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Aussie input on Toyota's newest 4Runner

Sixth-gen Toyota 4Runner breaks cover in US with some Aussie developed off-road accessories

12 Apr 2024

BREAKING cover in San Diego, California, this week is the new, gen’ six Toyota 4Runner SUV that would be a nearly perfect fit as a replacement for the decade-old Toyota Fortuner here in Australia.


But that is open to conjecture as the medium large MY25 4Runner will be made in left-hand drive for the US market. However, that could change as it rolls off Toyota’s Tahara production line in Japan, a right-hand drive country and not out of a US-based facility.


Due for US introduction in Q3 this year, Toyota USA saying it stays true to the original concept as an extremely capable, dynamic, and durable off-roader. The model has a 40-year history in the US where it is held in high regard by owners who prioritise off road driving.


Sharing Toyota’s TNGA-F global truck platform with LandCruiser, Tundra, Sequoia and Tacoma, the new-from-the-ground-up 4Runner’s chassis utilises a high-strength boxed, steel-ladder frame and features a multi-link coil rear and double wishbone front suspension.


Toyota says the adoption of the innovative TNGA-F platform adds strength while at the same time improves the vehicle’s ride comfort and on-road manners.


“Passengers feel the benefits of this new platform, even when riding in the available third-row,” says Toyota.


The enhanced frame, when paired with new petrol powertrains gives the model a towing capacity of up 2750kg.


Size-wise 4Runner fits between the Prado and LC300 Series we know here and features a bold new look that Toyota appears to be progressively adopting across some of its more focused off roaders including the new Prado.


The vehicle’s styling is out of Toyota’s CALTY design studios and was honed after identifying the model’s “unique and memorable aspects linked to fun, outdoor recreation.”


CALTY president, Kevin Hunter said the 4Runner is “inspired by Baja desert racing, the high lift, lean body, big tire, rugged athleticism defines the core of 4Runner’s go anywhere purpose.”


According to information from the launch, designers pulled inspiration from the past while also focusing on the future. The new 4Runner was designed alongside the Tacoma ute sharing a family resemblance while exhibiting its own unique details.


In a nod to the first and second generation 4Runner, designers were able to bring back the distinctive “wrap over” quarter glass, and a roll-down rear window is retained being part of the vehicle’s DNA.


Inside, ease of operation and a functional interface were prime considerations to strike a balance between modern sophistication and capable authenticity. This is exemplified in the second-row tumble seats that help increase 4Runners interior versatility and maximises cargo floor usage.


A choice of 2.4-litre turbo petrol and hybrid turbo petrol i-FORCE four-cylinder engines is available on the new 4Runner.


SR5, TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road and Limited grades will be equipped standard with the 210kW/ 430Nm i-FORCE engine paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission.


The i-FORCE MAX hybrid powertrain is available on TRD Off-Road and Limited and standard on the TRD Pro, Trailhunter and Platinum models.


It pairs the turbocharged 2.4-litre engine with a 36kW electric motor integrated into the eight-speed transmission, feeding off a 1.87kWh NiMH battery pack that creates a total system output of up to 243kW/630Nm, the most powerful ever offered on 4Runner.


As the 4Runner is synonymous with rugged capability, the latest model continues with increased capability with a newly available Stabiliser Bar Disconnect Mechanism that increases suspension articulation at the push of a button.


Toyota says this feature allows the vehicle to flex while helping keep tyres in contact with the trail, the vehicle having up to 32-degree approach and 24-degree departure angles.


The optional Multi-Terrain Monitor system aids the driver allowing them to see potential hazards on the centre display.


The 4Runner will be offered in 2WD, part-time 4WD or full-time 4WD. The 2WD models will feature an automatic limited-slip differential (Auto LSD) and 4WD models have an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case with high/low range along with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) and an automatic limited-slip differential (Auto LSD).


An electronic locking rear differential is standard on TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro and Trailhunter grades.


The Limited is offered with an optional full-time four-wheel-drive system with a centre locking differential on i-FORCE MAX models, while this setup is standard on Platinum grades.


A Multi-Terrain Select system now functions in both 4WD-High and 4WD-Low offering adjustable settings to help control wheel spin on a variety of terrain such as Mud, Dirt, and Sand.


A new, quieter Crawl Control function that acts as a low-speed, off-road cruise control that allows the driver to focus on steering is available. Downhill Assist Control is another off-road feature available to assist the driver navigate descents.


Toyota says 4Runner’s capability and durability have made it a fan favourite of overlanders, many of whom fit accessory equipment to facilitate their lifestyle. The new 4 Runner will be available ex-factory with a turnkey solution featuring the Toyota-developed overland rig straight from the factory.


Like the Tacoma ute, off-road component companies, including from Australia, have collaborated with Toyota to make the fit and finish of “overland” accessories that much better.


The Trailhunter for example will feature ARB’s Old Man Emu (OME) 2.5-inch forged shocks with rear external piggyback remote reservoirs, along with a uniquely co-designed ARB Roof Rack.


The OME shocks along with the 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T tires boost up Trailhunter an additional two inches in the front and one and a half inches in the rear. A standard low-profile high-mount air intake sources cleaner air for water crossings.


In addition to the tough new look, the new generation 4Runner introduces new technology, premium materials, options, and safety. Toyota says because of this, the model “raises the bar in terms of go-anywhere capability and high-end refinement”.


“This all-new 4Runner has incredible versatility and capability that nicely rounds out our truck family story,” said Toyota USA group vice president and general manager Dave Gilchrist.


“We’ve sold over three million in the 40 years it has been on sale, and this sixth-generation model offers a cool new look and incredible features, yet retains the rugged style and capability our customers love about this icon of adventure.”

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