Hands-On: The 2010 Toyota 4Runner

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Toyota isn't going to let fluctuating gas prices and a growing general consensus against anything and everything SUV-related stop them from introducing an entirely new 4Runner. And its not like they made it smaller or more taut either, the 2010 4Runner is a much bigger brute than the previous generation and its presence was very much felt when we were handed the keys to one last week. More from our review after the jump.

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The 4Runner lost a bit of its identity with last generation's model and for 2010 they've gone back to their roots to create a 4Runner worthy of its pioneering, off-road heritage. We took the 4Runners right into the Nevada desert where its off-road capabilities were put to the test against the best dirt-laden trails the Silver State had to offer.

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Features like Downhill Assist Control (standard on all 4x4 models) carefully and easily aided the car down steep grades and "Crawl Control" offered some much needed help to inexperienced off-road drivers like ourselves to help us clear difficult terrain, practically driving itself when the trail proved to be beyond our limited off-road skill set.

On the street the 4Runner turns into quite the impressive street cruiser with its smooth ride and quiet interior. In our tester the 4Runner was loaded up with all the latest toys from Navigation to rear view cameras to 120v power outlets and even a "Party Mode" feature that sets the equalizer to optimize outdoor audio performance via the backdoor speakers when the trunk lid is open.

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Now the 4Runner isn't aimed squarely at the soccer mom set nor is it going to win any awards in the fuel efficiency department. If that's what you're looking for, Toyota will be more than happy to sell you a Sienna or Prius. This is a true off-roader worthy of its 1984 counterpart, but bigger, bolder, and even more rugged. And we wouldn't have it any other way.

For more information: From $29,175 - Toyota.com