• Jul 30, 2010
2010 Toyota 4Runner – Click above for high-res image gallery

Cars and trucks here in the U.S. are being invaded by more efficient four-cylinder engines. Both the 2011 Buick Regal and Hyundai Sonata, for example, feature four-pot-only lineups. Even the 4,800-pound Toyota 4Runner has an entry-level 2.7-liter four. Well, at least the off-road-ready Toyota did offer a four-banger for one model year.

Motor Trend is reporting that Toyota will discontinue the four-cylinder model from the 2011 4Runner lineup due to an anemic take rate of less than 10 percent. That's pretty amazing given the fact that the V6 option costs nearly $4,000 more than the four-cylinder model, but the power and fuel economy stats tell the whole story. The downsized engine option only provides 157-horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. That's down a whopping 113 ponies and 100 lb-ft compared to the optional 4.0-liter V6, while combined fuel economy is within one mile-per-gallon of the more powerful engine.

If taking away 1.3-liters and 113-horsepower only nets you a fuel economy gain of one measly mpg, we can't blame customers for overwhelmingly opting for the far more powerful V6. And we really enjoyed our time with a 4.0-liter equipped 4Runner, too, so we're thinking the extra money is well-spent.



Photos by Chris Shunk / Copyright ©2010 Weblogs, Inc.

[Source: Motor Trend]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 51 Comments
      • 4 Years Ago
      Toyota wasted all that money developing and certifying the lame 4-cylinder version of the truck. *facepalm*

      What they should have done instead is invest that money in making a proper solid-front-axle version of that truck as the REAL "Trail Edition" model. I mean, if you're going to market the vehicle towards real off-roaders, shouldn't it have real off-road equipment? With that lame independent front suspension, the 4Runner is nothing more than a mallcrawler. I miss the days when Toyota made REAL off-road vehicles.

      I would buy a 4Runner with a solid front axle. I will NEVER buy a 4WD without one. If I wanted 4WD with independent suspension, I would buy a Subaru. This new 4Runner (and every 4Runner since the 1986 dowgrade to independent front suspension) is absolutely pointless in my book.
        • 4 Years Ago
        A *slight* improvement in ride quality and on-road handling is the only benefit to independent suspension. The downsides to it include higher maintenance costs, significantly reduced dependability, more expensive upgrades and repairs, much compromised off-road capability, and many times less aftermarket support.

        Anybody who's buying an SUV because they NEED one is going to prefer a pair of solid axles. Those who need an AWD car but want to pretend they're off-roaders will prefer independent suspension. And that is the group to whom Toyota has designed their current US-market SUVs and pickups. It's a shame.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Why doesn't Toyota put the 2GR engine in the 4Runner? I have one variant in my Lexus and my wife has another in her RAV4. The engine is great and gets 22+ MPG even with our crap 10% ethanol blend.
      • 4 Years Ago
      "The downsized engine option only provides 157-horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. That's down a whopping 113 ponies and 100 lb-ft compared to the optional 4.0-liter V6, while combined fuel economy is within one mile-per-gallon of the more powerful engine."

      Sounds like the 6cyl is well worth the extra 4k
      • 4 Years Ago
      If it gets you only 1mpg extra, they shouldn't have made that engine to begin with.

      How about a 3L V6 with say 220hp? Would be enough.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Bob-omb:

        That's part of it, but not all of it. The bigger deal is in the power-to-weight ratio. Even optimized for torque, this is a 159-hp engine motivating a 4000-pound off-road intended SUV.

        Four-cylinder base Tacomas and Camrys are bought, yes, because they are cheap budget models, but the bigger reason four-banger Tacomas and Camrys are acceptable whereas 4runners are not is because the former two are light enough for a four-cylinder motor to be sufficient. And you will notice that in the Tacoma, the bigger and heavier the model, the less likely the customer is to opting for the four.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally Toyota has made a solid move. Weak 4 bangers in heavy SUVs are always a recipe for disaster.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It made no sense to offer with a 4 speed automatic. (and only rear drive)
        Who did Toyota think would purchase it?

