2019 Toyota 4Runner Review

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2019 Toyota 4Runner Overview

The Toyota 4Runner is a staple on trails, mountains and dunes all over and is a tried-and-true alternative to the Jeep Wrangler, while also offering more convenience and better build quality. For 2019, most of the 4Runner range remains unchanged, but Toyota has jazzed things up with an updated version of the TRD Pro model. Updates include changes to the suspension and off-road-oriented exterior bits. The TRD Pro is part of a lineup that includes SR5, TRD Off Road, and Limited trims. The 4Runner is similar to the Tacoma pickup, but the 4Runner is different enough in its equipment and options that it isn’t a fully enclosed Tacoma. While not a great family car, it’s a serviceable all-weather daily driver that’s great for someone who likes to venture off the beaten path every once in a while.

Regardless of trim, the 2019 4Runner gets the familiar 4.0-liter V-6, which makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. It gets a 5-speed automatic – and although most people considering a 4Runner will want to opt for four-wheel drive, the 4Runner can be had in rear-wheel drive as well in Limited or SR5 trims. The four-wheel drive 4Runner is rated at 17 mpg city, 20 highway, and 18 combined, while rear-drive gains just 1 mpg on the highway.

Since the 4Runner features old fashioned body-on-frame construction with a coil-sprung rear axle, it doesn’t ride like a modern luxury SUV. That said, this type of vehicle construction makes the 4Runner a capable off-roader. The big news for 2019 is the updated TRD Pro model, which gets Fox shocks paired with TRD-tuned front springs, creating an extra inch of front lift and nearly an inch of extra wheel travel. The TRD Pro model also features a new roof rack, a quarter-inch front skid plate with red TRD lettering, 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, and a slightly wider track than other models. Stepping down one model to the TRD Off Road still gets you a locking rear differential and multi-mode traction control. Both TRD models also get Toyota’s Crawl Control system, which functions like off-road cruise control, applying the brakes automatically in order to get over obstacles more smoothly.

Toyota interiors are utilitarian; the 4Runner is mostly the same story with plenty of plastic and various shades of gray, but the TRD Pro model adds special floor mats, a shift knob, and red-stitched seats with TRD logos. There is also a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL stereo with navigation. As for the rest of the range, there is an optional third-row seat. For first- and second-row seats, they can be had in fabric, synthetic leather or genuine leather, depending on trim. The base SR5 model gets a power rear window, power driver’s seat, reversing camera, 6.1-inch infotainment screen, and an 8-speaker stereo. A Premium package for the SR5 adds synthetic leather, heated front seats, navigation, and an optional moonroof. The TRD model focuses on adding more off-road bits than convenience features. The more luxury-oriented Limited model adds leather seats that are heated and cooled up front, a 15-speaker JBL stereo, and dual-zone automatic climate control.

Due in part to its aforementioned old-fashioned construction, the 4Runner doesn’t perform perfectly in crash tests, but the results are acceptable. Federal testers gave it four out of five stars overall, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it top Good scores in everything other than the Marginal score in the small overlap test. The 4Runner doesn’t come with the active safety features that have become common across the range of most carmakers, Toyota included. The only safety features the 4Runner gets are a reversing camera and active head restraints.

Updated

Since 2012, Andrew Newton has been writing about cars both old and new. Andrew has been an associate editor at Sport Car Digest as well as a contributor to sites like BoldRide and JamesEdition. He was also the Education Manager at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, MA before becoming the Auction Editor at Hagerty Classic Car Insurance. He currently splits his time behind the wheel between his NA Miata, 1994 Corvette, and Triumph TR6.

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