Off-Road SUV Spotlight: A Look at the Toyota 4Runner for Pros with Careers in the Auto Industry

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The long-running Toyota 4Runner is practically a synonym for rugged dependability. Over the years, the 4Runner has gained a modestly-sized but loyal base of users who love having all the benefits of a midsized SUV in a market that has been steadily moving towards smaller crossovers.

While not as hot a commodity as crossovers and smaller SUVs, the 4Runner boasts a considerable off-road reputation, which likely won’t be hurt by the new Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

For graduates who go on to work in the auto industry, servicing a mud-covered 4Runner fresh from a camping trip or other off-road excursion could happen from time to time. What’s the story behind this rugged and beloved SUV? Here are a few things professionals need to know about this long-running Toyota favourite.

An Enduring Survivor in the Off-Road Market

In 2017, it’s likely that when an off-roading enthusiast drops their rugged SUV off for service or repairs, it’s going to be a 4Runner. The consistent performance of the vehicle has enabled it to carve a steady space in the market while a range of post-2000 off-roaders, many produced by other Japanese manufactures, have disappeared from roads and auto shops.

Part of this success is down to a dedicated base of 4Runner users who appreciate its no-nonsense looks, solid performance, and the longevity of the vehicle, which initially appeared on the market way back in 1984.

Back in 1984, the 4Runner was little more than a few add ons—like a hard top—tacked onto a pickup body. Since then, the 4Runner has gone through several different iterations, turning the original hard top into a full steel integrated body, modifying the chassis, and adding in new upgrades to turn it into the off-roader drivers know and love today.

A Look at the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro for Those With Careers in the Auto Industry

We are now through to the fifth generation of the 4Runner, which is an important testament to its endurance. However, that’s not to say that the 4Runner TRD Pro can coast on previous success. In fact, it has had some mixed reviews.

The latest TRD Pro 4Runner contains a 4.0 litre, 6-cylinder engine offering 278 lb-ft of torque and 270 hp. It also comes along with a not-so-impressive 5-speed transmission. Complete with running boards and splash guards, it offers more than enough to tackle demanding terrain between a driver and their remote campsite.

But while reviewers are quick to praise the 4Runner’s durability, dependability, and sheer off-roading prowess—with Motor Authority calling the 4Runner TRD Pro “archaic in all the right ways”—some are also pointing out that this SUV could do with a few more modern amenities.

Study auto mechanic topics and you’ll soon discover that safety features have seen a big overhaul over the last few years. However, modern safety features like lane-departure warnings, parking assist, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitors, and even automatic high-beams are missing from the TRD Pro 4Runner, making it a lot more low-tech than many other options car lovers and car mechanics alike have come to love.

One Strange 4Runner Trend Pros With Careers in the Auto Industry Might Have Heard Of

While the 4Runner might not come with as many creature comforts and modern options as other vehicles on the market, it still comes with some handy standard features. For example, this vehicle offers keyless entry and voice recognition controls. As professionals with careers in the auto industry likely know, such features are increasingly common in this competitive market. However, they’ve also lead to some unintended consequences. For example, the 4Runner was the most stolen vehicle in Quebec in 2016.

Why? The burgeoning demand for black market vehicles abroad is thought to be a factor in this trend. Given the locations that stolen vehicles often end up in, such as Africa and Eastern Europe, the big off-roader is a particularly attractive target.

Thieves exploit the modern user-interfaces and electronics of SUVs like the 4Runner to gain access. Forced entrance and/or hot-wiring aren’t often used on vehicles like the 4Runner—as the SUVs are stolen with the use of high tech devices and simply driven away.

Time will tell how this and other problems facing the 4Runner will be addressed by car makers. For now, it looks like the continued popularity of this SUV will mean that pros working in the auto industry could see the 4Runner roll into shops for years to come.

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