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2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Review: Still Kickin’

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road | Photo: D.Heyman
  • EPA Category: Midsize SUV
  • Price: 52950 $ - 68200 $
  • Consumption: 13,5 - 13,5 L/100km
  • Warranty: 3 years / 60000 km

strong / weak points

  • Honesty of operation
  • Formidable off-road chops
  • Cool looks – yes, even in orange

  • Antiquated powertrain
  • Snug rear seat, iffy front headroom
  • Loud
Results77 %
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Dan Heyman
With a brand-new 4Runner arriving soon, buyers must ask themselves: Go with the beloved old model, or take the leap into the new one?

•    Auto123 reviews the 2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road.

The Toyota 4Runner is a gem, and you don’t need us to tell you that. But the model is being replaced next year, and its Tacoma brethren has been given all sorts of new tech (including a new engine and transmission). So do buyers risk a little remorse if they to opt for the current model instead of waiting for its replacement? Will they regret doing the opposite? We set out in this bright orange (officially called “Solar”) TRD Off-Road model to see what’s what with the old girl.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, front
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, front |

Design of the 2024 Toyota 4Runner – 9.0/10

Does that rating seem high? Maybe so, but there is just something so darn appealing about the 4Runner’s butch curves, aggressive foglight surrounds, hood scoop (it’s for aesthetics only, but that’s OK in this context), contrast-colour lower bumper and roof spoiler.

This SUV is so delightfully tough and old-school and so proportionally correct and well detailed that you can fully understand why the styling hasn’t changed since about 2010.

Oh, and about that colour? We see you staring. Well, traffic cones are coloured the same way and there’s a good reason for that; they need to be seen. Even if it’s from the International Space Station. Lovely.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, interior
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, interior | Photo: D.Heyman
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, passenger seat
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, passenger seat | Photo: D.Heyman

Interior of the 2024 Toyota 4Runner – 7.5/10

Rare is it that you see a new-vehicle interior that looks quite as un-modern as this. Everywhere you look it’s broad panels, flared surfaces and chunky controls, from the wheel and its massive hub to the shift lever and its massive knob. Same goes for the climate control knobs, which look big enough to be adjusted while wearing the kind of gloves Homer Simpson wears to work.

The climate vents look smacked into the dash wherever the designers and engineers could fit them, and you can forget about digitization when it comes to the gauges. This thing has four old-school analogue gauges, and while there’s a small digital trip display nestled in there between what looks like a pair of small iron beams, I’m pretty sure my original Gameboy had better graphics.

And you know what? I love everything about it. It’s so refreshing to be able to step into a no-nonsense vehicle like this, bereft of distracting lights and retina-searing digital displays. So simple, so pure, so easy. Everything is where it should be – the climate controls, the volume and tuner dials. Even the way the window controls sit atop the window sill is so right on. That’s not something that can always be said, even in the off-road SUV segment in which the 4Runner competes.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, rear seating
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, rear seating | Photo: D.Heyman

So why the average grade for the interior? Well, put simply, it’s a space thing. There just isn’t that much of it, especially in the back seats. It looks like there should be oodles of headroom but that’s not especially so. Much of the running gear has to be jammed up into the cabin in order to provide the ride height required by vehicles like this, so the seating position is high and even more so in the back.

There’s also a three-row version, by the way. Our tester didn’t offer that but having sampled a model so equipped before, my advice to you is thus: if you want a three-row Toyota SUV, buy a Highlander.

The rear cargo area may not be deep but the 40/20/40 split folding rear seats are great to have, as you don’t have to sacrifice an entire outboard seat to fit in longer items.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, multimedia screen
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, multimedia screen | Photo: D.Heyman
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, instrument cluster
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, instrument cluster | Photo: D.Heyman

Technology in the 2024 Toyota 4Runner – 7.0/10

When it comes to tech, well, there is some but for 2024, it really is the bare minimum. We mentioned the small-ish central display but that doesn’t bother as much as the fact that the 4Runner gets Toyota’s previous-gen OS with its dull graphics and less-responsive touchscreen – and you can even choose from a whole three different colour options! And there are USB-C ports both front and back! There is also wired Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but having sampled Toyota’s latest system it’s the one thing I won’t mind seeing arrive when the next gen model arrives.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, profile
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, profile | Photo: D.Heyman

Driving the 2024 Toyota 4Runner – 8.0/10

This is where, on paper, it should all start to go sideways for the 4Runner. After all, its 4.0L V6 makes 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque and that’s fine, but its mated to a properly ancient tractor-spec 5-speed automatic transmission. 5 speeds! In 2024! Needless to say, this is not the most athletic feeling of boxes. It does get a manual mode, though, as well as a two-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential in TRD Off-Road spec and in the TRD Pro model.

But even though it drives in, shall we say, an agricultural manner in terms of ride, that’s one of the many things folks like about the 4Runner. There are no illusions here – the SUV knows its place and while it may not drive smoothly over railroad crossings, it feels virtually unstoppable.

You get the feeling that snow, mud, sand or even rock climbing won’t cause it many problems. It has various terrain modes and even a crawl control system to help things along as the goings get muddier, more slippery or steeper. It’s so robust you wonder why the Pro model even exists. That said, there are plenty of folks who appreciate that version’s more off-roady add-ons such as underbody bash plates, more hardcore tires and so forth.

For the everyday user, however, what’s on offer here from the TRD Off-Road is right on. As you sit high in your seat, looking out over that big hood bulge and chonky fenders, you just get the feeling that you’re always in the right place at the right time. Unless you’re tall, and sitting in the back seat.

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, three-quarters rear
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, three-quarters rear | Photo: D.Heyman

Some of your questions about the 2024 Toyota 4Runner

Are there any other engine or drivetrain choices with the 2024 4Runner?
Unfortunately, no. The 4.0L V6 with 5-speed auto transmission is your only choice.

How does the 2024 Toyota 4Runner tow?
You can tow up to 2,267 kg (5,000 lb) depending on spec.

The final word
There will be sadness in the air when the new 4Runner comes, equipped with a hybrid option, all sorts of very advanced tech and electronic doo-dads. While it will be nice to have Toyota’s new infotainment system along for the ride, losing the analog goodness that makes this current model so refreshing is a bit of a shame. It will still be a great truck, but also a more mainstream truck, and that’s too bad.

Competitors of the 2024 Toyota 4Runner

Ford Bronco 4-door
Jeep Wrangler Unlimited
Land Rover Defender

2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, rear
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, rear | Photo: D.Heyman
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, engine
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, engine | Photo: D.Heyman
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, shifting lever
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, shifting lever | Photo: D.Heyman
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, three-quarters front
2024 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, three-quarters front | Photo: D.Heyman
Dan Heyman
Dan Heyman
Automotive expert
  • Over 12 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 70 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 150 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists