Good news the best-looking sport utility vehicle on the market just got some new clothes … and a new heart. For 2003, Toyota redesigned the 4Runner, which has been my top choice SUV in previous years. The new 4Runner is one of five available SUVs for the company, which makes Toyota the company that offers the most SUVs under the same brand name.
The 4Runner has been said to be America’s favorite foreign SUV for the last 10 years, and this new edition will make it even harder for other manufacturers to steal that position. The redesigned truck, though a little more expensive than in previous years, has the most technology ever offered in Toyota’s trucks. Back in 1985, when Toyota first introduced the 4Runner, it was nothing but a pickup truck with a removable fiberglass shell on its bed. About 10 years later, Toyota gave the 4Runner a V6 engine, leather interior and ABS. Today, the 4Runner is available with a V8 engine that is capable of towing 5,000 pounds. Even Toyota dubs this new truck the most ambitious 4Runner ever built. Although I was skeptical at first, I was put at ease with the refinement of the new truck. It drives like a dream and handles excellently, despite its curb weight of almost 4,500 pounds. Three trim levels are available: the base SR5, the mid-range Sport Edition and the top-of-the-line Limited. Each comes standard with the V6, but the V8 is available on all three.
I tested the SR 5 and couldn’t believe how well-equipped it was. The new design a mountain crawler, giving the truck a massive, respectable presence. With this comes an outstanding view of the road and a commanding driving position. I was impressed by the standard features unique to the 4Runner, such as the mirrors in the inside rear right and left upper corners, positioned so the driver can see the tail of the truck.
The rear window that lowers at the push of a button is an added bonus. The truck also comes with an anti-grind starter that prevents the accidental grinding of the starter when you turn the key while the engine is running, a feature I expect all automobile manufacturers to adopt. The new 4Runner starts at $27,000 and tops out at $37,000.
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