Disclosure: In partnership with Toyota, I received a car to review for a week. All opinions contained below are my own and 100% honest.
A few months ago, my family consisted of four of us: My husband, myself, and our two daughters. But when my two stepsons came to live with us, we suddenly became a household of six — with a car that can seat 5 people. Yeah. You can imagine how well that’s working out for us. As a family, we’re not able to do much because we can’t all fit in our car at the same time. So when I got a chance to review a vehicle from Toyota, I knew it needed to be something that could seat at least six. The 2017 Toyota 4Runner fit the bill. And though it required letting go of the idea of fuel efficiency, the tradeoff was worth it.
The 4Runner is not really a luxury vehicle, but it absolutely feels like one. When I think family vehicle, let’s just say I typically don’t think leather seats or high-end anything. The 4Runner has seats that feel like a hug and the ability not just to heat, but cool them. In the Georgia summer, being able to cool leather seats is a godsend. Additionally, both the driver and passenger seats are power adjustable, unlike many cars that give the driver tons of options, but limit movement for the passenger. These features may not sound like a huge deal, but they go a long way in providing comfort. And let’s be honest: As a wife and mother, I’m not choosing a car based on detailed technical specs. I’m choosing it based on whether it can deliver a comfortable, reliable ride for myself and my family.
Speaking of my family, the 4Runner has a third-row seat that can be folded down when not in use. During the daytime when our older kids are in school, my husband and I chose to keep the seats collapsed to give us lots of trunk space for our little one’s stroller, groceries, etc. Because the unfortunate truth of many vehicles with a stowable third row is that using it all but completely eliminates storage space. And that was true with the 4-Runner. Still, for trips around town where we don’t have anything sizeable to carry, it was still nice to be able to pull up the third row of seats to accommodate two teenage boys. The leg room was a bit cramped, but again — this is true of most vehicles with a third row. Overall, we were so happy to have the additional capacity that the space issues back didn’t matter too much.
Other features that made the 4Runner really enjoyable to drive include the push button start and keyless entry. It made going back to our car requiring a key feel clunky and old. It is also super helpful to have a backup camera when driving a larger vehicle. Our home is situated in a position in our neighborhood that means we have to look in three directions to get out of our driveway. Having the backup camera made backing out a lot easier, and again, made our own car feel severely lacking.
Add to those all the creature comforts of a modern car: Sunroof, touchscreen radio with XM, USB ports for plugging in our devices and zoned climate control, and the 4Runner acted as the perfect car for getting our family around town in comfort and style. Our weeklong review ended way too quickly.