If you’re in the market for a mid-sized SUV and you’re trying to figure out if you should consider buying a 2017 Toyota 4Runner, answer this question:
When you drive down a road and reach the end of the pavement, what do you do? If you turn around and go back, skip the 4Runner. If you view the dirt path ahead of you as a chance for adventure the 4Runner is your kind of SUV.
The 4Runner is stuck in the past which is both good and bad. While most other SUVs are built on a car chassis for a smoother ride, the 4Runner is still built on a truck chassis. For those who want modern refinements, you’d best look elsewhere. You won’t find newfangled technology like adaptive cruise control or lane keeper assist. Heck, even the key is old school. It actually looks like a key.
The 4Runner focuses its effort on getting you there no matter what kind of terrain you have to traverse. If you buy the 4×4, that’s what you get. It’s not an all-wheel drive SUV, it’s a four-wheel drive. It has a big manly looking shift knob for engaging both axles. The 4Runner has a 270 horsepower four-cylinder engine. While that’s a fair amount of power, you won’t feel it if you punch the throttle on the highway. The 4Runner is geared differently to give you power off the main roads. Mileage is nothing to brag about. My test car was the four-wheel version and it is rated for 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway. I averaged 18 mpg during my test week which matches the EPA’s combined number.
The styling is also a bit of a throwback. It’s got a great muscular grill up front, but Toyota hasn’t tried very hard to give it subtle curves or sleek styling. It’s brutish, and that’s fine. Even the interior is old school. Where a lot of dashboards are getting a smoother refined look, this one has a lot of jutting edges.
Don’t get me wrong, the 4Runner’s lack of styling flair doesn’t bother me. It’s refreshing to see a vehicle that understands its place in the world.
My test vehicle was the 2017 4×4 TRD Off-Road Premium edition which stickered at $42,202. The base price for a 2018 model is $34,410. That gets you a two-wheel drive SR5 model. You may not need the Premium edition, but you should at least spend a couple thousand more to get the four-wheel drive model. Trust me, it’s worth it.
Of course, that assumes that you the type that didn’t turn around when the pavement ran out of room.