The Toyota 4Runner neither looks good to the eye nor fun to drive. When all automakers have of late upgraded their models with modern looking designs, Toyota has barely altered the 4Runner’s looks for almost a decade now. Due to this, the SUV looks uncivilized when it mistakenly finds its way to a city. When parked side-by-side with modern SUVs, you will definitely mistake the latest version of the SUV for a well-maintained version that debuted a decade ago. However, what it lacks in beauty it compensates in off-road capabilities. The 2018 Toyota 4Runner is particularly excellent for those buyers who barely step on carpeted roads. In addition, there is a special customer base that finds the SUV’s old-school charm quite enchanting just like some of us can’t get enough of the “90’s cool jams”. Toyota offers the SUV in four trim levels; they are the base SR5, mid-TRD Off Road and TRD Pro and the range-topping Limited trim.
2018 Toyota 4Runner Exterior
The 2018 Toyota 4Runner exterior styling is a carryover of the 2017 version; the model continues with the same basic design. This design is characterized by a two-tier grille that looks rather old. The front bumper has been slightly revised where its front part is altered to give the SUV a better approach angle. The range-topping Limited trim features a chrome finish and a large strip across the front part of the bumper.
The same story continues on the flanks where the model still carries over with its two-box shape. All trims except the Limited trim ride on 17-inch wheels; the Limited trim rides on 20-inch wheels. TRD trims have an option for matte gray wheels.
The rear looks even more old-school with its unusual curves as well as a bland-looking emblem. The model also wears clear taillights; a design that were fashionable a decade ago.
The 2018 model will, however, get some fresh paintwork with three new colors on the cards.
Just like the exterior, the cabin will carry over devoid of any major changes. The dashboard of the SUV is designed such that the windshield is close to the driver and front passengers, a clever styling cue that enhances visibility on off-road terrains where the SUV largely calls home. This styling, however, makes the cabin feel rather confined.
There is a good layout of the controls on the dash. Controls for the audio system are mounted high up on the dash while climate control knobs are placed below the audio system; TRD models add extra knobs and switches for off-road functions. Standard features on the base SR5 include cloth upholstery, an 8-speaker Entune sound system, a 6.1-inch touch-screen, five 12-volt power outlets for charging your devices as well as an AC power outlet. Other standard features include a steering wheel wrapped in “cowhide”, power door locks and windows, a whopping 10 cup holders and keyless entry.
In terms of safety, the 4Runner scores average. Unlike modern SUVs, the 4Runner does not offer automatic emergency braking and other driving assist system. However, it comes with a rearview camera as standard. Parking assists sonar (front and rear) is only available for Limited trims.
Engine and performance
All 2018 Toyota 4Runner trims are powered by a single engine, a 4.0 L V-6 that delivers 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. The SR5 and Limited trims are available in both rear-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive while the TRD trims are offered with only AWD systems. Transmission duties are executed by a 5-speed automatic transmission system. RWD models are EPA rated at 17 mpg city, 21 mpg on the highway and 18 mpg on combined drives while AWD models return 17 mpg, 20 mpg and 18 mpg in town, highway and combined drives respectively. Although it is not fast, the 4Runner features a clever suspension setup that enables the model to easily traverse just about any kind of terrain. When well equipped, the SUV can tow 5,000 lbs, although not good enough for an SUV its size, it is enough to pull a regular trailer.
The base models also feature a two-speed transfer case which enables the models to traverse off-road terrain with ease when cruising at low speeds. To dash along off-road terrains, buyers should opt for the TRD Off Road and TRD Pro that come with Toyota’s ingenious Crawl Control system. TRD trims also add a locking rear differential operated via the push of a button; the system helps vary power among the rear wheel. There is a unique knob for controlling the model’s multi-mode traction control system. TRD Pro trim adds all-terrain tires, Bilstein shocks and a light suspension lift. There is an option for a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS); the system features huge sway bars along with hydraulic actuators that enhance off-road articulation.
Price and release date
According to the Japanese automaker, production of the 4Runner SUVs commenced in August while sales are expected to commence in November this year. The base 4Runner will retail at $35,405 inclusive of destination charges. This represents a slight increase of only $200 over the outgoing 4Runner.
The TRD Off-Road, on the other hand, will fetch $38,530 and $43,670 for the TRD Pro. The range topping Limited trim will have buyers spend $45,755 before options. There is also an incentive dubbed “Keep It Wild Discount” which will see buyers save $500, $750 and $1,000 on the SR5, TRD and Limited trims respectively.