Like its name implies, 4Runner is still a multi-use vehicle that is designed for more rugged use than the average SUV. It gets a few exterior and interior upgrades for the 2014 model year. But it’s still basically a good durable all-terrain vehicle for active families. This week we are testing a 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited 4X4 V6. This is the top model in the lineup and is both rugged and is plenty luxurious.
What’s New for 2014
4Runner for 2014 gets a mild makeover with exterior restyling with new headlights and a restyled interior. Toyota has included a touchscreen-based audio system and their Entune suite of smartphone-connected apps on all trim levels and a rearview camera as standard features for 2014.
Stepping inside the 4Runner Limited ($43,400) reveals lots of leather and luxury features. This 4Runner Limited tester came loaded with optional leather upgraded in front and back seats and featured third-row seating and automatic running boards. It also came with dual-zone climate control and 20-inch alloy wheels. Even though 4Runner is designed for off-road use, this Limited has a very comfortable cabin and comes with textured materials, silver trim accents that creates a very modern high-tech feel inside.
4Runner excels in rugged terrain
But where the Toyota 4Runner continues to excel is in its rugged drivetrain. The 2014 Toyota 4Runner comes powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that generates 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The SUV can two up to 5000 pounds, which makes it an ideal recreational vehicle able to tow light boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, or motorcycles.
We took this 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited to a nice testing ground near the foothills just west of Golden, Colorado near Coors brewery. As we were at our grandsons soccer game, we spotted a trail leading away from the fields that gave us a good opportunity to test out the 4WD system. There we some steep hills and rough terrain, so it was an ideal spot.
Limited gets a dial-actuated full-time system that is always on, ready for changing road conditions or inclement weather. The Limited is better suited for ice and wintry conditions when grip is inconsistent rather than extreme off-road use. It automatically apportions power to the tires with the best grip. The driver doesn’t need to do anything to engage it. It handled the rough terrain and went where we pointed it.
Where the 2014 Toyota 4Runner shines is in its ability to hold up to outdoor recreational use that would prove destructive to car-based crossover SUVs. Limited is designed for the family who needs it more for occasional trail use but it’s in inclement weather that the full-time 4WD system in the 4Runner Limited really shines. It’s ideal for use on roads with slippery patches or wet spots. We found this tester tracked cleanly and accurately through corners and over the compromised surfaces near the soccer fields.
Out on the open road, the 4.0-liter V6 has plenty of power to move the family-sized SUV. We loaded the 4Runner with soccer equipment and five passengers and then took it up I-70 into the mountains for a test. We pushed the throttle to the floor and the transmission kicked down two gears and we were off accelerating past slower traffic. And this was on a steeper part of the interstate heading west. I looked down and we were going 80 mph in no time. The five-speed 4Runner’s automatic transmission shifts were smooth even at full throttle. But a another gear or two would be nice as the transmission is a bit dated compared to rivals like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
For the family who needs a more rugged SUV, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is a good choice. 4Runner is built for durability and its all-terrain capability. Using rugged body-on-frame construction, the 4Runner is intended to be a tough and reliable sport utility for the more adventurous owner who will use it for recreation. Limited is a more tame version and offers more luxury and comfort inside. It’s full-time AWD system is ideal for any family member to use in all-weather driving situations. Given its capability, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited stands out as a truly multipurpose vehicle for urban and recreational capability. 4Runner also comes in three different formats to choose from, and a variety of specialized equipment, and it can be configured for a wide range of needs and budgets.
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