2014 Toyota 4Runner revealed

Toyota's 2014 4Runner has been revealed, a refresh of the mid-sized SUV with a new, extra-rugged exterior and more comfortable interior as well as a trio of variants. The new 4Runner will be offered in SR5, Limited, and Trail formats – depending on whether the driver's focus is budget, luxury, or off-road potential – with seating for up to seven and a choice of drive modes from the standard 4.0-liter V6 and five-speed ECT-i auto transmission.

Depending on variant, the 4Runner will operate either in rear wheel 4x2 mode, part-time 4x4 mode, or full-time 4x4 mode with a center-diff lock. The SR5 and Trail versions get new 17-inch alloy wheel designs, while the Limited gets 20-inch alloys in a new black-painted finish. The Limited also gets a chrome-plated grille and front-bumper, matching trim to the side molding, roof rack, and rear bumper, and projector beam headlamps.

The SR5 and Trail, meanwhile, don't have quite the same gloss, but do have a new color-keyed grille and front-bumper, with new fog lamp positioning. The Trail throws in color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, and keeps the hood scoop and silver highlight finish of the outgoing version.

Under the hood, there's a 270HP gas engine good for 278 pound-foot of torque and dual-independent VVT-i. Toyota is quoting up to 23mpg in 4x2 mode or up to 22mpg in 4x4 mode; all three can tow up to 5,000 pounds and come ready equipped with a tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness.

It wouldn't be a 4Runner if it couldn't handle the mucky stuff, though, and so there's double-wishbone independent front suspension and four-link rear suspension, with variable-flow rack-and-pinion steering and coil springs over gas shocks for all four wheels. Limited models get X-REAS suspension for better on-road performance too, while all three have A-TRAC traction control which can funnel driving force to any wheel with traction.

Hill-start assist and downhill control are standard across the range, and the Trail throws in Crawl Control which automatically keeps to a terrain-appropriate speed leaving the driver to focus on steering around obstacles.

Inside, there's optional third-row seating in the SR5 and Limited versions, supporting fold-flat loading just like the second-row. The pull-out cargo deck is optional, but all models get rear backup cameras, a 120V outlet, and two 12V outlets. Limited 4Runners get front/rear sonar and keyless entry. Eight airbags and a choice of multimedia systems – including SiriusXM, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, and navigation – is standard, with the Limited getting a 15-speaker HD Radio with iTunes tagging and a 7-inch display.

Toyota is yet to confirm pricing of the 2014 4Runner, though the 2013 model starts at $31,490.