For 2005, Toyota’s mid-size SUV receives mostly mechanical changes: its V8 engine’s horsepower is increased from 235 to 270, while the V6 gets an advanced five-speed automatic transmission previously available only with eight-cylinder models.

Based on the Prado, a Land Cruiser model unavailable in North America, the 4Runner is a body-on-frame truck that features part-time four-wheel-drive on V6 models and full-time 4WD on V8 models. Despite its truck construction, the 4Runner’s handling is surprisingly lively and its suspension soaks up bumps for a smooth ride. It’s also seriously off-road capable, with high and low range, hill-start assist control and downhill assist control.

Both the V6 and V8 are offered in SR5 and Limited trim; all models include power windows and mirrors, power locks with keyless entry, CD/cassette with six speakers, automatic climate control, cruise control, privacy glass, running boards, fog lamps and a roof rack. The V6 models come with 16-inch alloy wheels.

Limited models add an upgraded stereo, dual-zone climate control, leather interior, eight-way power driver’s seat, power-adjustable passenger seat, leather-wrapped telescoping wheel, tonneau cover, integrated garage door opener, 17-inch wheels, 115-volt accessory outlet and side and curtain airbags. Optional third-row seating can be added.

The 4Runner is built in Tokyo and Atsumi-Gun, Japan.

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