Stick Shift: 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

The Toyota 4Runner has been a popular choice for off-road enthusiasts for as long as its been available for purchase. Thankfully, it keeps its muscular shape and brawny tough aesthetics for 2019. Under its rugged physique, the all-terrain hardware continues to improve as well. The TRD Pro edition offers a comprehensive package that toughens things up even more. 

To start, 17” TRD alloy wheels are sprayed a graphite matte black, with shiny, chameleon color changing lug nuts. The contrast in finish and effect is striking. Also serving up visual flair are the Fox tuned Shocks and springs. Tucked behind the thick, meaty tires. They stand out with a bright red paint treatment. The rest of the car wore bright Voodoo blue. 

TRD badging matches the wheels in matte black. So does the chunky roof rack mounted up top. A small deck spoiler rounds off the rear, while a large TRD stamped aluminum skid plate under a gaping grille dominates the front. The large hood scoop continues to work some visual magic as well. The result is a 4Runner that has never looked meaner or more capable of tackling some serious off-road conditions. There is nothing that quite compares on the road. A fact that most 4Runner owners are not only aware of, but deeply appreciate. 

On the inside, finishes are varied. The tough theme continues, but there’s a nice level of polish to be found. Red TRD stitching pulls together swaths of SofTex trimmed material on the seats. A carbon-fiber panel wraps around the TRD Shift Knob. Dials and controls are oversized and exaggerated in their proportions to match the general burliness of the 4Runner. Adding to this are the centrally located controls for all the off-roading Active TRAC and 4WD systems. There’s multi-terrain selection aplenty for every conceivable weather and road condition. A locking rear differential to keep low traction control optimal. Crawl control, hill-start assist and more. The hardware present for tackling any trial is impressive. 

Photo via: Toyota

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner feels like the big brute that it is from behind the wheel. Driving like a truck almost as much as a large SUV. Cabin space is plentiful both up front and in the back. You’ll bounce over big bumps and body roll your way around corners. All expected findings in a vehicle designed with this much ground clearance and suspension travel for the off-road life. The 4.0L DOHC V6 will perform wonderfully on the rough trails, but was a little slow to accelerate on paved roads. The 5-speed automatic transmission is clearly tuned more for slow crawls through boulder strewn trails than 80 mph cruises down smooth-as-glass highways. 

Especially in TRD Pro trim, the 2019 Toyota 4Runner has a clear mission in mind. One look will plainly reveal its intended use. It practically begs you to turn off the concrete and onto some dirt trails. As a day to day driver, there’s more comfortable, composed and peppy to be found for sure. Not to mention that the 4Runner only manages 18 combined mpg. Hopefully, existing and future owners know what they’ve signed up for, and where to go to squeeze the most from a vehicle as capable as the 4Runner TRD Pro is when conditions are right. 

Price as tested: $47,460.00

By: Brandon Randall

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