The 4Runner TRD Pro is for a specific customer who wants a specific look and a specific set of capabilities (off-road in this case). This isn't a good or bad thing necessarily. Just something to be aware of when shopping the 4Runner lineup. For hitting the trails and serious off-roading, the TRD Pro is your ticket. Otherwise, we suggest either the Premium or Limited trim. They still have 4x4 capability, but are a bit more tame than the TRD Pro.
Safety & Tech Features
The Toyota 4Runner is getting long in the tooth and needs a complete remodel. But even though the SUV hasn’t changed much, it gets new advanced safety features, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a few other tech goodies for shoppers in 2020. Despite its age, the 4Runner is still the best family hauler for active customers who want something a bit more rugged for off-pavement excursions. And the 4Runner TRD Pro takes it to the next level.
This week, we drove the 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.
Toyota 4Runner: What’s New For 2020?
The Toyota 4Runner gets new advanced driver safety aids (Toyota’s Safety Sense P). Standard on every 4Runner, the package includes a Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection; Lane Departure Alert with Sway Warning System; Automatic High Beams; and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
The new infotainment system with its eight-inch touchscreen display now includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Amazon Alexa. Rear passengers receive two additional USB ports.
New for 2020 is the 4Runner Venture Edition, perfect for those weekend getaways to the high country. Standard features include a standard Yakima Megawarrior roof rack, all-weather floor mats, and Gunmetal-colored 17-inch TRD wheels.
Features & Options: For The Off-Road Pro
Our 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
tester ($49,765) came standard with skid plates, foglights, a 120-volt power
outlet in the cargo area, and a power-sliding rear window. The TRD Pro adds a
locking rear differential, Multi-Terrain Select off-road settings, a crawl
control function, and a tow hitch receiver.
The TRD Pro is for serious adventure seekers and comes with TRD-tuned springs, 2.5-inch Fox front shocks, and 2.5-inch Fox internal bypass rear shocks with piggyback reservoirs. Nitto Terra Grappler tires, a unique front grille, black bumper accents, and TRD shift knob are also standard. It also gains power and heated front seats, a 15-speaker JBL sound system, and plenty of TRD Pro accents inside and out.
Options on our TRD Pro tester
included running boards, sliding rear cargo deck, cargo divider, and cargo
What Does The 2020 Toyota 4Runner Cost?
Total MSRP, including destination, for our TRD Pro tester: 52,147. By comparison, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner starts at $36,120 in the SR5 trim. The TRD Pro starts at $49,865.
Interior Highlights: Simple & Clean
With the 4Runner and its higher ride height, you might want to opt for the running boards, especially if you have kids or shorter family members. You’ll have a commanding view from the driver’s seat, however, and extra creature comforts like power heated front seats. The soft-Tex fabric makes for easy cleaning when you get back home off the trail. You’ll also get premium sound from the JBL 15-speaker upgraded system, navigation, push-button start, and a power-sliding rear window.
The all-black interior in 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 just not the 4Runner’s style.
The second row seats fold flat and recline 16 degrees to offer rear passengers extra comfort on longer trips. Passengers have lots of legroom and can stretch out and enjoy the scenery. There’s a large cargo area behind the second row seats for camping, fishing, or hunting gear – but if you need more space, the rear seats fold flat. The sliding rear cargo deck with under floor storage is ideal for changing out dirty boots and storing the day’s catch.
The sliding rear cargo deck and divider will keep items in the back from sliding around and getting damaged. A nice optional touch that only cost an extra $350, but well worth it.
2020 Toyota 4Runner: Engine & Powertrain
The 4Runner TRD Pro is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 producing 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft. of torque. It comes mated to a five-speed automatic with a part-time AWD system and Active Traction Control (which includes a two-speed transfer case with selectable low-range). The TRD Pro also features a locking rear differential, crawl control, hill-start assist, and Multi-Terrain Select. The latter allows a driver to choose the mode that best matches the terrain ahead, be it mud, sand, or slopes.
When properly equipped with the receiver hitch and wiring harness, all 4Runner models can tow 5,000 lbs. EPA ratings for our TRD Pro tester came in at 16/19 city/highway and 17 combined mpg. Needless to say, you won’t be passing many gas stations on a long trip.
How Does The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Drive?
You will feel like an off-road warrior in the 4Runner TRD Pro, and it’s fully-equipped to take you deep into the high country without getting stuck. The TRD Pro, with its firmer off-road suspension, comes with 17-inch Nitto Terra Grappler All-Terrain tires. With the larger all-terrain tires comes extra ground clearance, so you can roll over any obstacles you might encounter in the wilderness.
By comparison, the 4Runner TRD Pro is behaved enough to use as a daily commuter and family hauler. Its steering and maneuverability are good for urban use. We were actually surprised at how well it handled in Denver traffic this week.
Driving Dynamics: Little Shy & Noisy
The 4.0-liter V6 engine with its five-speed automatic brought decent acceleration, but left us wanting more power for driving at high altitudes above 8,300 feet where we live. The 278 lb-ft. of torque is enough for getting the big rig moving off a dead start, and works especially well as a rock-crawler when going up a steep incline. However, if you live around a hilly area, be prepared for the engine to rev high.
We also felt the five-speed automatic was smooth and quick, but lags behind some of the newer automatics from the competition with more gears. More gears in the transmission would be helpful in boosting the 4Runner’s lackluster fuel economy.
The 4Runner TRD Pro is mostly comfortable for longer trips, but there is more road noise with the bigger tires. At times, the taller ride height seems to allow more noise to bounce off the undercarriage. If you are looking for cushy SUV ride, you will want to check out the more luxurious Limited trim but you will sacrifice off-road capability.
Conclusion: Good For What It Is
If you need an SUV for off-pavement adventures, but still need a family hauler for everyday use, the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro will fulfill your needs. It offers more off-road capability than any other in the segment. However, if what you’re after is fuel economy and a quiet ride, the 4Runner TRD Pro should not be your first choice.
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