Minor upgrades keep the 4Runner competitive

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is one of the capable SUVs on the market today. While most SUVs have softened into crossovers with unibody chassis, the 4Runner continues its body-on-frame tradition matched with the even-more-capable TRD Pro suspension system. Yet, for 2019, Toyota is turning up the heat.

The 2019 4Runner TRD Pro gets upgraded Fox Racing Shocks that help better handle high-speed desert running while providing a civil ride around town and a new roof rack offers more storage for dirty gear. A few other changes inside and out help keep the 4Runner fresh as interest explodes for its main rival, the Jeep Wrangler.

Continue reading for more on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.


  • Rugged new roof rack
  • Red accent on front skid plate
  • Continued TRD Pro appearance from before
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • All-Terrain Tires
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768248
The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack

Visually, the 2019 updates for the 4Runner TRD Pro are minor. The biggest and most noticeable change is the new roof rack. Its thick black bars look extremely rugged and fitting for such a capable SUV. Toyota says it added the rack to increase the 4Runner’s cargo space, especially for dirty items like camping gear.

The other visual change is the new LED fog lights. Like the 2016 and later Tacoma TRD Pro, these come from Rigid Industries, a purveyor of LED off-road lighting. While road-legal and not some crazy bright spotlights, the LEDs should be more effective than the previous halogen bulbs.

The last aesthetic update happens with the front skid plate. While technically the same as before, the skid plate’s stamped TRD logo is now painted red. It doesn’t really help anything, but it sure looks good.

The 4Runner TRD Pro retains its same wheel and tire package from before, meaning it rolls on 17-inch alloy wheels finished in matte black wrapped in Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires sized in 265/70R.

Spotting the 4Runner TRD Pro is easy compared to other 4Runner trims thanks to the large, blacked out grille with the TOYOTA block logo and the TRD Pro badges on the C-pillars. For 2019, it gets even easier thanks to the big roof rack.


  • Updated Entune infotainment system
  • Updated JBL Audio sound system
  • Black cloth seats with red contrast stitching
  • TRD logos on headrests, floor mats, & shift knob
2019 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro
- image 768629
The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite

Minor changes happen inside, too, but are not restricted to the TRD Pro grade. The Entune infotainment system has been upgraded for 2019 and includes a premium JBL Audio system with navigation and Toyota’s App suite. Sadly, it still doesn’t include Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

As for the TRD Pro upgrades, the seats are wrapped in Softex and accented with red contrast stitching and TRD logos on the headrests. More TRD logos appear on the floor mats and on the shift knob.

The 4Runner offers seating for five with 47.2 cubic feet of cargo volume behind the second row. With the rear seats folded flat, the cargo volume jumps to 89.7 cubic feet. Of course, the new roof rack offers even more storage than previous 4Runners.


  • 4.0-liter V-6
  • 270 horsepower at 5,600 RPM
  • 278 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 RPM
  • Five-speed automatic transmission
  • Two-speed 4WD transfer case w/ manual operation
  • Multi-Terrain Select
  • Crawl Control
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768262
Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm.

The 4Runner still relies on Toyota’s old 4.0-liter V-6 for power. It does have variable valve timing on its dual overhead cams, but that’s about as advanced as it gets. Horsepower is rated at 270 at 5,600 rpm and torque comes in at 278 pound-feet at 4,400 rpm. The engine is paired with an outdated five-speed automatic transmission.

As such, the EPA-estimated fuel economy isn’t too impressive. The 2018 4Runner TRD Pro is rated at 17 mpg city and 20 mpg highway. Those numbers aren’t expected to change for 2019.

Of course, the engine and transmission are only a small part of the 4Runner TRD Pro’s drivetrain.

