Even by body-on-frame-SUV requirements, the Toyota 4Runner is antiquated. The present era of the 4Runner has existed with solely minor adjustments since 2009, and its 1GR-FE 4.0-liter V-6 engine has been round because the early 2000s. Its earlier opponents—the likes of the Ford Explorer, Mitsubishi Montero, and Nissan Pathfinder—have both disappeared fully or morphed into unibody crossovers. This leaves the Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco because the Toyota’s most pure rivals.

You may’t take away the 4Runner’s roof or doorways, nevertheless it does have that roll-down rear window within the liftgate that is been a trademark of this mannequin for many years, which is type of like the subsequent neatest thing, proper?

HIGHS: Solidly constructed, off-road succesful, TRD Professional add-ons look cool.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

Given the previous 4Runner’s new framing within the context of those 4x4s, it is solely logical that Toyota has performed up this SUV’s off-road chops lately. The TRD Professional trim was launched for 2015 and has acquired small updates through the years to maintain this off-road-focused mannequin contemporary. Our take a look at automotive was exhausting to overlook in its Lime Rush paint, a brand new hue for 2022, and the TRD Professional additionally comes normal with a entrance skid plate, black 17-inch wheels, a chunky roof rack, and a special grille with badass retro “TOYOTA” lettering.

Suspension upgrades are additionally a part of the bundle and embrace Fox-branded dampers entrance and rear and completely different entrance springs. Nitto Terra Grappler All-Terrain tires look appropriately chunky, and there is additionally an upgraded exhaust that makes itself heard even if you won’t need it to—the drone will get annoying at freeway speeds. However all of the substances are right here to fulfill off-road fans, together with a handbook switch case, 9.6 inches of floor clearance, hill-descent management, and driving modes for varied varieties of terrain.

On paved roads, the 4Runner drives just like the Jurassic SUV that it’s. There’s an enormous quantity of physique roll and brake dive and loads of play within the steering rack, and the V-6 produces an consumption roar that can make you nostalgic for the Nineties. The five-speed automated transmission—sure, it actually does have solely 5 speeds—shifts sluggishly and hunts round on the freeway, which means it is tough to benefit from the 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. We bought the TRD Professional mannequin to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, matching the acceleration of a 2019 TRD Off-Highway mannequin we examined. For reference, turbo four-cylinder variations of the Bronco and Wrangler are considerably faster.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

When a few of Toyota’s personal car-based hybrid SUVs can simply obtain 30-plus mpg, the 4Runner’s EPA-estimated 17 mpg mixed appears to be like fairly dismal. We matched that sorry determine in our 75-mph freeway gas economic system take a look at and averaged a paltry 15 mpg total. It is extremely doubtless Toyota will provide a hybrid model of the 4Runner in some unspecified time in the future sooner or later, and a extra fashionable powertrain could be welcome on this bundle.

LOWS: Sluggish and ponderous, primary inside, poor gas economic system.

Michael SimariAutomotive and Driver

So would a nicer inside. The 4Runner’s expanse of exhausting black plastic is something however luxurious, and the rudimentary dashboard design begins to change into grating when the worth crests $50,000—because it did in our take a look at automotive, which stickered at $55,003. Fascinating options reminiscent of an influence liftgate and a heated steering wheel aren’t out there in any respect. Even the proudly old-school Wrangler is obtainable with loads of niceties today, however apparently Toyota hasn’t gotten the memo. At the very least every thing is screwed collectively effectively. We observed nary a rattle, squeak, or free trim piece throughout our time with the 4Runner.

Remarkably, Toyota nonetheless sells loads of 4Runners—a whopping 144,696 in 2021, greater than the Prius, Avalon, and C-HR mixed—so we will perceive how the corporate justifies persevering with to supply such an outdated bundle. It is hardly aggressive as an on-road automobile at this level, however what does that matter if persons are keen to plunk down their hard-earned money? A redesigned 4Runner is prone to arrive inside the subsequent few years to proper a few of these wrongs, however within the meantime the identical previous 4Runner simply retains on truckin’.

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