What is it? Toyota has freshened the styling on its rugged, body-on-frame 4Runner SUV and updated the cabin, but other changes are a bit light for the new model year.
In our road test, we stated that the rugged, body-on-frame 4Runner is “good for towing and off-roading but not much else.” The 4Runner proved needlessly crude, with coarse dynamics, at a time when SUVs are gaining refinement. This freshening doesn’t appear poised to change those impressions.
The front fascia is new, with smoked headlamps, angry angles, and oversized grille. The three trim levels get specific tweaks, with the Limited treated to chrome accents and projector beam headlamps. All 4Runners get a roof rack and LED tail lamps.
Inside, the SR5 and Trail trim lines get some soft-touch door surfaces, while the steering wheel and shift knob are wrapped in leather. The base SR5 also gains a snazzier instrument display. The Trail repositions some off-roading controls, while the Limited boasts an automatic dual-zone climate-control system. All versions benefit from sculpted front seatbacks that promise more second-row knee space, as well as a convenient back-up camera that now displays on the dash, rather than the rear-view mirror.
It is possible the interior updates make the cabin more inviting; we’ll reserve judgment until we sample one.
What is new or notable? Toyota continues to roll out its Entune infotainment system, with app integration for Bing, iHeartRadio, OpenTable, Pandora, and more. The SR5 and Trail get an eight-speaker Entune system with AM/FM/XM/CD, USB input, and Bluetooth connectivity. The Limited touts a 15-speaker Entune Premium JBL stereo with HD radio. All versions offer an interesting “party” mode for tailgating that biases sound output to the rear (including liftgate speakers) and adjust levels accordingly.
The 270-hp V6 continues. In our last test, the 4Runner 4WD returned 18 mpg overall. Decent for class, but better fuel economy would always be welcomed.
Ultimately, the 2013 Toyota 4Runner scores too low to be Recommended, and it doesn’t appear that this mild freshening would change that.