Due to a low sales volume, the latest generation of the Toyota 4Runner, the four-cylinder model which debuted last year as a 2010 model, will be discontinued, after just one model year. Just 10 percent of 4-Runners sold this year came equipped with the 2.7-liter I-4.
The main reason is that the 2.7-liter I-4 doesn't offer much of a fuel economy advantage compared to the larger 4.0-liter V-6. The downsized engine option only provides 157-horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, while the 4.0-liter V-6 makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound feet of torque - a significant increase in power, more with 113 ponies and 100 lb-ft. The 4-Runner's I-4 is capable of 18 city mpg and 23 highway mpg, only 1 mpg better compared to the larger V-6, which performs similarly at 17/23 (city /highway). With some 90 percent of buyers opting for the larger 4.0-liter V-6 -- and its five-speed automatic, as compared to the four-banger's four-speed automatic -- Toyota couldn't continue to make a case for offering the smaller engine.
The V6 option costs nearly $4,000 more than the four-cylinder model, but this is the only real advantage to choose the smaller engine.
Toyota has not announced sales numbers for the four-cylinder 4Runner, but it's supposed to be less than 1000. That would make this frugal 4Runner one of the rarest Toyotas of the last several decades.
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