger interior has been completely redesigned with comfort and utility in mind. The front seats have a greater range of adjustment, both vertically and front to rear.
A bright, highly visible dash houses speedometer, tachometer, voltage, fuel and temp gauges, plus a combination meter that offers multiple functions. An Eco-Driving feedback system allows the driver to manage fuel consumption in real time. Within easy reach of the driver is an overhead console that organizes the off-road control switches into one location. Features like a compass indicator and outside temperature display add functionality in outdoor settings.
A manual climate control air conditioning system is standard on SR5 and Trail grades. An automatic dual zone climate control air conditioning system is standard on the Limited. The system features driver and passenger independent temperature controls, providing separate comfort levels.
For second-row passengers, a newly sculpted front seat-back 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. Access to the third row has been improved by splitting the second-row seats into a 40/20/40 configuration and adopting a one-touch walk-in function.
A rich leather interior is standard on the Limited grade and optional on SR5. The interior sports newly designed interior color schemes, using Black (Limited only), and Sand Beige. Graphite and Sand Beige fabric is standard on SR5 and Trail. Water-resistant fabric seats are standard equipment of Trail models.
The cargo area has been re-engineered to be more versatile than any SUV on the market.
More cargo space is available due to the fold-flat second-row rear seats, which do not require removal of the headrest for rearrangement. For models with three rows of seats, the third row seats are split 50/50, and they readily fold flat to allow the seatback to become the floor of the luggage compartment. They can be folded from the side, or at the rear, using separate one-touch mechanisms. With this new arrangement, more cargo space is available without removing seats, and longer items can be conveniently stored.
A Smart Key System featuring keyless entry with push-button start is standard on the Limited grade. The system allows the driver to unlock or start the vehicle by carrying the keyless remote. The back door window has jam control, like the moonroof and power side windows.
Another convenience feature is an available pull-out cargo deck that is capable of carrying up to 440 pounds of weight. The cargo deck slides out to make loading heavy items easier. When extended, the sturdy cargo deck can also be used to provide seating, sheltered by the hatch, for tailgating and campsite relaxation. For models with the sliding deck, a 6.4-liter capacity storage box has been installed behind the rear seat, for handy storage of tools or other items.
Audio with “Party Mode”
The SR5 base audio system has an AM/FM/CD player with eight speakers, providing quality sound throughout the cabin and is XM® Satellite Radio capable with a SDARS tuner.
Standard audio on the Trail grade and optional on SR5 is an AM/FM/MP3 CD player with eight speakers, integrated XM Satellite Radio (includes 90-day trial subscription), USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth® Wireless Technology, and steering wheel audio controls.
The Premium JBL audio system has a six-disk in-dash CD changer and 15 speakers for outstanding audio performance. For models equipped with the optional navigation system, a four-disk CD changer is used, and XM Satellite Radio, Bluetooth, and iPod with MP3 control functions are included, with 15-speaker JBL audio. Reception has been enhanced on and off-road by adopting a fender-mounted, pole-type antenna. The navigation system includes a large seven-inch monitor and features an eco function that allows you to monitor fuel consumption per minute in real time, and fuel consumption per interval.
A “party mode” setting raises the bass and transfers the equalization to the rear of the vehicle to provide excellent outside audio for tailgating. Party mode benefits from rear hatch-mounted speakers and is actuated by a switch, installed in the instrument panel to the right of the driver’s seat (rear hatch speakers function with, or without, party mode).
“In 1984 the first 4Runner helped cultivate and foster the up-and-coming SUV market, said Carter. “When the new 4Runner launches later this fall it will continue to be a perfect fit for young, and young-at-heart, outdoor and off-road enthusiasts.”