Hard to believe, but it’s been 34 years since the first Toyota 4Runner roamed the earth. And many of the classics are still roaming the globe. Through the decades, the 4Runner has grown in both toughness and comfort. Two new upgrades for 2018, the Wilderness Package and TRD Enhancement Package, reinforce the 4Runner’s reputation as the vehicular equivalent of a multi-tool.
The Wilderness Package – available for the SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium grades – equips 4Runner with roof rack crossbars, all-weather floor liners and a cargo tray. The TRD Enhancement Package, available for the TRD grades, adds TRD 17-inch matte gray alloy wheels and a TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate.
Regardless of how it’s equipped, the 4Runner can be just about anything its owner needs it to be, from a boat-towing, trail-blazing, hill-climbing sport-utility with room for seven passengers to a comfortable, safe, and tech-filled family vehicle that’s right at home atop tight, pothole-riddled city streets.
The 2018 4Runner is available as the popular, well-equipped SR5; the SR5 Premium with additional amenities; TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro, and the luxurious Limited.
Whether the destination is a secluded trailhead, local boat ramp, or traffic-clogged school drop-off zone, the 4Runner delivers with everyday comfort, versatility, and proven Toyota reliability. The 4Runner’s strength originates at its tough-as-nails body-on-frame construction featuring a 4-link rear axle and coil-spring suspension. But that tough chassis is also the source of 4Runner’s comfortable ride. You don’t sacrifice one to get the other.
The 4Runner offers the choice of 2WD, part-time 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case, or, in the Limited, full-time multi-mode 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case and locking center differential. All four-wheel-drive models offer a generous 9.6 inches of ground clearance.
The Toyota 4Runner can look ruggedly sinister covered in mud, but clean it up and it looks ready for a relaxing night out. All 4Runners are equipped with projector beam headlights and LED rear combination lamps. The SR5 and TRD models ride on 17-inch alloy wheels that are available in three designs: 6-spoke (SR5, SR5 Premium), 7-spoke (TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium), or a TRD alloy painted matte black (TRD Pro). The TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium are distinguished by their color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, hood scoop, and silver painted front and rear bumper accents. “TRD Off-Road” badges adorn the C-pillars.
The top-of-line Limited is the only 4Runner with a chrome-plated grille insert and exterior trim, and its 20-inch machine-finished wheels and P245/60R20 tires are exclusive to the model. All 4Runner models come with a full-size spare tire.
It’s Got Guts
The 4Runner’s gutsy 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 routes its stout 278 lb.-ft. of torque through a 5-speed ECT-i automatic transmission with sequential shift mode. Dual Independent Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) optimizes torque across the engine’s entire operating range. There’s plenty of torque for towing, hence the inclusion of a standard integrated tow-hitch receiver and wiring harness on all grades. All 4Runner models can tow a maximum of 5,000 pounds, with a maximum 500-pound tongue weight.
The 2WD models feature a standard Automatic Limited Slip Differential (Auto LSD). This function of the traction control (TRAC) system allows some wheel slippage to help the vehicle dig out from sand or snow, for example. The available part-time 4WD system uses Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) and bolsters off-road capability with a two-speed transfer case with selectable low-range. By distributing drive force to any one wheel in contact with the ground, A-TRAC can help make terrain irregularities and slippery patches virtually transparent to the driver.
Exclusive to the 4Runner Limited, the full-time 4WD system uses a Torsen center differential with locking feature and a three-mode, center console-mounted switch. The system uses a 40:60 torque split in most driving situations and alters that in response to slippage. If the front wheels are slipping while the vehicle is turning, the Torsen differential changes the split to 30:70. If the rear wheels slip while the vehicle is turning, the differential changes to a 53:47 split.
The Added Attraction of Added Traction
The 4Runner is fortified by a supporting array of technologies that enhance the capability provided by the high-strength chassis and 4WD. Standard Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) provides additional control when accelerating from a stop on a steep incline by helping to hold the vehicle stationary for approximately 5 seconds while the driver transitions from the brake pedal to the accelerator. Limited and SR5 models equipped with 4WD also feature standard Downhill Assist Control (DAC). This feature augments low-speed descending controllability by helping to maintain a constant slow speed and prevent wheel lockup, allowing the driver to concentrate primarily on steering.
The 4Runner TRD Off-Road, Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro models add the capability of an electronic-locking rear differential and Toyota’s Crawl Control (CRAWL) feature. The latter helps maintain a constant speed in slow-speed off-road situations, enhancing vehicle control when driving up, over or down obstacles. With the transfer case shifted into low range, CRAWL regulates engine speed and braking force to propel the vehicle forward or in reverse at one of the five driver-selectable low-speed settings. The driver can focus on steering without having to also modulate the throttle or brake pedal.
As conditions on the trail change, the 4Runner TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro driver can adapt the vehicle with the Multi-Terrain Select system. A dial is used to select the mode that matches prevailing terrain and conditions, adjusting wheel slip accordingly. For example, on loose terrain such as mud and sand, more-than-normal wheel slip is permitted, allowing wheel-spin to work in the vehicle’s favor. The Mogul setting is for any extremely uneven terrain, such as V-ditches, slopes, and ridges — uphill or down. In this mode, wheel slip is minimized and the system acts more like a limited slip differential. On 4Runner TRD Off-Road models, an overhead console groups the off-road control switches into one location.
The 4Runner TRD Off-Road models can be outfitted with Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) that allows extended wheel travel at slow speeds for greater off-road capability and control. On pavement, KDSS provides a nimble sporty handling feel by reducing body lean when cornering.
