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The 6th-generation Toyota 4Runner is here, and we want it

We’re sure these will be off-roaded more than the new Land Cruiser Prado

The 4Runner has always been a more lifestyle-oriented SUV offering from Toyota. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

Toyota in the USA loves its full-size body-on-frame SUVs. Across the pond, the carmaker has vehicles like the Sequoia and the Tundra, alongside the Land Cruiser 250.

While they lack the ultra-desirable Land Cruiser 300, America does have one more thing that we don’t: the 4Runner. Now in its sixth generation, the venerable off-roader gets a top-to-bottom update, beginning with new TNGA-F underpinnings.

Yes, it now wears the Beyond Zero badge, meaning it's available as a hybrid. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The new platform has improvements in handling and refinement, but the biggest change comes via the hybridized powertrain.

Just like other TNGA-based updates, the V6 motor is swapped out for a choice of either a turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder gas engine (278hp and 430Nm) or the i-Force Max hybrid powertrain. The latter pairs the 2.4-liter mill with an electric motor that has a 1.87kWh NiMH battery. Total system output is 326hp with 630Nm of torque. Both are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It's just as capable as an old Land Cruiser off the beaten path. PHOTO FROM TOYOTA

The 2WD model gets an automatic limited-slip differential, but the 4WD models (full-time and part-time) add an electronically controlled two-speed transfer case and active traction control. The TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, and Trailhunter grades get an electronic rear-locking differential, and i-Force Max models get a center-locking differential.

But if you’re more concerned about figures, the 4Runner comes with a 32° approach and 24° departure angle, and a multi-terrain monitor to help you navigate off-road. It also gains the Stabilizer Bar Disconnect mechanism that allows for greater suspension articulation on the trail.

The 4Runner's new design has a bit of a sci-fi macho look to it. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

It seems like Toyota’s designers have all decided that the brand’s off-roaders should look boxy. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as the 4Runner pulls it off really well with large fender flares, historical design cues such as the wraparound rear-quarter glass, and a power rear glass window.

We're sure enthusiasts will modify their own 4Runners from the ground up. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

But for those who want a prepped SUV from the factory, the Trailhunter trim comes with preinstalled aftermarket goodies.

These include 33-inch Toyo Open Country A/T off-road tires, an ARB roof rack, Old Man Emu forged shocks, a high-mount air intake, rock rails, steel bash plates, a 20-inch LED lightbar with color-selectable fog lamps, and a heritage grille with bronze Toyota lettering.

A functional and luxurious interior, as with most modern Toyota SUVs. PHOTOS FROM TOYOTA

The interior has been properly modernized, with up to 14 inches of infotainment screen with wireless smartphone integration, up to 12.3 inches of digital instrument cluster, and wireless charging with USB-C charging ports. It also seats five, but there is an optional third row if one desires to sacrifice cargo room for people space.

Telematics and Toyota Safety Sense 3.0 all come standard, and higher grades also have an option for a digital key to allow sharing with others via smartphones.

The 4Runner will be built at the Tahara plant in Japan, and be available in the United States later this year. Of course, expect some gray-market imports to make their way to our shores.

Sam Surla

Sam is the youngest member of our editorial team. And he is our managing editor (believe it or not). He specializes in photography and videography, but he also happens to like writing about cars a lot.