MotorWeek Throwback: 1985 Toyota 4Runner


Every week, MotorWeek releases a video for Throwback Thursday.  This past week, they showed their archived review of the 1985 Toyota 4Runner.

It’s hard to believe that it has nearly been 30 years since the release of the Toyota 4Runner.  The 4Runner was a bit of a revolution of its time.  It gave Toyota an entry to the Sport Utility Vehicle market.  Back then, the 4Runners started with a four-cylinder 22R engine with a 100 horsepower.

Can you imagine that?  A current Mazda 2 has 100 horsepower.  A Fiat 500 has 100 horsepower.  While that number seems puny for an SUV, the curb weight was kept around 2,600 lbs.  It wasn’t fast by any means, but at least it was able to keep pace.

Electronic fuel injection upped the power to 116 horsepower.  Mind-blowing stuff.

The most recent generation is up to 270 horsepower.  It also carries nearly 2,000 extra pounds of curb weight.

[via, MotorWeek, YouTube]

As much as it lacked the power, it was cool.  It has four-wheel drive available.  It is able to tumble over off-road terrain.  It also has one feature that all subsequent models of the 4Runner lacked, the removable rear hard top.

The Toyota 4Runner already had the classic sport-utility shape.  The first generation model had the versatility to be a Japanese Jeep.  You could bring your friends and family on that off-road excursion, completely exposed to the elements.

Different suspension set ups make it easy to off-road.

Regular Car Reviews took a 1986 version, heavily modified, off-road.  Excuse the weirdness. (NSFW language)

[via RegularCarReviews, YouTube]

Current generations of the 4Runner are far more comfortable.  They have plenty of creature comforts along with the power to go.  The Limited edition includes a Navigation System and heated, leather seats.  What happened to a good map? What about a compass?  Cloth seats were durable.  If it was too cold, just wear more clothing.

Usually, later generations of automotive models are an improvement from the previous.  The Toyota 4Runner just happened to leave their best feature behind.  The removable hard top gave customers an alternative to the Jeep Wrangler.

That was easily it’s best feature.  Off-Road enthusiasts may disagree.

That’s what makes it cool, today.

[Featured image via MotorWeek]