A part-time 4WD system is used here, with a good ole-fashioned manual shift lever. 4WD high range can be engaged on the move, while low range does require a full stop and the transmission placed into neutral. Once engaged in either 4WD range, the engine torque is split 50/50 between the front and rear axles. The 4Runner also boasts an electronic locking rear differential, too. The transfer case does need to be in 4WD low range, but the E-locker engages quickly and keeps the rear tires turning at the same speed, regardless of traction.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768253
Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system

Another big traction aid is Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system. Using two knobs above the rearview mirror, the driver can choose different drive modes like mud, snow, and rocks. It adjusts things like throttle response, ABS, and traction control to best suit the terrain.

The 4Runner TRD Pro also includes Crawl Control, a kind of low-speed cruise control. The driver can engage the system, pick a speed, and concentrate on steering rather than throttle and brake inputs. It works best on slow, technical trails like rock crawling. The system also directs power to the wheels with the most traction.


  • New Fox Racing Shocks at all four corners
  • 2.5-inch diameter shock bodies
  • Rear shocks have 2.0-inch diameter remote reservoirs
  • 17-inch wheels give extra inch in track width
2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768270
Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade

Like the 2019 Tundra and Tacoma TRD Pro models, the biggest change for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro is its suspension upgrade. Gone are the TRD-branded Bilstein shocks – replaced with 2.5-inch diameter Fox Racing Shocks with beefy 46mm-thick pistons. The rear shocks even have 2.0-inch remote reservoirs that hold more fluid that helps with temperature control during periods of extended extreme use.

Up front, the Fox shocks have seven bypass zones. Of them, four of the zones are for the compression stroke and three are for the rebound stroke. Each zone gets progressively stiffer during the piston’s travel, allowing the shock to have a variable damping rate. In other words, the shock offers a smooth ride around town but provides the proper damping in high-speed off-roading so the 4Runner isn’t slamming into its bump stops. The rear shocks have 11 bypass zone, with seven being for compression and four for rebound.

The front suspension uses the typical coil-over shock, MacPherson struck configuration, while the 4Runner’s rear suspension uses a multi-link coil spring arrangement mounted on a solid axle.

Compared to the standard 4Runner’s suspension, the TRD Pro enjoy an extra inch of lift, along with another inch of wheel travel. The 17-inch wheels add an inch to the SUV’s overall track width.


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768269

Toyota has not announced pricing for the 2019 4Runner TRD Pro, however, we don’t expect a massive change compared to the 2018 model. Price for 2018 start at $42,875 and hardly increase since there are no big option packages. The only add-on costs are the $350 sliding rear cargo deck and a slew of dealer add-on options that range from all-weather floor mats to first-aid kits.

The Competition

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon

2018 Jeep Wrangler
- image 749430

The Jeep Wrangler Unlimited dressed out in the mighty Rubicon trim is about the closest competitor to the 4Runner TRD Pro. While the Toyota is built to handle both low- and high-speed off-roading, the Wrangler specializes in low-speed, technical driving. New for 2018, the Wrangler JL offers a modern take on a classic design, while the interior is far more welcoming and technologically advanced. An available 8.4-inch Uconnect system offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, along with an Off-Road Page that shows stats like wheel articulation, body roll, and pitch.

Power currently comes from two engine choices: the 3.6-liter Pentastar V-6 is the standard engine and makes 285 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. it can be paired with a six-speed manual transmission or a ZF eight-speed automatic. The optional engine is a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder making 270 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Called the Hurricane after a classic four-cylinder from Jeep’s past, the new engine gets a mild-hybrid system that assists with low-speed starts and works to make the Auto Stop/Start system work smoothly. In the near future, the Wrangler will also have the 3.0-liter EcoDiesel V-6.

The Wrangler rides on solid axles front and rear, held in place with multi-link track bars and coil springs. The Rubicon boasts front and rear locking differentials and a two-speed transfer case. The front sway bar can be electronically disconnected for even more wheel articulation.

Pricing for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon starts at $40,495 while a fully loaded Rubicon will sticker at nearly $56,000.

Read our full review on the 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.


