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The rugged Toyota 4Runner offers new features for 2012

The fifth generation of the highly versatile and reliable Toyota 4Runner will sport major audio, connectivity upgrades and new automatic running boards for 2012. A longstanding stalwart in the Toyota lineup, the 4Runner was named “Most Dependable Midsize Crossover/SUV” by J.D. Power & Associates in 2011.
Posted: October 8, 2011 - 3:29AM
Author: Don Bain

For next year, the 4Runner SR5 and Limited grades will offer the convenience of newly available automatic running boards. The 4Runner SR5 and Trail models come with standard SiriusXM Satellite Radio with a 90-day trial subscription included, a USB port with iPod connectivity, hands-free phone capability and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology.

Standard in the Limited grade, and optional in other 4Runner models, a new audio system incorporates today’s connectivity features, including navigation, Toyota Entune services, HD Radio with iTunes tagging and text/e-mail-to-speech.

The Toyota Entune system is a group of mobile applications and data services, with three years of complimentary access. Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle via Bluetooth or a USB cable, Entune’s features use the vehicle’s controls or voice recognition. Mobile apps for Bing, iHeartRadio,, OpenTable, and Pandora are included. Fuel price guidance, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather are also featured.
The 4Runner combines rugged body-on-frame construction with suspension technology that provides the comfort level most often associated with cars. The 2012 4Runner comes in a variety of configurations and three models: a well-equipped SR5, top-of-the-line Limited, plus a Trail grade for maximum off-road capability. Optional third-row seats allow for up to seven-person capacity.

Drivetrain systems include rear wheel 4x2, part-time 4x4 and full-time multi-mode 4x4 with a locking center differential. All models come standard with a 4-liter 270-horsepower V6 coupled to a five-speed ECT-i automatic transmission.

In addition to the horses, the 2012 Toyota 4Runner engine delivers 278 lb.-ft. of torque. Dual independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence optimizes torque throughout the engine’s range. Fuel economy is 17 mpg city and 23 mpg highway for 4x2 models and 22 mpg highway for the 4x4. Maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, with 4Runner’s standard integrated tow hitch receiver and wiring harness.

Double-wishbone independent forward suspension combined with variable-flow rack and pinion steering gives the 4Runner tight handling on demanding roads. Coil springs over gas shocks at all four wheels deliver a comfortable ride and easy maneuvering. Four-link rear suspension limits axle hop providing a smoother ride for rear seat passengers.

The Limited grade comes standard with an X-REAS suspension system that further improves performance, comfort and control. X-REAS automatically adjusts the damping force of shocks on bumpy surfaces, or when cornering. The system uses a center control absorber to cross-link shocks on opposite corners of the vehicle, substantially reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs. With X-REAS the 4Runner corners flatter, smoother and handles choppy surfaces with ease.

The 4Runner SR5 and Trail 4x4 models have a two-speed part-time four-wheel-drive system with a neutral position. The 4Runner Limited is equipped with a full-time, four-wheel-drive system with a locking center differential and a three-mode, center console switch. A-TRAC traction control is standard equipment on all four wheel drive models. The system distributes driving force to any wheel in contact with the ground, making terrain irregularities and slippery spots transparent to the driver. An electronic-locking rear differential is standard on the Trail grade.

The Trail grade features Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) as an option. KDSS significantly improves terrain-following ability by dynamically disconnecting stabilizer bars to allow for more axle travel, and better suspension articulation in slow, rocky terrain.

Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) is standard on the Trail grade. The system maintains an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components. With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of five selectable low-speed settings. This allows the driver to focus on steering over rough ground or grades, without having to also modulate the throttle or brakes.

The Trail grade also has a Multi-Terrain Selector that dials in wheel slip control to match the terrain. In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes and ridges, up or downhill.

All 4Runners feature standard Downhill Assist Control. This feature augments the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle to a target speed with no driver intervention. All models also come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), providing additional control for off-road driving by holding the vehicle stationary before starting on a steep incline or slippery surface.

Toyota’s 36-month/36,000 mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The 4Runner will also come standard with Toyota Care, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.