Toyota released the 4Runner more than three decades ago with the first model, the N60, being around since 1984. The car managed to make a reputation for itself as one of the most capable off-road machines on the market. Since the first model, the vehicle changed tremendously throughout the years. Toyota released the latest model back in 2009, and since then they didn’t really change much about it. Most people think the current version is one of the ugliest cars available on sale. Even though, it still sells better than ever thanks to its off-road prowess and reliable engine. Unfortunately, the current model is not going to be able to meet the latest emissions standard in the near future. Because of that, a new car is going to hit the market soon enough. So far it looks like the one to do it will be the 2019 Toyota 4Runner. So far the manufacturer decided to say very little about it. Even so, there is plenty of information available about it.
At first, there have been reports about the future 4Runner going to a unibody design. This would have made a lot of sense when it comes to fuel consumption or on-road driving characteristics. However, it would have also taken away from the car’s great off-road potential. Because of that, it is safe to assume the future 4Runner will stick with a fully boxed in the frame. However, this will be where the similarities will end. It looks like the new model might feature weight-saving materials. The doors, door and even the tailgate might be made out of aluminum instead of steel. The body and the frame will also likely use more ultra-high and high strength steel than before. The result should be at least 200 to 300 pounds less than before. This alone will allow the 2019 Toyota 4Runner to be more efficient and more capable than its predecessor.
2019 Toyota 4Runner release, soon?
Even though Toyota didn’t say when they will reveal the future 4Runner, it looks like we may see the new model in 2018. The car will then go on sale shortly after. This should allow them to tackle the upcoming Bronco head on. So far not much has been said about the price of the car. Even so, we doubt much will change. We can expect the future base model to cost north of $35,000 still. This rather high price tag would allow Toyota to deliver the aluminum and the improved engine without having to take a loss on the car.
How will it look?
The current model has a polarizing design which not that many people liked. It looks like this is not going to be the case with the future 2019 Toyota 4Runner. Even though the details are still scarce, it looks like the new model might share quite a few traits with the new Tacoma. We can expect the two to share some body panels like the doors and even the front fenders. However, the 4Runner will more than likely get a few more aggressive touches. The hood should still offer a scoop as standard while the grille is likely going to span from the bottom to the top of the hood.
The bumper should now be slightly more aggressive than before, and its protective plate shouldn’t be visible anymore. The result should make the 4Runner look like a more aggressive Tacoma. The rear of the car is likely going to borrow cues from its predecessor. However, this time around things like LED tail lights or an electric tailgate should be offered at least on some versions of the car.
Despite its size, the current model is available with only five seats. There are rumors out there saying the 2019 Toyota 4Runner might also come in a seven-seat configuration. This would reduce the trunk space to a minimum, but it would allow it to be used as a family car. On top of that, the design here is going to change drastically over what was previously available. This time around the new 4Runner is going to be mostly identical to the Tacoma. The two cars will share the same dashboard and roughly the same seating layout. The big difference will come in the choice of materials. It looks like the 4Runner is going to be quite a bit more impressive than it was first thought. Things like suede upholstery, real leather inserts and this time around, real carbon fiber, should be around on the upper-range models.
Under the hood
The current model uses a 4.0 liter naturally aspirated V6 which is neither powerful or efficient. Some also said a hybrid is possible, but we highly doubt that. Experts say the future 2019 Toyota 4Runner will take the downsizing route. Even though the details are unknown at this point, it looks like Toyota may install their already well known 3.5 liter V6 under the hood of the 4Runner. This engine is currently available on the Tacoma where it barely makes around 280 horsepower and 270 lb-ft of torque. It looks like the version that will power the 4Runner will be a bit more different. This should get different internals, a different exhaust and likely a new engine management unit.
The result should get close to 300 horsepower and 290 lb-ft of torque. With the help of the lower weight, the car should be quite a bit faster than before. On top of that, it will also be more capable. It looks like a towing rating of around 8,000 pounds isn’t all that impossible. In order to make better use of that engine, the old five speed automatic will finally be ditched. Toyota will likely install in its place a new six-speed gearbox. This is known to be faster and smoother than the one before it. Just like with the older models, the 4Runner will continue to boast an all wheel drive system as standard. This time around though, the car may also receive electronically controlled differentials which would take its off-road prowess a step further.
Take a look at the previous version while we wait for the new 4Runner: