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I Wish More Cars Had the Toyota 4Runner's Cool Rear Window

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author photo by Doug DeMuro August 2017

Here's a little fact for you: The Toyota 4Runner, a car purchased by people who believe they'll go off-road, even though they're actually middle managers at a company that uses a plus sign in its name, has a rear window that rolls down. By this, I don't mean the rear windows roll down. I mean the window inside the tailgate rolls down, automatically, with the push of a button up front. The 4Runner has always had this feature. It's amazing.

I was driving the other day, and I saw a guy in a 4Runner with his window down, chillin', doin' his window-down thing, and it hit me: Why doesn't the window in the back of my car go down? Why doesn't the window in the back of all cars go down? I now want this feature on every single car in existence, including sedans.

Here's how it works in the 4Runner: You climb inside, you put down your little driver or passenger window, and you're happy. But you have a dog in the cargo area. Or maybe you want a little more air flowing through the cabin. You drop the window in the far back and suddenly the whole thing feels like a convertible. OK, sort of. OK, not at all. But it does feel more open and freeing, which is a very nice feeling when you're leaving Reynold+Dynamic+Venture+Quest+LLC after a day spent arguing with Megan in the cubicle next to yours.

A few other cars do have this feature. The old Jeep Grand Wagoneer has a roll-down back window. The Toyota Tundra and Sequoia have it, too. And I was recently in traffic next to a Ford Explorer Sport Trac, which also lets you drop the back window for more airflow. I'm sure there are a few more, but that's generally all I can think of. Why is this?

One reason, of course, is that it adds complexity and cost to the whole experience. Complexity is obvious: A former fixed part now rolls down, and you can no longer stick a windshield wiper on it. So now the wiper has to stay on the tailgate, and the window must have rather large motors to roll down, since it's presumably quite heavy. All for a feature most people will never use.

But I will use it. I will use it every single day. If I had a roll-down back window, I'd be in my car right now, skipping work, cruising around with my window down, thumbing my nose at fixed-window losers. If you build it, I will come. Come on, automakers. Get rid of this "fixed window" crap and give us the good stuff!

While I'm dreaming, I would also like a million dollars.

Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.

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This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
I Wish More Cars Had the Toyota 4Runner's Cool Rear Window - Autotrader