Behind the Wheel

2020 Toyota 4Runner Review: A modern throwback with so, so much to love

Toyota sells the 4Runner in an available Venture grade, which adds black accents and a handy roof basket.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Driving the freshest version of the Toyota 4Runner is like taking a step back in time. There's plenty that will make you think, "Is this really a 2020?" While the automaker has done its best to keep up with an aging platform and design shifts by the rest of the crowd, even the Jeep Wrangler has a sleeker interior at this point.

Still, it makes you yearn a bit for the days when trucks were trucks – when SUV meant body-on-frame and buyers understood what that meant. That's not to say that the newest crop of SUVs are bad or that the average SUV buyers is less informed today than they were two decades ago. They're just differently informed.

2020 Toyota 4Runner venture The 4Runner Venture is priced around $47,000 all-in. As tested, with added running boards and paint protection film, the cost went up over $48,000.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

The 4Runner elicits a visceral nostalgic reaction. Moving the gated shifter reminds you that they're nearly extinct in mass production cars. Holding on to the beefy steering wheel leads one to realize how little effort it truly takes to move the Ram 1500 around a parking lot of obstacles. Using your foot to engage the parking brake, hearing the sound of the creaking movement – that's a thing of beauty.

What the 2020 4Runner does most is put the driver in a position to hope that with the redesigned model that is well on its way, Toyota doesn't go so far as to make it too modern. I don't want to change my own oil, but I'd like to know I can if I need to, without taking a masterclass.

There are, however, areas where the 4Runner could stand to be given a thorough update, starting with the powertrain. It comes standard with a 4.0-liter V6 that delivers 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. It does the job. As the old man at the hardware store used to say while looking over the top of his glasses, "there's a different between doing a job and doing a job well."

2020 Toyota 4Runner venture The 4Runner hasn't lost any capability.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

Its five-speed automatic transmission spends too much time search for the right gear and not allowing enough torque when needed, even when cruising on the highway.

The SUV's cabin is comfy, especially in top-tier trim levels, with the appropriate amount of ruggedness. Some finishes could stand an upgrade for the $40,000+ price tag as tested but the biggest changes should be the steering wheel and the infotainment system. While the touch screen's OS isn't bad (it's not pretty either), the center stack is simply dated. The wheel has the same affliction. Adding one-touch turn signals is a must, as is deleting the old school digital clock display at the top of the dash.

The 4Runner is still tremendously capable when it comes to traversing terrain, whether you're in the desert or a mud pit. That doesn't mean that it's great at keeping a lane or has a tight turning radius. Still, that's just about what you'd expect from an aging truck.

2020 Toyota 4Runner Venture The SUV rides on 17-inch gunmetal gray TRD alloy wheels.Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Sales U.S.A., Inc.

If you're worried about the coming changes to the 4Runner, you will want to keep an eye on dealer inventory for your new model. Don't be the person that ends up shelling out thousands over asking on BringATrailer.com just because you wish you could go back in time.

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Nuts & Bolts

 
 

Thought the 2021 Toyota Corolla Cross just debuted in Thailand, it could be slated to come to the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Let's face it, the Toyota CH-R was never really supposed to be a Toyota. The model, destined to be a Scion, had its life's direction altered when Scion closed up shop and parent company Toyota merged select members of its lineup with the Toyota line. For the last three years, the model has been doing its damnedest to escape the Scion mold, but hasn't. It remains the odd duck in the stable, not delivering the high-quality interior, good handling, and capability that earns the brand sufficient praise.

Enter: the Toyota Corolla Cross. Though its name doesn't quite invoke the feelings, of "Why? Whhhhhhyyyy?" that the Mitsubishi Eclipse Cross moniker does, the Corolla Cross name is clearly a strategic move meant to capitalize on the one already worn by one of the best-selling cars of all time.

