The 2013 Toyota 4Runner mid-size SUV simply does what it does best and that is continue the Toyota legacy of 28 years as still one of the most rugged of SUV's in the market today.
The Toyota 4Runner is not for everyone and is not best suited for being a family hauler or the grocery wagon as are its many competitors which are now built on crossover platforms in order for them to look, ride and behave more like a car than a truck.
The 2013 Toyota 4Runner, now in its fifth generation, is still true to its truck heritage, built on the same platform as the venerable FJ Cruiser that combines rugged body-on-frame construction with enhanced suspension technology that actually does provide ride comfort suspiciously like the ride of a car-based platform.
The 2013 4Runner is available in three models with a variety of configurations available. It is essentially a 2-row 5-passenger SUV. An optional third row to make it a 7-passenger SUV can be added.
The basic 4Runner is the very well-equipped SR5 in 4X2 and 4X4 models with MSRP of $31,490/$33,365 respectively and the more luxuriously equipped Limited in 4X2 and 4X4 models with MSRP of $38,845/$40,880 respectively.
The Trail model is an SR5 which is outfitted more typically with features an off roader would want at a MSRP of $37,005.
Some of the items on or available on the Trail for off-roading enthusiasts include: Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS). KDSS significantly improves terrain-following ability by dynamically disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, difficult terrain.
Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature is standard on the Trail grade. The system helps maintain an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drive train and suspension components.
The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that dials in wheel-slip control to match the terrain challenges including mud, sand, rock and all manner of uneven terrain.
All of the 2013 4Runners are powered with the solid and reliable V-6 generating 270 horsepower and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. The dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s operating range.
The 5-speed ECT-I automatic is standard on all 2013 Toyota 4Runners.
Fuel economy ratings rival some car-based SUVs with an EPA-estimated 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4x2 models, and 17 mpg city and 22 mpg highway for 4x4.
Drive train configurations include the rear wheel 4x2, part-time 4x4 and full-time multi-mode 4x4 with a locking center differential. And for 2013, the SR5 gets a switch-type control for the transfer case, replacing the lever.
The A-TRAC traction control system is standard equipment on all 4x4 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.
Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, with 4Runner’s standard integrated tow hitch receiver and wiring harness.
We recently had the opportunity to test drive a 2013 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4X4 around Central Texas. We found that this SR5, in the 5-passenger configuration and equipped with the optional Premium Package ($4,775), was well equipped and suited for both city everyday use and weekend in- the-country drives both on and off the road.
Our 2013 4Runner SR5 4X4 came with a load of standard features. They included 4.0-liter V-6 with Part-time 4WD System and Active Trac, the 5-speed Automatic Transmission with w/ECT-I, Speed Sensing Power Steering, Hill-Start and Downhill Assist Control, Four-wheel Vented Disc Brakes, Front and Rear Stabilizer Bars, Skid Plates and 17-inch alloy wheels.
The Salsa Red Pearl exterior included color keyed bumpers, rocker panels, overfenders, rear spoiler and heated mirrors with turn signal indicators and puddle lamps. Chrome accents included the grille insert, door handles, side trim and roof rack rails. This SR5 also included a tow hitch receiver with 7 and 4-pin connector, front fog lamps, rear privacy glass, rear clearance sonar system and an integrated rear window wiper.
The Black interior of our test SR5 included air conditioning with filtration and second row venting, 40/20/40 split recline and fold second row seating, tilt and telescopic steering column with cruise control, keyless entry, power sliding rear window, power door locks, ten cup holders situated in the first and second rows, two front and one rear auxiliary power outlet, instrumentation with orange illumination, multi-information display and the standard AM/FM/CD 8-speaker SiriusXM Satellite Radio with USB port and iPod Connect and Bluetooth.
The Premium Package upgraded the SR5 adding leather trim heated seats, 8-way power adjustable driver's seat with power lumbar adjust, 4-way power passenger seat, leather trimmed back seat, back up camera and a leather trimmed steering wheel with controls for audio, Bluetooth and voice control.
A moon roof was also added along with AC power outlets in the front and the cargo area plus a 6.1 inch touch screen display for audio that also added Navigation, Entune and HD Radio and enhanced Bluetooth with hands free phone and music streaming.
Adding carpet floor and cargo mats for $225 and delivery of $845, our 2013 Toyota 4Runner SR4 4X4 priced out at $39,060.
All 2013 4Runners come with theToyota Star Safety System which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST).
There are eight standard airbags including front, side-mounted and knee airbags for the driver and front passenger and side-curtain airbags for the second and third rows. All 2013 4Runners have active headrests for driver and passenger, and three-point seat belts for all seats.
At the end of the day, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner is best suited for more of the off road environment, but it has the features, functionality and capability to make it a good city SUV also without having to look as sleek and pretty as the competition.