- Strong V-6 powertrain
- Rugged, nicely detailed exterior
- Straightforward instrument panel
- Helpful off-road electronics in Trail model
- Good outward visibility
- Busy ride (except vehicles with KDSS)
- Cramped third row
- Trail and Limited models can be pricey
- Nearly as heavy as a full-size ute
If off-road capability is a top requirement, the brawny 2011 Toyota 4Runner is a good choice—with surprisingly good road manners to boot.
Last year the 4Runner was given a complete redesign, including styling that became higher, chunkier, and more rugged.
There's no mistaking that the 4Runner is truck-based. With a more chiseled-and-creased look on the outside, with a rather upright windshield, aggressively flared areas extend from the wheel wells into the fenders, and a beltline that's higher yet, bringing the secure, elevated impression of a large SUV. Flares around the wheel wells continue clearly through the running boards and around to the creases of the front and rear fascia. In front, the new 4Runner inherits some of the imposing appearance of the latest Sequoia and Tundra, with a mesh recessed grille, large chrome bar, and swept-back headlamps; in back it gets a more conservative, traditional SUV look, with a wide, downward-sloping C-pillar looking to past generations of the 4Runner.
The 4Runner's cabin also takes a new design direction, with a more upright, chunky look that builds on the fundamentals seen in the Tundra pickup and Sequoia SUV but with better attention to detail. A bright metallic center stack of controls and an easy-to-read gauge cluster highlight the layout, which has big, simple control knobs and a macho, utilitarian look.