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Expert's Rating

3.0Good | Details

MPG

17 City / 20 Highway
Automotive Editor -

Unlike a lot of modern crossovers and SUVs, the Toyota 4Runner is part of a dying breed of vehicles that can go anywhere. With its body-on-frame construction, the 4Runner shares many of the same features, construction, and driving characteristics of a pickup truck, making it a force to be reckoned with when there's snow on the ground or a steep hill to climb. Regardless of what's in the SUV's way, the 2018 Toyota 4Runner is one of the few vehicles on the road that can get through a serious challenge.

What's New for 2018

Not much has changed for the 2018 4Runner. There are two new packages for the old-school SUV: the Wilderness Package and the TRD Enhancement Package.

The Wilderness Package, which adds roof rack crossbars, all-weather floor liners, and a cargo tray, is available on all of the 4Runner trims, except for the range-topping Limited. The TRD Enhancement Package, which is only available on off-road-focused TRD trims, brings 17-inch TRD matte gray alloy wheels and a TRD-branded aluminum front skid plate – to keep all of the SUV's parts safe when off-roading.

Lastly, two new colors have been added to the lineup: Cavalry Blue and Midnight Black Metallic. While not a new color, Super White is now available on the entire 4Runner lineup, instead of being a bespoke color for the TRD Pro trims.

Toyota 4Runner

Choosing Your Toyota 4Runner

The 4Runner has a lot to offer those that are willing to trade some comfort for off-roading capability. Power for the SUV comes from a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired to a five-speed automatic transmission that has a sequential shift mode. All 4Runner trims, when properly equipped, are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

As an off-roading-friendly SUV, the 4Runner comes with a lot of performance-oriented goodies. Two-wheel-drive models feature an automatic limited-slip differential function on the traction control (TRAC) system. The function allows some wheel slippage to let the SUV dig out of tricky situations. Getting the available part-time four-wheel-drive system also adds Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) and improves the SUV's off-roading prowess thanks to a two-speed transfer case with low-range.

The range-topping 4Runner Limited trim takes off-roading to a new level thanks to a full-time four-wheel-drive system that utilizes a Torsen center differential that has a locking feature that drivers can access via a center console-mounted switch. For most driving situations, the system splits the engine's power 40:60, front to back. The system, though, is smart and adapts to changing conditions. If the system senses that the SUV's front wheels are slipping in a turn, it sends more power to the back, going with a 30:70 split. If the rear wheels are slipping in a corner, the differential sends more power to the front (53:47 split).

SR5

The SR5 trim is the most affordable way to get into a 4Runner. The two-wheel-drive variant starts at $35,250 (all prices include the $995 destination charge), while adding four-wheel drive is an additional $1,530. The SR5 comes with smoked trim headlights, LED taillights with a smoked sport trim, fog lights, heated exterior mirrors, 17-inch six-spoke alloy wheels, and front and rear mudguards on the outside as standard.

On the inside, the SUV features: a 6.1-inch high-resolution touch-screen display with Toyota's Entune infotainment system and connected navigation, an eight-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, Siri Eyes Free, HD Radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, a rearview camera, an eight-way power driver's seat, a four-way front passenger seat, remote keyless entry, a rear liftgate window (a 4Runner hallmark), and five 12-volt auxiliary power outlets.

Running boards are a $190 option, while the $650 "Fabric-trimmed 50/50 split fold-flat third-row seat and sliding second row with passenger-side one-touch access to third-row seat with options package" (yes, that's its full name) adds integrated navigation and fabric-trimmed 50/50 fold-flat third row seats.

SR5 Premium

The SR5 Premium starts at $38,360 and adds some creature comforts over the base model. Although the SR5 Premium adds puddle lights to the side mirrors and a rear spoiler to the exterior, the majority of additions take place on the inside and include the optional extras from the SR5 as standard. There are six available packages for the Premium trim, including three separate power tilt/slide moonroof options and two different split fold-flat third-row seat and sliding second row options.

TRD Off-Road

The TRD Off-Road trim costs $38,375 and adds a few sportier touches, including a hood scoop, silver-painted roof rails with black endcaps, “TRD Off-Road” external hard badges, and 17-inch seven-spoke alloy wheels. On the inside, the trim adds: an overhead console with Multi-terrain Select, A-TRAC, VSC cutoff, a locking rear differential and Crawl Control switches, a center-console storage compartment in a carbon-fiber look, a TRD shift knob, and TRD Off-Road floor mats. A Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System with options package ($1,595) adds its namesake suspension system and an Entune audio system with integrated navigation and app suite.

TRD Off-Road Premium

The next step up is the TRD Off-Road Premium trim that has a starting price tag of $39,740. The TRD Off-Road Premium combines all the features of the TRD Off-Road and the SR5 Premium. Additional features include: “TRD” red lettering on driver and front passenger headrests, a HomeLink universal transceiver, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The trim offers a lot of the same options as the SR5 trim, but adds two Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System packages. The first one costs $1,000 and only adds the namesake suspension system, while the other runs $1,850 and also adds a power tilt/slide moonroof with a sunshade.

TRD Pro

The TRD Pro trim is the range-topping TRD model that costs $43,670. The TRD Pro adds auto on/off headlights, black exterior accents, a bespoke “TOYOTA” front grille, black “TRD PRO” external hard badges, 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels, and a TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate. There are two available packages: running boards ($345) and a sliding rear cargo deck with an under-floor storage compartment ($350).

Limited

The top-of-the-line Limited starts at $44,480. The Limited trim adds a variety of luxury features over the performance-oriented TRD Pro trim. Exterior features on the Limited include: chrome door handles with a touch-sensor lock/unlock feature, a power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade, and 20-inch split six-spoke alloy wheels. On the inside, the SUV comes with: dual-zone automatic climate control, a premium JBL audio system with 15 speakers, perforated leather-trimmed heated and ventilated front seats, Smart Key System with push button start and remote illuminated entry, and front and rear parking assist sonar. The Limited can be equipped with a 50/50 split fold-flat third-row seat and sliding second row for $365.

CarsDirect Tip

With the 4Runner, it's important to accept the fact that it's a little more rugged and a little rougher around the edges than the majority of other SUVS on the road. The TRD Off-Road Premium trim strikes the right balance of being able to tackle any type of terrain, while being enjoyable for everyday use. While expensive, the Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is a must-have for enthusiasts that want excellent off-roading characteristics.

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