The Toyota 4Runner has been a mainstay of Toyota’s lineup for over three decades. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner is the fifth generation of the vehicle. It is a true off road vehicle and can handle a lot of extreme activity.
The 4Runner remains one of the few SUVs today that offers a body-on-frame construction. It is an SUV specifically designed to handle the rough terrain. However, it still performs admirably when used for day-to-day activities. I recently had the privilege to test drive this impressive piece of engineering. Here is my experience with the 4Runner 4X4 Trail Special Edition.
One of the first things I noticed about the SUV was the aggressive exterior look, which many off-road enthusiasts appreciate. It’s got a masculine appearance and looks like it’s ready for adventure. The interior is comfortable and with the Trail Special Edition Package you get a lot of great extras. I also like the overall height of the vehicle. Visibility of the road is great.
I also enjoyed the standard convenience features, such as the power-sliding liftgate window. For those that opt for the upscale version, the car comes with heated and ventilated front seats, dual-zone automatic AC, leather upholstery, and push-button start.
The 4 Runner has a 4.0 Liter V6 with enough power to tow 5,000. There is plenty of ground clearance and you have higher visibility. During cornering, the 4Runner is quick and stable, considering that it is a truck-based SUV. For those who love off-roading, you will love this SUV. The 4Runner felt completely in its element when I went off-road. I noticed many useful features that helped with this. For instance, it comes with high ground clearance, a multi-mode 4WD system, and special TRD features. All these features came together to ensure a stress-free driving on rocky trails.
The interior of the 4Runner is quite spacious, and there is a lot of room in the rear seat. In the cargo area, you get 46 cubic feet of space. Additionally, a slide-out deck comes as standard, which is great for loading and tailgate seating. To get more cargo space, fold the rear seats flat to get a total of 89 cubic feet of space!
A good word to describe the interior is utilitarian. The knobs are huge and bulky, which makes it easy to use when wearing gloves. Another noteworthy feature is the off-road controls, which are conveniently situated on a headline above the rearview mirror. The cup holders are also staggered, and the door pockets are large enough to accommodate all your personal carry-on items. Toyota even decided to add a built-in tissue box holder on the inside lid of the center console.
Runner’s trail-ready toughness and cutting-edge style have made it an off-road iconI had a chance to test drive the Trail Special Edition which has some great options. The Yakima Loadwarrior Cargo Basket has a good design and comes in handy for trips, camping or all your off-roading needs. There have been some minor changes and tweaks in the exterior design of the 4Runner since it was first released a decade ago.
Engine / Powertrain
Under the hood, the Toyota 4Runner features a powerful 4-liter V6 engine that can generate up to 270 HP and a torque of 278 lb/ft. In the Trail Special Edition that I had an opportunity to test-drive, there is a part-time All-Wheel Drive system. In all trims, the powertrain is mated to a 5-speed automatic transmission with low-range gearing provided in the AWD versions. MPG is what you would expect with the power but not bad overall at 16 MPG City, 19 HWY MPG and 17 MPG combined.
The Toyota active system TSS-P comes as standard on all variants. It is an advanced suite of driver-assist technology that includes the Pre-Collision System fitted with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Alert, with Automatic High Beam, Sway Warning System, and High-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control.
Trail Special Edition Package
Here are the awesome options that come with the Trail Special Edition. 17-in. dark gray alloy wheels with P265/70R17 tires. The sliding rear cargo tray may not sound like a big deal until you have something heavy to put in the back. It can support up to 440 lbs, and makes loading and unloading a lot easier. It comes with a 40QT removable cooler with tie downs which really goes well with the 4Runner driver lifestyle. Nice all weather floor liners and the Yakima LoadWarrior Cargo basket round off the package. There are also black badge overlays that compliment the look and feel.
After test-driving the 2021 Toyota 4Runner Trail Special Edition, my conclusion is that it is a great off road vehicle and it’s fun to drive. It is an excellent choice if you love spending time in the great outdoors. It looks great from the outside, and you can climb any rugged terrain.
Starting at MSRP $38,740
MSRP $49,765 as tested