A new Nightshade Special Edition appearance package is available for the 2019 Toyota 4Runner Limited model. (Manufacturer photo)

A new Nightshade Special Edition appearance package is available for the 2019 Toyota 4Runner Limited model. (Manufacturer photo)

Snowmageddon was no match for 2019 Toyota 4Runner SUV

Bring it on. With a 35-year history of rugged dependability, this true SUV can handle anything.

Last week as the Great Seattle Cataclysmic Snowstorm of 2019 got under way, I offered to drive other people anywhere they wanted to go, but not because I’m a nice person. I was inventing opportunities to drive my Toyota 4Runner all day and night.

The Toyota 4Runner has been around for 35 years as a serious SUV with body-on-frame construction (like a pickup) and suitable for extremely challenging road and trail conditions.

Nine 4Runner versions are available: SR5 4×2 or 4×4, SR5 Premium 4×2 or 4×4, TRD Off-Road 4×4, TRD Off-Road Premium 4×4, TRD Pro 4×4, and Limited 4×2 or 4×4.

For 2019, the TRD Pro model has an all-new suspension package with Fox Internal Bypass shock absorbers, a TRD roof rack, standard moonroof and JBL premium audio system, and an updated front skid plate with red TRD lettering.

Also new for 2019 is a Nightshade Special Edition appearance package for the Limited model. It includes 20-inch black wheels, black bumper and grille accents, and black interior accents.

My tester was the especially rugged TRD Pro 4×4 model. It comes with 17-inch black TRD alloy wheels, deeply grooved Nitto Terra Grappler tires, and a raised suspension for better ground clearance. Other specific features include black bumper accents, a distinctive grille, TRD shift knob, and TRD badging and accents inside and out.

The tester also sported Voodoo Blue, a bright and fantastic paint color exclusive to the TRD Pro Series models. Super White and Midnight Black are available for TRD Pro buyers who aren’t comfortable being outrageous.

Power comes from a 4.0-liter V6 producing 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard. Mentioning a zero to 60 time would be embarrassing but towing capacity is an ego-boosting 5,000 pounds.

EPA fuel economy ratings are 17 mpg city, 20 mpg highway, and 18 mpg combined.

The 4Runner TRD Pro’s new suspension is designed to provide precise compression damping (in other words, a smoother ride) at both high and low speeds. But I’m happy to report that the soul of 4Runner hasn’t been eradicated. There’s still enough bounce to feel like you’re driving something adventurous, which I suspect is something fans of the 4Runner love. I know I sure do.

A raft of mechanical equipment designed to ensure the 4Runner TRD Pro’s stability and momentum in the roughest circumstances is standard. So is Toyota’s Star Safety System, a suite of vehicle control systems used on all Toyotas.

There are enough comfort and convenience features inside the 4Runner TRD Pro to pass muster. Automatic dual climate control, power-adjustable front seats with heating and cooling, and a power operated rear window, for example. An Entune premium JBL audio system with navigation is standard, with a display screen not much bigger than a cellphone’s. The system is easy to use and has large knobs for controls.

On the 4Runner you won’t find all the sophisticated infotainment and connectivity technologies commonly seen on vehicles in its price range. The 4Runner is for people who aren’t looking for that stuff. If 4Runner were a shoe, it would probably be a clog. But as comedy writer Paula Pell once said, “Flirt like you’re not wearing clogs.”


Base price, including destination charge: $47,460

Price as driven: $47,460

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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