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2010 Toyota 4Runner Review

This review was written when the 2010 Toyota 4Runner was new.

Since its 2003 introduction, the Toyota 4Runner has been a capable off-road vehicle with poor fuel economy and a sub-par highway ride. Changes for 2010, however, have made it an even more accomplished off-road runner as well as a more fuel-efficient daily driver.

While most automakers are converting their truck-based SUVs into smooth-riding crossovers, Toyota is taking a stand with the 2010 4Runner. Redesigned for this year, it stays true to its truck roots. Surprisingly, nearly every reviewer applauds this move. As it turns out, today's market is full of cookie-cutter crossover SUVs but offers few rugged off-roaders.

Truck Trend calls the new Toyota 4Runner "the most capable vehicle to come along since the current-generation Wrangler, and there's much to be applauded in an off-roading legend that's remained true to itself." For 2010, the Toyota 4Runner gets a new Trail model that boasts great off-road features including part-time four-wheel drive, a locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control. In addition, the Toyota 4Runner's exterior is even boxier and tougher looking than before. You may be thinking, that's great for off-road enthusiasts, but what about everyone else?

Luckily, Toyota hasn't forgotten about families or couples who just want a rugged daily driver. They've dropped the fuel-thirsty V8 engine option and upgraded the four-cylinder base engine to a V6 with more power than the V8 (though less torque) and much better fuel economy. In addition, the interior gets a new gauge layout and Limited models get an ‘ECO' meter that shows exactly how fuel-efficient your driving is. With these changes and its optional third-row seat, the Toyota 4Runner is a tour de force -- a more practical four-door alternative to the Toyota FJ Cruiser or Jeep Wrangler.

For a closer look at the 4Runner, check out our 4Runner video.

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Other SUVs to Consider

If you don't need rugged off-road ability, there are better options available. The Toyota Highlander retains the Toyota 4Runner's tough styling but costs about $1,000 less and offers better fuel economy and a more comfortable highway ride. Though it costs nearly $3,000 more than the Toyota 4Runner, the GMC Acadia is a much more comfortable family runabout. It still has a masculine look, but boasts minivan-like attributes such as 17/24 mpg fuel economy and seating for seven or eight.

To see a more in-depth analysis of the 4Runner's competitors, take a look at our 4Runner video.

Details: Toyota 4Runner

Since the Toyota 4Runner has changed for 2010, the new model may be worth buying just for the fuel economy boost alone. The Toyota 4Runner comes in three trims: the base SR5, the luxurious Limited and the new off-road-ready Trail. Be sure to check for current Toyota deals that may be available on a new Toyota 4Runner.

  • "Crossovers and cute utes may be...all the rage these days, but some people still have uses for a beefy SUV that can hold its own off-road. Fortunately, Toyota's all-new 2010 4Runner holds true to its roots, and remains an honest, tough midsize SUV." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "Some rivals offer a smoother ride and sharper on-road handling, but 4Runner is tough to beat for refinement, off-road ability, and overall execution." -- Consumer Guide
  • "There just aren't that many serious 4x4 SUVs being made anymore, really. But keeping a body-on-frame model for people who want real utility as well as real off-road capability makes sense to us." -- Edmunds
  • "The Trail Edition would be the most mechanically specialized 4Runner, trading on-road comfort for maximum off-road capability. Even so, we can vouch that the 4Runner is a comfortable cruiser and daily driver. In one day we logged 13 hours on the highway without feeling the least bit deprived." -- Cars.com
Review Last Updated: 9/21/11

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