The large 17-inch all-season tires rolling beneath my test 4Runner may have contributed to the imprecise steering feedback I encountered. But that's really part of the trade off. If you desire competent off-road ability it's going to require a sacrifice; that being car-like handling and ride comfort. Although when all things are considered it's a pittance of a price to pay for a highly dexterous vehicle capable of
|Hostile terrain is where the heavy duty Toyota 4Runner flourishes. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)|
carrying seven adults up, over and through the most challenging terrain.
And such was the case when the Toyota reps directed us into a snow-covered off-road testing site somewhere in the hinterland between Cochrane and Canmore, Alberta. Here we were invited to put the 4Runner to the ultimate test. A test that involved snow, sharp ascents and descents and side-angles, not to mention ruts that unlike the Great Wall, would be visible from outer space. It's in a hostile environ such as this where Toyota's heavy-duty 4Runner flourishes.
|I ascended a nasty snow covered incline, and despite my trepidation, the 4Runner clawed its way to the top with ease. (Photo: Rob Rothwell, Canadian Auto Press)|
With the V6 engine, the 4WD system is painlessly engaged into a high or low range set of gears by a twist of the dash-mounted control. If the big V8 resides beneath the hood, the 4Runner will be equipped with a full-time 4WD system and a two-speed transfer case.
With the encouragement of the Toyota off-road specialist that joined our company, I ascended a nasty snow covered incline and began feeling woozy as the nose of the 4Runner pointed ever more directly at the sun high overhead. Against odds not suited to Vegas, the 4Runner clawed and grabbed its way to the top of the ascent - similar to a wooden roller coaster grinding its way to the precipice of the first great drop. "Yes," I murmur to myself as the 4Runner leveled-off and my world resumed spinning on its preferred axis. When it comes to managing the rough stuff, there is no doubt that the 4Runner is endowed with businesslike determination.