Despite the use of the word "new" in the press release, the 2014 Toyota 4Runner, like the 2014 Highlander and Tundra before it, received no mechanical updates as part of its update. While the Highlander received a significantly re-packaged interior yielding a significant three more inches of third-row width and the Tundra got the fancy new 1794 Edition trim level, changes to the 2014 4Runner are almost entirely cosmetic in nature.

Like the 2014 Tundra, the 2014 4Runner looks sharper and more angular. The front end is punctuated by shorter and more horizontal headlights, a larger lower grille, a lower bumper accent that integrates the skidplate, and faux side-vent foglight surrounds. For that added touch of visual aggression, the 2014 4Runner gets a non-functional hood scoop. Around back, changes are not quite as drastic, with new LED taillights and a metallic-look lower bumper accent being the major updates of note. Wheels go from six to seven-spoke on the 2014 model.

Inside, the gauges of the 2014 model go from the central cylindrical speedometer pod jutting out from the middle of the cluster to a flatter Optitron gauge panel with a multi-information display in the middle. It's worth noting that while many other manufacturers are going to color TFT displays, the 2014 4Runner sticks with a monochrome LCD display. As expected, the audio system gets Toyota's Entune Audio Plus. The Limited trim also adds a JBL premium sound system with navigation, HD Radio, iTunes tagging, and 15 speakers. In an upscale gesture, both front passenger seats get a memory function in the Limited trim level and the SR5 gets an eight-way power adjustable driver's seat.

Mechanically, there are few changes. The 270-hp 4.0-liter V-6 mated to a five-speed automatic remains the sole powertrain option. Buyers can choose between two or four-wheel-drive, and permanent or part-time four-wheel-drive. The Trail grade 4Runner gets a locking rear diff, while the multi-mode 4x4 gets a center locker. All four-wheel-drive models offer a true low-range.

We don't dislike the updates made to the 2014 4Runner, but we can't say we didn't like the 2013 and are a little disappointed Toyota didn't do more in terms of drivetrain development and efficiency. What do you think about the 2014 Toyota 4Runner? Were the changes welcome and needed, or falling short of what it could have been?

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