2017 Toyota 4Runner 4X4

Who Needs a Road?

This month’s article is the fourth answer to the question, “What type of vehicle works best for camping?” So far, we have reviewed a Crossover, a Minivan, and an AWD Wagon. This month we hit the trail with a 4×4 SUV.

For those readers who have missed my previous three articles, my goal is to look at four different types of vehicles and how they stack up to a camping adventure. All articles highlight the pros and cons of each vehicle category along with my personal camping experiences. 

Our fourth vehicle category is the 4×4 SUV and our test vehicle is the 2017 Toyota 4Runner. I would like to start by sending out a thank you to Christine Henley of Toyota for helping me to secure my test vehicle at the last moment.

This camping adventure took my son and another father-son team deep into the back hills of Livermore, California for a Boy Scout excursion. As we hit the last couple of miles, I was elated to be behind the wheel of a 4×4-drive vehicle with the confidence and capability of the 2017 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD Off-Road Premium.

Our scout camp was built in the 1940s and it doesn’t appear that the road was ever resurfaced or even well-maintained. You could almost hide a VW Beetle in some of the pot holes! Lucky for us, the 4Runner managed them with ease.

A group of four people out camping can require a lot of space to transport their equipment. The 4Runner (with slide deck) had more than enough room with 46.3 cubic feet of rear cargo space. If you are wondering what the “Slide Deck” is, well to help people load and remove items from the rear cargo area, Toyota created a “deck” that slides out above the floor, allowing for easy access and removal of your stuff. It was great when we had to load and unload our packed cooler from the back.

The 4Runner is one of the few truck-based, body-on-frame SUVs left on the market. Most have moved over to car-based frames called CUV or Crossovers. This structure allows the 4Runner to master some serious off-roading, as well as shuttling the family around town. It combines the characteristics of being refined, accommodating, and confident. One difference between an SUV and a CUV is the ride. SUVs ride like a truck, but also handle dirt-filled roads better.

Most recently redesigned for the 2014 model year, the 2017 Toyota 4Runner is stylish with a self-assured attitude. From north to south, the body is well-balanced. The front feels aggressive with its powerful grille and headlights resembling eyes that seem self-assured. The ground clearance on the 4×4 sits at 9.6-inches and you feel the height as your cruise down the road.

Inside of the 2017 4Runner, the center dash is boxed-framed with large knobs to control the radio and air systems. You’ll find off-road switches and knobs in an aircraft fashion near the dome lights.

I found the 4Runner, at least our trim level, to have a number of high-tech features, however, it left me without a push-start button. Door-mounted open buttons were nowhere to be seen, forcing me to grab for the keys each time I opened a door. The interior was comfortable, and the components were well-placed. A 110-volt plug was located in the rear compartment.

For 2017, the Toyota 4Runner comes in the following configurations: Limited (2WD and 4WD), SR5 (2WD and 4WD), SR5 Premium (2WD and 4WD), TRD Off-Road 4×4, TRD Off-Road Premium 4×4, and TRD Off-Road Pro 4×4.

All 4Runners are powered by the same power-plant, a 4.0-liter V-6 motor that generates 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque that is matted to a 5-speed automatic transmission. This combination works wells and easily transports you to your daily activities or up the next hill ridge. The 4Runner sits on top of the Tacoma chassis, but with a better suspension setup delivering an enhanced ride.

Cool Features:

  • Slide Deck
  • Bilstein custom off-road shocks (TRD PRO Series
  • Rear Liftgate Power Window

The safety features are complete with Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST)®, driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, driver and front passenger TAP, front seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags, and front and all row (third-row airbags on all models) roll-sensing side curtain airbags (RSCA), driver and front passenger active headrests, anti-theft alarm system with an engine immobilizer, Front and Rear Parking Assist Sonar (Limited only), Hill Start Assist Control, Downhill Assist Control (SR5 and Limited 4×4 only), and Tire Pressure Monitor System (TPMS).

In Summary –The 2017 Toyota 4Runner is a wonderful vehicle if you’re looking for the sturdiness of a truck-based platform with, as my little scout would say, “Pro-skills” when driving off-payment. The 4Runner is blended with high-tech and off-road features that will take care of your needs. It may not ride like a car, but the buyers of the 4Runner aren’t expecting or wanting it to. They desire the independence and adept ability to master the beaten path.

