Next Generation Toyota 4Runnner, AWD Honda Civic SI and Date Night? [Ask Nathan]

  • Are there any updates regarding the next generation Toyota 4Runner?
  • AWD Honda Civic SI?
  • TFLtruck’s (not-so) Great Race!

The first question comes from Twitter (@Nathanadlen) regarding the next generation Toyota 4Runner.

(Via Twitter@NathanAdlen) Nathan, please tell me, is Toyota doing anything with the 4Runner? It’s a solid vehicle, but its SO OLD! It needs a new power system for sure!

– Anonymous

2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited
2018 Toyota 4Runner Limited. [Photo: Toyota]

TMNA (Toyota Motor North America, Inc.) is incredibly tight-lipped about the next generation Toyota 4Runner. There are a few thing we do know. If it is based on the upcoming Toyota Fortuner (pictured below), it would have an overseas Toyota Hilux platform which is unique to foreign markets, not ours. That makes the Fortuner unlikely.

The old 4.0-liter and archaic 5-speed automatic transmission are reliable, but not frugal. Several options are on the table, including the possibility of smaller displacement engines, more gears, hybrid systems and – doubtful for our market – diesels. The next generation Toyota 4Runner should remain a truck at heart as Toyota sales numbers for the vehicle remain strong. People want a tough truck, not a renamed crossover.

There is word that Toyota is actively testing the replacement and; hopefully, we’ll start seeing test vehicles soon!


The next question comes from a Honda fan who wants to know if the AWD Honda Civic is for real.

Nathan, Nathan, Nathan! Did you see that AWD Honda Civic Si!!!!?? Is it for real!? When will Honda build it ion its not a bunch of BS!? Please tell me something! Nothing but love!


A: Hi Busha!

Yep, the device you saw is for real. It’s not a Honda invention, it’s an electric in-wheel/hub motor that can apply electric power on demand. It’s just as heavy as a wheel and, on the right car (like a Honda Civic Si) it can make you faster. It’s also built to work in your favor during inclement weather, giving you the added security of all-wheel drive (AWD).

The company in question is Orbis based in Southern California and they specialize in in-wheel/hub electric motors. While they do come up with the technology, they sell through other companies.

The bottom line is, yes – you can hook up just about any car to work with this system, but it’s not a factory component built by Honda.

Cool – right?


The last question comes from a fan who has written in before; however, this time it’s about cars, wheelchairs and dating.

Hi Nathan! Thanks for helping me out in April. I have a challenging request!

I finally got the girl I like to say YES to a date. The problem is that she is stuck in a wheelchair and my car is a two passenger deal. Her father said I could use their van, which is okay but not what I wanted to set the mood. I also have about three hours from start to finish! I want to make a good first impression but it’s beginning to look like we’ll have time for dinner and that’s it!

I wanter her to ride in my Miata. She wants to ride in it too! Do you have any suggestions?


A:  Hi Phil!

I have two ideas:

1. Ask her father if it’s okay to transport her to your dating location in the Miata. Have a friend drive the van to the location before you get there. Use the wheelchair at dinner and, after the conclusion of the date, have that same friend load up the wheelchair and meet you at her place. It would help if you have a friend willing to do this and if her father is cool with it.

2. (This one takes a lot more work) – Mount a camera or your cellphone on the Miata’s passengers seat, at eye level, approximating the passenger’s point of view. Do the same drive at the same time as you intend to do it in the van and record it.

On date night, use a large bedsheet as a movie screen and project the drive on to the sheet in front of the van. Pretend to drive the van. Order food for delivery (I recommend sushi, it won’t grow cold) and have it delivered to the van at about the same time the “drive” ends.

If possible, bring a tablecloth and utensils that can either be used in the van or on the truck of your car for an impromptu dinner al fresco.


Thanks for the email and good luck!


Here’s a look ahead at, what will become, a very important truck!

Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: