Despite the proliferation of small, efficient crossovers, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner endures with its body-on-frame construction, aged engine and transmission, and traditional part-time four-wheel-drive.
It’s one of the last dinosaurs in the age of mammals. And like dinosaurs (or at least those in Jurassic Park), it has drawbacks, but also inherent coolness and appeal for those willing to tame one. And in the 4Runner family, the sweet spot is the TRD Off-Road Premium.
A larger 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system is also standard and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. That infotainment system is nicer to look at, and even the shortcut buttons around it have been brought up to modern Toyota standards. But it still isn’t as smooth or quick as competitors’ systems, and the graphics and menus still look and feel too much like older, clunkier Toyota systems. But if you use either CarPlay or Android Auto, you won’t have to use the Toyota menus much.
The rest of the oily bits go unchanged as well, but that’s generally for the better. The 4Runner still rides smoothly and is quiet. In corners, our tester didn’t have as much body roll as one might expect, being fairly indicative of what would be found in a softly sprung sedan. This is probably due to the optional electronically adjustable suspension. The steering is responsive, too, but vague.
So why not just stick with the basic TRD Off-Road? Quite simply, the Premium’s extras will make life just that much easier and comfier with its added heated power-adjustable seats, leatherette upholstery, proximity entry and push-button start (another new feature for 2020), an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and an upgraded eight-speaker sound system.
Now, in terms of creature comforts, the Premium does lack the Pro’s 15-speaker sound system, sunroof and navigation, but the Pro’s starting price is $50,885. The TRD Off-Road Premium starts $7,000 cheaper at $43,590. You can also option in the TRD Pro’s adaptive suspension and a sunroof (not a great idea since it significantly reduces headroom), still have a few thousand left over, and have most of what makes a TRD Pro so capable off-road.
And the money you save could be used on more off-road-capable tires, suspension upgrades or even to take your 4Runner on a nice outdoorsy vacation. So if you really have your heart set on this highly traditional SUV and its off-road credentials, consider skipping the TRD Pro’s flash for the TRD Off-Road Premium’s value.