This is the end of my 2017 Camping Vehicle Series. I hope you have enjoyed it.


2017 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD Off-Road Premium
Base price:                  $39,295as driven: $42,455(including destination & optional

Engine:                       4.0-liter 6-Cylinder

Horsepower:             270 hp

Torque:                       278 lb.-ft.

Transmission:            5-speed automatic

Drive:                          4-Wheel Drive

Seating:                       5-passenger (7-passenger with the optional third row seats)
Ground Clearance:    9.0-inches

Cargo space:               46.3 cubic feet

Curb weight:              4,675pounds 

EPA mileage:              City 17/Hwy 21/Comb 18 MPG

Wheel Base:                 109.8inches

Warranty:                    3 years/36,000-miles

Also consider:             Ford Explorer, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder


Gift Ideas For The Holidays

What We Love

It’s the time of year when our store comes alive with excitement with gifts galore in every corner. To keep up with all the excitement we have put together some of our favorite beauty gift ideas to help you find that perfect gift for your loved ones. We aspire for our store to be precisely where your gift list and happiness intersect. Nothing makes us happier than helping to make holiday dreams and wishes come true.

What We Love: Comfort Technology Lip Gloss with Peptides, Fleur Visage

Why You’ll Love It:

This extraordinary Lip Gloss has powerful peptides to keep your lips twice as nice while hydrated and smooth, giving you a perfect pout and extra twinkle this holiday season. 

What We Love: Cream Eye Shadows, Fleur Visage

Why You’ll Love It:

Glow like a super model this holiday season with these incredible Cream Eye Shadow colors.  Super Shimmery to brighten up your eyes and make them look decadent and irresistible for the holidays!

What We Love: Shimmery Bronzing Dust, Fleur Visage

Why You’ll Love it:

Girls will love to find our gorgeous Bronzing Shimmer Dust in their Christmas stockings this year. It’s all the craze this season. Shimmer your hair, shimmer your skin and shoulders for that amazing glow and for that special night out! All the requirements for a beautiful holiday season!

What We Love: Premier Firming Eye Cream, Ongrien Advanced Skin Care

Why You’ll Love It:

With the hustle and bustle of the holidays and everyday life, getting a full night’s sleep, which is vital for healthy skin, can seem like a luxury. Apply this triple action eye cream around the eyes massaging nightly to decrease puffiness, minimize fine lines and to restore hydration for youthful looking eyes and you’ll look caught up on your Zs-even if you’re not.

What We Love: Ultimate Cellular Repair, Ongrien Advanced Skin Care

Why You’ll Love It:

Quenching a Thirsty complexion takes a good dose of this nourishing treatment. Skin will soak up the healthy Nuero-Peptide based nutrients, which refines the skin and gives the complexion a toned appearance. This cream repairs sun damage and visibly reduces wrinkles.  We love this fine anti-aging treatment, and you will too when you notice your skin is smoother and more beautiful than ever.

At The Rouge they only carry the finest cosmetic products with the highest grade of ingredients on the market. Don’t know what to get for Christmas?  We have holiday gift certificates and wish lists available.




The Future of The BCR

On November 9, 2017, the voting members of the Berkeley College Republicans decided to install me, Bradley Devlin, as President of the Berkeley College Republicans. I am enthusiastic my administration will bring about the change the conservative community at UC Berkeley has been craving for years: a re-commitment to activism that gets more Republicans elected, registers more Republican voters, and offers more professional opportunities to BCR members. 

Rest assured, we remain unequivocally committed to our fight for free speech on college campuses to the dismay of a university administration committed to stonewalling our efforts. The Berkeley College Republicans plan on exercising our First Amendment rights to procure these rights for our progeny. American universities used to be beacons of light in a dark world. These institutions recognized that to achieve higher education and foster progress within society, the sensitive subject matter had to be taught, the hard conversations had to be had, and the difficult discussions navigated through like a ship through a reef. Now, the pervasive forces of intersectionality and micro-aggression culture have refocused college campuses on indoctrination, and in the process, stripped these institutions of their integrity.

