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11 Best Old-School SUVs

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2015 Toyota 4Runner
Base-price range: $33,895 – $44,585

Toyota’s venerable 4Runner enters its 30th anniversary year as the last of a dying breed: a midsize-class body-on-frame SUV with available seven-passenger seating. With this niche market essentially to itself, Toyota is on pace to sell more than 60,000 4Runners in calendar 2014. For 2015, Toyota is expanding this SUV’s appeal by offering an enhanced dedicated off-road model called the TRD Pro. It has unique suspension tuning and heavy-duty underbody protection, allowing it to crawl rocks with the likes of the Jeep Wrangler and Nissan Xterra. Other 4Runner models have decent off-road capability themselves, but they’re far more likely to be seen in the jungles of suburbia, rather than the Amazon. A 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V-6 engine borrowed from the Toyota Tacoma compact pickup truck powers all 4Runner models. A 5-speed automatic transmission is standard. EPA projected fuel economy is 18-19 mpg city/highway combined, and maximum towing capacity is 4,700 pounds. Most versions offer the choice of rear- or four-wheel drive. The 4WD system has low-range gearing. On most models, it cannot be left engaged on dry pavement and uses a manual two-speed transfer case. The top-line Limited trim offers full-time electronic 4WD can be left engaged at all times. While nearly every automaker has abandoned midsize body-on-frame SUVs, it’s nice to see Toyota carrying on and offering a product to a segment of the car-buying public who still desires these types of vehicles.

About Chuck Giametta

This nationally recognized, award-winning writer brings to Carpreview.com two decades of automotive testing and reporting for newspapers, books, magazines, and the Internet. The former Executive Auto Editor of Consumer Guide, Chuck has covered cars for HowStuffWorks.com, Collectible Automobile magazine, and the Publications International Ltd. automotive book series. This ex-newspaper reporter has also appeared as an automotive expert on network television and radio. He’s a charter member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association, the president of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Media association, and a juror for the annual Active Lifestyle Vehicle of the Year awards. Chuck writes from Colorado Springs, Colo. If you have a question for Chuck, write to him at [email protected]