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Would 2014 Toyota 4Runner And Tundra Be Ideal For Active, Upscale, Rustic Lifestyle ?

A few months ago, I wrote a short post about the role of a vehicle in the life of an adventurer. For many of us, our cars are more than just transportation to get us from home to our favorite trail-head or surf break.

Whether you live in your van while climbing full time in Yosemite ( like Alex Honnold ), travel around US and Canada with your house-trailer in search of fresh powder, or living the good life for two months, cruising the Pacific coast catching waves, making friends, and living in a van ( like Cyrus Sutton ), you are very serious  ( and picky ) about what you drive.

The more rugged and demanding your adventures, the longer your trips, and the more gear you need to haul, the more requirements you have when it comes to choosing your adventure-mobile.

Is is 4WD or AWD ? How does it handle demanding outdoor conditions like snow, dirt, mud, dunes ? Is it specious enough to keep all your gear and live in ( for at least a weekend ) ? Will it tow my additional toys like a dirt-bike/snowmobile/jet ski trailer ?

Most "outdoorsy cars" brag about off-road ability, durability and their towing capacity, but few have the heritage and durability of the new Toyota Tundra and 4Runner.

 If you've been following this blog, you know that I'm not big into off-roading, but when I got a chance to test drive both  Toyota Tundra and 4Runner in beautiful and remote Cle Elum, WA, I was very excited !

Both cars proved to be real adventurous, go-anywhere, hard-core workhorses ! Not to mention their rugged exterior design, and interior refinements that add comfort and convenience without sacrificing their hallmark performance capability and excellent value.

While I enjoyed driving both cars on paved and gravel roads, unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to be behind the wheel to truly experience their off-road capabilities. I left it up to the professionals.

Piloted by off road  racer Joe Bacal ( the winner of 2012 Baja 1000 ), and co-piloted by yours truly, we took Toyota 4Runner on off-road trails in the heart of the Cascade Mountains.

 The 2014 Toyota 4Runner has kept its body-on-frame, pickup truck based characteristics. Meaning, that when you take the new Toyota 4Runner off-road, you will absolutely know it can perform.

What impressed me the most was Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature on its Trail model. The system helps maintain an appropriate speed to keep the vehicle under control and minimizes the load on drivetrain and suspension components. With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and output (along with braking force), to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings. This allows the driver to maintain focus on steering over rough level ground or steep grades without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.

The Trail grade also features a Multi-Terrain Select system that dials in wheel- slip control to match the terrain. In loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than- normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. On bumpy moguls, or solid rock, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges, uphill or down. All models come standard with Hill-start Assist Control (HAC), which provides additional control for off-road driving by helping to hold the vehicle stationary before starting on a steep incline or slippery surface. All 4Runner 4x4 models feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augments the low-speed ascending ability of low-range by helping to hold the vehicle, allowing time for the driver to a target speed with no driver intervention. 

But the most exciting  part of my trip was taking these cars on a beautiful and relaxing rafting trip with a gourmet dinner and introduction to fly fishing in the end !

To be  continued....

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