2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Review: Pavement Not Required

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90
Solid
Overall Impression
Rugged and capable.
Ideal for snowy climates.
Pros
Cargo Space
Overall Utility
Off-Road Capability
Cons
Ride Quality
Fuel Economy

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is an off-road machine for those who lead active lifestyles. You can use it to pick up groceries and take the kids to softball practice, but its best and highest purpose is to go deep into the back country on the weekends. It’s civilized enough, but one look at the TRD Pro and you know there’s more to this 4Runner than just appearance. It will fulfill a number of important functions but it’s not for everyone. As we found out, this rugged version has a go-anywhere attitude that won’t leave you stranded if you venture off the beaten path.

This week, we drove the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.

Toyota 4Runner: What’s New For 2019?

TRD Pro comes with 2.5-inch Fox Internal Bypass Shocks, a skid plate, roof rack, sunroof, and JBL premium audio. Trim levels include SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro, and Limited. There is also a new Nightshade Edition ($1,740) which adds a blacked-out color scheme and 20-inch wheels.  

Features & Options: A Healthy Mix 

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro ($46,415) comes well-equipped to take you almost anywhere. Standard equipment includes a skid plate; foglights and rearview camera; heated mirrors, roof rails, and windshield wiper de-icer; a power rear window and power front seats (eight-way driver, four-way passenger); 40/20/40-split reclining and folding second-row seats; cloth upholstery and a leather-wrapped steering wheel; and finally, a 120-volt power outlet in the rear cargo area.

TRD Pro gets more rugged with revised front springs, Fox dampers (with internal bypass/rear remote reservoirs), matte black 17-inch wheels, all-terrain tires, and a roof rack. It also gains automatic headlights, LED foglights, the sunroof, and a 15-speaker JBL sound system. Toyota’s Star Safety System is standard on the 4Runner for additional peace of mind.

Other off-road hardware consists of a locking rear differential, the Multi-Terrain Select off-road settings, and crawl control. The interior wears additional TRD badging and the exterior receives special styling. Total MSRP including destination: $47,510. By comparison, the 2019 Toyota 4Runner starts at $36,020. 

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2019 Toyota 4Runner.

Interior Highlights: Soft At Times 

You don’t step into the 4Runner TRD Pro, you climb up and into this tall, off-road vehicle. It’s a serious machine and has plenty of ground clearance to roll over the highest obstacles. You will appreciate the commanding view from the driver’s seat and you will feel like you own the road. The front Fox shocks are paired with TRD-tuned coil springs, and the combination provides an additional inch of front lift. It makes a difference when you are behind the wheel. 

It’s not all rugged with TRD Pro. There are plenty of armature comforts, especially for those in cold weather climates. During the winter, we would take full advantage of the heated front seats and heated windshield for those frosty mornings. And the soft-Tex fabric makes for easy cleaning after a day on the trail or an afternoon tailgate.

Interior Highlights: Packing It All In  

The all-black interior on our tester was simple and uncluttered, with easy-to-use controls. The off-road control functions are positioned overhead, so the center stack is clean with plenty of usable storage space. There’s not much chrome and bling because it’s not the 4Runner’s focus. This TRD Pro is designed for function and utility, not necessarily to get style points.

The second row seats fold flat and recline 16 degrees, offering rear passengers extra comfort on long trips. Your passengers will be able to stretch out and enjoy the scenery. There’s a large cargo area behind the second row for camping, fishing, or hunting gear. The sliding rear cargo deck with under floor storage is ideal for changing out wet wading boots and storing the day’s catch. With the second row in use, the cargo area offers up 47.2 cubic ft. of space. Drop them down and it increases to 89.7 cubic ft.

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The sliding rear cargo deck and under floor storage are handy features.

2019 Toyota 4Runner: Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner is powered by a smooth 4.0-liter V6, producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a five-speed automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. All 4Runner models can tow a maximum of 5,000 lbs., with a maximum 500 lbs. tongue weight. Hill-Start Assist, Crawl Control – which helps maintain a constant speed in slow-moving, off-road situations – and the Multi-Terrain Select settings all help give the TRD Pro extra traction. 

EPA ratings come in at 17/20 city/highway and 18 combined mpg. For all of the TRD Pro’s advantages, fuel economy is not one of them. 

Related: Everything you need to know about Toyota warranties.

Driving Dynamics: Ideal For The High Country 

The 2019 Toyota 4Ruuner TRD Pro is for professional off-road enthusiasts, or weekend warriors who take getting away from civilization seriously. The TRD Pro comes with a firmer off-road suspension and large, 17-inch Nitto Terra Grappler All-Terrain tires. It’s comfortable enough for longer trips and has a reasonably smooth ride – but families wanting a cushy crossover will want to consider the 4Runner Limited; or possibly another SUV entirely. Some might find the road noise bothersome. 

The 4.0-liter V6 engine, with its five-speed automatic, brings decent acceleration as we pulled up I-70 into the mountains at altitude. The 278 lb-ft. of torque is enough for getting the big vehicle moving off a dead start, and works especially well as a rock-crawler on a steep incline. We felt the five-speed automatic was smooth and quick, but lags behind some of the newer automatics with more gears. If and when Toyota updates the transmission, we anticipate an improvement in fuel economy.  

Overall, the 4Runner TRD Pro is well-enough-behaved on the pavement to use as a daily commuter and family hauler if you want. However, you will buy this for its off-road hardware. Either way, the premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation is a bonus. 

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Conclusion: Capable & Confident

If you need a family-sized, off-road SUV to get deep into the wilderness, but still need something for everyday use; the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro will fulfill your needs. It offers more capability than any other family hauler in the segment. Our only real gripe is the fuel economy, but if you can get past that, you will find a perfect vehicle for those trips into the high country. 

Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. All of his firsthand reviews are archived on our test drives page. Follow Denis on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy

2019 Toyota 4Runner Gallery

Photos: Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc. (additional trim levels shown).

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