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The Ultimate Toyota 4Runner Page

Toyota combined four-wheel drive with an "off-road runner" when it designed the Toyota 4Runner. Springing from the success of Toyota's four-wheel drive pick-up truck, the 4Runner was designed to give drivers versatility behind the wheel that would take them almost anywhere with the comfort of a passenger car. The 4Runner has seen a multitude of generations come and go over more than three decades, and it continues to capture consumer attention with each model year.

Toyota 4Runner Through the Years

1984: The first-generation 4Runner was a modification of the Toyota Hilux. The truck had two doors, and every vehicle had either a white or black fiberglass top on the bed. An upgraded trim package was available that offered nicer interior fabric and extra gauges. This model year had a 2.4-liter 22R engine with a carburetor and offered four-wheel drive capability. It had a 103-inch wheelbase, and it measured 174.6 inches long, 66.5 inches wide, and 66.1 inches high.

1985: The next model year featured a 2.4-liter engine with electronic fuel injection, which enhanced the power of the vehicle. All models had a standard rear seat in this year.

1986: Suspension modifications were a major change with the 1986 model. This model year featured a new Hi-Trac independent front suspension, which drastically improved handling and road stability. With this new suspension, the 4Runner was prepared for the future introduction of larger engines. This model year also saw changes in the grille, and some color modifications occurred. Blue, red, and gold 4Runners now had tops that matched their body colors.

1987: Toyota added an optional V6 engine in 1987, which was bigger and more powerful. A new transmission and chain-driven transfer case reduced cab noise.

1988 and 1989: Just a few appearance modifications occurred in 1988 and 1989. Toyota also added a few options during these model years, but most of the huge upgrades were saved for the release of the second generation that came in 1990.

1990: A completely fresh design ushered in the second generation of the 4Runners. These vehicles no longer had fiberglass caps, instead featuring a full steel integrated body. Most second-generation 4Runners had four doors. Both 2.4-liter four-cylinder and 3-liter V6 engines were offered, and consumers could choose from two-wheel- and four-wheel-drive configurations. The wheelbase grew slightly, to 103.3 inches, as did the length, which was now 176 inches.

1991: Toyota discontinued all four-speed manual transmissions as well as G57 five-speed manual transmissions in 1991. A new anti-theft system also became an option.

1992: A few styling changes came with the 1992 model. Toyota released a new grille, and the headlamps became flush. Leather seats were also an option with this model.

1993: In the 1993 model year, all four-wheel drive vehicles came with a 4WDemand shift-on-the-fly system. Models with V6 engines also had an option for alloy wheels. A new chrome package was also available.

1994: This year saw the end of all two-door models. A full array of options included a sunroof, leather seats, anti-lock brakes, and a CD player/stereo with eight speakers. Upgrades for 1994 also included a high brake light, enhancements to the cruise control, and newly revamped air conditioning.

1995: Few changes occurred with the 1995 model, although a Limited version debuted. This version had standard features such as oak leather seats and new door badges.

1996: The third generation of 4Runners arrived in 1996, involving a full redesign of the body, new interior styling, new engines and chassis, and enhanced safety features. Consumers had the choice between a base model, the SR5, and the Limited. The vehicles could have two-wheel or four-wheel drive with either automatic or five-speed manual transmissions. Engine options included a 2.7-liter four-cylinder or V6 engine, with both engines providing enhanced power. A longer wheelbase created a roomier interior, and a better suspension offered more comfort on the road. Four-wheel anti-lock brakes were standard with the V6 engines and an option with four-cylinder engines. Exterior modifications included restructuring of the rear door to a one-piece lift-up design. The headlamps were also made larger, and a variety of changes were made to the interior instrumentation configuration. Additional standard features included chrome bumpers and grille, rear window defogger, power mirrors, power door locks, a lighting package, a digital clock, a tilt steering wheel, privacy glass, dual cup-holders in the rear, and variable intermittent wipers.

