2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro new car reviews

From the looks of it, Toyota hasn't changed much on the current-generation 4Runner since it debuted back in 2009. Sure, a few different trim levels have come and go, the 157-horsepower inline-four was quickly dropped, and the interior has received a few minor upgrades. By and large, though, the SUV really hasn't changed. Under the hood is the same 270-horsepower V6 that was available science 2009.

Even though the 4Runner may look outdated on paper, it does have the benefit of being one of the few truck-based SUVs on sale today. In theory, that gives the 4Runner a much greater off-road capability than some of its more modern, unibody-based competitors.

Does this old-school SUV still keep up with the growing market of off-road and pseudo-off-road vehicles? Keep reading to find out.

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J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is what would happen if your cousin—who is a Navy SEAL—dressed up as a Navy SEAL for Halloween, just wearing work clothes to the party and maybe taking a few minutes to do a covert op between the nacho tray and the pony keg.

The 4Runner TRD Pro package throws the entire catalog of off-road baubles at the vehicle. From the tubular roof rack, to the skid plates, to the Army Green paint job, the 4Runner certainly looks like the most capable off-roader at the mall parking lot. It just also happens to be about the most capable off-roader in the abandoned, haunted quarry behind the mall, too.

In truth, the 4Runner we know today hasn’t changed much since 2009 when the N280 chassis was introduced. But, it didn’t need to. The 4Runner is one of the world’s most ubiquitous and capable vehicles, and US sales have increased every year since the current model was introduced, growing from just over 20,000 vehicles when the N280 was introduced to a projected US total of over 140,000 for this year.

Like all 4Runners since the early ’80s, when they were basically in-house modified Toyota pickups, the floor on the current 4Runner feels high compared to other modern SUVs. That’s because the 4Runner is an actual off-road-capable unstoppable force and not merely a vehicle designed to take advantage of BOGO day at Bed, Bath and Beyond with extreme prejudice. Unlike some previous 4Runners, though, the current version does not have the numb steering feel and wandery nature of some of its predecessors. In the past, this was just a trait you overlooked because of its inherent trickiness, and its extreme capability off the pavement. Surely those were factors worth of some tradeoffs, right?

But Toyota has worked some sort of magic with the current version and actually given it pretty amazing road manners, truck or not. This is despite being fitter with some pretty serious off-road rubber.

The TRD Pro package probably helps the chassis control. The package gets you some trick Bilstein remote reservoir shocks, skid plates, and access to the package-only Army Green livery. With the 270 horsepower, 4.0-liter V6—the only engine available in the 4Runner—the vehicle can tow 5,000 lbs, which will doubtlessly consist mainly of 4-wheelers or side-by-sides headed to a hunting camp.

The 4Runner’s old-school nature mostly shows itself in the form of some missing features. You won’t find a power liftgate and a few other modern convenience touches here, but you end up not missing them much. The 4Runner does have a few cool tricks up its sleeve, though, like the sliding cargo floor, which actually makes loading and unloading pretty convenient.

Whenever a car shows up in the press fleet, we often read the reviews from our colleagues from other magazines. Mostly, the current 4Runners get judged kind of harshly. Lack of refinement, carryover drivetrains from previous generations, high price and lousy fuel economy are the most common complaints. On the final one, we can’t argue—if you see 13mpg in a loaded 4Runner you’re living well. But on the rest, we think they’re kind of missing the point. The 4Runner hasn’t received a lot of updates under the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it” protocol, and 140,000 US buyers seem to agree that it definitely ain’t broke. As for the cost, well, our test car stickered out at $51, 500, which is a lot of scratch, but on some level, if this is what you need, you kind of know that and are willing to pay for it. To buy a cheaper vehicle and bring it to the level of the TRD Pro’s capability is going to cost a pretty penny, and the resale and the trade-in value on well-cared-for 4Runners—like many Toyota trucks—is scorchingly high.

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Placemotorsports
Placemotorsports Reader
8/19/20 9:58 a.m.

Love the color, we had a 2011 and it was great.  Only thing it needed was both front wheel bearings and brakes.  Got rid of it with 182k miles on it and it still ran great

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/19/20 10:21 a.m.

