Few nameplates are as synonymous with overlanding in the U.S. as the venerable Toyota 4Runner. And there’s a good reason for it. For five generations, this high-riding 4×4 has stayed true to its trucky roots. After all these years, the 4Runner is still built on a ladder frame. It sports a true 4×4 system with two-speed transfer case, solid rear axle, and optional rear e-locker.
Inside the 4Runner, overlanders will find everything they need — seating for five, heaps of cargo space, and some smart tech in the dashboard — and nothing they don’t. Unlike its competitors, the 4Runner doesn’t have unnecessary extras or superfluous accoutrements; this is a polished utilitarian runabout as adept at running errands as it is tackling far-off trails.
Powering the 4Runner is Toyota’s legendary 4.0-liter V6. It produces 270 horsepower and 278 foot-pounds of torque. In addition to its two-speed transfer case, which is operated by a floor-mounted shifter, the TRD Off-Road also includes two helpful off-road-driving systems called Multi Terrain Select and Crawl Control. These help keep the 4Runner moving sure-footedly over most any terrain.
In addition to the TRD Off-Road trip, we also specified the optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension (KDSS). This is a feature that activates automatically when the vehicle senses additional suspension articulation is required.
The fifth-gen 4Runner may be getting a bit long in the tooth by automotive market standards. But it is virtually in a segment of its own. We defy you to find another ladder-frame based 4×4 SUV with a solid metal roof and a tried and true 4×4 system that compares to the 4Runner. You won’t be able to without stepping into the luxury segment. Plus, Toyota has had time to improve upon its own legendary reliability over time, making the 4Runner virtually indestructible.
Disclaimer: This paid story was produced in partnership with Toyota