The Toyota 4Runner is definitely one of the most recognizable SUV’s on the road today. Launched in 1984, the 4Runner was designed as Toyota's smaller and cheaper Ying to the Land Cruiser’s Yang. However since it was launched in 84, the 4Runner has earned its own reputation as a durable vehicle with the ability to take it on the road or to the dirt at any time.
Exterior and Trims
The 2012 Toyota 4Runner is offered in three trim levels: SR5, Trail and Limited.
The SR5 and Limited trims are available with 2WD or 4WD. The Trail-grade 4Runner is only available in 4WD.
The 4Runner SR5 comes standard equipped with the following features: 17-inch alloy wheels, hill-start assist and hill-descent control, skid plates, fog lights, heated mirrors, air-conditioning (Equipped with rear ventilation), cruise control, full power accessories, a power rear window, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel and a trip computer. The SR5 also comes equipped with Bluetooth (with audio streaming) and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.
The 4Runner Trail level includes the same equipment as the SR5 trim with the addition of a the following features: a locking rear differential, mud guards, Crawl Control (which electronically controls throttle and brakes when going up or downhill), off-road-oriented 17 inch tires and a sunroof. Other features on the Trail level include power front seats made of water resistant fabric, a rearview camera with a monitor built into the mirror, improved gauges, a sliding rear cargo deck and two 120-volt power outlets.
The Limited trim level includes: 20-inch wheels, keyless ignition/entry, adaptive suspension dampers, automatic headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats and power lumbar support for the driver seat. Also standard for the Limited is an integrated rearview camera, HD radio and Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system.
Many of the features of the 4Runner Trail and Limited are available options for the SR5 model. Other available option include: a 50/50 split third-row seat, voice-activated navigation system and the KDSS off-road suspension package (which is available only on the Trail models).
Under the Hood
The 2012 Toyota 4Runner is equipped with a standard 4.0-liter V6 engine and a 5 speed transmission that produces 270 HP and 278 pound-feet of torque.
The SR5 and Limited trims' 4WD systems are slightly different. The SR5 system uses part-time dual-range, while the Limited trim has a full-time system with a lockable center differential. The Trail model comes with part-time dual-range 4WD and a locking rear differential, as well as selectable electronic terrain-sensitive systems. The 4Runner's towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds, regardless of trim.
The Standard 2012 Toyota 4Runner safety features include: stability control, antilock disc brakes, traction control, front knee airbags, front seat side and full length airbags, active front head restraints and roll-sensing side curtain airbags.
The Limited trim gets an extra boost in safety features. It comes with Safety Connect, which is Toyota's emergency assistance system. This protects your vehicle by providing you with a stolen-vehicle locator, roadside assistance and automatic collision notification.
Interior Design and Special Features
The Toyota 4Runner's interior features a look perfect for this SUV's rugged image. It features oversized climate control knob, which are easy to see and control. Our only complaint is that they sometimes feel a bit unsteady.
The 2012 4Runner features Toyota's Entune smartphone integration system, which allows the vehicles occupants to use many great app’s such as Pandora through the car's audio system and display screen. Toyota’s Entune is simply great, it adds a whole new life to this vehicle and makes it a sure pick for road trips.
The Toyota 4Runner offers a very roomy interior with seating for up to five passengers. It has a 40/20/40-split second row which offers cargo-carrying flexibility, however an optional third-row seat is available, which increases the passenger count to seven people, preferably smaller the vehicles maximum cargo capacity to 90 cubic feet. It also offers an optional sliding rear cargo deck, which is able to withstand up to 440 pounds.
For those of you that like tail gating at your favorite game, the 2012 4Runner offers an optional “Party Mode”. This mode directs most of the audio system's sound to the lift gate speakers and increases thebass response of the vehicle. Are you ready to party? I know I am.
On the Road/Off the road
The 2012 Toyota 4Runner is built on a truck chassis, but it is surprisingly very smooth on the road. While the 4Runner does not offer a V8 engine, it is not needed. The V6 has plenty of power on its own, and it’s bound to be a crowd pleaser.
If you want to take this bad boy off-road, and we know you do, the 4Runner is definitely one of the best off-roading vehicles in the car market. For the best off-roading experience in the 2012 Toyota 4Runner, we recommend getting a Trail model fitted with the KDSS package.