Last-generation 4-Runner looks like a solid SUV buy, but standard 4x4 shopping tips should apply
The last generation Toyota 4-Runner was a Sport Utility Vehicle (SUV) built with an appetite for towing, real off-road capability and plenty of all-season confidence. It was available with 6 or 8 cylinder power, plenty of options, a high-class cabin and an entire aftermarket’s worth of parts for customization.
Toyota’s updated the 4-Runner for the 2010 model year with a new engine, new looks and plenty of high-tech features. Shoppers after the 4-Runner brand of all-terrain confidence and upscale amenities on a tighter budget might consider a used model from the outgoing generation.
Remember, this isn’t a crossover, it’s a real SUV. That means it’s engineered and built for off-roading, climbing steep, muddy hills and yanking boats out of the lake. End of the day, the 4-Runner is a truck-- not a jacked-up car.
A transfer-case 4x4 system and truck-frame construction mean the 4-Runner is heavy but tough. It’s not going to be the sportiest or thriftiest vehicle in the marketplace, so shoppers after an SUV to tackle nothing more than a slippery driveway or snowy highway might want to consider something smaller and lighter. 4-Runner is more appropriate for those seeking off-road adventure, planning to hit the trails, or looking to build a gnarly off-road rig.
The last-generation 4-Runner was sold to Canadians for 2003 to 2009 model years, inclusive. Engine choices started with a four-liter, 245 horsepower V6 or a 4.7 liter V8. The V6 engine was later de-rated to 236 horsepower, while the V8 cranked out 260. An automatic four or five-speed transmission was standard, as was four wheel drive.
Owner praise for the last-generation 4-Runner mainly stems from cargo carrying capacity, driving confidence and rugged styling. Many owners report a comfortable and quiet ride, too.
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2009 Toyota 4Runner Specifications
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