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2011 Toyota 4Runner

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating

By

2011 Toyota 4Runner

2011 Toyota 4Runner.

Photo © Jason Fogelson

The Bottom Line

My favorite SUV returns for the second year of its fifth generation. The 2011 Toyota 4Runner still rolls with its body on a frame, robust suspension and great chops on and off of the road. The competition has thinned a bit, as the 2011 Ford Explorer has given up its ruggedness. Still on the trail, the Jeep Grand Cherokee, Land Rover LR4 and Nissan Xterra provide stiff competition, but 4Runner still comes out on top in my book.
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Pros

  • 4Runner returns to its roots.
  • Great looks.
  • Good off-road and on-road chops.

Cons

  • Pricey.
  • Where's my V8?
  • Is the body-on-frame SUV a dinosaur?

Description

  • Base prices from $30,305 to $40,435
  • Engine: 4.0-liter V6 with 24-valve aluminum alloy block and aluminum alloy head
  • Horsepower: 270 @ 5,600 rpm
  • Torque: 278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
  • Transmission: Five-speed ECT automatic with rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive
  • Fuel Economy: 17 mpg city/23 mpg highway (RWD); 17/22 (4WD)
  • Wheelbase: 109.8” Vehicle Length: 189.9” Width: 75.8” Height: 70.1”
  • Curb Weight: 4,400 - 4,805 lbs
  • Cargo: 89.7 cubic feet Luggage: 47.2 cubic feet
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles basic; 5 years/60,000 miles powertrain

Guide Review - 2011 Toyota 4Runner

Moose, my 1994 Toyota 4Runner, is quivering in the garage right now, because I've just spent a week with the 2011 Toyota 4Runner. My test vehicle was an SR5 4x4 model with a base price of $31,265 ($35,009 as tested). Like all 4Runners, it came with a 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty and EPA estimates of 17 mpg city/22 mpg highway.

Moose has good reason to be nervous. 2011 represents the second year in the fifth generation 4Runner, and Toyota did a lot of very smart things to bring 4Runner back from the brink. First of all, in the looks department, the latest 4Runner is one of the best-looking ever (I'll give the nod to Moose's second generation as the absolute best). Gone are the cartoonish bulges and bumps, replaced with a more mature look that's still tough. 4Runner will be at home in the city and in the country. Great ground clearance (9.0" RWD/9.6" 4WD) give the 4Runner an assertive, capable-looking stance. Fit and finish are Toyota great.

4Runner's interior has always been a strong point, with simple, elegant ergonomics prevailing. I always feel at home behind the wheel of a 4Runner, with a great look ahead across its flat hood, and nice, unobscured views all around. Second row passengers never complain. The generous cargo compartment (47.2 cubic feet luggage/89.7 cubic feet cargo with second row folded) can be fitted with an optional third row seat, but don't bother.

There's still just one choice under the hood: A 4.0-liter V6 (270 hp/278 lb-ft of torque). That's plenty, but I still miss the V8 option for a little more grunt -- sign o' the times. Towing capacity is just 5,000 lbs, and payload is around 1,500, but you wouldn't want to haul more without a bigger motor.

Driving 4Runner is a pleasure. Stabilizer bars front and rear keeps the ride flat through the corners. Even though 4Runner is tall, it's not tippy, but it pays to be careful in the curves. I didn't get a chance to test the 2011 4Runner off road, but I did test a 2010 when the new model was introduced. 4Runner delivers, with precise power delivery and a Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control system available on the Trail model.

I still love Moose, but I could be tempted by the new 4Runner. Moose has one very compelling feature that keeps him safe -- Moose is completely paid for. That means it will be years before I get around to replacing him, no matter how great the new 4Runner is. If it's time for you to get a new SUV, and you might spend some time off-road, try on the 2011 Toyota 4Runner for size. Be careful -- if it fits you, you might find yourself in for a long, long relationship.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.
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