Thursday, July 31, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

4Runner keeps rugged charm

By
From page C1 | April 25, 2014 |

Thirty years after its U.S. debut as a utilitarian, four-wheel drive truck with a fiberglass cover on the back, the Toyota 4Runner remains a different kind of family sport utility vehicle.

Sure, the 2014 4Runner has seats for up to seven passengers and can be stocked with navigation system, leather-trimmed seats and satellite radio — some things never envisioned for the old 4Runner. And now, a rearview camera is standard, while exterior styling has been refreshed for 2014.

But Toyota’s long-running 4Runner hasn’t totally given up its rugged, ways.

The truckish body-on-frame construction remains. The 4Runner’s two-wheel drive is rear-wheel drive — not the front-wheel drive that’s favored for many lighter-duty SUVs. Four-wheel drive 4Runners include standard low gearing and locking differential to handle really treacherous terrain offroad. Ground clearance of at least 9 inches puts passengers high above it all on the way to campgrounds, allowing the 4Runner to straddle rocks and get through waterlogged trails without vehicle damage.

Best of all, perhaps, the 2014 4Runner is rated well above average in predicted reliability by Consumer Reports magazine.

The 4Runner also was one of the top three mid-size SUVs in dependability in the latest J.D. Power and Associates study that looked at 3-year-old vehicles.

No wonder Toyota reports nearly 2 million 4Runners are still on the roads.

Starting manufacturer’s suggested retail price, including destination charge, is $33,680 for a 2014 4Runner SR5 with five-speed automatic transmission and two-wheel drive.

The lowest starting retail price, including destination charge, for a 2014 4Runner with four-wheel drive is $35,555. All 4Runners come with a 270-horsepower V-6.

Major competitors include the 2014 Nissan Pathfinder, which comes with a 260-horsepower V-6 and has a starting retail price of $29,810 with two-wheel drive and $31,410 with four-wheel drive. The Pathfinder comes with a continuously variable transmission that a driver operates like an automatic.

Another competitor, the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee has a starting MSRP, including destination charge, of $30,190 with 290-horsepower V-6, eight-speed automatic and two-wheel drive. Starting retail price for a Grand Cherokee with four-wheel drive is $32,190.

The mass movement of American families to softer-riding, pavement-traveling crossover SUVs hasn’t stopped the 4Runner in its tracks. In fact, U.S. sales rose a bit last calendar year to 51,625, and sales were up another 1.8 percent in January and February from the year-earlier period.

The test 4Runner, a top-of-the-line Limited 4X4 model, instantly reminded passengers of earlier SUVs.

Were it not for optional-for-$1,500 motorized running boards that automatically slid out from under the door sills when needed, many passengers would have had to work to scramble upward and get inside. Once settled onto cushioned seats, everyone had good views onto the roofs of cars and through the windows of nearby trucks and SUVs.

Even the two third-row riders — third-row seating is a $1,365 option — had decent-sized side windows, though the windows did not open and seats were just a few inches from the floor.

The biggest exterior design change for 2014 is a new look at the front of the 4Runner. It borrows from Toyota’s smaller FJ Cruiser SUV.

The ride is somewhat old style, with passengers feeling vibrations as tires went over broken road surfaces, and there was some truckish bounce on dirt trails.

Steering is less than precise but acceptable for an offroader. The turning circle isn’t great, at 37.4 feet, but it’s better than that of the Pathfinder.

Don’t expect great gasoline mileage. With a hefty 4,800-pound weight, less than aerodynamic shape and an older-style five-speed automatic, the 4Runner is rated at just 17 miles per gallon in city driving by the federal government. Highway travel carries a rating of 21 mpg or 22 mpg, depending on whether the 4Runner is a 4X2 or 4X4. The test vehicle did worse than the ratings, getting just 15.1 mpg in city traffic and just over 19 mpg on the highway.

By comparison, the Pathfinder SUV is rated at 19/25 mpg.

Engine sounds were heard all the time in the 4Runner, and the powerplant became loud during hard acceleration.

Torque peaks at 278 foot-pounds at 4,400 rpm, and shift points were noticeable.

One complaint was an annoying whistle that came on as the vehicle reached about 40 mph. The whistle emanated from the side outside mirrors, and it made no difference if the nearby side windows were up or down. The only thing that stopped the whistle sound was putting a hand between the mirror and the SUV body to break the wind flow.

On the plus side, the newly designed center stack in the 4Runner protrudes for easy reach. Buttons and knobs are large, and there also can be controls buttons on the steering wheel.

Also new: Brightly illuminated Optitron gauges in front of the driver.

Maximum cargo capacity, with seats folded, is a good 128 cubic feet.

Headroom in the third row seemed tight even for a 5-foot-4 passenger. Toyota reports 34.3 inches of third-row headroom, which is less than the 36.5 inches in the third row of the Pathfinder.

A full 41.7 inches of legroom is available in the front seats. This is about a half inch less than the 42.3 inches of front-seat legroom in the Pathfinder.

Climbing into the third row takes a bit of work. The tester had a tilt-and-slide manual mechanism for the second-row outboard seat only on the curb side of the SUV.

The federal government reports the 2014 4Runner earned four out of five stars in frontal crash testing. Side crash test results were not available.

2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4X4

BASE PRICE: $32,820 for SR5 4X2; $34,695 for SR5 4X4; $35,725 for Trail 4X4; $35,740 for SR5 Premium 4X2; $37,615 for SR5 Premium 4X4; $38,645 for Trail Premium 4X4; $41,365 for Limited 4X2; $43,400 for Limited 4X4.

PRICE AS TESTED: $47,520.

TYPE: Front-engine, four-wheel drive, seven-passenger, mid-size sport utility vehicle.

ENGINE: 4-liter, double overhead cam V-6 with dual VVT-i.

MILEAGE: 17 mpg (city), 21 mpg (highway).

TOP SPEED: NA.

LENGTH: 190.2 inches.

WHEELBASE: 109.8 inches.

CURB WEIGHT: 4,805 pounds.

BUILT AT: Japan.

OPTIONS: Automatic running boards $1,500; leather-trimmed, split, fold-flat, third row seats $1,365; Blizzard Pearl exterior paint $395.

DESTINATION CHARGE: $860.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | No comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

.

Solano News

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3, 8 Comments | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4, 4 Comments | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment | Gallery

Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 2 Comments

 
AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 3 Comments

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 6 Comments

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12, 1 Comment

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11, 1 Comment

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 13 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11, 7 Comments

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9