If you ever wanted a sport-utility vehicle, owned one, or shopped for one, chances are you can conjure an image of the Toyota 4Runner from some era. And that image, in profile at least, likely isn't too distant from the profile of today's 4Runner. The 2013 Toyota 4Runner follows SUV tradition in combining the brawny good looks of a pickup from the front with a very traditional, upright utiliry-wagon silhouette and stance. The difference, though, is that Toyota has updated it with some chunky, modern details.
While other SUVs like the Ford Explorer have gone in a softer, somewhat more carlike (and family-oriented) direction, Toyota has kept the 4Runner's toughness intact. With its last redesign, the 4Runner became higher, chunkier, and more rugged, with a higher beltline and more flared wheel wells. While inheriting some of the imposing appearance from the Sequoia and Tundra full-size trucks, the 4Runner sticks to more of a conservative, traditional SUV look toward the rear, with a wide, downward-sloping C-pillar looking to past generations of the 4Runner.
Inside, the design of the 4Runner also feels traditional yet freshly detailed. It's quite upright and chunky and builds on the fundamentals of the Tundra pickup and Sequoia SUV as much as it does take after 4Runner tradition--but again with better attention to detail throughout. The dash has macho, utilitarian appeal with its big, simple control knobs that could be operated with numb fingers or work gloves, while the gauge cluster is easy to read and the center stack of controls is done with bright metallic trim that's tasteful and not over-the-top.