By Asian Journal Auto Editor

2017 toyota-runner-trd-proFor 2017, the Toyota 4Runner arrives in a number of different variants – base, SR5, TRD Off-Road, TRD Pro and Limited trim levels. Difference are related to trim, interior and exterior equipment and Four-wheel drive systems although there is only one engine choice – a 4.0-liter V-6 rated at 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Transmission is via the 4Runner’s 5-speed automatic transmission with on demand 4WD.  The base, SR5, and TRD gets a part-time system with manual transfer case. The hard-core TRD PRO does however use a locking rear differential and a multi-terrain management system with ultra-low speed crawl-control.

We tested a wonderful looking classic silver metallic painted 2017 4Runner equipped with the extra cost  TRD Off Road package ($1,920) comprising:  Lever type gears selector for the CRAWL multi terrain select, Rear differential Lock, Automatic disconnecting axles, Kinetics Dynamic  suspension System, off road style wheels with P265/70R17 tires, TRD logo on front headrests, black seats with red stitching, Optitron dash gauges, hood scoop, TRD Off-Road badges, and a host of other details, such as black roof rails, Optitron gauges, Softex-upholstered seats and disconnecting anti-roll bars. The TRD Off-Road does not come with third-row seating.

The interior of the 4Runner’s is accessed by a high step, but a running board eases egress and exit. The cabin has a chunky attractive in a more macho, masculine style. There are logically arranged off-road switches and knobs in a neat square –dominated design theme. There is an overhead console, and steering wheel controls access audio and Bluetooth functions. With the square, almost upright windshield giving a commanding view it feels like a traditional retro SUV, but with all the modern creature comforts. The comfortable seats are available in either of cloth, synthetic leather, and genuine leather trims on the Limited model. The 4Runner’s second row is roomy with a backrest that adjusts 16 degrees for rake. The second row folds also folds easily with somewhat tight access to the smallish optional third row. Meanwhile the cargo area on the 5-seat models offer a handy slide-out loading compartment. There is no power tailgate, but the rear window rolls down at the press of a button juts like it always has! A pretty cool feature if you need to quickly throw something in the back or have some long object to carry.

On the road, the 4Runner’s ladder frame chassis tied to coil spring independent front/solid axle rear suspension setup suspension is far superior off- road than on- road in my opinion. While the TRD Off-Road models offer as an option a sophisticated Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System that uses hydraulics to either  tighten or loosen the suspension system for on or off-road performance. On road performance is a little jiggly- nothing new here! The 4Runner has a tow rating of 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs), with fuel economy at 14.2 L/100 km city and 11.1 highway. As usual the basic safety package is very good, with stability control, anti-lock brakes and eight airbags including front knee airbags. A rearview camera is standard across the line, as is Toyota’s concierge-style Safety Connect system that can automatically call police if the airbags are deployed. All in all, the current generation Toyota 4Runner represents a very compelling package if a no-nonsense traditional SUV with excellent off road performance is what you need. Legendary durability and stellar resale value is included, and you can expect the 4Runner to just keep on going for ever. Highly recommended.

2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road package Base MRSP $44,800 Price as tested with options, Federal tax, freight and PDI  $48,608