2014 Toyota 4Runner: How Crossovers Saved This Beloved 4x4

Do you recall the original Toyota 4Runner? The trusty 4x4 has not only been on the short list for off-road enthusiasts but it could be argued as the catalyst for the explosion of the compact Japanese SUV craze of the 80's and early 90's. That fad can largely be credited for the mass expansion of Toyota and other Japanese automakers through that time. Well, the 4Runner has been four-wheeling its way through history, and the fifth-generation 2014 Toyota 4Runner is essentially one of the last vestiges of that Japanese SUV rush. The rest have all gone crossover. The 2014 4Runner features a 4.0-liter V6, mated to either rear-wheel drive or a choice of either an advanced all-wheel drive system or a more rugged four-wheel drive setup. There are also a nice assortment of terrain management systems, including ascent and descent control. The whole package rides on a body-on-frame chasis, which should make fans of the original 4Runner (below) pretty happy.

2014 Toyota 4Runner: How Crossovers Saved This Beloved 4x4

Look at the other quintessential SUVs from the last decade; the Ford Explorer, Ford Escape and Nissan Pathfinder. While many other body-on-frame beasts have gone the way of the Dodo bird and piano neckties, the 4Runner stuck to the script. So how did the 4Runner manage to soldier on with a more traditional setup? Fact is, Toyota makes a crazy amount of crossovers. We tend to make a lot of how Mercedes-Benz and BMW exploit every uncharted area of the vehicle classification map, but Toyota wrote that book. The RAV4, Venza and Highlander are enough for some brands to offer alone, but that trio can pretty much drive the majority of sales, allowing Toyota to keep the 4Runner off-road-read the way that the Car Gods intended. Frankly, we can't wait to take the 2014 Toyota 4Runner out on the trail as soon as possible! PHOTOS: See more of the 2014 Toyota 4Runner Image credit (1984 4Runner): Favcars.com