Since the beginning, the roll-down rear window has been a Toyota 4Runner staple. Getting one into the new, sixth-generation 4Runner wasn't easy, but it was considered essential for this off-road staple. 

The problem is weight. Having roll-down glass adds quite a bit, and even in a relatively heavy SUV like a 4Runner, automakers have to save mass wherever they can to reduce emissions and fuel consumption.

"Obviously, the components for the roll-down glass are more complex than fixed glass and so we had to discuss that," Ketia Moritsu, chief engineer for the 4Runner and Land Cruiser tells Motor1 via an interpreter.

"When the Japan team was talking to the U.S. members of the team, they said 'The roll down window is the soul of the 4Runner. You're supposed to put your surfboard through the back, and where are my dogs supposed to peek out?' And so everybody was really passionate about that.

"So as the spirit and the soul of the car, we have to continue that. And that was decided in the very early stages, but I'm really happy I was able to keep it. Especially for all the dogs in the world."

Gallery: 2025 Toyota 4Runner

To keep the soul intact, Moritsu and the team tried to save weight throughout the rest of the truck.

"There's no magical engineering that went into play here," he says. "We took each individual component and looked at if there was any possibility to reduce mass so to not let down all the expectations of the customers, I feel we were able to do a good job with our vehicle mass planning."

In talking to Moritsu and others involved in the new 4Runner, it's clear that they understand and value the truck's heritage. This year marks 40 years of 4Runner, and it's one of Toyota's tentpoles, along with the Land Cruiser and the Tacoma. Just before the San Diego premiere of the 4Runner, we spotted one on the side of the road, surfboard poking out the back of the tailgate. Never accuse Toyota of not understanding its customers.

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