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2004 new car guide, model guide, new car reviews, by brand


Sport-utility vehicles and minivans in the collection from Toyota for 2004 consist of truck-based and car-based vehicles segmented under six names.

Toyota's largest SUV is the Sequoia. It rides on the platform of Toyota's full-size Tundra pickup and carries four doors and three rows of seats for as many as eight riders.

Next in size is the mighty Land Cruiser, a full-size SUV also with three rows of seats, a powerful V8 aboard and rugged four-wheel-drive (4WD) equipment for extreme off-road capability.

Mid-size 4Runner, revamped in 2003 on a larger truck chassis with V6 or V8 engine plus 4WD traction option, returns in 2004 with available third-row bench seat plus a camera mounted on the back bumper that displays the vehicle's reverse view on the dashboard screen of an optional navigation system.

Car-based Toyota SUVs include the RAV-4 compact-class SUV riding on a car chassis borrowed from the Celica coupe, and mid-size Highlander, offered in front-wheel-drive (FWD) format with car-like mechanical components or 4WD.

Highlander presents new front-end styling outside for 2004, plus upgraded four-cylinder and V6 powertrains and a third-row seat that folds flat into the floor. RAV-4 also gets new styling inside and out, and more muscle flowing from a new four-cylinder engine that makes more power.

Toyota's made-in America minivan, Sienna, has been completely redesigned for 2004. It features a stylish new exterior built on an expanded platform with improved ride and drive qualities, more room in the cabin and a larger engine tucked below its curvy prow.

Toyota Sequoia
2004 Toyota Sequoia

Super-size Sequoia shares a structure with the Tundra truck forward of the cabin's second pillars, yet the differs in composition behind those pillars as it's a vast space organized with three rows of seats for as many as eight passengers plus a cargo bay in the rear accessible through a big liftgate. Both vehicles come out of Toyota's manufacturing facility in Indiana.

For power, Sequoia's 4.7-liter V8 produces 240 hp and delivers strong low-end torque that's useful for towing a trailer rig up to 6500 pounds. An automatic four-speed transmission mates exclusively with the V8. Either conventional rear two-wheel-drive (2WD) or 4WD traction is on tap with two trim editions of SR5 and Limited, plus optional gear like a DVD-based video entertainment system for backseat riders.

Toyota Land Cruiser
2004 Toyota Land Cruiser

With its high-hiking pose, a torque-heavy engine and 4WD traction, Toyota's Land Cruiser is capable of crossing a rugged outback route in safety and comfort.

Current issues, tracing to a generational upgrade in 1998, provide a vast and cushy passenger compartment that accommodates seven riders on three tiers of seats. New privacy glass on side doors switches color from bronze to dark green on 2004 editions and a bumper camera that displays images of the vehicle's reverse-moving view on a dashboard video screen has been added to the optional navigation system.

For strength, Land Cruiser totes a V8 worth 235 hp and tied to a five-speed automatic transmission. The full-time 4WD traction mechanism has an electronic control unit called Active TRAC that automatically transfers engine torque to wheels that maintain the best grip.

Toyota 4Runner
2004 Toyota 4Runner

A new rendition of Toyota's mid-size SUV showed up in the 2003 line and repeats for 2004 with the option of a third-tier bench seat added to Limited and SR5 trims. Toyota started from scratch when reinventing this sport-ute.

It's longer and broader than the previous issue with a bigger cabin and more comfortable accommodations, plus it carries stronger and larger powertrains and high-tech controls like Downhill Assist Control (DAC) and Hill-Start Assist Control (HSAC) systems. Yet the new design remains true to 4Runner's origins tracing back to the initial version introduced in 1985: It's a truck-tough vehicle designed for serious work on dirt or pavement.

Top version stocks the 4.7-liter V8 and full-time 4WD system found in Land Cruiser. The plant delivers 235 hp and big torque numbers. A 4.0-liter V6 is also available, pumping 245 hp as one of the strongest six-packs for the mid-size SUV class. A four-speed automatic transmission goes with the V6 but a five-speed automatic works on the V8.

Both 2WD and 4WD versions of 4Runner are offered. For the V6 a multi-mode 4WD system with limited-slip center differential can selectively switch between 4WD and 2WD modes. The V8's 4WD is a full-time system as used by Land Cruiser.

Side-impact and curtain-style side air bags are optional for any of the trims - SR5, Sport and deluxe Limited.

Toyota RAV-4
2004 Toyota RAV-4

More power comes to the car-based compact SUV from Toyota with a new 2.4-liter in-line-four plant that musters 161 hp. A manual five-speed gearbox is standard but a four-speed automatic is also available. Base RAV-4 directs all engine torque to the front wheels and functions like a FWD car.

A second edition adds an all-wheel-drive (AWD) system with electronic controls and sensors that detect wheel spin. It operates constantly so the driver never needs to decide when to push buttons or pull levers to engage the system. When wheel slippage occurs, the device varies the amount of power applied to front and rear wheels so tires maintain traction continuously.

The vehicle for 2004 also contains more safety features, with rear disc brakes added and standard anti-lock brake system (ABS) with electronic brake force distribution (EBD). Curtain-style side air bags for first and second rows are now available, along with side torso air bags for front seats.

The cabin of RAV-4 gets a new steering wheel, redesigned instrument panel and fresh fabrics covering seats. Five new body colors also emerge in tints like Everglade Metallic, Savannah Metallic and Flint Mica.



Toyota Highlander
2004 Toyota Highlander

New styling inside and out go to Highlander, Toyota's mid-size SUV which has a unitized framework derived from a sedan with FWD format, plus car-like mechanical components. Shapes of headlamps, grille and foglamps are new and color choices come in new shades like Salsa Red and Sonora Green Pearl.

In the cabin, new silver trim shows up on the base model but it's silver with wood accents on deluxe Limited, with an optional fold-flat seat for a third row on Limited and SR5 editions. Highlander also presents powertrain upgrades for 2004 with a new 2.4-liter four-pack engine pushing 160 hp and a 3.3-liter V6 scored to 225 hp.

Optional mechanical gear for safety includes traction control and a vehicle skid control (VSC) device, limited-slip rear differential for 4WD editions without VSC, and side-impact air bags. Standard equipment on all editions includes air conditioning, floor and ceiling consoles, a tilting steering wheel and cruise control, height-adjustable headrests for all seat positions, and a stereo sound kit.

Toyota Sienna
2004 Toyota Sienna

An entirely new treatment of Toyota's made-in-America minivan shows up in the 2004 line. The new version rides on an expanded platform and features improved drive and drive qualities, more room in the cabin and a larger engine. The 3.3-liter V6 bumps up to 230 hp and is the same engine used by the Lexus RX 330 wagon.

In Sienna's expanded cabin, a third-row bench seat is standard, while seats on the second row come in two different formats for seven or eight passengers. In the seven-person mode, there are two buckets on the second row in place of a bench, but the right-ride bucket can be moved next to the one on the left, leaving an aisle on the right.

In the eight-passenger Sienna, there's a bench on the second row but the center section slides independently and can moves closer to the front. Sienna's third-row seat splits in unequal sections and each side folds into a deep well to fashion a flat floor.

Sienna divides into four trim grades with CE, LE, XLE and XLE Limited. All come in FWD format, but the latter three also show optional AWD traction.




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