2021 Toyota Corolla Cross

Photo courtesy of Toyota Motor Corporation

Marketed as "Corolla Meets SUV", the Corolla Cross looks like it executes at every level. It rides on the same TNGA platform as the Toyota Prius, Prius Prime, C-HR, and Corolla, and the Lexus UX. That architecture make the slightly longer and taller Corolla Cross spacious with class-leading cargo room for its class.

Though the model is undoubtedly going to be modified a smidge if it comes to America, Toyota has outlined its highlights as part of its launch in Thailand.

The Corolla Cross makes much of its looks from the RAV4, but it's a copy. It's a natural progression of the design language, the same way the Highlander is. Toyota notes that this design allows for an "impressive rearview".

A new torsion-beam suspension delivers a cushioned ride. Toyota notes that the Corolla Cross is easy to maneuver and has a tight turning circle.

Toyota is selling the front-wheel drive model with a traditional gasoline-powered engine setup and as a hybrid. These variants are similar to the Corolla and Lexus UX in the States.

The gasoline-powered model has a 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 140 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. The hybrid model returns 122 total system horsepower. Both engines are paired with a CVT.

The interior has good headroom and wide door openings. These are similar characteristics to the modern Corolla.

Toyota has already trademarked the Corolla Cross name for the U.S. according to Car & Driver. The model, which would fill a slot in Toyota product plans that were leaked earlier this year, may be the vehicle set to be made at the end joint Mazda-Toyota plant that is under construction in Alabama. It would fill the gap between the C-HR and RAV4 in the Toyota lineup, and compete directly with the Kia Seltos and Hyundai Kona.

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The 2021 Lamborghini Sián Roadster is already sold out.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini
Lamborghini is taking the top off the Sián Roadster. The 2021 Lamborghini Sián Roadster is a drop-top version of the hybrid super sports car that captivated audiences last year. The cabriolet's run is limited to just 19 models - all of which are already sold out.

The model is outfitted with the same V12 engine and delivers equal hybrid performance. The engine is paired with 48-volt mild-hybrid technology delivering more rapid availability of torque off the line and fuel savings. The 48-volt e-motor, delivering 34 horsepower, sits in the gearbox. The mild-hybrid technology is more powerful than a battery of the same weight and three times lighter than a battery while producing the same power.

Photo courtesy of Automobili Lamborghini


The new Lambo has a top speed of 250 km/h. It can get from zero to 62 mpg in 2.9 seconds. To get back to zero, the car uses its regenerative braking system.

"The Sián Roadster encapsulates the spirit of Lamborghini," says Stefano Domenicali, Automobili Lamborghini Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "It is the expression of breathtaking design and extraordinary performance, but most importantly embodies important future technologies. The Sián's innovative hybrid powertrain heralds the direction for Lamborghini super sports cars, and the open-top Sián Roadster affirms a desire for the ultimate lifestyle Lamborghini as we move towards a tomorrow demanding new solutions."

Lamborghini showed off the car with a Blu Uranus paint job. The company says that the color encapsulates, "the blue of the sky and the green of the fields, evoking the freedom and driving elation delivered by the open top Sián." The car rides on Oro Electrum wheels. Their color was chosen to signify the Sián's electrified powertrain. Its interior features Blu Glauco detailing and aluminum elements in Oro Electrum.

Three-dimensional printer technology allow customers to have their initials designed into the car's air vents.

The car features design that envokes the iconic periscopio line inspired by the first Countach. It runs diagonally from the cockpit to the rear. It has a low front and integrated carbon fiber splitter with Y-shaped headlights sitting above.

It has been optimized for aerodynamic efficiency with airflow "directed through the front splitters and through the front bonnet, through the side air intakes and outlets and over the rear spoiler, with no loss of aerodynamic efficiency from the roadster's roofless design". The car has active cooling vanes on its rear that use unique materials-science technology patented by Lamborghini.

At the rear is a strong design featuring six hexagonal taillights inspired by the Countach. The car's rear wing extends out only during the driving to enhance the performance.

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