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FEATURES | 9 out of 10
offers a three-row option with room for seven
The Trail’s subsequent lofty price—it starts at $36,500—might put it out of reach for buyers who pine for the more serious dirt lovers such as the Jeep Wrangler and Nissan Xterra.
Car and Driver
Cupholders feature a grippy rubber insert that keeps large beverages firmly anchored.
What this Party Mode button does to the function of the vehicle is completely irrelevant (increases bass, and transfers output to the speakers mounted in the rear hatch), but what it adds to the character of the car is monumental.
a sliding cargo deck that doubles as a tailgate tray
Although the 4Runner appeals to a different kind of buyer--more the SUV traditionalist--Toyota equips and markets the 4Runner in a way that roughly parallels that of its pickups, as well as the Sequoia SUV.
The 4Runner has seen some significant price hikes and now starts at around $32,000. But it does include a pretty impressive level of standard equipment. Those off-road purists who also sometimes need to haul the family will want the pricier Trail model, while the Limited model appeals to those who want a level of conveniences--if not outright luxury--on par with Land Rover.
The Trail model includes all the off-road goodies plus upgraded audio, a USB port, iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth audio streaming. Limited models are priced in Lexus territory, but they add 15-speaker JBL premium sound, with a Party Mode that biases output to the rear tailgate speakers. Paired with the optional pull-out rear cargo deck, it's an instant tailgate party, capable of holding up to 440 pounds.Last year, the 4Runner gets redesigned audio systems, plus Toyota's Entune services and HD Radio with iTunes tagging. Those features carry over to 2013, while other desirable options include sonar-based rear parking, a navigation system, and a subscription-based Safety Connect telematics system.
Convenience and infotainment are the priorities over all-out luxury--but a 4Runner shouldn't be too plush anyhow.