Car Review: Toyota’s 4Runner TRD PRO is a capable off-roader and old-school SUV

In a world of crossovers, the Toyota 4Runner marches to a different drummer.

It’s no tall sedan. This throwback machine is just how it used to be, and I’m a huge fan. If you choose the TRD PRO, you get a serious off-road machine with special shocks and suspension that get you way off the beaten path.

A part-time 4WD and easy-to-use crawl control system help out when the off-roading gets serious. I did a trail or two and the 4Runner didn’t even flinch. The TRD PRO isn’t as easy on the road as other Toyota 4Runner models. The special tires are a bit noisy on the highway. It also has a high center of gravity, so pushing it on curves isn’t smart.

On the outside, the 4Runner TRD PRO looks ready to tackle anything you can throw at it. It sports blacked-out wheels with large tires. The color palate for the TRD PRO model is limited to a few colors with a special color each year. For 2019, it’s Voodoo Blue, and in 2020 it’s  Army Green. Another distinctive item is the large cargo roof rack.

The 4Runner’s interior takes you back to another decade, especially if you choose a 2019 with the smaller touchscreen. The 2020 model has updated tech with a larger screen and both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can get three rows of seats in some 4Runner models, but the TRD PRO seats five. Still, it packs good space for front and back seat riders and respectable cargo space, too.

Cost: $46,815; as tested $48,280

MPG: 17mpg city, 20mpg highway; I managed 17.7mpg in 430 miles of mixed driving.

Safety: Toyota Safety Sense, Pre-Collision System/Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Warning, Automatic High Beams

Options: $345 Running Boards, $60 Hitch Ball Mount, $395 Paint Protection Film

Things to know: Want a tried-and-true SUV? The Toyota 4Runner is a true throwback. With updates for 2020, the 4Runner now has some technology to make it a safer pick. The TRD PRO model is ready to take you anywhere.

Pros:

  • Looks like a tough off-road ready SUV
  • Holds its value
  • Plenty of space for five

Cons:

  • Pricey in TRD PRO trim
  • Not very good fuel economy
  • Off-road oriented tires are noisy at highway speeds

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