People often complain about Toyotas/Lexus being outdated, but I like it. It means theres lots of parts availability and reliablity/testing. I don't want to drive a car knowing I'm beta testing it.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 10:25 a.m.
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) said:

People often complain about Toyotas/Lexus being outdated, but I like it. It means theres lots of parts availability and reliablity/testing. I don't want to drive a car knowing I'm beta testing it.

Exactly, it's why the only reliable thing in a GM truck is the engine. When you've been making the same basic design for 80+ years it's hard to get it wrong. 

I do love the current 4Runners and Tacos, the Atkinson cycle engine is meh; but, they are super solid vehicles. 

java230
java230 UberDork
8/19/20 10:32 a.m.

In reply to RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) :

Partly what sold me on the Tundra as well. Its hard to mess up[ an old school (and well tested) 6speed and v8.

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/19/20 10:44 a.m.
java230 said:

In reply to RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) :

Partly what sold me on the Tundra as well. Its hard to mess up[ an old school (and well tested) 6speed and v8.

Agreed. That would be my choice of tow rig if I had to get one. The biggest hassle when relying on something to tow your vehicle is when it breaks down and you need someone to tow your tow rig.

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
8/19/20 11:56 a.m.

I see a "your/you're" error about Navy Seals. 

If I change SUVs, it's going to be a tough call between another 4Runner and a Sequoia. 

irish44j (Forum Supporter)
irish44j (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
8/19/20 12:00 p.m.

As someone who owned the previous generation of 4Runner and did not really like this new one when it came out it is really grown on me. I do wish they were offered with the V8 though, what should make them a better tow vehicle.

java230
java230 UberDork
8/19/20 12:10 p.m.
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

As someone who owned the previous generation of 4Runner and did not really like this new one when it came out it is really grown on me. I do wish they were offered with the V8 though, what should make them a better tow vehicle.

Agreed, If it had a different engine I would be in one vs the Tundra. The GX460 is the equivilent SUV with the V8 IMO

ultraclyde (Forum Supporter)
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
8/19/20 12:38 p.m.

These are currently the mommy van of choice in my area for the under 45 family. Yes, in full TRD Pro kit. I'd say there will be deals in the future on lightly used ones, but there are never deals on 4-Runners.

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/19/20 1:17 p.m.
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) said:

These are currently the mommy van of choice in my area for the under 45 family. Yes, in full TRD Pro kit. I'd say there will be deals in the future on lightly used ones, but there are never deals on 4-Runners.

Interesting. I figured it would be the Highlander or any typical CUV.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/19/20 1:37 p.m.

In reply to RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) :

no.. mommy needs this or a rubicon wrangler..  Seen a lot of these around.  Don't expect deals on either.. they hold their value.

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
8/19/20 2:05 p.m.

The lady and I love hers. 2019 TRD Off-road. Our Jeep friends make fun of its out-datedness but its never left us stranded so far. and IMO its one of the better modern SUV designs. 

D2W
D2W Dork
8/19/20 2:34 p.m.

This will be my next ride since they don't make the FJ anymore. Unless the new Bronco really impresses. I have time to wait and see. The FJ is at 212K with only minimal maintenance. I plan to run it to at least 300K.

fidelity101 (Forum Supporter)
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/19/20 2:51 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) said:

People often complain about Toyotas/Lexus being outdated, but I like it. It means theres lots of parts availability and reliablity/testing. I don't want to drive a car knowing I'm beta testing it.

Exactly, it's why the only reliable thing in a GM truck is the engine. When you've been making the same basic design for 80+ years it's hard to get it wrong. 

 

then how do I keep getting berkeleyed?! :(

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 3:24 p.m.
fidelity101 (Forum Supporter) said:
DirtyBird222 said:
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) said:

People often complain about Toyotas/Lexus being outdated, but I like it. It means theres lots of parts availability and reliablity/testing. I don't want to drive a car knowing I'm beta testing it.

Exactly, it's why the only reliable thing in a GM truck is the engine. When you've been making the same basic design for 80+ years it's hard to get it wrong. 

 

then how do I keep getting berkeleyed?! :(

That's a question for your significant other. 

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
8/19/20 3:26 p.m.
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) said:

These are currently the mommy van of choice in my area for the under 45 family. Yes, in full TRD Pro kit. I'd say there will be deals in the future on lightly used ones, but there are never deals on 4-Runners.

