2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium, the down and dirty.

It would be safe to say that most of us have a fond memory about the Toyota 4Runner.  As I prepared for this review, I started thinking about my experiences with the 4Runner; it wasn’t hard to recall a plethora of 4Runner memories.

Back in the late 80s I lived in Huntington Beach, just a few blocks from the Ocean.  In those days I lived for surfing, rock climbing and off-road dirt bikes. No matter where I went; Baja, Rincon, Joshua Tree or Yosemite Valley- I would always find the 4Runners and their owners; fellow adventurist and outdoors-persons having fun, like me.  The bearish guy that lived up the street from me got a red one with black trim, those big Smittybilt bumpers.  It was the coolest looking ride on the block, and I was so envious as it was the perfect delivery vehicle for all my outdoor activities.  You have them too, those memories of the Toyota 4Runner, and chances are you have a little smirky grin on your face as well.  No big secret here, because weather at the beach, or up in the mountains, the deserts or everywhere in between – the 4runner got there & back safely and in style.

The 2018 Off-Road Premium combines a true truck-based SUV, an original body-on-frame – which makes it out perform competitors like the Subaru Accent, Acura MDX & Jeep Wrangler in off-road capability. With features like the Multi-Terrain Select System and Crawl Control, Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension & Sport Enhancement Suspension, and full-time four-wheel drive with Active Traction Control.

TRD Enhancement also includes roof rack crossbars, all-weather floor liners and a sliding cargo tray.  17-inch matte gray alloy wheels and a TRD front skid plate, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, driver’s seat memory, ventilated & heated front seats, and a power-operated passenger seat so your Cub can play with the settings, as well as dual-zone climate control.

Very little has changed under the hood of the 4Runner. The standard 270-hp, 4.0-liter V-6 engine, which is my biggest gripe, under performance.  At least the transmission features a manual shift mode, making it easy to find a lower gear to keep the engine closer to its 4400-rpm torque peak, where you’ll find 278 lb-ft of twist. The V-6 is rather gruff at those higher revs, but it’s a truck—some gruffness should be expected, nah – required!

The Off-Road Premium includes 17-inch black alloy wheels with the TRD logo and knobby 31.5-inch, A/T tires along with Bilstein shocks. The taller springs not only give it an inch more ground clearance but a wider stance that exudes bear confidence and looks so sexy.  With bling too, like the trim, badges, skid-plates and grille with classic T O Y O T A font.

The JBL audio system is nice but the Entune infotainment system with a seemingly small 6.1-inch touchscreen and rearview camera which uses the multi-information display making it somewhat hard to see.  Sadly, you won’t find Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, I was thankfully to have Bluetooth connectivity. Also, Keyless entry, 40/20/40 split-folding rear seats, and a power liftgate.

Although it is comfortable enough to drive to work every day the fuel economy is not all that great, somewhat under-powered and can’t tow much.  If you are an off-roader, a mudder, an expedition kind of person; as in – take it on a road trip to South America, the 2018 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium is capable off-road fun with safety and style.  Here’s mud in your eye.

Vehicle provided by The Drive Shop / Toyota Motor Sales, USA for the purposes of this review.

David Beardsley or Dave Bear is Bear World Magazine’s Motoring Editor. He is a true power and speed enthusiast. He was a successful IT Professional and worked as content writer for Microsoft’s Customer Experience Project, in the Information Services & Technology Department for Apple Computer and in eBay’s Network Operations Center. A published author and subject matter expert in several fields including both hardware and software.


Model: 2018 Toyota 4Runner Off Road Premium
Seating capacity: 5/7
MSRP: From $39,995
MPG: 17 city / 20 highway
Towing capacity: 5,000 lbs
Wheel size: 17″ diameter, 7.5″ width
Horsepower: 270 hp
Curb weight: 4,750 lbs