2019 Toyota 4Runner
There are two types of SUV customers. One, who sees it as the perfect family vehicle. The other is one who sees one as a machine used for escaping the humdrum of reality.
Toyota still makes a vehicle for the latter type of customer. The 4Runner has been one of the steadiest sellers in its lineup, making it the sixth most popular nameplate at your local Toyota dealer.
Our turn in a 2019 4Runner TRD Off Road Premium model was more of an invitation to escape reality for a moment. How so? Here is the rundown on this popular off-road ready machine.
The 4Runner comes from a family of body-on-frame vehicles made for global markets by Toyota. The current generation 4Runner has been with us since the 2010 model year, which is considered a very long run in the automotive business. However, several consumer surveys point to the 4Runner as being one of the most reliable, dependable, and long-lasting vehicles in the marketplace.
The overall look of the 4Runner is purposeful. The windshield is upright, the roof is tall, and the front end of our tester has a large angle of approach made for scaling rocks. The 4Runner is supposed to be utilitarian, but it does offer a bit style for those looking to stand out from the ordinary family haulers in the parking lot.
The word “purposeful” comes up again when describing the interior of the 4Runner. There is a huge instrument cluster with large dials for the speedometer and tachometer, readable fuel and temperature gauges, a simple trip/vehicle LCD screen in-between them and plenty of warning and informational lights to keep you alert.
Toyota’s rebranded Entune infotainment system commands the center stack with large buttons surrounding a decently sized screen. Below are some very good climate control switches that are a cut above what was offered in previous 4Runner models. Everything you touch on the 4Runner has an upgraded feel.
SofTex upholstery adorns the seats, with red stitching accents. The front seats are big, comfortable and offer some support and bolstering. The room is expansive with only two rows of seats for five adults to go anywhere in. The cargo hold is huge. There is enough room for an extended weekend at the cabin.
Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 with 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. You can feel that torque bursting through any surface you point it on. A five-speed automatic transmission delivers this power down to all four wheels using Toyota’s part-time system. There is a real transfer case shifter on the console, enabling you to switch either 4WD-Hi or 4WD-Lo. On the roofliner console adds the Crawl Control and other off-road guidance functions.
In terms of fuel economy, we saw an average of 17.8 MPG.
The 4Runner exhibited great balance with soft shocks to smooth out potholes and other road imperfections. The soft suspension also produced plenty of control through the corners. The steering system is impressive with great on-center feel, a quick turning radius and good response from the large truck-sized wheel.
Overall brake action is good, but extra care is needed in panic stops. We saw the need to work the brakes earlier to ensure the 4Runner stops when it needed to. The 4Runner is equipped with anti-lock brakes for all four discs.
You can tow with a 4Runner up to 5,000 pounds. However, because of the soft suspension, it is suggested to take care of what you tow and keep it well below the maximum limits.
Pricing for the 2019 4Runner starts at $35,110 for an SR5 model. Our TRD Off Road Premium tester came with a sticker price of $43,083. There are seven 4Runners to choose from, topping off with the desirable TRD Pro model. For the ultimate off-road adventure, choose a TRD Pro. If not, this TRD Off Road will do the job with ease.
There are only a few off-road capable, body-on-frame SUVs left in the marketplace. The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is the 4Runner’s main competitor. You can stretch the budget and include the Mercedes-Benz G-Class, which costs more than triple that sticker price of a 4Runner. There are other capable SUVs that ride on a unibody platform that could be considered alongside the 4Runner, such as the Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk, Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk, Kia Telluride, and the Nissan Pathfinder SV Rock Creek Edition.
That is what makes the Toyota 4Runner stand out is its true off-road capability. This, as well as the way it presents itself as a fully contained, five-passenger, SUV that can do the daily commute and head off for a weekend adventure.
Story Credits: CarSoup Editors