Rocky Mountain Automotive Press

REPORTING THE AUTOMOTIVE NEWS IN THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN & WESTERN REGION

2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium, the down and dirty

It would be safe to say that most of us have a fond memory about the Toyota 4Runner.  As I prepared for this review, I started thinking about my experiences with the 4Runner; it wasn’t hard to recall a plethora of 4Runner memories.

Back in the late 80s, I lived in Huntington Beach, just a few blocks from the Ocean.  In those days I lived for surfing, rock climbing, and off-road dirt bikes. No matter where I went; Baja, Rincon, Joshua Tree or Yosemite Valley- I would always find the 4Runners and their owners; fellow adventurist and outdoors-persons having fun, like me.  The bearish guy that lived up the street from me got a red one with black trim, those big Smittybilt bumpers.  It was the coolest looking ride on the block, and I was so envious as it was the perfect delivery vehicle for all my outdoor activities.  You have them too, those memories of the Toyota 4Runner, and chances are you have a little smirky grin on your face as well.  No big secret here, because whether at the beach or up in the mountains, the deserts or everywhere in between – the 4runner got there & back safely and in style.

The 2018 Off-Road Premium combines a true truck-based SUV, an original body-on-frame – which makes it outperform competitors like the Subaru Accent, Acura MDX & Jeep Wrangler in off-road capability. With features like the Multi-Terrain Select System and Crawl Control, Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension & Sports Enhancement Suspension, and full-time four-wheel drive with Active Traction Control.

TRD Enhancement also includes roof rack crossbars, all-weather floor liners, and a sliding cargo tray.  17-inch matte gray alloy wheels and a TRD front skid plate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, driver’s seat memory, ventilated & heated front seats, and a power-operated passenger seat so your Cub can play with the settings, as well as dual-zone climate control.

Very little has changed under the hood of the 4Runner. The standard 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which is my biggest gripe, underperformance.  At least the transmission features a manual shift mode, making it easy to find a lower gear to keep the engine closer to its 4400-rpm torque peak, where you’ll find 278 lb-ft of twist. The V-6 is rather gruff at those higher revs, but it’s a truck—some gruffness should be expected, nah – required!

The Off-Road Premium includes 17-inch black alloy wheels with the TRD logo and knobby 31.5-inch, A/T tires along with Bilstein shocks. The taller springs not only give it an inch more ground clearance but a wider stance that exudes bear confidence and looks so sexy.  With bling too, like the trim, badges, skid-plates, and grille with classic T O Y O T A font.

The JBL audio system is nice but the Entune infotainment system with a seemingly small 6.1-inch touchscreen and rearview camera which uses the multi-information display making it somewhat hard to see.  Sadly, you won’t find Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, I was thankful to have Bluetooth connectivity. Also, Keyless entry, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, and a power liftgate.

Although it is comfortable enough to drive to work every day the fuel economy is not all that great, somewhat underpowered and can’t tow much.  If you are an off-roader, a mudder, an expedition kind of person; as in – take it on a road trip to South America, the 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium is capable off-road fun with safety and style.  Here’s mud in your eye.

Vehicle provided by The Drive Shop / Toyota Motor Sales, USA for the purposes of this review.

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