SEATTLE.If ever there was an iconic, everyman, off-road vehicle for the masses, it’s the 4Runner. Its pedigree as an adept off-roader that still behaves well on road has made it a favorite of drivers all over the world. Thus, keeping in mind the adage “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it.” The 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro hasn’t changed much since 2014. While it’s still a great off-road SUV, there are some carry-over things we’d love to see get an update.
The issue with Toyota’s 2018 model, however, is that it’s coming across as rather dated. That’s particularly true when comparing some of its features and its design to the competition. The 2018 4Runner employs the same design it’s used since it’s 2014 overhaul.
Since then it seems that Toyota has paid very little attention to it.
Granted, there are few if any vehicles currently available in the 4Runner’s price range, which starts in mid-$30,000 territory — that is as capable off-road. But it’s other options and design issues where the current 4Runner comes up a bit flat.
How the Toyota 4Runner TRD Shines
Where the 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro shines — and will always shine — is in its off-road prowess. It’s almost sickening to know that there are many 4Runner owners that buy one, only to have it relegated to the status of a pavement princess. Good Lord; if you’re going to do that with your new 4Runner, just get a crossover and call it great.
The multiple off-road options for various terrains in the 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, including a locking rear differential with crawl mode and 4-wheel low – help it easily traverse the most challenging of off-road scenarios. To aid in this, the TRD Pro is outfitted with 17-inch wheels with P265/70 tires that have a mud and snow tread-pattern.
Inside the Toyota 4Runner TRD
It’s somewhat datedness is quite apparent once inside. You’ll find a small info screen behind the steering wheel – tucked between the gauges. It’s presentation actually reminds one of something we’d find in cars from the late 90s or early 2000s. Top this off with a small infotainment screen and you’d hardly guess it’s from 2018.
Leg room is very ample in all of its seats with a feeling of not being cramped at all. Even though things are rather pedestrian inside, somehow, the simpleness of it works. It reminds me, in a way, of being in a modern interpretation of the off-road vehicles of yesteryear. The thick rubber floor mats are a reminder as well that it’s perfectly okay to go out and get some mud on this rig.
Under the hood
The 4.0 liter V6 provides adequate power delivery and the transmission does a good job of making its way through the gears. While there’s no neck-snapping acceleration here, the TRD Pro doesn’t at all feel gutless, either. In fact, the power is about what we’d expect in an SUV of this size and class. Overall, the engine is rated at 270 horsepower with 278lb-ft of torque.
It handles like an off-road-worthy SUV. Meaning, that it’s not a cornering beast, it does have body roll around hard corners while on the road. However, its suspension is very much maximized when you take the roads less traveled.
We absolutely love the 4Runner off-road. It’s in its natural habitat. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t behave around town, but you’ll see, once you get on some trails, that this is a more than capable SUV. In fact, it’s so good at maneuvering through rough terrain that you’ll find few peers in its price range that are as adept. It has good wheel travel and axle undulation to allow for an easier time of passing over mounds and through deep ruts on the trail.
The 4Runner has always been about and currently is a no-frills, highly-capable off-road SUV that happens to play nicely on the road. It lacks a lot of refinements we are spoiled by but where it lacks in those areas, it makes up for in others. Having said that, however, it is clearly best-suited for the more adventurous customer who loves the great outdoors.
It’s out in the elements where the TRD Pro really shines.