The Bottom Line
- 4Runner returns to its roots.
- Great looks.
- Good off-road and on-road chops.
- Where's my V8?
- Is the body-on-frame SUV a dinosaur?
- 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.