2012 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.
All 2012 Toyota 4Runners are powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that generates 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Fuel economy ratings are 17 mpg City and 22 mpg Highway with 4WD. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, enough for light boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles.
Two-row and three-row seating configurations are available, for five or seven passengers.
The 2012 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. It is distinguished by a unique hood scoop, unique 17-inch wheels, black side mirrors, front and rear bumper guards and dark smoke treatment on the head lamps and tail lamps.
All three models benefit from equipment upgrades for 2012. The 2012 Toyota 4Runner SR5 and Trail Edition come standard with SiriusXM satellite radio, a USB port with iPod connectivity, and Bluetooth phone capability and music streaming. Standard on 2012 4Runner Limited, and optional on SR5 and Trail Edition, is a new audio/navigation system whose 6.1-inch touch screen offers access to all the latest digital-electronic candy, including Sirius and HD radio, iTunes Tagging, Toyota Entune service, and much, much more. Still available for Limited only is a premium 15-speaker system from JBL. 2012 SR5 and Limited now offer the option of automatic retractable running boards.
We found the 4Runner has good on-road dynamics with rack-and-pinion steering and well-proportioned disc brakes. It may be as nimble as the lighter-duty Highlander crossover. But the key point here is that the 4Runner is far more capable and much more durable for use on rough terrain. That durability factor is crucial for owners who frequently drive on rough, unpaved roads or over rugged terrain. Compared to the FJ Cruiser, the 4Runner is more versatile and more passenger-friendly, and nearly as capable off-road.
The 2012 Toyota 4Runner is available in SR5, Limited, and Trail grade. Trail grade and SR5 4WD use a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Limited 4WD includes a full-time multi-mode four-wheel-drive system. Two-row or three-row seating configurations are available, for five or seven passengers. The 4.0-liter V6 mated to a 5-speed automatic is standard across the range.
4Runner SR5 ($31,090) comes with cloth upholstery; air conditioning with air filter; six-way manual driver's seat with power lumbar; four-way passenger seat; sliding second-row seats split 40/20/40; AM/FM/CD/MP3 with eight speakers, SiriusXM, USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth; tilt/telescoping steering wheel; overhead storage; cruise control; map light; 10 cupholders; multi-information display; compass; HomeLink garage door opener; sonar park assist; power windows; power locks; remote keyless entry;, three 12V power outlets; auto-off headlights; integrated fog lights; color-keyed fenders; spoiler; exterior puddle lamps; 265/70R17 tires on 17-inch alloy wheels; towing hitch; and skid plates. The 4Runner SR5 4WD ($32,830) uses a part-time four-wheel-drive system. Third-row seats are optional ($805). A Convenience Package ($1580) includes power seats, a power moonroof, upgraded Sport upholstery, and thee 120V power outlets.
4Runner Trail Edition 4WD ($36,755) includes special trim, unique 17-inch wheels, upgraded cloth upholstery, a power moonroof, rearview camera (small display inside rearview mirror), power front seats, and under-floor storage. Optional is the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System ($1750), which automatically disconnects the stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.
4Runner Limited ($38,595) upgrades to leather upholstery in the first and second rows, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, chrome exterior trim, push-button start, heated front seats, leather-trimmed steering wheel with audio and telephone controls, X-REAS Sport Enhancement suspension, and 245/60R20 Mud and Snow tires on 20-inch alloy wheels. The new-for-2012 touch-screen navigation/audio system includes all the features of the standard SR5/Trail audio setup, plus WMA playback, HD Radio with iTunes Tagging, auxiliary audio jack, Toyota Entune, a rear-view camera, and much, much more. Limited 4WD ($40,630) uses a full-time multi-mode four-wheel-drive system. Third-row seats, leather trimmed, are optional ($1365), as is an even more sophisticated 15-speaker JBL stereo-with-navigation ($1155).
The Limited's navigation/audio package is optional on SR5 ($1520) and Trail Edition ($995). A Premium Package ($4775) for SR5 combines the navigation/audio system with leather seats, power moonroof, and other Limited-style luxuries. Power-retractable running boards ($1500) are available on SR5 and Limited only.
Safety features on all 4Runner models include active front head restraints, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, quick brake assist, Vehicle Stability Control, traction control, Hill-start Assist Control, LATCH child-seat anchors, seat belts with ALR/ELR, force limiters, pretensioners, tire-pressure monitor, Downhill Assist Control (DAC) is included on 4WD models.