4Runners, Tacos, Jeeps, and Subarus are the new upper-middle class vehicles of choice in the kid pickup line at school. My kids mom won't let me buy her a minivan (she list off her needs and I'm like yo an Odyssey fits that perfectly). She says vans are for soccer moms and I'm like "have you seen what soccer moms are driving these days?" 

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
8/19/20 3:35 p.m.

How much do they cost? Toyota trucks and SUV's are PRICY!

maj75 (Forum Supporter)
maj75 (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
8/19/20 4:20 p.m.

I love mine.  The suspension on the TRD Pro just works.  Most comfortable ride on rough roads of any vehicle I've been in.

z31maniac
z31maniac MegaDork
8/19/20 4:35 p.m.
yupididit said:

How much do they cost? Toyota trucks and SUV's are PRICY!

They start at $50k.

 

RyanGreener (Forum Supporter)
RyanGreener (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/19/20 5:00 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
ultraclyde (Forum Supporter) said:

These are currently the mommy van of choice in my area for the under 45 family. Yes, in full TRD Pro kit. I'd say there will be deals in the future on lightly used ones, but there are never deals on 4-Runners.

4Runners, Tacos, Jeeps, and Subarus are the new upper-middle class vehicles of choice in the kid pickup line at school. My kids mom won't let me buy her a minivan (she list off her needs and I'm like yo an Odyssey fits that perfectly). She says vans are for soccer moms and I'm like "have you seen what soccer moms are driving these days?" 

Interesting how things change over time. Can't wait to roll up in my minivan in the future, ahhaah.

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
8/19/20 5:02 p.m.
java230 said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

As someone who owned the previous generation of 4Runner and did not really like this new one when it came out it is really grown on me. I do wish they were offered with the V8 though, what should make them a better tow vehicle.

Agreed, If it had a different engine I would be in one vs the Tundra. The GX460 is the equivilent SUV with the V8 IMO

Wife has a GX, My 4Runner is in the shop getting supercharged, I think mine will be more fun :)

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
8/19/20 7:43 p.m.

In reply to Steve_Jones :

I love mine!!  These are both TRD Pro - white one is mine and a 2020, gray one is my brother's and is one or two years older.  I took the photo a few weeks ago while four wheelin' in Sedona.  It's my computer wallpaper and I have got a ton of compliments during our Teams meeting since I added it.

 

 

 

java230
java230 UberDork
8/19/20 8:06 p.m.
Steve_Jones said:
java230 said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

As someone who owned the previous generation of 4Runner and did not really like this new one when it came out it is really grown on me. I do wish they were offered with the V8 though, what should make them a better tow vehicle.

Agreed, If it had a different engine I would be in one vs the Tundra. The GX460 is the equivilent SUV with the V8 IMO

Wife has a GX, My 4Runner is in the shop getting supercharged, I think mine will be more fun :)

That's why I got the Tundra..... 5.7 wink

Steve_Jones
Steve_Jones HalfDork
8/19/20 8:20 p.m.

In reply to Scott_H :

Great photo. Love it. 

Carbon (Forum Supporter)
Carbon (Forum Supporter) UltraDork
8/19/20 9:22 p.m.
java230 said:
irish44j (Forum Supporter) said:

As someone who owned the previous generation of 4Runner and did not really like this new one when it came out it is really grown on me. I do wish they were offered with the V8 though, what should make them a better tow vehicle.

Agreed, If it had a different engine I would be in one vs the Tundra. The GX460 is the equivilent SUV with the V8 IMO

I went with the gx460, seemed like a no brainer. Better in every way and the same money on the used market. Guess the "look at my new lexus" crowd doesnt want to be seen in a pre facelift one, I like the non predator grille anyway thanks. 

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
8/20/20 9:53 a.m.

Doesn't the GX460 have some wonky air suspension in it, though?

java230
java230 UberDork
8/20/20 9:59 a.m.

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) :

Nope, coils in the rear. IIRC the 470 does.

Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter)
Brake_L8 (Forum Supporter) Reader
8/20/20 10:22 a.m.

I had a Limited to review earlier this year. I get the appeal but holy hell they are expensive.

Also towed a friend's FC RX-7 with it, on an open trailer, to see how it pulled. It's very slow with a trailer attached. 

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/20/20 10:37 a.m.

