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Photos: 2008 Toyota 4Runner Urban Runner Package

The 2008 Toyota 4Runner works as a solid and rugged SUV, but the attempt to tech it up with an integrated portable navigation device is a kludge. The idea isn't bad, though, and we would like to see the next version of this system.

CNET Reviews staff

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Toyota's 4Runner, the younger brother to the Land Cruiser, is a rugged off-roader, available with two different engines, four-wheel drive or two-wheel drive, and three different trim levels. This one is the Sport trim level.
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The 4Runner has an aggressive-looking hood scoop, similar to the Toyota Tacoma pickup truck, not a surprise as these vehicles share the same platform. The 4Runner has skid plates to protect its underside in off-road conditions.
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Our test vehicle came with the 4-liter V-6, which provided plenty of power to move the 4Runner around. Those looking to use the towing capabilities might want to consider the 4.7-liter V-8 option.
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The 4Runner shows pronounced fender flares and a hood that dips down towards the grille. It seats five, with plenty of cargo space.
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To smooth out the ride, Toyota offers suspension technology called X-REAS, which links the shocks diagonally, adjusting pressure on the right front when the left rear is compressed, for example. This reduces body roll and leads to a fairly comfortable ride for normal road driving.
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With the Urban Runner package, the interior gets this gray-and-black two-tone interior treatment.
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The steering wheel gets audio controls along the left side, which work reasonably well with the integrated TomTom GPS unit.
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The low redline, at 5,500 rpm, shows that this engine is tuned for torque. The trip display on the speedometer is minimal, but there is a larger display on the instrument panel.
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The 4Runner uses a five-speed automatic transmission with drive mode and three lower ranges, marked 4, 3, and 2.
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The key element of the Urban Runner Package is this head unit, which provides a dock for a TomTom GPS device. The head unit feels cheap, with flimsy plastic and its own virtually unreadable display.
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This drive mode selector lets you choose from 2 High, 4 High, or 4 Low.
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The 4Runner uses a limited slip center differential that can be locked at the push of a button. When locked, it puts 40 percent of torque to the front wheels and 60 percent to the rear.
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The TomTom unit works reasonably well for navigation, but it suffers from a small screen. It is also an older TomTom that doesn't have niceties like text-to-speech.
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We were impressed that the TomTom served as a display for radio stations, and even had preset buttons.
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The CD slot is hidden behind the head unit, accessible by pushing the tilt button.
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The current track from an MP3 CD shows on the TomTom, but you can control the CD with the touchscreen. Instead, you can only move through one track at a time with the head unit controls.
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With a USB drive plugged into the head unit, you get very good control over your music. The TomTom lets you select music by artist, album, playlist, and genre with its touchscreen.

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