The Toyota 4Runner has been with us a long time. The first generation came out in 1983, and the current generation has been with us since 2010. Toyota has been making small changes since 2010 and recently added a new TRD Sport model to the lineup. Since we love the 4Runner and have really enjoyed the previous versions, so we wanted to see what Toyota has in store this time.

Before you get too excited, the TRD Sport is not a ground breaking new model. We really want Toyota to give us an all-new 4Runner soon since it has been 11 years since the current model came out. The new TRD Sport package name can be a bit confusing since there are also packages called TRD Off Road and TRD Pro. Those packages are designed for serious off roading whereas the TRD Sport package adds some cosmetic pieces and a few small upgrades.

With an emphasis on everyday comfort and enhanced road dynamics, 4Runner TRD Sport adds the Cross-Linked Relative Absorber System (X-REAS) suspension to enhance on-road handling. The X-REAS system, also found on the Limited grade, automatically adjusts the damping force of shock absorbers when driving over bumpy surfaces or when cornering. A center control absorber cross-links the shock absorbers on opposite corners of the vehicle, like an “X,” to help reduce pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs.

TRD Sport is available in 2WD or part-time 4WD with a two-speed transfer case. Regardless of choice, 2WD 4Runners provide 9.0 inches of ground clearance while 4WD models offer an even more generous 9.6 inches of ground clearance. You also get 20-inch wheels with the TRD Sport package.

There are eight different trim levels of 4Runners available with the SR5 being the least expensive, starting at $37,305. The 4Runner range is topped by the TRD Pro model which will cost you $52,120. That is a huge range between the various models and you will be glad to know that the TRD Sport is basically an SR5 model with some upgrades, so the price is a very reasonable $40,150.

TRD Sport, like all 4Runner grades, includes a standard integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness and can tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds, with a maximum 500-pound tongue weight. Because of its heavy duty construction, the 4Runner tows trailers with ease and can be a great partner to haul your racecar to the track or boat to your favorite lake.

Regardless of which 4Runner you choose, all 4Runners feature body-on-frame construction with a four-link rear axle and coil-spring suspension. All 4Runners are powered by the same 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine, which is mated to a five-speed automatic. The drivetrain is where the age of the 4Runner shows through. The drivetrain has been around a long time and is not as powerful or as fuel efficient as the competition.

The 4Runner feels a bit weak when accelerating and the transmission is slow to respond to your inputs. The 4Runner is rated at 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg on the freeway, which is eclipsed by many of today’s much larger but similar SUVs. On the positive side, the drivetrain has proven to be very reliable and cheap to fix. While many of today’s trucks use turbocharged engines and transmissions using up to 10 speeds, they have not been proven to be as reliable as the simple 4.0-liter V6 in the 4Runner.

So if you want a simple, durable and capable go anywhere SUV that can also be comfortable for everyday use and can haul your trailer, the 4Runner is an easy choice. Your only decision is which 4Runner is right for you and the new TRD Sport is a great bargain with the starting price of around $40,000.


Engine: 4.0-liter DOHC V6
Horsepower: 270 @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 278 pound-feet @ 4,400 rpm
Front Suspension: Double wishbone with coil springs
Rear Suspension: Four links with coil springs
Transmission: Five-speed automatic
Axle Ratio: 3.72:1
Curb Weight: 4 X 2: 4,400 lbs.      4 X 4: 4.675 lbs.
Base MSRP: $37,305


Image courtesy of Toyota

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