2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner. Click image to enlarge

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Inside Story is a review of interior comfort features, cabin controls, storage options, trunk space and under-hood accessibility based on a seven-day evaluation. For driving impressions, please see our Test Drives section.

Review and photos by Michael Clark

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2010 Toyota 4Runner

2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner. Click image to enlarge

Steamboat Springs, Colorado: It’s been a little tough getting Toyota press vehicles lately. To say this is understandable would be the ultimate in understatement. While the Toyota execs on both sides of the border continue their frantic thumb-typing, press releases, and the presentation of here’s-the-problem-and-the-fix videos for general and automotive media, there is still the bigger issue of who the next Inside Story candidate will be. While the rest of the scribes loaded up on second helpings of chicken chili at the recent Bridgestone Driving School event in Colorado, Inside Story took a moment to assess the attributes of a U.S.-spec 2010 Toyota 4Runner SR5, used as a training vehicle at the facility.

As this week’s title dictates, this is a First Look installment, so we’ll do our best to identify any of the Star-Spangled anomalies present. An interesting quirk in the realm of 4Runner is the availability of 2WD versions in the U.S., with 2.7-litre four-cylinder power. The Canuck trucks are all V6 4x4s, starting at an MSRP of $36,800. (Prices shown do not include freight, taxes, regional or promotional incentives.)  

2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner. Click image to enlarge
The Cockpit/Centre Stack

Steering-wheel-mounted audio controls plus Bluetooth connectivity tabs populate the horizontal spokes of this tilt/telescopic unit. This capability would appear in Canada as part of the aptly-named Upgrade Package 4Runner (MSRP: $41,550). The cruise control stalk is found at the expected 4:00 p.m. position, like most Toyota products. The gauge cluster is highly readable, with Eco Drive monitor and gear selection display, plus an automatic transmission temperature warning lamp. (It wasn’t me! Honest!)

2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner
2010 Toyota 4Runner. Click image to enlarge

To the left of the driver position is the dash-mount control pod, housing exterior power mirror controls, parking sensor cancel, IP dimmer, plus power inverter wattage choice. Roll-sensing side curtain airbags (RSCA) can be disabled for off-road use, when an extreme approach angle could send the wrong message to the air bag actuators. There are no fumble fears for the power window pod, mounted at the top of the door panel, with full-Auto treatment for all panes. Note the exterior mirror turn signal lenses, with underbelly puddle lamps. This feature is reserved for the Limited Package 4Runner in the land of the wintry Gold Medal dominance (MSRP: $47,775).  Fuel economy averages, compass, outside temperature, and clock readings are displayed at the top of the centre stack.

The single CD audio head unit boasts oversized knobs for gloved hands, much like those for the single-zone manual HVAC. In a place that one might expect for a traction control shut-down switch is the “Party Mode” button. Hitting this switch pumps up the bass, and pushes the speaker output to the rear of the vehicle for your tailgate jamborees. The parking brake is a pedal-pusher, with no snag issues. Note the proper dead pedal provision. The five-speed automatic gated shifter includes a manual shift gate at floor level, with no steering wheel paddle provisions. Four-wheel drive modes are engaged with the old-school transfer case lever, to the upper right of the automatic shift. To the rear of the shifter is the rear power window tab, with Auto-Up and pinch protection.  

Cubbies!

Front and rear doors are equipped with the expected bottle holder cavities. Note that the power window switch placement has resulted in low-depth storage shelves, where the switches would be expected to occur. A flip-up door below the HVAC controls reveals a cell phone-sized cubby, with a 12-volt DC powerpoint, and an auxiliary audio input. The locking glovebox is more than ample, concealing a second 12-volt powerpoint and a USB input, part of the Canadian Upgrade Package. Two open cupholders preside on the centre console, with removable rubber fitment cinchers. The centre console lid gets labelled parking areas for tissue and pen placement, in case you get confused. Inside there’s an AC plug-in, Loonie-esque coin holder, and a removable partition slab. Seatback pockets are of the fabri-mesh style. The flip-down second-row armrest gets a dual cupholder system similar to the front units, with removable sizing bladders.  

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