The 4Runner Limited, though certainly off-road capable, places extra focus on everyday comfort and pavement handling with an exclusive Cross Linked Relative Absorber System (X-REAS) suspension, which automatically adjusts the damping force of shock absorbers when driving over bumpy surfaces or when cornering. A center control absorber cross-links the shock absorbers on opposite corners of the vehicle, reducing pitch and yaw by offsetting opposing inputs.
TRD Pro Series: Built to be Ready
Taking the 4Runner’s suspension setup a step further is the TRD Pro Series that comes ready to hit the trail with unique TRD-tuned front springs, TRD Bilstein high-performance shocks with rear remote reservoirs, Nitto Terra Grappler tires, and a TRD front skid plate.
The TRD Pro Series looks the tough part, too, with 17-inch black TRD alloy wheels, unique front grille, black bumper accents, TRD Shift Knob, and special badges. The TRD Pro Series colors for 2018 are Super White, Midnight Black and the exclusive Cavalry Blue.
Room for Adventure
The Toyota 4Runner is a Sherpa among SUVs. With the second-row seats in use, the cargo area offers up to 47.2 cu. ft. of carrying space. If it’s just two people hitting the road or trail for an extended getaway, folding the second row opens up a cavernous 89.7 cu. ft. cargo area. Fold-flat second-row seats provide a level load floor, and it’s not necessary to remove the headrests to fold the seats flat. The available pull-out cargo deck can carry up to 440 pounds to make loading and unloading heavy items easier, and it also provides seating for tailgating and campsite relaxation. For power on the go, the 4Runner offers a standard 120V outlet and two 12V outlets.
Third-row seating is available on SR5 and Limited grades, with a split 50/50 seat that folds flat. When so equipped, the 40/20/40 second-row seat has a one-touch walk-in function to provide easy access to the third row. The seats can be folded from the side or at the rear, using separate one-touch levers. Even when “roughing it” there’s no need to give up comfort; the second-row seats, which include a center armrest, individually recline up to 16 degrees in four steps.
Air conditioning with rear seat vents and pollen filter, power-sliding liftgate window, and a backup camera are among the standard features that make the 4Runner SR5 an outstanding value. The standard Optitron instrument panel adds a touch of high-tech elegance for all grades, and a multi-information display provides readouts for numerous vehicle functions and fuel economy.
The SR5 Premium provides a significant comfort upgrade with SofTex-trimmed seats, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and more. The Off-Road Premium receives the same features, and the Limited gets an added dose of refinement with leather-trimmed heated and ventilated 8-way power adjustable driver’s seat (with memory) and 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and the Smart Key system with push button start. The Limited also adds the convenience of a standard front and rear clearance sonar system.
Standard Entune Multimedia
Like all 2018 Toyota models, the 4Runner line offers an array of Entune Multimedia system choices:
- SR5 and TRD Off-Road: Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App – includes Entune Multimedia Bundle (6.1 in. high-resolution touchscreen display, AM/FM CD player, MP3/WMA playback capability, 8 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology), Connected Navigation Scout GPS Link App, Siri Eyes Free, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary All Access Trial, and Gracenote album cover art, HD Radio, HD Radio traffic and weather in major metro areas, and integrated backup camera display with projected path.
- SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro: Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite – includes Entune Multimedia Bundle (6.1 in. high-resolution touchscreen with split screen display, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, 8 speakers, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology), Siri Eyes Free, Entune App Suite, HD Radio, HD Radio predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary All Access Trial, and Gracenote album cover art, HD Radio, HD Radio traffic and weather in major metro areas, and integrated backup camera display with projected path.
- Limited: Entune Premium JBL Audio with Integrated Navigation and App Suite – includes Entune Multimedia Bundle (6.1 in. high-resolution touchscreen with split screen display, AM/FM CD player with MP3/WMA playback capability, 15 JBL GreenEdge speakers in nine locations including subwoofer amplifier, auxiliary audio jack, USB 2.0 port with iPod connectivity and control, advanced voice recognition, hands-free phone capability, phone book access and music streaming via Bluetooth wireless technology), Siri Eyes Free, Entune App Suite, HD Radio, HD Radio predictive traffic and Doppler weather overlay, AM/FM cache radio, SiriusXM Satellite Radio with 3-month complimentary All Access Trial, and Gracenote album cover art, HD Radio, HD Radio traffic and weather in major metro areas, and integrated backup camera display with projected path.
Entune App Suite is a collection of popular mobile apps and data services. Once a smart phone is connected to the vehicle using Bluetooth or a USB cable, Entune’s features are operated using the vehicle’s controls or, for some services, by voice recognition. Entune offers mobile apps for iHeartRadio, MovieTickets.com, OpenTable, Pandora and others. Entune data services include a fuel price guide, sports scores, stocks, traffic and weather.
Star Safety System and Safety Connect
The 4Runner features Toyota’s standard Star Safety System that includes Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) with traction control (TRAC, or A-TRAC with 4WD), an Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD), Brake Assist (BA), and Smart Stop Technology (SST) brake-override system.
Eight standard airbags include driver and front passenger Advanced Airbag System, TAP (thorax, abdomen, pelvis) front seat-mounted side airbags, driver and front passenger knee airbags and all-row Roll-sensing Side Curtain Airbags (RSCA). The Safety Connect system available for the 4Runner Limited (one-year trial subscription included) offers Automatic Collision Notification, Stolen Vehicle Location, Emergency Assistance Button (SOS), and Roadside Assistance.
Limited Warranty and ToyotaCare
Toyota’s 36-month/36,000-mile basic new-vehicle warranty applies to all components other than normal wear and maintenance items. Additional 60-month warranties cover the powertrain for 60,000 miles and corrosion with no mileage limitation. The 4Runner also comes standard with ToyotaCare, a complimentary plan covering normal factory-scheduled maintenance and 24-hour roadside assistance for two years or 25,000 miles, whichever comes first.