Over the years, this true off-roader has learned a thing or two about convenience and luxury, although it's still aimed at utilitarian tasks more than coddling its passengers. And you'll pay for the capability, with prices starting north of $32,000.
In most ways, the 4Runner is equipped like Toyota's Tacoma and Tundra pickup trucks, down to the trim levels: SR5, Trail, TRD Pro Series, and Limited. Even base SR5 4Runners get a comprehensive package of standard features including power windows, locks, and mirrors; cruise control; a rearview camera; and air conditioning.
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 a Land Rover. And the new TRD Pro Series model is aimed at the extreme off-road crowd; it's the only way to get all-terrain tires on a 4Runner, which are a must when doing anything but light off-roading.
Limited models are priced in Lexus territory, very near to the Lexus GX 460 that shares its chassis with the 4Runner, and add 15-speaker JBL premium sound, HD Radio with iTunes tagging, and navigation; last year's "Party Mode" that biased output to the rear tailgate speakers has been deleted since the new audio system has a better balance feature.
The Trail comes in five-passenger trim; both the SR5 and Limited can be ordered with two small rear seats, for a total of seven passenger spots.
All versions now get a basic audio system with Entune Audio Plus, a sound/connectivity package that includes satellite radio, a USB port, iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth audio streaming, as well as smartphone-driven connections to Pandora, Bing, and other mobile apps.
Other desirable options include sonar-based rear parking sensors and a subscription-based Safety Connect telematics system.