2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro: Old School Cool for the modern adventurer

Posted by Shane Kalicharan about 2 years ago


In an age where even the most basic new car comes jam packed with features once thought exotic, there are a few vehicles that take a decidedly more analogue approach. Toyota’s 4Runner is one of them, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s antiquated.

As we learned when testing off road rubber in Vermont, customers don’t always use products for their intended purpose. BF Goodrich’s tires are amazing off road, but the company found many of its customers bought them for their aggressive looks. We think it’s fair to say many who buy a 4Runner won’t ever take advantage of its off road capabilities. So for the purpose of this review, we’ll instead focus on using it as an everyday driver.

The 4Runner has been kicking it on dirt trails and streets since the mid 80’s and is an embodiment of the phrase, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Compared to many modern crossovers and SUV’s, the 4Runner is almost basic and stripped down. You won’t get much as far as luxuries go. Our tester even had the almost alien feature of ignition via turning a key. The single touchscreen in the car is completely outflanked by big chunky button controls that are easy to use while driving so you don’t have to hunt through menus and sub menus trying to access a simple function. If you’re looking for the latest tech and a sleek interior, this is not the vehicle for you. But if you’re looking for something on the simple, practical and reliable side, this might fit the bill.


The 4Runner is a pretty uniquely styled vehicle. It’s not the sleek curvy aerodynamic shape modern vehicles tend to be. It’s far boxier, but certainly not in a bad way. The TRD Pro trim our tester comes in features blacked out trim, a striking Voodoo Blue paintjob, TRD wheels and badging and a couple of cool features like a power retracting rear window. Inside, it’s roomy, comfortable and holds enough cargo space for the most ambitious of grocery runs. And if you need even more room, the 2019 4Runner features a larger roof rack than the 2018 model.


Driving in the 4Runner is remarkably simple, despite its size. You get great visibility and as large as the vehicle is, it’s quite nimble for its size. But given the off road nature of this car, its focus on simplicity and its boxy shape, you will get a lot of road and wind noise while driving. The good news is it absorbs bumps and rough roads fantastically thanks to its FOX shocks (replacing last year’s Bilstein offerings), and you will look very good in the process. Especially in our TRD Pro’s Voodoo Blue. If you’re considering a 4Runner, act fast, because this colour is going to be replaced next year. The TRD Pro trim also comes with some unique visual flairs and features, like a TRD branded front skid plate (which looks awesome).


Powering the 4Runner TRD Pro is a 4.0L V6 that can trace its origins back to the early 2000’s where an earlier variant of it powered a number of Toyotas, including the fourth generation 4Runner. It’s a big engine for a big vehicle, so you can’t expect big fuel economy. The focus here is more on reliability – and given the amount of second hand 4Runners you can find in the classifieds with a high odometer reading, we think it’s fair to say the 4Runner will give drivers years and thousands of kilometres of use. This car is the embodiment of the ‘if it ain’t broke’ philosophy. As far as features go, it may be about as well equipped as a base Corolla, but its rugged reliability, capable off-roading engineering and striking looks really make the 4Runner a unique offering on the vehicle market, with its closest competitor being the Jeep Wrangler.


Given its no-frills nature, one might expect the 4Runner to come in on the cheaper end of the price scale. But our TRD Pro tester came in at just over $56,500. Even the base 4Runner is a tough financial pill to swallow, with a price tag of just over $46,000. Yet despite that, sales have been on the up year after year. We’d credit that as a testament to the vehicle’s reliability and resale value. It is a lot of money, and you’ll have a high gas bill, but the 4Runner Pro has a lot to give back – even if you just use it as a daily driver. But please, for the sake of Toyota’s engineers, take it on a dirt road every now and then!

Tags:
Toyota, Toyota 4Runner, 4Runner TRD Pro, TRD, Toyota TRD, Toyota Off Road, Off Road Vehicles, Off Roading, SUV

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