        Maybe if it had the new 2.7 I4 coupled to an 8 speed automatic, and torsen four wheel drive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        But it was just a poor decision in the first place. I welcome fours in SUVs, but their offering made no sense to begin with.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I'd spend the extra money on the V6 and get AWD. I got the 2010 and it's quite frugal (relatively), 28mpg on the highway, but an abysmal-you-don't-want-to-know mpg when I take it off-roading. It joins the stable alongside a 2007 Toyota Fortuner with a 3L turbo diesel. I was surprised that the 4runner's V6 was getting better fuel economy than the Fortuner's 3L diesel, despite the 4runner being heavier and is probably less aerodynamic. The 4runner even gets better mileage than my Mazda CX-7.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I know 1mpg gain is extremely measly (and real world driving it might actually be worse than the V6) but $4K is A LOT of money off the V6 model. In that sense, I feel like this option makes economical sense for someone on a budget. However, when you consider toyota has 20 SUV's in their line-up there are plenty other lower cost options for those customers. In addition, a 4-cyl model probably devalues the 4runner name and gives the competition a chance to brag about more "Standard" hp.
        • 4 Years Ago
        If someone is only going to use it as a soft-roader, they're better served by a Highlander.. if they must have a tall sitting SUV.
        • 4 Years Ago
        The thing is, the 4-cylinder was only ever offered on the 2WD 4Runner, and the case for a 2WD 4Runner just escapes me.
        • 4 Years Ago
        quote from MechE: - I feel like this option makes economical sense for someone on a budget" -

        How so?

        If they are on a budget, why are they buying a $30k SUV? On top of that, why are they looking at a 2wd 4cyl SUV that has meager towing capacity?

        What feature of the 4cyl 4Runner are they looking for that can't be had in a cheaper, more fuel efficient crossover or car?

        People buy SUV's for their capability even if they never actually use it.
      • 4 Years Ago
      U.S. Dealers only order the 4 cylinder models as price-leaders to get shoppers in the door:
      "Get a 4Runner for just $21,995!!!"

      Once buyers see the stripped beast, they're promptly shown the sparkly $40,000 V6 4wd Limited - "For the same monthly payment!!!" (on a 60 month, 10K annual mile lease)
        • 4 Years Ago
        bepsf, agreed. That was my speculation when it was first introduced -- that the 2WD 4-cylinder model was introduced so that the dealers could advertise the 4Runner as starting at the "low, low price of XXXX." When the buyers came in, the dealer would upsell them into a V6.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Does this mean Toyota is upgrade the 5 speed automatic to the 6 speed automatic?
      That means the axle ratio can be shortened from 3.727 to 4.1 (4x2) and 4.3 (4x4)
      Faster & better mileage
      • 4 Years Ago
      wow toyota may wanna jump on that turbo bandwagon the germans have been on for decades, and americans have been on for about half a decade now, hell even the korean carmakers are already there.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd rather they put a 3.0L super efficient Turbo DIESEL in it....that would be the PERFECT VEHICLE in my mind. Out of every choice in the US there is not a single vehicle that fits my needs perfectly. I'm a person that actually NEEDS a truck or SUV, but getting 15mpg and spending $300+ every month on gas really sucks! If I could design my perfect car it would be a diesel powered 4Runner that got 30mpg or better. I'd buy that in a heartbeat!!
        • 4 Years Ago
        As far as Germans, it's only VAG that was on the turbo bandwagon for any length of time. BMW and Mercedes have made no more turbo cars than GM or Toyota have (MR2, Supra!) in the last 20 years. Heck, Nissan and Mitsubishi have a bigger history of turbocharging than BMW or Mercedes does.

        It'll be interesting to see if Toyota and Honda jump on the turbo or supercharger bandwagon. I have to suspect they'll do one of the two (Honda already has the turbo in the RDX but after early problems with it they haven't put much corporate force behind that engine. It would have been a good engine to drop in the TSX instead of the overweight V6 for example, but they didn't do it.
        • 4 Years Ago
        @blampright, believe it or not, the last generation 4runner had a 3L turbo diesel for markets outside of North America.
        • 4 Years Ago
        I'd rather they jump on the DI bandwagon first.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Wow that truck is not fun to look at
        • 4 Years Ago
        216 my thoughts were actually the same but you said it best. I've seen the auto designers in Pasadena college of design at work and I quite sure nobody there had a say so on this one. The sad thing is that somebody at Toyota said BINGO that's what we're looking for.
      • 4 Years Ago
      That sucks for whoever bought the 4-cylinder model. Those things will be worth nothing in a few years.
        • 4 Years Ago
        It's a Toyota. Most people buying these things have no idea [and don't care] what's under the hood.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well judging by this sentence: "...given the fact that the V6 option costs nearly $4,000 more than the four-cylinder model..." I'd say it costs nearly $4,000 less. What I was getting at is that as these cars age the four-cylinder model will depreciate at an astronomical rate compared to the six-cylinder model.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Just what do you think an underpowered, 4-cylinder, 2WD 4Runner is worth today? Not a whole lot, I'd bet.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Scorch: the demand for an underpowered, 4-cylinder, 2WD 4Runner is very limited. That demand is unlikely to change because Toyota stops selling the 4-cylinder -- not many people want that combination now, and not many people will want that combination in the future, no matter whether Toyota keeps 4-cylinder or not.

        When you wrote: "That sucks for whoever bought the 4-cylinder model." that seems to imply that Toyota discontinuing the 4-cylinder will increase the depreciation of that model. I argue that it won't make much difference.
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