2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Exterior
- image 768254

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro might have aging bones with its 4.0-liter V-6, five-speed automatic transmission, and old-school interior, but that’s arguably what makes it so endearing. Of course, the biggest attraction is its high-performance suspension system and impressive Multi-Terrain Select and Crawl Control systems.

While we love the new shocks and appreciate the new roof rack and LED fog lights, the changes seem like too little too late in making the 4Runner a highly competitive SUV. Then again, Toyota sells more than enough to justify the “don’t mess with success” attitude.

  • Leave it
    • * Outdated engine & transmision
    • * Interior feels dated
    • * Where’s the generational update following the Tacoma?


2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – Driven Exterior High Resolution
- image 719848

Read our full review on the 2015 - 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

2014 Toyota 4Runner Exterior
- image 503880

Read our full review on the 2017 Toyota 4Runner.

no article
- image 762150

Read more Chicago Auto Show news.

no article
- image 741755

Read more Toyota news.

Press release

4Runner needs no introduction. The iconic SUV is one of the most legendary off-road vehicles in Toyota’s history. For 2019, TRD Pro takes 4Runner’s world-renowned trail capability to the next level.

4Runner’s Fox shocks not only enhance its off-road performance but, paired with the TRD-tuned front springs, the package lifts its front 1 inch compared to other grades, while also providing nearly 1 inch of additional wheel travel. The 2.5-inch front shocks employ 46 mm pistons and include 7 bypass zones (4 compression, 3 rebound). In the rear, the 2.5-inch Fox shocks feature 11 bypass zones (7 compression, 4 rebound) to fine-tune the low- and high-speed compression, and 2-inch piggyback reservoirs house additional oil to retain damping performance when it’s needed most. A unique TRD roost shield offers additional protection for the inverted shock design in the rear.

4Runner adds a new roof rack for stashing additional gear outside of the cabin (say, dirty gear or laundry after a weekend camping trip).The 1/4-inch-thick front skid plate also sports new red TRD lettering. 4Runner features 17-inch matte-black TRD alloy wheels with an offset change to provide it with nearly a 1-inch wider track front and rear for added stability. Nitto Terra Grappler P265/70R17 A/T tires provide all-terrain performance for whatever the situation demands.

Like Tacoma, 4Runner TRD Pro passengers can jam to tunes from a new-for-2019 standard Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite. Other interior appointments include TRD Pro floor mats, TRD shift knob, and red-stitched Softex seats with red TRD logos on the front headrests. Additional TRD Pro exterior features include LED fog lights, blacked-out TOYOTA grille, and projector-beam headlights with smoked trim.

Even on the Most Capable, Safety is Paramount

Even though capability and toughness are at the core of the TRD Pro Series, safety is still the utmost priority. All three TRD Pro models feature the Star Safety System, which includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), Traction Control (TRAC), Anti-lock Brake System (ABS), Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA) and Smart Stop Technology (SST).

Tundra and Tacoma come standard with Toyota Safety Sense P (TSS-P), which features Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection (PCS w/PD), Lane Departure Alert (LDA) with Sway Warning System (SWS), Automatic High Beams (AHB) and high-speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control (DRCC).

Championship TRD Pedigree

Dating back to 1979, Toyota Racing Development (TRD) has developed chassis, engines and parts design for nearly 40 years. TRD supported off-road legend Ivan “Ironman” Stewart for 30 years on his path to multiple championships and race victories in Baja, U.S. off-road desert and short-course off-road races. TRD most recently celebrated CJ Greave’s 2017 Pro 4 Championship in The Off-Road Championship Series (TORC) and Martin Truex Jr.’s win of the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR® Cup Series Championship. The 2019 TRD Pro suspension was tested and designed by TRD engineers at our corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. TRD also develops motorsport-derived accessories for Toyota and Lexus cars and trucks. Its U.S. operations were first established in 1979 and are headquartered in Costa Mesa, Calif., with an additional facility in Salisbury, N.C.

View the full press release Hide press release
Press release
What do you think?
Car Finder: