2017 Toyota 4Runner
The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is a bit like an alligator or a shark, because it seems to have been around for what seems like forever, and change comes to it only very gradually. In a world where crossovers seem to be taking over, the 4Runner is something of a breath of fresh air even though it could be seen as something of a throwback. The 4Runner started off life back in 1984 as a compact SUV before growing into a midsize from 2002 onwards. It's now in its fifth-generation and the current model is now the eighth model year of that generation, although the midsize SUV did get a refresh for the 2017 model year.
The Toyota is a rear or four-wheel drive midsize SUV that's available in six different trim levels, which start with the entry level SR5 and then go upwards through SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Limited and finally the TRD Pro. All TRD trims get standard part-time four-wheel drive with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), while rear-drive is standard with all other models. However, the Limited trim has full-time four-wheel drive with A-TRAC and a Torsen limited-slip center differential with locking feature as an available optional.
At a time when midsize and large crossovers and SUVs often come with a number of different engine options, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner keeps things nice and straightforward with just the one engine across all variants. The unit in question is a 4.0-liter DOHC V-6 that develops 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque, which is mated to a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission.
One of many things that make the 2017 Toyota 4Runner such an attractive proposition is the amount of standard and available features and equipment it offers. Entry level SR5 models come standard with: power features including a powered driver's seat, air-conditioning, a rearview camera, Bluetooth, a home-style power outlet and a 6.1-inch infotainment system with eight speakers. Step up to the SR5 Premium and you're already into the realms of leatherette upholstery, heated seats and navigation.
Of course, where the 2017 Toyota 4Runner really leaves most crossovers behind is when it comes time to go off-road. Although only the Limited model has a four-wheel drive system that can genuinely be called all-terrain, it's more than some pseudo off-roaders offer and the part-time all-wheel system on other models is still excellent for slippery surfaces like dirt trails or roads covered in snow and ice.
As it's an SUV and not a crossover, the 4Runner has a separate frame and independent front/solid axle rear suspension setup that's tried, tested and well-proven. As well as helping the off-road credentials of the Limited trim it also delivers a 5,000 pound towing capacity and terrific stability when a trailer has to be attached. The big sidewalls do a great job of absorbing rocks and ruts when you do run out of pavement, so this is an SUV that can walk-the-walk off-road as well as its rugged styling talks-the-talk.