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With the U.S. market's pronounced shift away from body-on-frame SUVs towards crossovers and tall wagons, you could be excused for thinking that Toyota would be content to let its 4Runner wither away to dust. After all, the midsize SUV has been toiling away essentially unchanged since an updated 2003 model went on sale in 2002. But apparently, that isn't the case – Ward's Autoworld has learned that Toyota will build a new 4Runner.

According to the industry publication, Bob Carter, Toyota's group vice president and general manager, has confirmed that "There are plans (for a new 4Runner)," although the automaker isn't saying when the replacement model will arrive. For its part, Ward's, which maintains extensive product-cycle forecast data, says that it expects a new model for the 2010 model year, which is a bit surprising considering that we have yet to see any spy shots of prototypes.

In the article, Carter goes on to explain that not only has the 4Runner been a brand pillar since 1984 (making it one of the elder statesmen of SUVdom), Toyota actually sees potential for the SUV to pick up share as more automakers exit the body-on-frame midsize segment (read: Ford going unibody with the next Explorer and General Motors ditching the Chevrolet Trailblazer).

Carter also reaffirmed to Ward's that the Avalon and Sienna will continue to have futures in Toyota's portfolio, although he acknowledges that both vehicles have been losing volume and that the Avalon will likely take a different approach to court younger buyers. Ward's expects a new Sienna for the 2010 model year and a new Avalon for 2011.

[Ward's AutoWorld]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Im excited for the new 2010 4Runner. We have owned a few in the past and I cant praise them enough. I personally will never buy a crossover. If I were not to want a true body on frame, capable SUV, then I would buy a traditional car, not some awkward looking cross over. I am also one who uses the 4wd for its real purpose. Fishing, camping, rock climbing and just overall fun out on trails. I'm hoping that the 4Runner becomes even more capable with this next generation....maybe going in reverse a bit and looking something like the second and third generations. If they do this truck right, I will be one of the first customers heading to the dealer to purchase one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Hopefully they improve the interior. Not that the current version is horrible but it is definitely not befitting a truck that costs as much as a 4-Runner.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well if they still don't bring a diesel over here with a Manual transmission I won't even consider it. I have been looking at these for awile now, the newer ones are so boring and get such crappy milage I keep considering getting a older pre-1995 model and droping in a VW Diesel motor in it, at least the MPG would be close to 30 with that setup. Just had my 3rd child and we could use one but won't go for it like it is.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Why not just buy a diesel VW Jetta wagon rather than wish for something that does not exist? Not like a 4-Runner is that big and there is no third row. Three kids in the back of a 4-runner are just as uncomfortable as 3 kids in the back of a Jetta and the cargo capacity is similar. The 4-runner has the advantage of off road prowess and towing but you never mentioned those qualifications as important.
      • 6 Years Ago
      How about Toyota's *entire lineup* taking an approach to court younger buyers?
      • 6 Years Ago
      I'm glad to see Toyota has decided to continue the best product in their current line-up. For those who complain how "boring" a 4Runner is, don't really understand that it's not an Escalade, I suppose.

      The only thing I shake my head at is the claim that they're keeping it around because it's a brand pillar... what would they have considered the Celica?

      It's good to see that there's still a market for a real SUV.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Is this a joke? They're going to make yet another bland, boring, hideous monstrosity of a gas guzzler? And here I thought all along that Toyota was the smart marketing leaders.
        • 6 Years Ago
        1996 Toyota 4runner. I'm the original owner. 235k miles on the orignial engine and transmission. The oil still looks like honey when it gets changed every 3-5k miles. Replaced the power antenna twice as only repairs beyond scheduled maintinance.

        I'm not making a case for the vehicle. It makes a case for itself. If you have no use for one, don't buy it. Otherwise, keep the criticism to a minimum imo.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Goes to show that ALL auto makers will base their product decisions on where they think they can fit into the market's demands, not meet the expectations of a bunch of environmental elitists. May some of the snobs will take this into consideration the next time they want to slam the Big Three for their past product planning decisions.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Towing and center-lock 4WD don't make sense together. GM didn't even offer 4WD on a dualie truck until about 1990.

        Center-lock 4WD creates tire scrub on dry roads and thus creates squirreliness in turns on low-traction flat surfaces. All center-lock 4WD is really good for is offroading, and trailering generally isn't something you do off road.
        • 6 Years Ago
        I have one of these hideous, gas-guzzling monstrosities. I've put $75k miles on it since new. Problems have been limited to: 1) replace rear hatch striking plate and motor, 2) replace heater fan.

        I take this monstrosity off road, while fishing (on the beach) and hunting. It is very capable off road, within the limits of its clearance and angles. Lots of folks don't need this much off road performance, but for those of us who use it, it is an excellent truck.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Some people actually have a use for an SUV that:

        A) Can actually tow something (More than a Highlander could at least)
        B) Has *real* 4 wheel drive, as opposed to AWD
        C) Is incredibly reliable and well built (All though it is a bit boring)

        I personally don't have a use for a vehicle like this, but I (as well as Toyota, apparently) realize that there is a market for vehicles like this.

        That market may not be every single soccer mom who wants to sit up high and have 4 wheel drive, but that does not mean there is not a legitimate market for vehicles like this.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I think many of you are forgetting that this is a global vehicle for Toyota. Based on this chassis are many many different models. Landcruiser Prado, Lexus Gx, Toyota FJ.

      Think for globally like Toyota does.
        • 6 Years Ago
        +1. The American version is basically a freebie.
      • 6 Years Ago
      I am not sure where the 4Runner will fit in. Toyota already sells the brand new Vensa and Highlander and technically there is a 2 door version in retro disguise known as the Fj Cruiser. Toyota should really sell something one step above the Scion and a spot below the Rav4 with something very sporty.
      I say, import the Toyota RUSH!!!!

      http://toyota.jp/rush/index.html


      *The Car Nerds.com*
        • 6 Years Ago
        Neither the Venza nor the Highlander have real off road capability. Nor do they have significant towing capability. If all you want is to get to the mall in a snowstorm, either the Venza or Highlander would be a better choice.

        But if you really want to take it off road (as I do), neither the Venza nor Highlander will do.
      • 6 Years Ago
      It's nice to see midsize ladder-frame SUVs stick around, and I hope the next 4Runner is a good one.

      I want to see JDMlover come out in full support of this after his shameless bashing of other midsize SUVs.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Glad to hear it.

      Although much of the current model's success is derived from soccer mom popularity, the 4Runner is a solid vehicle for off road/towing duties, and in this market those attributes are getting harder to come by. These are also still built in Japan; which bodes well for this model's reliability on top of Toyota's already high quality. I expect they will continue to sell well, but this time as niche vehicle. I know I'd buy one.
      • 6 Years Ago
      This is smart by Toyota. The 4Runner has a very loyal following - on par with those who buy Tacomas. Perhaps the next 4Runner will focus more on ability, which it hasn't lost necessarily, but less on "luxury" and 6-7 seats. I could see them offering a V6-only 4Runner with a manual transmission, taken from the FJ Cruiser, again in addition to a 6 or 7-speed auto,, leaving the luxo-barge market to the Highlander/Venza team.

      They may not sell 100k of the 4Runner, but it can definitely reach the niche market it always has.
      • 6 Years Ago
      The 4 runner as well as the land cruiser are not just "American models". These models are respected world wide as reliable and extremely capable 4 wheel drive vehicles. These 2 will probably be the last two models Toyota will stop making.
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