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Toyota 4Runner Review

Toyota 4Runner Review

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The Toyota 4Runner, first introduced all the way back in 1984, has obviously been a popular model in Toyota's lineup for quite some time. With many other SUVs clogging dealership lots and being discontinued like bad sitcoms, Toyota seems to know well enough not to fix something which isn't broken.

Maybe that's why the 2008 Toyota 4Runner looks just like the 2003 model -- its styling has gone unchanged since 2003. And it seems to have held up quite well; it still looks fresh, simple, and rugged, and changes to its appearance over the past two decades have been made mostly in baby steps. Interesting but maybe not surprising is the fact that other SUVs with devoted fans and long production runs, made by the likes of Jeep and Nissan, have followed this same formula.

The simple, uncluttered aesthetic of the Toyota 4Runner 2008 continues inside with an interior which might be a bit austere for some folks -- especially considering that a 2008 4Runner can come with a price tag well over $40,000, depending on how it's equipped. Others have complained that the third-row seating capacity is inadequate and that the third-row seat doesn't stow very well. But the Toyota 4Runner was born in a time before a third row of seating was available in pretty much any SUV smaller than a Chevy Suburban, and when both of the aforementioned vehicles were called "trucks" because the term "SUV" had yet to become a household acronym.

Still, under the somewhat plain interior lurks plenty of modern technology. Even the base SR5 model of the 2008 Toyota 4Runner comes standard with things like keyless entry, automatic climate control, and an overhead console. Higher trim levels include things like dual-zone automatic climate controls, leather upholstery, heated front seats, driver-seat memory, AM/FM radio with in-dash six-disc CD/MP3 changer, automatic day/night rearview mirror, compass, and universal garage door opener. And the options list includes a DVD entertainment system, satellite navigation system, satellite radio, and a 115-volt power outlet.

There is also plenty of impressive equipment dedicated to performance and safety. The Toyota 4Runner 2008 comes standard with anti-lock brakes, various forms of traction control and stability control, and even electronic aids for both climbing and descending steep hills. Four-wheel drive models aimed at off-roading also include stout stuff like a two-speed transfer case and locking center differential. The 2008 Toyota 4Runner also received four stars in NHTSA's frontal impact crash test and five stars in the side impact test.

The 4Runner has matured a bit, but it still retains the performance -- on-road and off -- that made it a favorite in the first place.


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