Mid-size body-on-frame sport-utility vehicles have just a fraction of the appeal that they did a decade ago—or even just a few years ago—with modern, passenger-oriented crossover models like the Chevrolet Traverse, Ford Edge, and Toyota’s own Highlander far surpassing them in sales. Yet as GM has gotten out of this segment of the market and others such as Chrysler are due to retreat as well, Toyota is rolling out a completely redesigned version of the body-on-frame 4Runner. Although a V-8 option is no longer available, the new 4Runner is geared for those who have heavy-duty needs that involve regular off-roading or trailer-towing; it’s slightly taller, wider, and longer than the previous model and promises even more toughness with a comfortable, almost downright luxurious interior.
With its complete redesign, the 4Runner gets a chunkier, more chiseled-and-creased look on the outside, and aggressively flared areas extend from the wheel wells into the fenders. The beltline of the new 4Runner is higher yet, bringing the secure, elevated impression of a large SUV, and lips 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. Inside, the new 4Runner goes in a new and pleasant styling direction for Toyota, with a bright metallic center stack of controls and an easy-to-read gauge cluster.