Stability on cambered obstacles was excellent, and the option of turning off the locking d
The first challenge for the 4Runner was a rocky trail in western Idaho, which included large boulders, several waterfalls, and a series of earthen and rock ledges. This allowed me to test the Old Man Emu suspension, 265/70R17 BFGoodrich All-Terrains, Air Lockers, and the ARB side rails. The only limit I found to the trail performance was the lack of transmission protection and somewhat limited departure angle. The vehicle is not intended to be a rockcrawler, but it performed well in that environment. The combination of locking differentials and traction control meant grip was never an issue, and the Bull Bar and side rails protected the sheetmetal. On the moderate trails, the Old Man Emu suspension was most impressive, with spot-on valving and spring rates controlling the heavy chassis and limiting pitch/roll and providing balanced articulation.
On the dunes, the healthy V8 and long wheelbase made cruising the bowls a blast.
The adventure continued farther south, crossing into Utah and to the Little Sahara OHV area west of Interstate 15. The Little Sahara is a 120-square-mile BLM-managed area in the Sevier Desert open to off-road vehicle use. This area gave me the chance to test the truck's performance in deep sand and dune climbing. Even without airing the tires down, I knew the 4Runner was going to rule the sand. The good weight distribution, five-speed automatic, and 235hp V8 made for a great dune runner. In 4-Hi with the CDL locked (which disabled the Vehicle Stability Control), driving the dunes was easy. Plenty of torque and a low center of gravity allowed the SUV to carve the bowls and make all of the climbs I encountered.
The Little Sahara also gave me the chance to test the new Xjack exhaust jack from ARB. This unit uses exhaust pressure to fill a large rubber chamber, distributing the vehicle's weight across the sand or mud and lifting an entire side to allow for recovery or changing a tire. The unit worked well, lifting the 4Runner in less than a minute. The bag has 30 inches of lifting height and can support 8,800 pounds.
The IPF driving lights provided wide coverage and clean dispersion, while long-distance il
After leaving the Sevier Desert, my route took me high into the mountains north of Minersville and the deep snow of the winter storms. Snow and ice is a challenging environment for any vehicle, but it does favor a longer wheelbase and good weight distribution. The trail started wide and smooth, with long stretches of ice and compacted snow. With the 4Runner in 4-Hi and the CDL unlocked, progress was easy, with little understeer or sliding. Having all of the differentials open and the electronic traction and stability control available was the perfect combination for this environment.