by: Jag Dhatt
The Toyota 4Runner has carried the status of a legendary SUV that has proven to be bullet-proof for over thirty years. Being a Toyota, you know it is reliable and capable. At the same time, it has all of the amenities that you’re looking for in a family SUV.
In 2016, Toyota pulled the tarp on their new TRD Pro packages, which were initially offered on just the Tacoma and Tundra. The TRD Pro was Toyota’s effort to keep up with the competition, like the Ford Raptor, to conquer rough terrain that the regular versions couldn’t handle, unless modified.
Now, the Tacoma and Tundra TRD Pro packages are great, but what if you wanted that package in an SUV? Well, that’s where the 4Runner comes in, and I spent a week in the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro, painted in the new Voodoo Blue colour option, and boy, does it pop. If you’re looking for an SUV that carries some serious off-road capability, then this one should definitely be on your radar.
Why Buy the 4Runner TRD Pro:
Off-Road Ability: The 4Runner is an SUV that is already capable. But the TRD Pro adds TRD FOX shocks, TRD-tuned front coil and rear leaf springs, lever-type 4WD selector, and a locking rear differential. In addition, with multi-terrain select, the SUV can automatically handle a variety of terrains with pre-programmed selections. These allow the 4Runner to go more places with confidence and ease. And since it’s a 4Runner, the whole family can go.
Shape: Yes, the 4Runner still retains the boxy shape that we’ve seen for many years. If the styling is outdated, the shape works for providing optimal interior space for passengers and cargo.
Comfortable Drive: You may not think that with the upgraded suspension, shocks, and tires, the ride would be comfortable, but surprisingly it is. On the highway, the 4Runner TRD Pro is comfortable and handles better than expected. In the city, it takes a little bit of time to learn how to drive it smooth, but once you have, it’s nice. In addition, if you’ve driven a 4Runner before, you know what to expect.
Roll-down Rear Window: A classic Toyota piece. The trend for trucks is a small sliding rear window. For SUV’s, nada. However, the 4Runner keeps the roll-down rear window, which is great for either carrying long items or for allowing great airflow, with all windows open. Way to go Toyota!!!
Functional Interior: Once again, this SUV has an interior that is functional. There are large knobs for most controls and yes, you can even be wearing gloves when operating them. The seats are not leather but leatherette – this is a plus because if you’re going off -roading, chances are you’re going to get the interior dirty. With the leatherette, just wipe it down and you’re good to go.
Off-Road Performance Tires: If you’re using this SUV for off-road, then the 17” Nitto Terra Grappler tires are fantastic. And they are matched to 17” matte black TRD alloy wheels, which look spectacular if I may say.
Why Pass on the 4Runner TRD Pro:
Outdated Styling, In and Out: The 4Runner was last updated in 2010, which is almost a decade ago, so yes, it’s outdated. Yes, it still retains the legendary 4Runner look, but it is time for an update. The same can be said for the interior – I’ve mentioned it’s functional, but it still lags far behind the competition. For example, the dash and panels are hard plastic, and not fitting for this Toyota product. Finally, even the headlights are outdated, being halogen projector vs LED or Xenon.
Lack of Technology: To say there’s a lack of it is an understatement. There’s none of the following: intelligent key or push start, power rear liftgate, lane-keeping assist, or active cruise control, just to name a few. In today’s world, these are considered the norm. If you want some of these features, then you have to look towards the Limited trim.
The Transmission: The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro still has the same engine, which we don’t mind. But a 5-speed transmission is ridiculous. Even the Tacoma has a 6-speed, which would have been okay. But if you’re comparing this with, let’s say a Ford that has a 10-speed, then this TRD Pro is far behind.
Toyota has a philosophy that has worked – if it isn’t broken, don’t tinker with it. That’s why their products last a lifetime and Toyota has one of the highest satisfaction ratings in the automotive sector.
The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is a great product that suites a specific purpose for buyers who need a super capable off-road SUV. You honestly can’t go wrong with it.