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

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. Find a Toyota 4Runner for sale

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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Doug Demuro
Doug Demuro
Doug DeMuro writes articles and makes videos, mainly about cars. Doug was born in Denver, Colorado, and received an economics degree from Emory University in Atlanta. After graduation, Doug spent three years working for Porsche Cars North America. Eventually, he quit his job to become a writer, largely because it meant that he no longer had to wear pants. Doug’s work has been featured in a... Read More about Doug Demuro

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  1. I pitch an idea to Toyota to have a window that goes up and down in the 3rd roll seat for the 4runner, Land Cruisers and the Sequoia and that includes their luxury vehicles too.  They said “no” cause it’s my idea and they don’t wanna get sued. 

  2. I’ve had a 4Runner since 2003 and the roll down tailgate widow is its best feature. I use it every time I go to the store which means 2-3 times a week. It also means that I can get items out of the back without having them spill out onto the ground, as opposed to my husband’s Jeep Wrangler, which can’t even open the back window without opening the tailgate. Anytime the contents in the back shift, there’s a chance they’ll fall out onto the ground (and often break).

  3. Toyota Manual state the window should only be down when parked. When I off-road the exhaust fume enters the truck. And dirt/dust find it’s way inside too.

    But I love that it goes up and down with the key in the hatch.

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