The Toyota 4Runner is back for 2014, as promised, and it took the stage at the Stagecoach Music Festival in California today wearing some new rear taillights and a freshened front end. Underneath the rejuvenated skin, there are some interior refinements as well.
The biggest change to the body-on-frame SUV is the front fascia. It includes a new, different bumper with sliced inlays that start at the bottom of the headlights and extend almost to the front skidplate. Those headlights now boast projector-beam lenses, and the skidplate/bumper accent is painted silver on mid-range Trail models. Out back, the overhaul is limited to new taillights, which boast LED illumination, clear lenses, and dark housings.
All three models of the 4Runner--including the base SR5, mid-level Trail, and top-spec Limited--are powered by a 4.0-liter V-6 engine making 270 horsepower. That power is sent through a five-speed automatic transmission to either the rear two or all four wheels. The number of driven wheels is based on your choice of trim level: base SR5 models have rear-wheel drive or optional 4WD, while Trail models have part-time four-wheel drive with a two-speed transfer case and an electronic locking rear-differential. The 4Runner Limited features full-time four-wheel drive which features a locking center differential and electronic mode controls.
For extra maneuverability off road, the 4Runner features Crawl Control (which maintains a set speed going up hills) and hill descent control (which maintains a set speed going down them), as well as a brake-based hill-start assist system. The Trail model also features "Multi-Terrain Select," which allows drivers to tune the car based on the terrain, and an optional stabilizer bar disconnect that allows for more axle travel on particularly difficult terrain.
Inside, Toyota added its signature Entune infotainment system to the 4Runner's dashboard. Base SR5 and Trail grades include Entune Audio Plus, which includes AM/FM/SiriusXM radio, a CD player, and USB/Bluetooth connectivity. Limited-grade vehicles add navigation and a 15-speaker JBL audio system, along with HD Radio. Just like before, the 4Runner features "party mode," which allows the driver to pop the liftgate and shift the sound focus to the rear of the car. Other interior features include available heated and cooled power driver's seats, as well as four-way heated front passenger's seats.
Neither pricing nor availability were announced for the SUV, but don't expect any serious increases over the current model's base price of $32,335 (including destination).