Don’t believe these philosophical forces are as ubiquitous as I claim?  The Brookings Institute conducted a First Amendment-related study with college-aged students. They found that 19% of students believed violence is acceptable to quash a speaker who says “offensive and hurtful things.” Forty-four percent of students believe that un-definable, utterly subjective “hate speech” is not protected by the First Amendment, and 51% of students think it is appropriate to shut down offensive speakers. To those who want to see the survival of our republic, these trends should be deeply troubling and must be reversed before my generation—a generation riddled with anxiety and depression—take the reins of power.

We of the Berkeley College Republicans pride ourselves on our firm beliefs in rational inquiry, and that diversity in viewpoint is necessary to achieve higher education and truth. We will continue to turn the tides in political discourse and be the voices of reason throughout the Bay Area. 

However, the Left has been incredibly effective in casting labels onto the Republican Party, and the CAGOP is witnessing a dwindling percentage of Republican voter registration. Polls show the three main negative perceptions California voters have of Republicans is that we hate the planet, we hate people, and we hate the poor. I believe I can say with confidence no BCRs prescribe to this brand of conservatism. 

I won on a platform of responsible activism. Since the election of Donald J Trump, by our blood, sweat, and tears due to the Left’s own insanity, we have pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps and built ourselves a national platform. However, like a boxer in the 12th round, we have to be measured and calculated when and where we punch back. Our opponent, the Left, has exposed itself, and now is the time to deliver a strike with punishing force. Note that this is strictly an analogy, and try as ANTIFA might to conflate this with a “call for political violence,” it is anything but. 

This principled activism is why Berkeley College Republicans are working tirelessly to connect with local GOP organizations throughout the state, inviting conservative speakers with niche jobs in the political sphere, and organizing more activism opportunities. These actions serve the purpose of educating and equipping conservatives in the hyper-liberal Bay Area as we approach a crucial election year for the GOP.

The members of the Berkeley College Republicans are excited about these changes, remain enthusiastic for the upcoming election cycle, and look forward to the future when leaders developed within BCR define the beliefs of the GOP.

I am beyond honored to represent them.



You made a Life-Changing Difference This Year

How can you thank someone for protecting your freedom?

You – our community – know how. Your generous support of Sentinels of Freedom has said “thank you” to all the brave men and women who have served our nation. I know I have said it before, but I will say it again: we really do have a wonderful community here.

In 2017, the events you held, the mentoring and volunteer work you did, and the donations you gave made it possible for 40 of our program’s severely wounded veterans to graduate college. That is no small feat.

Because of you, Sentinel Kyle Garcia, who was injured by a pressure plate improvised explosive device and suffered a left leg amputation, graduated with a bachelor’s degree in accounting and is now attending law school; Sentinel Erin McLoughlin, whose nervous system was damaged in a training accident, completed the HERO Child-Rescue Corps program and is now gainfully employed as a computer forensic analyst for the US Department of Homeland Security Investigations; and Sentinel Tom Block, who lost his right eye due to a suicide bomber, now works for US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement and actively seeks to motivate other wounded veterans to push past their injuries.

It is because of your help that Kyle, Erin, Tom, and our other graduates were able to complete their higher education, find meaningful careers, and continue to contribute to their communities. It is because of your help that they are now able to follow their passions and support their families. It is YOUR support that made it all possible. “You provided me with so much more than the opportunity to go to school,” says Erin, “you provided me with the confidence to get my life back in order knowing I had you rooting for me every step of the way.”

And it does not stop there: your support also enabled us to accept 74 more Sentinels to our program this year, and we cannot wait to see them achieve their dreams because of your help.

I am so grateful for each and every one of you and cannot wait to see what we can accomplish together next year. Thank you for your support.

You have the power to enable more life-changing opportunities for wounded veterans. To find out how, visit www.sentinelsoffreedom.org.





Christmas Trivia

Earlier and earlier each year, we hear Christmas music on our radios. How many of us still listen to the radio? We know all of them, so let’s have a little fun with them.


  1. In what movie was Irving Berlin’s song White Christmas introduced?


  1. Silver Bells is another Christmas song introduced in a movie. What movie was it?


  1. Who composed the lyrics to The Christmas Song?


  1. Baby it’s Cold Outside is hardly a Christmas song, but it is still played during the Yuletide season. What movie was it from?


  1. He was a one hit wonder when he recorded I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus in the early 50s. Who was he?


  1. Montgomery Ward( remember them?) had a promotion at Christmas in the early 40s that featured a novelty song sung by a Western movie star. What was the tune and who sang it?