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2018 Toyota 4Runner

Don’t call it a comeback—the 4Runner’s been here for years. And you’d know it to look at the thing, with its burly, last-decade styling, its big, naturally aspirated V-6, and a transmission with an improbably low number of gears (five) for something that shares the road with the likes of the Tesla Model S. The 4Runner is purpose-built for off-roading, and it’s so numb and wandering on paved surfaces that it’s best for drivers who spend much of their time off the beaten path. There, buyers may be glad of its plastic-laden interior because it’ll be easy to clean when mud inevitably makes its way inside. The 4Runner is missing plenty of modern creature comforts and doesn’t have the comprehensive active safety tech that’s standard in so many other Toyotas, but it’s outfitted for rock crawling and dirt-track cruising like nothing else this side of a Jeep Wrangler.

What’s New for 2018?

Cavalry Blue and Midnight Black Metallic are new paint options this year, a third exterior color (Super White) is now available across the full lineup as opposed to only on TRD Pro models, and two new equipment packages join the fun for 2018, but otherwise the 4Runner carries on unchanged.

What Was New for 2017?

The 4Runner underwent a facelift in 2014, and little has changed since then. Modifications for 2017 included a rebadging of the Trail and Trail Premium trims to TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium. That update included TRD-specific floor mats, red TRD badging on the front seat headrests (in the Premium), and a mock carbon-fiber center-console inlay. Three new colors for the TRD Pro Series—an even more off-road-specific variant—were also introduced: Cement, Barcelona Red, and Super White.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Choosing one of the 4Runner’s off-road-oriented trims is a no-brainer, as it falls short of the competition in nearly every other metric. We’d choose the mid-level TRD Off-Road Premium ($40,490) for the best mix of off-road chops and creature comforts. Standard features include:

  • Part-time four-wheel drive with Active Traction Control
  • Heated leatherette front seats with lumbar support
  • Locking rear differential with crawl mode

Toyota’s Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS), which increases suspension travel at low speeds, can improve stability on rocky terrain. Other notable options include a sliding rear cargo deck, a power sunroof, and running boards, all of which can be bundled in various configurations.