- - Friday, August 22, 2014

Things just go better with the 2014 Toyota 4Runner, believe me I know because as I sat behind the wheel for a week I felt like me and the 4Runner were more than merely just in sync. I like driving a vehicle when that happens.

Of course, on the road or off, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner is more than capable of making magic and it’s a strong engine with new impressive styling inside and a bit of a redesign on the exterior too.

Competition for this more than worthy mid-size sport utility vehicle includes the 2014 Jeep Grand Cherokee and the Dodge Durango, all three however, are worthy road warriors even if not all as modestly priced.

The five-passenger 2014 Toyota 4Runner comes in three trim levels, the SR5, Trail and Limited. On the SR5 and the Trail, there are options to choose from that also include a base or Premium style version. While it is standard with five passengers another choice you can opt for is the 50/50-split on the third-row seat for the SR5 and Limited trims. With this option you can then seat seven.

Even on the SR5, the standard features are impressive with 17-inch alloy wheels, skid plates, tow hitch, hill start assist descent control, rearview camera, fog lights, heated exterior mirrors, a rear privacy glass, power-lowering liftgate window, windshield wiper de-icer, keyless entry, cruise control, six-way power driver seat, leather-wrapped steering wheel with a tilt/telescope option and 40/20/40-split-folding and reclining rear seats.

You also get the techno goodies that include the Bluetooth phone and audio connect, and a touchscreen with the Entune suite of smartphone-connected apps as well as a CD player and the audio jack for both iPod/USB interface.

On the Premium SR5, add to that a sunroof and mirrors on the outside that offer turn signals and puddle lamps, and on the interior there is an upgrade of upholstery, heated front seats, a four-way power front passenger seat and upgraded tech devices, including a better navigation system and Entune as well as voice control.

The Trail trim has all of the SR5 base goodies, and there are off-road-tires, mudguards and electronic add-ons that aid in off-roading, as well as an eight-way power driver seat. For the Premium, the sunroof is added and the additional SR5 Premium additions.

On the Trail trim you can also include the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System,  too.

The 2014 Toyota 4Runner Limited has all of the Trail Premium’s goodies coming standard except for the off-road gear. Add too, 20-inch alloy wheels, adaptive shock absorbers, automatic headlights, keyless ignition/entry, leather upholstery, heated and air-conditioned front seats and an upgraded sound system with 15 speakers.

If you like the features on the SR5 and Trail that are not available on the Limited as standard that’s no problem, as you can add these on to the Limited options. Additionally, there are fixed running board options and automatic deploy/retract running boards for the Limited as well as a sliding rear cargo floor.

Under the hood, this Toyota 4Runner has a 4.0-liter V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Expect a five-speed automatic transmission, but the SR5 and Limited also have rear-wheel or 4WD drive options, and the Trail trim can be had in 4WD only.

On the SR5, the four-wheel drive is part-time with a low-range transfer case and the Limited has a 4WD system low-range. The Trail trim has the standard 4WD and that also comes with a locking rear differential and various electronic terrain systems.

For safety, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner has standard antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front seat side, full-length side curtain and front knee airbags as well as active front head restraints. On the 4WD, add the off-road traction control and a rearview camera. On the Limited, the added safety features are a Safety Connect emergency communications system with automatic collision notification and roadside assistance.

Inside the 2014 Toyota 4Runner it’s comfortable and you will feel right at home. There is a new instrument panel, which enhances the interior design. Overall too, the entire design looks and feel easy to connect with and it’s more than straightforward to find whatever you need at your fingertips.  The 2014’s also have a touchscreen audio interface with a variety of functional choices depending on the trim level. The Entune can be hard to figure out at first, but once installed and understood it’s no longer a worry.

The third row optional seats are snug, but the cargo space overall is 47 cubic-feet behind row number two, and that’s plenty of space for hauling goodies or when all the seats are folded down you get 90 cubic-feet in all.

Driving the 2014 Toyota 4Runner was my favorite part of the experience as I easily connected to the comfort and ease of the vehicle and found it smooth, never for a moment making me feel like I was not in complete control of my driving experience. Easy to get on and off the highway and with handling and drive design comfort, this 2014 Toyota 4Runner will most definitely put you at ease all around.

Should You Need to Know: When all is equipped as needed, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner can easily tow as much as 4,700 pounds.

MPG: The 2014 Toyota 4Runner I drove was a Trail Premium 4X4 with 17 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

Cost: This same Toyota 4Runner came in with a price tag of $41,325.

For more auto tips and information follow Rita @RitaCook13.



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