two keys to the much improved handling abilities of the X-Runner: chassis
design and sticky tires. The frame features diagonal braces in the front
and an X-brace to reinforce the rear. These
improvements increase the torsional rigidity of the frame and improve
transitional response and overall stability. X-Runner specific springs
are used, including front coils that are 50 percent stiffer than stock.
is lowered one-inch compared to a standard 2WD Tacoma but the actual ride
height is lowered only a half-inch. That’s due to the bigger 255/45R18
Bridgestone Potenza tires installed on 18x8 alloy wheels at all four corners.
The front 30mm anti-roll bar is left alone but the rear receives a 25mm
suspension is also treated to Bilstein 36mm monotube high-pressure gas
shocks and unique bushings that increase roll resistance. Standard brakes
are 10.8-inch discs up front and 10-inch drums in the rear.
brakes seem a little weak when compared to the 12.5-inch discs found on
Tacoma 4x4 models. But TRD has a “big-brake” kit that offers
13-inch discs with 4-piston calipers made just for the X-Runner. My test
vehicle didn’t have these massive binders but I did drive a big-brake
X-Runner briefly at the press introduction and was very impressed with
the stopping ability and looks.
The X-Runner has also grown considerably with new generation of Tacos,
especially when compared to the old S-Runner. The X-Runner’s wheelbase
is 127.2 inches, up from 121.9 inches while the track width grew from
57.1 inches to 62.2 inches. With that large footprint, handling is sure
to improve. But the weight also went up from a svelte 3190 pounds in the
old S-Runner to a sweltering 3690 in the new X-Runner. Horsepower was
Motivating the X-Runner is the 1GR-FE DOHC V6 engine rated at 245 horsepower
with peak torque of 282 lb-ft. The engine block is aluminum but the steel
cylinder liners are cast-in-place. This engine made its first appearance
in the 2004 4Runner and is also the base engine in the Tundra. Notable
features include variable valve timing and electronic throttle control.
Toyota also tuned the exhaust for a more aggressive note.
The RA60 6-speed manual is an all-new design. In other words, Toyota
didn’t just tack 5th and 6th gear on the back of an existing 4-speed.
First gear is a neck-snapping 4.17:1 and the 0.85:1 overdrive helps with
mileage. The tranny is also built for the Tundra. Too bad it’s not
built for the Celica GTS. Okay, I know the Celica is front-wheel-drive,
but my point is that the X-Runner’s transmission has room for improvement
in shifting speed and smoothness if it’s going to feel like a sports
car. Heel-toe operation was a little awkward but it’s not a good
idea to have truck pedals in close proximity. Power is eventually sent
to a limited-slip rear differential that holds 3.15:1 gears.
From a styling
standpoint, Toyota certainly made sure the X-Runner stood out from the
Tacoma line and any other sport truck in or out of this world. Body bolt-ons
include a front spoiler, hood scoop, fender flares, rocker-panel extensions
and a rear spoiler. To be honest, the blacked-out grilles don’t
do much for me. They look like some kind of space-invader costume. While
a pure monochromatic look may give the impression Toyota designers forgot
about masking tape in the paint booth, it does offer a cleaner appearance.
And someone has to do something about that wimpy hood scoop.
The interior meets most expectations, especially seat comfort and noise
isolation. The tilt/telescoping steering wheel is great for securing the
best seating position. I find the dash layout uninspired but effective.
My biggest complaint is the lack of availability of the JBL sound system
that can be found in the Tacoma Double Cab. The X-Runner is obviously
intended for the younger generation but the 270-watt stereo with the 8-inch
subwoofer isn’t offered. I guess Toyota thinks this buyer is more
likely to install a booming aftermarket sound system anyway, so why engineer
the Access Cab for the extra speaker.
The pickup bed features the same composite inner liner found on other
Tacomas. The X-Runner also has the 115-volt power outlet in the cargo
area that is optional on other models. Not that the X-Runner is built
for hauling. The GVWR of 4600 pounds is down from the standard 4850 on
a regular 2WD Access Cab and 5250 on the 2WD PreRunner Access Cab. Max
payload is listed at 910 pounds versus 1535 on the PreRunner. Towing capacity
is 3500 pounds, compared to 6500 pounds available with the PreRunner.
it’s been about 15 years since I drove a pickup in an SCCA-sanctioned
amateur solo event, I would love to return to action in an X-Runner. I’m
not sure what class it would race, but I did notice a provision in the
rules that allow the event coordinators to ban vehicles with a wheelbase
longer than 116 inches at their discretion. The X-Runner certainly has
the potential to upset unsuspecting sports cars. Guess they’re worried
about the embarrassment.