For many years, the Toyota 4Runner has been one of the leading names in off-road SUV design and functionality, and that reputation is well-earned. The 4Runner is clearly designed to travel off the road and handle just about any rough conditions a person might reasonably (or even unreasonably) want to drive through. Even though the current generation of 4Runners has been going for a while now, the 2019 Toyota 4Runner still has a few tricks up its sleeve.
At its heart, the 4Runner has an excellent design for off-road driving, from the engine to the suspension, and there are numerous options available to make it your own. The trim levels available from Toyota are perfect for narrowing down just the right kind of off-road SUV you’re looking for. Driving off-road in 2019 is about more than just having the right tires to tackle the job; it’s about exploring the world and having an adventure. That is why it is so great to see a lot of luxury and comfort options available, along with solid safety features, to create an overall off-road-worthy package.
Let’s Talk Engine
There is only one engine available for the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, which is a bit of a disappointment so we might as well just rip that bandage off quickly. Personally, I like having a lot of choices, and I like seeing impressive SUVs like the 4Runner get more powerful engine options at higher trim levels. So for me, the single engine option is unfortunate and one area I would love to see Toyota improve upon with the 4Runner.
With that in mind, we should take a look at the engine the 4Runner comes with. The bad news may be a lack of options, but the good news is that the one engine you can get with the 2019 Toyota 4Runner is still quite good. It is a 4.0L V6 set up with a 5-speed automatic transmission and part-time 4WD, which provides up to 270hp and 278 lb.-ft. of torque. For the standard SR5 and SR5 Premium trim levels you can choose the same engine with a standard 2WD setup, but otherwise, this single option is available for all other trims.
It’s a nice big engine and plenty powerful for most tasks, but it would be great to see a dedicated 4WD and perhaps an option for a manual transmission. Driving off-road is often about having total control over your vehicle. While it can be helpful for an automatic transmission to reduce the number of actions you have to take at any given time, there are certainly some drivers out there who demand an automatic and total 4WD in their off-road vehicles.
Trim Levels and Models
While Toyota only has one engine option with the 2019 4Runner, the good news is that there are quite a few trim levels to choose from, so you can still customize it quite a bit. The SR5 is the standard trim level and can be considered baseline for most of the options and features. It includes standard air conditioning with second-row vents, fabric seats, a power rear liftgate, and a 6-inch touchscreen Infotainment center.
The next step up is the 2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium, which is mostly similar to the SR5 but includes some noteworthy upgrades. You get SofTex trimmed seats for greater durability, as well as an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The SR5 Premium also has a 6-inch touchscreen Infotainment center, but it includes Navigation and HD Radio functionality.
Similar to the SR5 and its Premium version, there is also a TRD Off-Road trim and TRD Off-Road Premium. The TRD Off-Road has fabric seats and similar interior features to the SR5 but includes off-road features like interior controls for CRAWL, which is Toyota’s off-road system. Similarly, the TRD Off-Road Premium trim includes an auto-dimming rearview mirror and included Navigation, while also featuring the CRAWL system and other off-road features.
Finally, there is the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, which includes more luxury features and still has all the impressive aspects of the TRD line. This includes an entertainment setup with JBL speakers and integrated Navigation, along with SofTex trimmed seats and a refined interior. The TRD Pro also includes a power tilt and slide moonroof with a sunshade, along with high-performance shocks and front springs designed for off-road driving.
There are a number of optional packages available for the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, depending on the trim level you are looking at. For the most part, you get more optional packages at lower trims, since higher trims include more of these features as standard. For the 4Runner SR5, for example, you can upgrade to a premium audio system with Navigation, add running boards, and upgrade to a fabric-trimmed fold-flat third-row seat for better overall storage capacity.
The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road, on the other hand, has a similar option for premium audio with Navigation and running boards. There is also an option that includes upgraded audio with Navigation and a Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System for improved performance and handling when driving off-road in rough terrain. This system adjusts suspension automatically to help with wheel articulation and improve traction in uneven settings.
With a lot of vehicles, many safety features are part of the trim levels and optional packages, which means the baseline model often lacks compared to the more impressive one. There are no such options with the 4Runner – what you get in the SR5 is the same as what you get with the more expensive TRD Pro. It’s nice to see safety features not treated as luxury options.
The only downside, however, to this design is that there are some features I would really like to see, which are completely missing. Front and rear park assist, lane change alert, and similar safety alerts are all lacking in the 2019 Toyota 4Runner.
The 4Runner does include driver and front passenger airbags, vehicle stability and traction control, and smart stop technology. There is a rearview camera, which is required for all new vehicles, and daytime running lights that include a manual on/off option. The 4Runner also includes a tire pressure monitor system and roll-sensing side curtain airbags.
There is a lot to like about the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, but also a few things to keep in mind when looking at this SUV and other options out there. The lack of engine choices is something that just bugs me – but if the engine is perfect for what you need, then that’s not exactly a problem. On the other hand, there are quite a few different trim levels to choose from, for both off-road fans and those who plan to stick to city streets, which is great for everyone.
Perhaps my biggest complaint is a lack of some of the more advanced safety features found on similar vehicles hitting the road this year. A lot of drivers might not like extra alerts and sounds that warn about possible collisions or drifting into another lane, but those things can help prevent accidents and save lives. Safe drivers might not get much use from them – but when someone nearly merges into me in traffic, I can’t help but wish they had something on their end to protect me. Even without these features, however, the 4Runner still packs a lot to keep the driver and passengers safe, which is great to see.