The 2012 Toyota 4Runner, the fifth generation Sport Utility Vehicle named last year as "Most Dependable Midsize Crossover/SUV” by J.D. Power & Associates," features new audio and connectivity upgrades as well as new automatic running boards.
The newest 4Runner in SR5 and Limited grades offer automatic running boards, while the 4Runner SR5 and Trail models come with standard SiriusXM Satellite Radio capability with a 90-day trial subscription included, USB port with iPod connectivity and hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.
Standard for the Limited grade, and optional for all other 4Runner models, a new display-type audio system incorporates today’s most in-demand connectivity features. Those offered are navigation, Toyota Entune services, XM Satellite Radio (with 90-day trial subscription), HD Radio with iTunes, tagging and text/e-mail-to-speech. The Toyota Entune system is a collection of popular mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access.
Once the smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth wireless technology or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers mobile apps for Bing, iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, and Pandora. Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.
Drivetrain configurations include rear wheel 4×2, part-time 4×4 and full-time multi-mode 4×4 with a locking center differential. All models are equipped with a 4.0-liter 270-horsepower V6 teamed to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission.
Performance and Efficiency
The 4Runner 4.0-liter V6 generates 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s operating range. Fuel economy ratings rival some car-based SUV-type vehicles at 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for 4×2 models (22 mpg highway for 4×4). Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, with 4Runner’s standard integrated tow hitch receiver and wiring harness.
4×4 Capability Designed-In
The 4Runner SR5 and Trail 4×4 models have a two-speed part-time four-wheel-drive system with neutral position. The 4Runner Limited is equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The A-TRAC traction control system is standard equipment on all 4×4 models. The system can distribute driving force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery patches transparent to the driver. An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.
All 4Runner grades feature rugged bumpers and wide fender flares. Aluminum alloy wheels are 17-inches in diameter on SR5 and Trail grades and 20 inches on the Limited, and include a full size spare. The front end’s square fender flares meld with a muscular profile that links with a beefy rear bumper and back door. In addition to its distinctive grille, the SR5 grade also features overfenders to help tackle inclement weather and off-road conditions. A roof rack comes standard.
The Trail model is distinguished by a hood scoop, 17-inch wheels, black side mirrors, front and rear bumper guards and dark smoke treatment on the head lamps and tail lamps.
The Limited and SR5 grades feature a chrome-plated grille insert, fog lamp bezel and front bumper molding. Front and rear overfenders and side skirts are color-keyed. The side molding, roof rack and rear bumper are also chrome trimmed. The SR5 and Limited grades have supplementary turn signals in the side mirrors, and puddle lamps.
The standard Toyota Star Safety System includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-Lock Brake System with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist. VSC helps the driver to ensure control by compensating for front and rear wheel slip. The system uses selective braking and modulated engine output to help keep the vehicle in line with the driver’s steering inputs. On 4×2 vehicles, the Auto LSD (Limited Slip Differential) system allows for better traction on slippery sections of roadway. The four-wheel ABS with EBD provides the 4Runner with optimal brake proportioning, regardless of vehicle load.
Eight standard airbags includes front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger, and side curtain airbags for the second and third row. All 2012 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger and three-point seat belts for all seats.
For second-row passengers, a sculpted front seat-back shape provides additional knee space. The second-row seats, which include a center armrest, individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps. Third-row seating features a roomy, supportive seating area. A 40/20/40 second-row seat configuration with a one-touch walk-in function makes access to the third row easier.
A leather-trimmed interior comes standard on 4Runner Limited and is optional on SR5. Graphite and Sand Beige fabric is standard on SR5. The Trail models are equipped with graphite color water-resistant fabric seats.
Versatility and Convenience
Fold-flat second-row rear seats provide a level load floor in the 4Runner, and it is not necessary to remove the headrests to fold the seats flat. The available third-row seat is split 50/50 and folds flat, as well. The seats can be folded from the side, or at the rear, using separate one-touch levers.
A Smart Key system featuring keyless entry with push-button start is standard on the Limited grade. The system allows the driver to unlock or start the vehicle by carrying the keyless remote. The cargo door window has jam control, like the moonroof and power side windows. An available pull-out cargo deck is capable of carrying up to 440 pounds, to make loading heavy items easier and to provide seating for tailgating and campsite relaxation. For models with the sliding deck, a 6.4-liter capacity storage box behind the rear seat provides additional storage.
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The 4Runner will also come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.