THE BUZZ: The completely redesigned 4Runner is a serious off-road machine. The V-6 version has a healthy 278 lb-ft of rock-crawling torque, a 5,000-lb towing capacity, and a novel suspension that adjusts the ride for pavement, mud, loose rock, or uneven terrain at the twist of a dial.
THE TEST: In the mountains north of Santa Barbara, the 4Runner's beefy suspension and nine-inch clearance it's built on the same platform as Toyota's gnarliest off-roader, the FJ Cruiser laughed at sloppy gravel and steep, rocky switchbacks. On the street, it's a surprisingly smooth operator for such a brawny truck.
THE VERDICT: A traditional midsize SUV that begs to be taken off the beaten path. From $35,700; mpg, 17 city/22 hwy; toyota.com