Real Review of the 2018 Toyota 4Runner
First things first: a mid-sized SUV in today’s market of trimmed-down crossovers is a hard sell. But Toyota isn’t giving up on this old beast. The 2018 Toyota 4Runner isn’t for the soccer moms anymore. Built for the adventurous weekend warriors who want an aggressive off-roader that can take a licking and keep on ticking, the 4Runner is large and in charge but limited on options and advanced technology. Does it still have what it takes to stay competitive? Here’s an in-depth look at what Toyota got right and what they got wrong.
Model Trims and Packages
There are six model trims available. The base model is the SR5. It comes with some handy standard features like a rearview camera and a leather-trimmed steering wheel. That’s pretty nice for a base model, but the MSRP starts at $34,810. There’s also an SR5 Premium that upgrades the audio system and interior surfaces. The Limited model has unique style accents as well as sonar-operated parking assist.
The real virtue of the 4Runner is evident in the other available models: the TRD Off-Road, the Off-Road Premium, and Off-Road Pro. You get TRD signature badges, some suspension and traction enhancements for serious off-roading, and an MSRP that tops out at $43,000 for the TRD Pro. The Wilderness Package is new for 2018. It comes with roof rails, a pullout cargo tray, and all-weather floor liners.
The exterior design of the 2018 Toyota 4Runner is somewhat polarizing. Either you’ll love the rugged, aggressive, truck-like demeanor or you’ll find it bulky and outdated. Both visions are equally accurate; you get two different body styles.
The TRD model trims and the SR5 feature a jutting front grille with sharp accents around the front headlights. The TRD versions (Off-Road and Off-Road Premium) also benefit from distinct black accents in the 17-inch wheels.
The Limited model trim is all decked out in chrome, with a massive slab of it across the front grille and chrome door handles and trim along the base. The front bumper also sits nearly flush with the grille.
The 4Runner is smaller than the full-sized Sequoia, but still comes in at 190.7 inches in length for the Limited model trim. For the sake of comparison, the Toyota RAV4 is 181 inches. The 4Runner does have some height, however, standing at 71.5 inches compared to its smaller cousin at 65.9.
The interior of the 2018 Toyota 4Runner has some wins and some losses. In the win column, there’s comfortable seating up front and an automatic rear liftgate window. The center console has plenty of stow-and-go compartments for knick-knacks of all shapes and sizes. There are 47.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 10 cup holders for the thirsty family on the go.
Now, on the flipside, there’s no power liftgate, and the height of the vehicle (71.5 inches) makes getting yourself and your gear inside slightly tricky. There’s nothing overtly luxurious either, even on the Limited model. In place of sophistication, the 4Runner opts for cool with its TRD shift knob, signature badges, and floor mats.
The 2018 Toyota 4Runner has a 4.0-liter V6 engine under the hood that gets 270 horsepower and 278 lb. ft. of torque. It’s not exceptionally fast or responsive with its five-speed automatic transmission in charge. SR5s and Limited models give you the option of rear-wheel or four-wheel drive, while the TRD models are four-wheel drive exclusive.
For a smooth ride through the city, opt for the Limited package on 20-inch wheels and the available X-REAS suspension that utilizes a nifty shock absorber underneath the center of the vehicle. The 4Runner is a gas-guzzler, with only a combined MPG of 18.
The 4Runner’s strength is in its off-road performance capabilities. The Limited trim has a full-time four-wheel drive system while the TRD Off-Road and SRT models get Active Traction Control, a part-time use-as-needed version. The 4Runner takes the guesswork out of your traction needs with a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that automatically adjusts the suspension so that your wheels are always where they need to be to maintain control of the vehicle. The TRD models also have CRAWL, which overrides the throttle and brakes when you need traction. It’s like having cruise control for the off-road.
The 4Runner has an available Multi-Terrain Select button which puts some control back in your hands. You can toggle between four driving modes that adjust the throttle and traction for different driving conditions as you see it.
The 2018 4Runner comes with a standard trailer hitch, underbelly skid plate, and tow package. You won’t find those as standard offerings on the Nissan Pathfinder or Ford Explorer. The 5,000-pound towing capacity is about standard for SUVs of this size. By comparison, the 2018 Audi Q7 can haul 7,700 lbs., but you won’t find many other mid-sized SUVs that can match it.
The technology for safety features is quickly evolving, but the 2018 Toyota 4Runner lags behind the curve. It doesn’t have warning systems for blind spots or forward collision, nor does it provide emergency braking. However, the 2018 4Runner does come with standard rearview cameras, a full complement of eight airbags, anti-lock brakes, and one of the best stability-control systems on the market.
The frame’s top-notch construction features side-impact beams that helped the 4Runner get a five-star rating from the government. Although built like a tank, it’s just not a very smart one. That doesn’t mean you should feel less-protected. The 2018 Toyota 4Runner has an available SOS Safety Connect button in the cabin that alerts Toyota’s 24/7 call center if you’re in an accident or your vehicle gets stolen.
The center stack infotainment system looks somewhat dated, but that’s only on the surface. It comes with the Entune App Suite and features Yelp, Facebook, and Pandora radio. The Limited trim gets a premium 15-speaker JBL audio system to match. The 6.1-inch touchscreen is slightly small for navigation, but it’s all there: turn-by-turn directions and easy-to-navigate menus that your 5-year-old could operate.
If you’re not into the smaller crossover vehicles, and you want to make a statement, then get behind the wheel of a 2018 Toyota 4Runner. The TRD Premium has the best blend of style and function. The interior is drab, and you’ll probably get frustrated with the center infotainment stack. But who cares, when you’re crushing off-road terrain with the ease of a reanimated dinosaur from Jurassic Park?
The 4Runner isn’t trying to be cute. Once you understand that fact, then you can appreciate the adventurous and bold features of this mid-sized SUV. Go for one of the new color palettes like Calvary Blue and get the Wilderness Package with its roof rack crossbars, and take a journey off the beaten path. Your 4Runner will not disappoint you.