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2005 Toyota 4Runner

2005 Toyota 4Runner Road Test Review

by Jeff Voth

2005 Toyota 4Runner Road Test
The 4Runner has been a consistent sales performer for Toyota since first being introduced in 1984. Back then, the big names in sport utility vehicles included the Chevy Blazer, Ford Bronco and Jeep Wagoneer. All have since gone the way of the dinosaur, making the Toyota 4Runner the only lasting moniker from this once dominant group of four.

The fourth and current generation of the Toyota 4Runner was launched in 2003. Much was expected of this most truck-like of SUV's, and much was delivered. For 2005, the improvements are substantial, but the look and feel of the 4Runner carries on.

Power for the 4Runner comes in the form of two available engines.

The everyday package includes a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 245 hp @ 5200 rpm and 283 lb-feet of torque @ 3400 rpm.

The optional 4.7-liter V8, has improved performance and now offers 270 hp @ 5400 rpm and 330 lb. ft. of torque @ 3400 rpm.

Why only a 25 horsepower difference between the V6 and V8?

The answer is really quite simple. In any vehicle, torque is what essentially turns the wheels and propels the vehicle forward. Horsepower on the other hand is only a measurement of the available muscle on tap. In an SUV, especially one as capable as the 4Runner, it's torque, not horsepower that matters. For this reason Toyota has focused their attention where it counts most, on the amount of available torque, and not so much on distinguishing the two engines based on horsepower.

To boost efficiency and performance, the V6 engine is equipped with an Acoustic Control Induction System, (ACIS). It uses valves inside the intake manifold to adjust intake runner length, which in turn allows the engine to draw large volumes of air/fuel mixture into the combustion chamber for improved torque.

Further improvements have been made to V6 equipped models by adding the 5-speed, Super ECT automatic transmission with artificial intelligence, (previously only available on V8 equipped models) as standard equipment. Adapting to operator driving habits and style, it can also adjust shift points based on engine speed and load, delivering smooth gear changes and maximizing fuel economy. Towing capacity for the V6 equipped 4Runner is rated at 5,000 pounds.

2005 Toyota 4Runner Review

The 4Runner is available in both 2WD and 4WD models, though most people buy an SUV for its off-road or poor weather capabilities.

Getting the traction to the ground is the job of the Multi-Mode, One-Touch 4WD system with Automatic Disconnecting Differential, (ADD). It provides the advantage of both full and part-time 4WD, giving control to the driver where it belongs.

A Vehicle Stability Control, (VSC) system works with the ABS to control engine output and brakes. By controlling yaw rate, it helps the Toyota 4Runner reduce both oversteer and understeer conditions by allowing the vehicle to maintain its center of gravity and thereby improve on-road performance and safety.

While undertaking rugged off-road driving, Active Traction Control, (A-TRAC) works together with the ABS and Engine Control Module, (ECM) to apply brake force and restore traction to individual slipping wheels.

When starting on an incline, Hill-start Assist Control, (HSC) briefly applies the brakes to control backwards slipping as the driver shifts from the brake pedal to the gas. On a steep downhill plunge, Downhill Assist Control, (DAC) uses the brakes to improve directional stability. With no brake pedal input from the driver, DAC will limit the speed to 2-4 mph for a controlled descent.

The front suspension is a fully independent double wishbone arrangement with coil-springs and shocks. In the rear, a 4-link suspension with shocks, coil springs and stabilizer bar add stability and interior cabin comfort. The 4Runner chassis is a box-frame design with nine welded cross-members for added strength.

Brakes are power-assisted ventilated discs in front, solid discs in the rear. All 4Runner's are equipped with 4-sensor, 4-channel ABS with EBD, (Electronic Brake Force Distribution).

2005 Toyota 4Runner Exterior

Driving the Toyota 4Runner is a lot like spending time with a good friend. Truck-like in ride, it never feels flustered by the road, no matter how smooth or bumpy. I did however notice a substantial amount of side push while crossing a large suspension bridge, but this could be expected of any SUV or Van given the box-like shape of the exterior.

Engine noise is minimal, a vast improvement over the 2nd and 3rd generation 4Runner models, and the V6 feels as inspiring to drive as last year's V8. In fact, I would be hard pressed to choose a V8 given the added fuel savings provided by the smaller 6-cylinder.

Unique 16" alloy wheels are included on the SR5 model, with both the Sport Edition and Limited models showing 17" alloys. The 4Runner Limited adds a rear color matched spoiler, mirrors, grille and door handles for a good looking exterior package.

Inside, the 2005 Toyota 4Runner offers gracious seating accommodations and plenty of room for five and all of their cargo.

The overall look of the interior is businesslike, with warm touches added that include satin finish metal along with soft touch dash and door coverings. Three watch-like bezels house the speedometer, tachometer and fuel/engine gauges. Window and mirror controls angle up on each door for ease of use.

The center console includes a climate control system that offers a commonsense approach to changing the temperature and vent settings. An optional navigation screen sits atop the stereo unit. Easy to see, it is for the most part simple to use. Two large cupholders, an oversized storage bin and door pockets complete the well-designed front portion of the cabin.

Power windows, power mirrors and door locks and keyless entry are standard equipment. Cruise control is activated from the stock attached to the steering column, while a multi-information system on the dash displays the time, outside air temperature, distance/speed/fuel consumption and interior climate control.


2005 Toyota 4Runner Interior

A comfortable leather wrapped steering wheel includes stereo controls. As part of the upgraded 4Runner Limited, leather graces all seating surfaces. The driver's seat is 8-way power adjustable with lumbar support, while both seats offer heat for those cold winter days and nights. A premium 10-speaker JBL AM/FM Cassette and 6-disc in-dash CD player is standard on the Limited.

Efficiency and space is the order of the day in the 2005 Toyota 4Runner, with rear seats folding in a 60/40 split for maximum flexibility and storage. With all seats in the upright position, the 4Runner will seat 7 people comfortably. Provided, that is, the two rear seat passengers are less than six feet tall. The rear 50/50 split seats fold down for added storage space, or can be fully removed when the need arises.

As any icon knows, the key to longevity is continually finding new ways to portray yourself to the public, while maintaining the core attributes that people find most attractive. While the 4Runner has changed significantly over the past 20 years, it has always remained true to its roots as a tough SUV capable of providing everyday transportation. With a proven track record of reliability and market appeal, the 2005 4Runner is one tough act to follow.

2005 Toyota 4Runner
Description: Mid-size SUV
Model options: SR5, Sport Edition, Limited
Wheelbase: 109.9 in.
Overall length: 189.9 in.
Engine size: 4.0 L V6
4.7 L V8
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Drive: 4WD
Braking: 4-wheel disc, ABS/EBD
Air bags: 2 front, roll sensing front/rear, side curtain
Fuel mileage city/hwy: V6- 18/22 mpg
V8- 17/21 mpg
Base MSRP: $ 27,495- $ 37,495

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