The Toyota 4Runner is classified as a mid-size sport utility vehicle that is manufactured by Toyota and sold in various places throughout the world. Production of this vehicle began in 1984 and continues to this day. In Japan, this vehicle is known as the Toyota Hilux Surf. The original version of this vehicle was a compact SUV with a fiberglass shell over the body, though it has undergone major independent development into a combination of a compact and a mid-size SUV. All of these vehicles have been built at Toyota’s Tahara plant at Tahara, Aichi, Japan, as well as Hino Motors’ Hamura plant.
A number of Hilux Surf models in Japan are widely exported as used vehicles to a number of different places around the world, including Pakistan, Somalia, New Zealand, Australia, and the United Kingdom. In Southeast Asia, the Hilux Surf was replaced by the Fortuner in 2005, which his based on the Hilux platform. The Toyota 4Runner is currently sold in the U.S, Canada, Peru, Chile, Bahamas, and Central America. The first generation N60 series Hilux Surf and 4Runner were both introduced in 1984. There was some major redesign work done on the Hilux for the 1984 model, including the removal of the panel with integrated rear window from behind the front seats.
The first generation of the 4Runner is very nearly identical to that of the Toyota Hilux. All of the first generation models of this vehicle came with two doors and were the same as the pickups from the dashboard and on. All of the changes that were made to this vehicle applied to the latter half of its body. Because the rear springs on this vehicle were not upgraded to bear the additional weight from the rear sets, the earlier models suffered from a sagging rear suspension.
A second generation of the Toyota Helix Surf and 4Runner were both issued in 1989 for the 1990 model year. This vehicle is known as the N120/N130 series and their design was based on the Hilux pickup. This vehicle was definitely a departure from the previous generation of vehicles, and the 4Runners featured a whole new design with full steel integrated body mounted on the existing frame. The 4Runner, however, remained almost exactly the same as the Hilux from the B-pillars forward. This car also received a new coil spring rear suspension system which provided to be prone to sagging, similar to previous models.
An optional Appearance Package was offered for the SR5 model of this vehicle and included color-keyed cladding, bumpers, and liftgate trim. Fog lamps were offered as an optional feature starting in April of 2003, along with running boards and 16” aluminum wheels. The Sport Edition came with black running boards and color-keyed trim, taking the place of the grey cladding and silver-painted grille. The 2004 model of this vehicle featured an advanced Tire Pressure Monitoring System as a standard piece of equipment. This vehicle also has a 3rd row seat that became an optional feature on the SR5 as well as Limited models.
The fifth generation of the 4Runner was first revealed in September of 2009 at the Texas State Fair, and it is available in three different trim levels, two of which were previously available. Both the base SR5 trim along with the Limited trim are available with 2-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive. The more recent Trail Edition of this vehicle is only available with 4-wheel drive. The new 4.0 liter V6 adds Dual VVT-I, which significantly improves horsepower as well as torque and fuel economy. The old 4.7 liter V8 engine from previous generation models was not carried over for this one.