2017 Toyota 4Runner – Test Drive, Review, Ratings, Specs

2017 Toyota HighlanderBig SUV’s Still a Thing

Despite the fact that the world has more or less accepted the transition to the more favorable cross-over, the ultra heavy-duty Toyota 4Runner SUV refuses to let go of its existence. Not to say that the old-school SUV is a hopeless comparison to the modern cross-over though. Towing capacity and off-road conquering is where the 4Runner reigns supreme if that’s on your priority list.

You can more or less think of the 4Runner as the Toyota Tacoma with its truck bed replaced with a cabin space. Even the front fascia share identical looks. Powertrain configuration is only available as a 4.0L 6 cylinder engine capable of producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque mated to a 5-speed transmission.

What’s New

Most upgrades are realized in the 4Runner TRD Pro model offering performance-enhancing features including TRD-tuned front springs, TRD Bilstein high-performance shocks with rear remote reservoirs, and 31.5” Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires on 17” matte black aluminum wheels with TRD centre caps. New exterior finishing is also made available in the TRD Pro model with the heritage Toyota grille, TRD shift knob, TRO Pro-badged floor mats, black TRD Pro badging on the C-pillar and tailgate, TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate, black accents on the front and rear bumpers.

2017 Toyota Highlander

What We Liked

It’s got the full-on truck feel to it with the ability to very comfortably fit 5 passengers in a comfortably thanks to its body-on-frame SUV design. From its high seating position, rugged chassis, off-road tuned suspensions and high ground clearance gives you a sense of road conqueror whether you’re in and out of the city. Space is plentiful in both the front and rear passenger area and the quality and finishing is not bad with its leather seating material. Steering’s got pretty good feedback and precision control for its big-wheel purpose. What’s most surprising was how nimble its acceleration felt despite the 4Runner is within in the proximity of the 6,000 lbs heavyweight class.

What We Didn’t Like

Weighing in at nearly 6,000 lbs, there’s really no surprise that the these numbers sifts into the driving experience. There is a lack of smoothness and refinement on the daily drive and the brakes don’t allow the 4Runner to make a smooth transition to deceleration. Although classified as a cross-over, there’s no denying that the 4Runner is built more to tailor the off-road needs. Thick rubber, and stiff-tuned suspensions and a high ground-clearance may not be the best fit for those that spend more time in the city than on gravel and rocky roads. Fuel efficiency also takes a hit from its 4.0L 6 cylinder engine and its heavy vehicle weight. EPA ratings scores in at a 17/21/22 mpg in the city, highway and combined respectively.

engine

Final Thoughts

There are plenty of 5 or even 7 passenger cross-over SUV’s, but none can deliver the driving experience of a truck like the 4Runner does. Still, the overall metropolitan citizen will consider the 4Runner an overkill given its size and weight. But if the nostalgic heavy-duty SUV is your cup of tea, and you don’t mind paying the price for it at the fuel pump, then the 4Runner will be a blast from the past.

2017 Toyota Highlander

Specifications

  • Vehicle : 2017 Toyota 4Runner
  • Model : 4Runner TRD Pro
  • Vehicle Type : 5-door Cross-Over SUV
  • Seating Capacity : 2+3
  • Engine : 4.0L 6 Cylinder Engine
  • Horsepower: 270 hp, 278 lb.ft of torque
  • Transmission :  5-speed automatic
  • Price as tested: $48,608

Pros

  • Sharp and modern styling
  • Offers a truck-like experience in a 5 – 7 passenger SUV package
  • Practical with excellent cargo space
  • Exceptional interior cabin quality construction

Cons

  • Dated powertrain technology
  • Overkill for city use
  • Poor fuel efficiency rating