2014 4Runner New Car Test Drive
The Toyota 4Runner is built for durability and all-terrain capability. Using rugged body-on-frame construction, the 4Runner is intended to be a tough and reliable sport utility for the more adventurous owner. If you're not towing something or planning on four-wheel drive Toyota's own Venza and Highlander may be better candidates.
For 2014 the 4Runner has added premium versions of the SR5 and Trail models, added a few standard features and repackaged others, and received a new nose, exterior and cabin trim and infotainment systems. A rearview camera and electronic trailer sway control are standard on all 4Runners.
All new 4Runners are powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that generates 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, backed by a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings are 17 mpg City, 19 combined and 22/23 mpg (2WD/4WD) Highway. Maximum towing capacity is 4,700 pounds by most recent SAE standards, enough for light boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles.
Most versions offer a three-row seating configuration for seven passengers and most offer a choice of rear or four driven wheels. Rear-seat room is tighter than average for many three-row utes, while cargo capacity is on the large side.
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner comes in three distinct models, each with specialized equipment packages, to suit a variety of luxury, recreational capability, and affordability priorities. All are sturdily built, with an extensive suite of safety features, flexible seating, and multiple cargo options.
The 4Runner SR5 is the standard grade with cloth upholstery, automatic air conditioning, and 17-inch wheels, while the Limited is loaded with leather, dual-zone climate control, and 20-inch wheels. The mid-range Trail Edition is designed to maximize off-road performance with superior approach and departure angles, high ground clearance, and an array of functional upgrades for the most demanding active outdoor enthusiast.
We found the 4Runner has good on-road dynamics with rack-and-pinion steering and well-proportioned disc brakes. It rides like a civilized pickup truck, smooth enough for a road trip. But the key point here is that the 4Runner is far more capable and much more durable for use on rough terrain, like a road trip without the road.
With genuine sport-utility vehicles a shrinking market the 4Runner's principal competition comes from Toyota's own FJ Cruiser (less versatile, less family friendly, difficult to see out of), the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited (more choices, open top, less expensive, less refined, less efficient) and the Nissan Xterra (choice of transmissions, better power-to-weight, lower EPA, smaller cargo, less expensive). None of those offer a third row of seats.
The 2014 Toyota 4Runner is available in SR5, SR5 Premium and Limited with two or four driven wheels, and Trail and Trail Premium are 4WD only. SR5 and Trail 4WD use a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Limited uses a full-time, no low-range multi-mode all-wheel-drive system. SR5 and Limited offer a third row for seven-passenger seating. A 4.0-liter V6 and 5-speed automatic are standard across the range.
4Runner SR5 2WD / 4WD comes with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, six-way power driver's seat with lumbar, four-way passenger seat, sliding/reclining second-row seats split 40/20/40, Entune Plus audio system (AM/FM/CD/MP3, eight speakers, SiriusXM, USB port with iPod connection, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth), tilt/telescoping steering wheel, electroluminescent instrumentation, cruise control, 10 cupholders, multi-information display with compass, rearview camera, power windows including tailgate, power locks, remote keyless entry, three 12V power outlets, auto-off headlights, fog lights, color-keyed fenders and bumpers, spoiler, exterior puddle lamps, 265/70R17 tires on alloy wheels (steel full-size spare), tow hitch, and skid plates.
SR5 options include a sliding cargo deck with subfloor storage, fixed running boards, Entune premium audio and navigation upgrade, and third-row seats with sliding second row.
SR5 Premium 2WD / 4WD adds SofTex upholstery, heated front seats, moonroof, power passenger seat, HomeLink garage door opener, outside mirror signal and puddle lamps, electrochromic inside mirror, 120-volt outlet in cargo area and Entune premium audio with navigation (adds iPod control, iTunes tagging, HD radio, text-to-voice, radio buffering, voice recognition and customizable vehicle settings).
4Runner Trail gets unique 17-inch wheels and 265/70R17 tires, smoked light bezels, locking rear differential, overhead console crawl and multi-terrain controls. A Trail Premium gets the same upgrades as the SR5 Premium.
Trail options consist of Entune audio upgrade with navigation, fixed running boards, sliding cargo floor, and KDSS (kinetic dynamic suspension system—see Driving Impressions).
4Runner Limited 2WD / AWD upgrades from Premium with leather upholstery for all seats, dual-zone climate control, chrome and color-keyed exterior trim, push-button start, ventilated and heated front seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel with redundant controls, X-REAS suspension, 245/60R20 tires on alloy wheels (matching alloy spare), 15-speaker JBL sound system, Safety Connect and front/rear parking sensors. All-wheel drive models use a single-speed, full-time all-wheel drive system with Torsen center differential.
Options for Limited are auto-retracting running boards, sliding cargo deck and third-row seats.
Safety features on all 4Runner models include front, front-side, front knee, and all-row side-curtain airbags, rearview camera, active front head restraints, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, electronic stability and trailer sway control, traction control, hill-start assist, LATCH child-seat anchors, tire-pressure monitors; downhill assist control is included on 4WD models. Limited includes Safety Connect with automatic collision notification, stolen vehicle location, emergency assist, roadside assistance with 1-year trial subscription and front/rear parking sensors.