2018 Toyota 4Runner

The 2018 Toyota 4Runner gets a new Wilderness Package and TRD Enhancement Package for its 34th birthday. What consumers get is a rugged off-road SUV that can haul the family as well as the boat. The 4Runner can tow up to 5,000 pounds with its 270-horsepower V6.

The 2018 4Runner comes in SR5, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, TRD Pro and Limited trims. Our test vehicle for the week was the TRD Off-Road Premium with an MSRP of $39,495.

The new Wilderness Package adds roof rack crossbars, all-weather floor liners and a cargo tray, while the TRD Enhancement Package adds 17-inch matte gray alloy wheels and an aluminum front skid plate. The 4Runner’s ground clearance is already a tall 9.6 inches, giving this body-on-frame SUV the ability to get to some off-the-beaten-path destinations.

The 2018 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that develops 270 horsepower and sends 278 lb.-ft. of torque to the rear wheels. The transmission is a 5-speed automatic. Part-time 4WD with a 2-speed transfer case is available, and the Limited trim can get full-time 4WD with a locking center differential. The 4Runner gets standard hill-start assist for steep inclines, and the top trims get downhill assist control. The Off-Road and TRD Pro models also get Toyota’s Crawl Control, which is sort of like low-speed cruise control for off-roading.

While the 4Runner has off-road chops, it’s no slouch inside the cabin. My test 4Runner had comfortable SofTex power heated front seats and a roomy cabin for five. Cargo space was a generous 47.2 cubic feet with the second-row seats in place. Fold Row 2 down and cargo space jumps to 89.7 cubic feet. Or, you can opt for a 50/50 split third row in SR5 and Limited trims, increasing the 4Runner’s passenger capacity to seven. Row 3 folds flat if you need the cargo space.

With the summer we’ve been having, a good air-conditioning system is also important, and the 4Runner has one. We tossed the grandkids in the back for a road trip to Houston for the weekend, and with the 4Runner’s rear seat vents everyone stayed cool even in Texas’ 100-plus degree heat.

My test vehicle didn’t have the third row but did have an available pull-out cargo deck that can carry up to 440 pounds, making loading and unloading heavy items much easier. Or, when football finally starts this fall, the deck can be used as a tailgating seat. The 4Runner also has as a standard 120v outlet and two 12v outlets.

Connectivity in the 4Runner is via Toyota’s Entune Multimedia System, which offers different options depending on the trim you select. SR5 and TRD Off-Road trims get Entune Audio Plus with 6.1-inch touchscreen and a navigation app. Included are USB ports, voice recognition, hands-free phone and music streaming via Bluetooth.

The premium and pro trims add Siri Eyes Free technology, and the Limited trim adds JBL Audio with integrated navigation. All 4Runners come with a standard backup camera.

When it comes to safety, the 2018 4Runner gets the top “good” marks in most tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The vehicle was rated “marginal” in the difficult “small overlap front” crash test for the driver’s side. The IIHS also dinged the 4Runner for its “poor” headlights.

The 4Runner gets Toyota’s Star Safety System that includes all the required stability and traction control systems, plus anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Eight airbags – including side airbags, side airbags, a driver’s knee airbag and roll-sensing all-row side curtains – are standard.

If you’re looking for a capable and comfortable SUV with off-road capability, take a look at the 2018 Toyota 4Runner. There’s a reason it’s been around for more than three decades.

2018 Toyota 4Runner

Engine:

4.0-liter V6

Horsepower/Torque:

270/278 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

5-speed automatic

Price:

$39,495 ($42,690 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

17 mpg city/20 mpg highway/18 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

460 miles