Would love to have any 5th Gen 4Runner but the Toyota Tax is too high! It's too bad that relegates most to mall duty.  The cheapest 2015+ 4runner still goes for $20,000+ even with extremely high mileage, are they that desirable?  What other vehicles offer the same experience as a 4Runner without the high price?

We ended up in an Xterra, then moved to a Pathfinder R51 V8 and it seems to offer most the capability of a 4Runner without the high price.  

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
8/20/20 11:33 a.m.

In reply to engiekev :

I don't know but I just drove down my street and realized theres 11 modern 4Runners on my street parked in the driveways. 

 

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/20/20 12:13 p.m.
yupididit said:

In reply to engiekev :

I don't know but I just drove down my street and realized theres 11 modern 4Runners on my street parked in the driveways. 

 

They clearly need the off-road chops for the trips to Whole Foods and Ikea. It's ironic because 4Runners are terrible on road compared to any modern CUV or SUV.  Here in MI you dont see as many 4Runners, but there are shiny clean Wranglers as far as you can see.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/20/20 12:31 p.m.
engiekev said:
It's ironic because 4Runners are terrible on road compared to any modern CUV or SUV.  

This was absolutely true for the last 4Runner I drove before this one. This 2020 model, though, was really, really good. I was a little shocked. They clearly did some fine tuning.

engiekev
engiekev Reader
8/20/20 12:36 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
engiekev said:
It's ironic because 4Runners are terrible on road compared to any modern CUV or SUV.  

This was absolutely true for the last 4Runner I drove before this one. This 2020 model, though, was really, really good. I was a little shocked. They clearly did some fine tuning.

Were you able to drive non TRD-Pro trims? I wonder how much the TRD suspension (are thse Bilstein or Fox shocks?) played into the ride quality, or if they really improved the base chassis that much.

JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
8/20/20 12:39 p.m.
engiekev said:
JG Pasterjak said:
engiekev said:
It's ironic because 4Runners are terrible on road compared to any modern CUV or SUV.  

This was absolutely true for the last 4Runner I drove before this one. This 2020 model, though, was really, really good. I was a little shocked. They clearly did some fine tuning.

Were you able to drive non TRD-Pro trims? I wonder how much the TRD suspension played into the ride quality, or if they really improved the base chassis that much.

Just the TRD Pro, which, as far as I can tell, only has a different shock package and spring rates. 

Previous 4Runners to me always felt like they had weird caster and ackerman issues. Like the steering changed ratio several times during movement, and had ZERO centering action. Whatever they did with this version fixes those issues dramatically.

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
8/20/20 12:52 p.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

I had a 2wd one as a rental.. same issues.. total trash ride.

yupididit
yupididit PowerDork
8/20/20 1:28 p.m.

In reply to engiekev :

To be fair, there's a weird number of Supras too.

collinskl1
collinskl1 Reader
8/20/20 1:32 p.m.

My wife has a '16 SR5, and loves it. She routinely comments about not wanting to drive a mom-mobile, but doesn't realize that most of the other 4Runner drivers around us have baby seats in the back.

I can't stand driving it. I don't care for the chassis dynamics - mainly the brake dive - and it lacks grunt as well. My daily driver F150 is no sports car by comparison, but I much prefer it.

Scott_H
Scott_H Reader
8/21/20 12:35 p.m.
java230 said:

In reply to Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) :

Nope, coils in the rear. IIRC the 470 does.

The rear of the GX460 has an optional air suspension.  It's one of the auto-leveling type.

java230
java230 UberDork
8/21/20 1:12 p.m.
JG Pasterjak said:
engiekev said:
JG Pasterjak said:
engiekev said:
It's ironic because 4Runners are terrible on road compared to any modern CUV or SUV.  

This was absolutely true for the last 4Runner I drove before this one. This 2020 model, though, was really, really good. I was a little shocked. They clearly did some fine tuning.

Were you able to drive non TRD-Pro trims? I wonder how much the TRD suspension played into the ride quality, or if they really improved the base chassis that much.

Just the TRD Pro, which, as far as I can tell, only has a different shock package and spring rates. 

Previous 4Runners to me always felt like they had weird caster and ackerman issues. Like the steering changed ratio several times during movement, and had ZERO centering action. Whatever they did with this version fixes those issues dramatically.

That's interesting as the previous 4th gen is exactly the same chassis/suspension.

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