When it comes to aging gracefully, few vehicles have managed to do it quite as well as the Toyota 4Runner. While other SUVs have shifted towards being more on-road focused means of transportation that can handle trips to the local supermarket, the venerable 4Runner is an old school throwback that can still deliver the goods when going on an expedition that involves muddy trails, rock crawling, and going far beyond the reaches of suburbia. With the big utility still being a very popular model in terms of sales, the Japanese auto giant has not only unleashed some welcome tech updates for 2020, but also a new special edition to help solidify the 4Runner’s fun loving yet value focused mission in life.
Dubbed the Venture Edition, Toyota claims that this new variant is designed to help bring more utility and substance to the 4Runner to help it appeal with explorers of all skill levels. The exterior styling retains its core albeit aging identity, but Venture Edition models bring some key additions to the overall recipe. A highlight for us is the standard Yakima Megawarrior roof rack. Featuring sturdy crossbars for extra support, the Megawarrior rack is made of heavy duty steel, and is designed to offer more rooftop storage for owners. With a 52-inch long tray that is also 48-inches wide, look for this beefy rack to be able to easily swallow and hold a wide array of gear. Other exterior tweaks include 17-inch Gunmetal Grey TRD wheels and black accents for the outside mirrors, door handles, badging, and even the roof mounted rear spoiler. Toyota chose to showcase a beautiful red hue in the 4Runner they brought to the Texas State Fair, but look for the package to shine just as well with other colors including blue and grey.
The interior of the Venture Edition also brings its own suite of changes to the 4Runner. While they are not as radical as the exterior’s revisions, occupants will apperciate the standard rubberized all-weather floor mats, and the way the heated Softex trimmed power front seats coddle passengers in enhanced levels of comfort. This soft material also makes its way to the second row, and all the headrests are adorned with bold TRD logos. Technology is also leading the charge for 2020, with Toyota finally bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to all 4Runner trims. Amazon Alexa also tags along for the ride, with all of these functions being controlled by the all new 8.0 inch touchscreen. An all new eight speaker sound system delivers enhanced audio to eager listeners, and when viewed as a whole, this new system is a massive improvement over the old Entune system. That fact alone should please more millennials looking for enhanced mobile capability from their off-road purchase.
Performance and safety hardware for the Venture Edition have also recieved some needed attention. Just don’t look under the hood, where the ancient 270 horsepower 4.0 liter V6 and its old-school 5-speed automatic still do the bulk of the grunt work. Instead, the Venture Edition prefers that you focus your attention on the suspension hardware that lurks underneath the functional bodywork. The proven body on frame platform features a four link rear axle that is paired with coil spring suspension for a balanced ride when trekking on the beaten path, while a part time four wheel drive system with 2-speed transfer case and low range mode allows the Venture Edition to traverse tricky terrain and obstacles with billy goat like confidence.
But this is only the tip of the proverbial iceberg, with the Venture Edition also bringing standard CRAWL control technology to buyers. When CRAWL is activated, the system regulates the throttle and the brakes to help the 4Runner move slowly forward or backward over sharp hills and obstacles. This allows the driver to focus on steering the vehicle, and avoid multi-tasking in regards to balancing brake and throttle inputs. Meanwhile Active Traction Control (A-Trac) and Multi Terrain Select (MTS) enhances driver security, with A-TRAC being able to distribute power to any wheels on the ground when it senses wheel slip, while MTS controls wheel spin based on what terrain setting was selected via the accompanying dial in the cabin.
Along with the enhanced capability the Venture Edition brings to the table, it also brings an equally extensive arsenal of standard safety equipment to the 4Runner for 2020. Newly standard on all 4Runner trims, Toyota’s Safety Sense P (TSS-P) system bundles several potent safety features together, and includes goodies such as Pre-Collision Alert with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning with Sway Warning system, automatic high-beams for the headlights, and radar cruise control (DRCC).
While Toyota chose to not release any pricing information with today’s release, look for Venture models to begin making there way to showrooms very soon. With a welcome infusion of safety, technology, and capability, the 2020 4Runner certainly has the tools to firmly hold down the fort until the next generation model arrives sometime in the near future.