Long before SUVs and crossovers were popular among mainstream vehicle buyers, the Toyota 4Runner was, literally, a forerunner of the segment. Recent years have seen this rugged truck go upscale to become quite a luxurious choice among utilities, but for 2019 Toyota has chosen to reinforce the 4Runner’s off-road credentials.
Those upgrades apply to the TRD Pro trim, which gains new Fox shocks and TRD springs, an aluminum front skid plate, basket-style roof rack and 17-inch black wheels wearing serious all-terrain tires. This trim also gets a Toyota heritage grille and new floor mats, exterior badges and bumper accents, along with a new Voodoo Blue paint option.
The other news for 2019 is a new top-end Nightshade trim that builds on the former range-topping Limited with automatic running boards, black bumpers, door handles and rocker panels, black chrome grille, 20-inch black wheels, leather-trimmed shift lever and metal interior trim.
4Runner’s other trims are carried over, including SR5, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro, Limited (in five- and seven-passenger variants) and, finally, Nightshade.
All share a 4.0L V6 engine that makes 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque, fed through a five-speed automatic transmission and on-demand four-wheel drive.
While there are many SUVs and crossovers in the marketplace today, few of them compete directly with the 4Runner and its off-road ability. There’s the Jeep Wrangler, and that’s about it until you get into high-end vehicles from the likes of Land Rover. Compared to the Wrangler, the 4Runner feels like a luxury vehicle no matter what trim you choose, owing to a compliant suspension that smooths out the worst paved surfaces and allows serious agility in off-road situations.
4Runner SR5’s standard features include seating for seven, an eight-speaker stereo with 6.1-inch touchscreen display, USB input, navigation, air conditioning, artificial leather upholstery and 17-inch wheels.
TRD Off-Road trim is a five-seater that adds a rear differential lock, lever-type 4WD selector, crawl control, terrain select system, rear door courtesy light, hood scoop and various TRD-branded parts.
TRD Pro gets the new features we detailed above.
Limited trim starts as a five-seater with 20-inch wheels with a full-size spare, rear clearance sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control, 15-speaker sound system, leather seating, heated and ventilated front seats, automatic headlights, woodgrain interior trim, passive keyless entry and puddle lights. Limited can also be optioned with seven-passenger seating.
Finally, there’s the Nightshade trim, which is also detailed up top.
Toyota’s fuel consumption estimates for the 2019 4Runner are 14.3/11.9 L/100 km (city/highway).