Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

Auto Reviews & News

March 21, 2011

4Runner offers SUV Fans another choice

(Continued)

If you did inherit the G.I. Joe genes, though, and absolutely have to drive an off-roader, the 4Runner isn't a bad way to do it. Toyota's engineers have even come up with two options for the suspension to help you customize your 4Runner even further, like ordering a tailored suit.

The first is designed to make it more comfortable. If you order the fancy Limited grade, you can get it with the X-REAS suspension that's designed to make it more comfortable on the road. Like some high-end luxury cars, it can automatically adjust the shock absorbers as you're driving so that it corners flatter, rides smoother and handles bumpy roads with more grace.

The second is designed for off-road use, and it's available in the Trail grade. Called the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, it can automatically disconnect the 4Runner's stabilizer bars when driving slowly over rugged terrain, which basically means your wheels will be able to move more freely so you're less likely to get stuck on a trail in the middle of nowhere.

Other off-road features include some technology seemingly inspired by Land Rover, such as a low-speed crawl mode for driving on difficult trails and a knob that lets you choose different settings for sand, rock, steep slopes or other terrain. It lets the computerized traction control system react differently depending on the conditions you're in.

Inside, you'll find a typical Toyota cabin — which is well-built but uses too much plastic these days — along with some extra-big knobs that make it feel more like a truck.

You can get it with a third-row seat, but that means you'd have to miss out on one of the best features: a sliding cargo deck that can hold up to 440 pounds.

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