1997: Toyota performed a bit of fine-tuning in 1997 after the major overhaul of the year before. The SR5 version offered new seat and door panel fabric. New option packages were also released, and Toyota replaced the Cardinal Red color with Radiant Red.

1998: With the 1998 model year, Toyota updated the steering wheel, added a pocket to the front passenger seat, and installed a lighted vanity mirror in the front passenger sun visor. Coat hooks were also installed in the rear. Upgrades were also made to the suspension to enhance riding comfort, and the CD player was upgraded.

1999: Toyota instituted a number of upgrades about halfway through the 4Runner's third generation. The vehicles received a hood bulge to create a sportier image, and the headlights were also changed. The grille and front bumper shape were altered as well. This model year also saw the beginning of a wireless remote-control door lock system and a theft deterrent system.

2000: Consumers had a choice between three different audio systems with the 2000 models, and tilt steering wheels were now standard with every vehicle. Additional interior comforts included an overhead console with storage, a center console with power outlets and dual cup-holders, and another power outlet in the rear cargo area.

2001: In 2001, Toyota discontinued the 4Runner's four-cylinder engines. Another redesign of the radiator grille exuded a more power image, and the combination of rear lights showed attention to detail. These vehicles also included a standard trailer hitch harness. A garage door opener was also integrated into the driver's sun visor.

2002: The SR5 versions of the 4Runner now had standard 14-inch aluminum alloy wheels as well as a chrome package that included a chrome front grille, side mirrors, door handles, and more.

2003: The fourth generation of Toyota 4Runners officially arrived in 2003. The vehicles became more powerful, more comfortable, and more fuel-efficient, and they also became larger, measuring 189 inches long, 73.8 inches wide, and 68.9 inches high on a 109.8-inch wheelbase.

2004: The 4Runner Limited and SR5 styles were offered with an optional third-row seat in 2004. The navigation system could also include a backup camera for enhanced safety.

2005: Enhancements were made to the 4Runner's V8 engine in 2005 to give it more power. The vehicle's V6 engine was paired with a five-speed automatic transmission instead of the former four-speed automatic transmission. Advanced driver's-side and passenger airbags were also included with the 2005 models.

2006: In 2006, the 4Runner received an exterior facelift with a new grille, bumper, and headlamps. In the back, the vehicles received a new bumper. Toyota also released three new colors, including Shadow Mica, Driftwood Pearl, and Nautical Blue Metallic.

2007: No changes occurred with the 2007 model year.

2008: The first- and second-row seats received standard side-curtain airbags in 2008. This model year also added active front headrests.

2009: In 2009, consumers had a choice between two new 4Runner packages, which were the Trail Edition and the Urban Runner. Both packages were built to offer luxury and distinction with features that included enhanced audio and navigation systems, upgraded suspension, and expansive exterior features such as a tubular roof rack and rear spoiler.

2010: The fifth-generation 4Runner debuted in 2010, which offered more power and efficiency. With a more spacious interior and cargo area, this model offered notable versatility.

2011: Few changes occurred with the 2011 model aside from the addition of brake override technology as a standard feature.

2012: Technological advances took center stage with the 2012 models. The vehicles were equipped with SiriusXM satellite radio, and they also had USB ports and connectivity for hands-free phone use and music streaming.

2013: Toyota relocated the glove compartment to make it more convenient in the 2013 models.

2014: A major overhaul occurred in 2014 including both exterior and interior redesigns. All models introduced a standard roof rack with this year. Grille and front bumper modifications occurred, and chrome trim was added to the rear bumper. Headlamps were switched to projector beams. A new instrument panel housed all of the gauges in a user-friendly design.

2015: In 2015, Toyota introduced a new 4Runner called the TRD Pro, which was designed to handle off-road excursions. Special shocks and tires gave this model a gutsy appearance.

2016: Additional upgrades to the multimedia system provided consumers with even more functionality using smartphones and the on-board navigation system.

Photos of the Toyota 4Runner

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