Yes, You Can flirt with an SUV!
I’ve had an SUV for 12 years, so I am used to being higher off the ground, yet I found the size of this car to be a bit intimidating. For some reason, the idea of it being a “truck,” made it feel so foreign to me. As I took my first walk around the 4Runner in my driveway, I found it to be quite handsome. Probably one of the toughest looking SUVs on the market, it certainly has attitude. I felt like a teenage girl flirting with the captain of the football team. Could I really handle this “beast?”
The Toyota 4Runner line has been a standard in the off-road SUV market for years. It’s also popular for people who like to show off its rugged good looks around town. If you want an SUV with serious off-road equipment, but plan on spending a lot of time on the street, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road may be the right ride for you.
I courageously opened the door and climbed inside. My fears subsided as I felt the comfort of the seat and looked around at the features of the car. It quickly felt comfortable and no longer foreign. I could not wait to take it for my first drive.
Who is This Car For?
- Singles, couples or families
- Drivers in the market for a full-sized SUV
- SUV buyers who want the amenities and comfort of a car
- Adventurous drivers who like to travel off road
- Buyers who want plentiful cargo space
- Drivers who like a rugged exterior and comfortable interior
What it Costs
- Base price: $37,335
- Enhanced Entertainment package adds $345
- Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System adds $1,750
- Running boards adds $345
- “Keep it Wild” savings on this model: -$500
- Total price for model we drove was $40,235
Provides a Surprisingly Smooth and Quiet Ride Around Town
Unfortunately, I did not have a chance to use this 2017 Toyota 4Runner in an off-road setting, but the model performs very well on pavement. The ride is surprisingly smooth. Perhaps not quite as fluid as other car-like SUVs, but still provides a pleasant driving experience. I like sitting up higher than other vehicles. It gives me the “Queen of the Road” feeling. The V6 engine provides powerful acceleration to help you pass on the highway or turn onto a busy road.
Another surprise for me is how quiet this car was on the road. I expected it be loud and grizzly, but it allowed little engine or road noise into the cabin. The 8 speakers throughout the car made it easy to “rock out” without the distraction of exterior noise as well. Here’s the latest playlist I created for this car:
The Infotainment System Does not Disappoint, but USB Charging Does
The 4Runner comes with a 6-inch touchscreen with a variety of features and apps like navigation, Bluetooth, Sirius XM radio and the Entune App Suite. This is a free service for Toyota customers allowing you to connect additional apps via your smartphone. There is a mix of touchscreen controls as well as knobs and buttons making it easy to use. There is also a CD player. Pairing my phone took only seconds and calls were clear with solid voice quality. The backup camera display is also bright, helping to park this big car even in tight parking lots.
There is only one USB charger, which was a challenge with 2 kids and their smart phones and tablets. The car does have four 12V & 120V power outlets, which require adapters to charge USB devices.
Interior comfort for a growing family
The interior of the 2017 Toyota 4Runner is spacious and comfortable. We especially liked the support and wide seating base in the front seat. The car provides plenty of room for five adults (or large teens). My husband is 6’4″ and my son, at age 14, is already 5’10”. Both fit easily in the front and rear seats.
Driving comfort is also important. The steering wheel initially felt a bit large for my small hands, but over the week, I found it quite enjoyable. On-steering-wheel controls easily access the entertainment system and hands-free phone capabilities. The tilt and extendability options of the steering wheel provided excellent positioning for both my husband and me.
The climate control system was easy to use, but did take a while to adequately cool or heat the car. There are no options to select different driver/passenger temperatures, which is something I prefer since I’m always cold and my husband runs hot.
Where did I put my stuff?
Medium sized items, like my purse, fit easily under the armrest. The front center console has a slot for a cell phone or sunglasses, and two cup holders. There are also a few slots for additional items under the climate controls.
The rear door is a bit heavy with no automatic controls. The cargo room in the back of the car is very large. After a family vacation, I needed to complete a massive grocery shop and the bags fit with room to spare. Getting the rear seats to fold flat is a two-step process, but the resulting cargo space is huge!
Safety features are solid, but ratings are so-so
The 2017 Toyota 4Runner comes with a decent amount of standard safety equipment. It includes traction control, stability control, ABS with electronic brake force distribution, and brake assist with smart stop technology. Overall, the 4Runner received a 4 star rating with 5 stars in driver and side crash tests (both front and rear seats). Unfortunately, it only received a marginal rating (3 stars) in passenger and rollover crash tests.
A bit of a gas guzzler
The gas mileage is what I expected for such a large vehicle: not very good. The reported average of 18 miles per gallon for city and highway combined was right on target to what I experienced. My driving was mostly around town so getting 18 MPG, just a bit higher than the EPA estimate of 17 MPG for city driving, made me feel a little better.
What I loved
- Rugged design yet smooth and quiet ride
- Roomy and comfortable interior for 5 passengers
- Plenty of storage space throughout the car
- Great sound quality for calls and music
- Excellent infotainment system
- Comfortable leather wrapped steering wheel
What you should know
- Back-up camera and safety tech features are standard in all models
- 18 Average MPG – 17 city/20 highway
- Free access to Toyota’s Entune App Suite
- 3 months free trial of Sirius XM Radio
- 5 speed automatic with part-time 4WD with active TRAC
- Off-road features: Locking rear differential, multi-terrain select, crawl control, hill-start assist
- Storage is 46.3 cubic feet behind the second row and 88.8 cubic feet behind the front seats
- Price for model we tested – $40,235
Disclosure: Toyota provided the 4Runner for my review; all opinions expressed are my own.