It’s never a good thing when you just finish driving a hot hatch like the Volkswagen Golf R and then get into a bigger vehicle like the 2015 Toyota 4Runner. When we got behind the wheel of the 4Runner sport utility vehicle, we had to adjust our mindset to accommodate the larger vehicle’s driving dynamics.
At first, we pushed the gas pedal, expecting to be able to fly past the slower traffic like in the Golf R and it didn’t happen.
With that said, we will shift gears and take an objective look at the trail-ready, 2015 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD PRO V6, built for another type of fun.
We will even include a testimony from a current 4Runner owner and get a mom’s opinion.
The off-road ready 4X4 TRD PRO V6 model debuts with an assortment of off-road-specific upgrades.
Features & Options
The 4X4 TRD PRO V6 ($41,110) comes with Bilstein dampers with remote reservoirs, a big, black grille, 17 inch black alloy wheels, 31.5 inch Terra Grappler tires, a vented aluminum front skid plate, black fabric seats with red stitching, TRD floor mats, and shift knob.
Black TRD badging outside and inside is featured. Our TRD PRO tester came with Super White exterior paint with a Solid Black interior. Options included paint protection film ($395), remote start ($499), cargo cross bars ($185), exhaust tip ($90), and hitch ball mount ($60).
Total MSRP including destination: $43,224.
The Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO sits up a bit higher than the standard model and shorter folks may need to use the handy grab handle to pull themselves up and in to the tall cabin. This TRD PRO’s interior is designed for serious off-road use to match the vehicle’s other recreation-purposed attributes. This is a machine built for fun and the interior gets textured materials appropriate for a vehicle likely to see dirty boots, kids, and dogs.
That’s not to say the cabin is sparse because it also comes well-equipped with power heated front seats, navigation, back-up camera, keyless entry, and SofTex trimmed seats.
The front seats are extra comfortable and supportive, with good adjustability, ready to keep you steady for a full day on the trail. Our tall riders in the back thought the second row seats had lots of leg and hip room as we motored to get some ammo at Cabela’s this week.
The 40/20/40 rear seats recline and also fold flat for a nice cargo carrying floor if you need it for larger items.
This tester didn’t come with the optional third row, but it’s available for growing families.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD PRO is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque and comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy ratings are 17/21 city/highway mpg and 18 combined mpg.
Maximum towing capacity is 4,700 pounds by the most recent SAE standards – enough for light boats, ATVs, snowmobiles, and motorcycles. An electronic trailer sway control is standard.
The Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD PRO has good dynamics on the road and will travel well for long weekend trips. The power-assist rack-and-pinion steering and disc brakes make the bigger vehicle easy to handle in town too.
It’s the vehicle’s other recreation-purposed attributes that set it apart from other SUVs. The reason to buy a 4Runner is its off-road ready features and this vehicle from Toyota is designed for the more adventurous owner.
If you are looking for comfy ride, you will want to look at other SUVs. 4Runner is built on with body-on-frame construction, making the ride more firm than others. If you want a rugged vehicle, this is the one for you, but the price is a more rugged ride. The cabin is relatively quiet though thanks to engineering efforts to isolate road noise.
We didn’t noticed much noise from the TRD PRO’s Nitto Terra Grabber tires.
While most Toyota 4Runner owners will never take their vehicle truly off-roading, you can with the TRD PRO. It’s built with a locking rear differential, multi-terrain select, crawl control, hill-start assist, and front and rear stabilizer bars. TRD PRO will handle the rough trails with ease but we felt the big SUV could use a bit more power as we pulled up the mountain interstate this week.
With a full load of people and cargo, we can see where it may leave you wanting for more power.
4Runner Owner Testimony
Here’s a testimony from a family who recently purchased a standard 2014 4Runner with three young kids. Here’s her response when I asked why the family bought the vehicle and what they liked about the family hauler:
“I originally was looking at the 2014 4Runner because of the third back row. I wanted the back row for occasional use but I didn’t want a huge car like the Tahoe or Suburban. The Sequoia was appealing, but out of our price range. The 4Runner fit our budget, was the right size, and had the third row.”
She went on to say:
“Now that we have the vehicle I LOVE it. It has all the amenities that I could want. Sun roof, heated (and cooled) seats, automatic everything, Bluetooth, very roomy second row, beautiful leather throughout, and it drives very smooth. The bonus things were the navigation system and the push start. While the third row is not very big, we don’t need it for everyday use. When the seats are down the cargo area is very large! I really love everything about this car and could not be happier with our purchase.”
The sturdy Toyota 4Runner is built for all-terrain capability and will take a family just about anywhere they want to go. The 4Runner 4X4 TRD PRO is intended to be a rugged and reliable sport utility for the more adventurous owner.
It’s tough enough for rough use, it has a comfortable interior, and features taut handling.
For a different style of Toyota, read our overview of the 2016 Land Cruiser.