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William Maley

2014 Review Wrap-Up: SUVs

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While crossovers haven taken the space that SUVs occupied only a few years ago, a number of automakers are still producing them as there is still an audience for them. One that wants the off-road and towing ability SUVs offer. So come along as we take a look at three specimens in our latest 2014 review wrap-up.

First Up: 2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium

It is hard to believe that 30 years ago, Toyota introduced the 4Runner. The sister vehicle to the all-mighty Land Cruiser was to give Toyota a true competitor to the likes of the Jeep Cherokee and Ford Bronco. Since that time, the 4Runner has grown up somewhat in terms of size and position, but it never lost its mission; a vehicle that can get you anywhere. But with the recent 4Runner, does it still hold true to that mission?

2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium 13

The 4Runner’s exterior has a look of being able to get you anywhere with no problem. This is firmly expressed in the front end as it looks like it’s wearing a muzzle. There’s a large grille to allow the standard V6 engine to breath, along with C-Shaped faux air vents above the front bumper. The rest of the 4Runner’s design is the same as the model shown in 2010 with the folded angle design, flared wheel arches, and rear tailgate with a power window. A set of seventeen-inch wheels finish off the look of the 4Runner. Inside, the rugged attitude continues with chunky controls for the climate control, infotainment system, and transfer case. A large instrument cluster provides all of the key details needed to go off the beaten path. Despite its rugged attitude, the 4Runner is a nice place to sit in. Seats are comfortable and come with heat as part of the Premium package. Rear seat passengers will find a decent amount of legroom, though I found headroom is a little bit tight due to the optional sunroof.

Power comes from a 4.0L V6 engine with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. This comes paired up to a five-speed automatic and a part-time four-wheel drive system. The V6 is a workhorse for Toyota’s pickups and SUVs, and its easy to see why. Power comes on immediately and the engine roars with glee. The five-speed automatic doesn’t quite fully mesh with the V6 as first-gear takes a bit longer to kick down than I was expecting. Thankfully, all other gears did not have this same experience. Fuel economy is rated at 17 City/21 Highway/18 Combined. I got 17.4 MPG during my week of testing.

2014 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium 7

As for ride and handling, the 4Runner exhibits a mostly comfortable ride with the suspension able to smooth out potholes and road imperfections. Wind and road noise were kept at decent level. On the curves, the 4Runner does exhibit a bit of body roll and lean due to its off-road suspension. Steering was perfectly weighted and provided excellent response for an SUV. Off the beaten path is where the 4Runner truly shines with impressive ground clearance and ability to go over some of the roughest terrain with no problem. This is an SUV that dreams of going on the trail.

The 4Runner is built for those who seek adventure and their travels take them off the beaten path more often than not. If your travels are limited to payment, then you’ll be better off with a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Disclaimer: Toyota Provided the 4Runner, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas

Year: 2014

Make: Toyota

Model: 4Runner

Trim: SR5 Premium

Engine: 4.0L DOHC VVT-i 24-Valve V6

Driveline: Five-Speed Automatic, Part-Time Four-Wheel Drive

Horsepower @ RPM: 270 @ 5,600

Torque @ RPM: 278 @ 4,400

Fuel Economy: City/Highway/Combined - 17/21/18

Curb Weight: 4,675 lbs

Location of Manufacture: Tahara, Aichi, Japan

Base Price: $37,615

As Tested Price: $39,045 (Includes $860.00 Destination Charge)

Options:

Rigid Running Boards - $345.00

Carpet Floor Mats & Floor Mat - $225.00

Next: 2014 Lexus GX 460 Luxury

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Awesome Write up Bill. I love the reviews, learned some interesting things about the three different SUV's.

 

With that said, I still do not like the look or layout of the 4Runner but then that is why they have various SUV's for people to choose from. Agree with you that the Predator Mouth, AKA Spindle Grill does not work on the GX. 

 

Did not know that the GX was a Land Cruiser sibling.

 

Tahoe I did not know could come with Magnaride suspension. Over all nice SUV, but like the Yukon better and especially the Escalade.

 

I am with you, Chevy having a $70K SUV I think is a bit high. Not sure but guess we will see in the sales numbers for 2015 if the price scares people off or not.

 

One question I have is do you think the higher SUV prices is to reduce the soccer moms from buying them and so only use need customers end up purchasing the Full Size Body on Frame SUV's?

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I'm driving a 2014 Suburban this week (work rental) and I was going to do a write up on it, but William beat me too it.   It is a fantastic vehicle. I'll be taking it on a short roadtrip over the weekend.

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I think the higher price is to give the Lambda crossovers some breathing room. The Traverse has 97% of the room as a Tahoe and starts at about $30k. 

Where do they top out at? Is it close to the starting point of the Tahoe?

 

Even thought they have close to the same interior space, to me they are very different animals.

  • Upvote 1

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I think the higher price is to give the Lambda crossovers some breathing room. The Traverse has 97% of the room as a Tahoe and starts at about $30k. 

Where do they top out at? Is it close to the starting point of the Tahoe?

 

Even thought they have close to the same interior space, to me they are very different animals.

 

 

Traverse LTZ FWD Base Price: $42,810

Tahoe 2WD Base Price: $45,550

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I think the higher price is to give the Lambda crossovers some breathing room. The Traverse has 97% of the room as a Tahoe and starts at about $30k. 

Where do they top out at? Is it close to the starting point of the Tahoe?

 

Even thought they have close to the same interior space, to me they are very different animals.

 

 

I don't disagree that they are very different animals.  The Traverse AWD LTZ is $45,700, the Tahoe 2wd LS base price is $45,500

 

So yeah, I think it is the overlap. 

 

The Traverse can tow 4,500 lbs 5,200 lbs. with the factory tow package (with aftermarket tow add-ons, it is limited to 2,000 lbs)

The Tahoe can tow 8,300lbs or 8,500lbs depending if it is 4wd or 2wd. 

 

Most small family boats and campers can be handled by the Traverse. 

Edited by Drew Dowdell
Updated the Traverse to the 2015 rating

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Very cool to see the pricing and towing. Clearly for most families you can use the Traverse and yet for those that have heavy trailers the Tahoe is the better choice.

 

Thank you :)

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