Friday, July 24, 2009

Spied: 2011 Toyota 4Runner

With SUV sales in the tank—especially of the old body-on-frame variety—there has been some question regarding the future of the long-in-the-tooth Toyota 4Runner. Would it continue with its sturdy ladder frame or would it switch to unibody architecture, as Ford is planning to do with its Explorer? Will Toyota take its styling in a new direction or will it take the usual conservative approach? Heck, will Toyota even bother building a new version of its iconic off-roader when it has five other SUVs and crossovers (RAV4, Venza, Highlander, FJ Cruiser, and Sequoia) to cover the family truckster/off-road adventurist market?

With the appearance of this prototype, caught by a quick-thinking reader, we’re getting answers to some of those questions. First, Toyota is clearly readying a 4Runner replacement, which we expect to appear sometime this fall, looking even more butch than before—think four-door FJ Cruiser. Second, the high-and-mighty road stance indicates that it will continue to ride on a frame and offer excellent ground clearance. Styling elements appear to offer few surprises, with the headlight/grille/hood relationship in roughly the same arrangement as the current model; ditto the squared-off wheel arches. We can also see that the roof pillars have a slightly more upright and angled relationship with the body and roof, and we expect that the body will have a smooth geometric surface.

A 4.0-liter V-6 with 258 hp or so will be the base engine, and a new 4.6-liter V-8 that is shared with the Tundra, will also be offered. The V-8 will hook to a six-speed automatic and promises to deliver better fuel economy and more power than the 260-hp, 4.7-liter V-8 it replaces. We expect prices to drop from their current levels (the 2009 4Runner starts at $29,440), as the 4Runner will also be leaner and more stripped down than before.

Thanks to: Car and Driver

No comments:

Post a Comment