The Toyota 4Runner is one of the most popular true utility SUV’s on the market today. If you’re seeking a very reliable, off road / deep snow charger, room for all your gear, tough looking SUV – 4Runner should be on your list. The TRD Pro version here is rugged, and offers all the style and performance you need to break trail through the biggest snow storms of the season.
You will trade off some ride comfort and highway stability for the off road capabilities. The 4Runner drives more like a truck than a smooth BMW X5 or Porsche Cayenne, but in many ways… that’s the whole point. On the upside of this is less electronics and fine tuned suspension which can get damaged or banged up off trail or when you need to traverse some deep snow.
One small ding on the 4Runner TRD Pro that I tried out, and the 4×4 system did require you to manually engage AWD / 4WD traction vs. 2WD Drive. This is not ideal as conditions sometimes sneak up on you, and you may forget or not realize you need to engage 4WD. Being spoiled I do prefer the x-Drive or Quattro type systems that are automatically activated depending on computerized sensor of traction – real time. Many years ago I did spin out in a Toyota 4×4 when driving on what I thought was a clear road with 2WD only activated. Luckily no cars were involved and just crashed into the snowbank going about 50 MPH. Not ideal…
Also, with a bit lower price point you can afford to bash this SUV through the snowbank and bust out of your cabin through the big berms when the big snow hits. You’ll be much less inclined to bash your way with a $75-100k luxury model. Repairs on Toyota’s are much more affordable, so go ahead and have some fun!
Inside the cabin you have a ton of room in the front seats. If you’re tall the steering wheel column does extend, and I was able to find a comfortable seating position at 6’3″. The trim is nice for a Toyota, but looks like it’s not fully rugged to handle abuse for a lengthy period. That said, everything looks quite modern, and generally on par for a mid-cost vehicle.
The back seats however are quite small at at my height I just about hit the ceiling. There is a bit of a carve out to make more room in the back, but you really don’t want people over 6′ in the back seat.
There are 8 variations to cover which is too many to dive into within in a simple review, and I suggest you head to your dealer to sort out all the options associated with the various builds. What you really get between models is styling queues some lux, and some off road functionality, vs just bigger and bigger engines. All models come with a powerful V-6 with 270 HP, and somewhat poor mileage ranking of about 18 MPG. I do like the TRD Pro model, even though you pay a bit of a premium for all the cool looking, tough features. Plan on spending about $40,000 – $65,000 depending on your budget and needs. This is quite affordable compared to the competitive set, and you do get a lot of value for your dollar.
You do get quite a bit of storage inside, and here are some dimensions to consider. There’s plenty of room for the dog, coolers, skis, bags, etc. However, if you plan on 4 passengers you’ll likely need a roof pod or ski rack to accommodate. On the diagonal you have about 200 cm / 80″ which is enough room to fit just about any ski’s you have in your quiver.
I have owned 2 Toyota trucks over the years and found that they are extremely reliable…. especially when temperatures drop down below 0 degrees F. You’ll likely run into electronic issues and have a hard time starting some of the other models reviewed… especially if you are in harsh conditions 30+ days a year. Think Montana, Colorado, Wyoming, Canada where temps can drop down and stay down for months at a time.
Here’s a great video review I found online to check out: