The new 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro sporting the exclusive “Quicksand” color.
Up here in New Hampshire’s Northern Territory many of us find ourselves braving the roads less traveled. Sometimes for reasons of outdoor recreation and other times because the roads have yet to be plowed. So, no matter how you slice it, it pays to have something, not only reliable, but capable. In today’s marketplace there are a myriad of different all-wheel drive and four-wheel drive SUVs. Making the right choice should capture the essence of your lifestyle, hobbies, personal preferences and day to day responsibilities.
This was the very mindset I had when my wife and I purchased our very first vehicle together, a Toyota 4Runner SR5 in a previously enjoyed condition … that means ‘used’. Regardless of its age and mileage it became a favorite or ours right away. It took us through the mud season of spring, the off road fun of summer, the beauty of fall backroads and trails, the worst of winter, even the Mt. Washington Auto road, and of course work and back.
Recently I had the privilege of test driving the new, for 2016, Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. At first glance I was excited; I loved the off road rugged nature of its body design, the Matte finish 17 inch rims, the ground clearance at a generous 9.6 inches, and the new exclusive color “Quicksand” just screamed drive me “where the tar don’t shine!” …. Calming down a bit, I got serious to see for myself how this 4Runner would run and measure up! So, running ‘stag’ that day (without wife or kids), I jumped in. It was comfortable and roomy with good head space and room for 5 plus the back for gear, or even more gear than people with the ‘fold flat’ rear seating down. The interior design completed the rugged persona of the exterior, and the interior system controls were simple, large, and conveniently placed. The 110V receptacle in the rear compartment and lift gate mounted speakers conjured up thoughts of tailgate parties or a fantastic picnic/camping trip while out and away from it all. Powering down the road, I found the acceleration to be effective, not overpowering, but not underpowered either, so traveling down the road was pleasant to say the least. BUT this 4Runner was a TRD Pro model so even while gliding along the pleasantries of a smooth highway, it gave the feeling that it was meant for much more.
TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development, and in the case of this 4Runner, Toyota‘s engineering becomes most noticeable off road. While trailside, the TRD suspension was comfortable and proved to have effective pitch and roll support over uneven ground, while allowing the wheels to travel a great deal up and down so as to provide as much traction as possible to the tires while braving adverse terrain. Included functions in this TRD Pro package, such as the locking rear differential, multi terrain selector, and crawl controls, allowed me to customize the effectiveness of the vehicle to all manners of terrain and conditions. The 2016 4Runner was a lot of fun to drive on and off the beaten path and, as I pulled into the drive at my humble abode, I realized Toyota had taken what was once a great all around SUV and made it a whole lot better … that, and I needed to go to the car wash.
Nuts and Bolts:
The 2016 4Runner is base priced at $33,810 MSRP and is estimated to get 17-22 MPG. All models are equipped with a 4.0 liter 24 valve aluminum head, aluminum block 6 cylinder engine that produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound feet of torque which is mated to a 5 speed ECT automatic transmission. It seems like good engineering and well thought out to me. Worth checking out for yourself at www.toyota.com.