The Droptop 4Runner: Give the People What They Want!
Of all the trucks in the world to modify, few would place the Toyota 4Runner at the top of the list. Sure, it gets great mileage and can run forever, but the 4Runner lacks any stunning design elements worth enhancing or panache to preserve. But in Southern California, it’s become a hot truck to chop up and it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why.
Here’s the recipe: Take one part first generation 4Runner (1984-1989), remove 16 bolts, detach the fiberglass shell & presto—you’ve got yourself one super cool, bargain-priced, open-air SUV. For plenty of reasons, the Droptop 4Runner just works. It looks cool, lasts forever, and most importantly, is accessible – meaning you can still find one on Craigslist and you won’t have to take out a second mortgage to buy it.
So as smart enthusiasts craft their own dream trucks, why doesn’t Toyota get the hint and roll out a new ragtop version of the 4Runner? A few manufacturers are already offering a new take on the convertible SUV… One could buy a ragtop Nissan Murano and suffer the wrath of friends banishing them from their driveway, or there’s the recently released Land Rover Evoque convertible which is simply a more expensive exercise in humiliation. Of course, there is always a Jeep. But with Wrangler sales doubling in the past decade, Jeep owners may find themselves struggling to stay unique.
Sure, there are also the other classic open-air off-roaders – the Bronco, Blazer or Scout. But, their popularity has caused prices to shoot through the roof and supply to dry up. And chopping the top off of any old truck without looking like a redneck is not always an easy task. Unless, of course, that’s your thing…
So, releasing a new 4Runner Convertible would be great and not just because it could look cool as hell. The 4Runner has come a long way and it’s got plenty more to go. This mid-sized SUV has gone from being the Land Cruiser’s ugly, weak little brother to a legitimately tough, rugged and enduring performer.
According to iSeeCars.com, the 4Runner is the country’s third most long lasting vehicle, with 5.2 percent of 4Runners clocking over 200,000 miles. 2015 marked a six year sales high, with close to 100,000 units sold in the U.S. The evolution of the 4Runner’s design has been dramatic, with the body transitioning from a pickup with an open back and fiberglass shell to an integrated steel body that is sleek, strong and cool. Adding a ragtop edition would be the natural progression in the vehicle’s growth.
So pay attention, Toyota Design Team! These creative kids may really be on to something. If done right, a Droptop 4Runner would be a thing of beauty. It could be a real Jeep contender, a brand differentiator and would show that this mega brand still understands what’s cool. Done badly, it would be a damn shame. Here’s a hint: keep the Prius Prime people off the project…