The increasingly iconic Toyota 4Runner soldiers into its ninth year without a full redesign. A typical car or crossover is redesigned after six. Frankly, the 4Runner was never a bastion of modernity, as its truck-based structure and interior design result in comfort, refinement and efficiency compromises that always stood in contrast to similarly priced and sized crossovers.
That’s still the case with the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, but its interior design and technology have only fallen further behind the times, while its handling, noise and overall comfort are worse than what you’d get in a midsize crossover like the Honda Passport or Toyota’s own Highlander. Its fuel economy is comparatively abysmal.
What’s new with 4Runner for 2019?
The TRD Pro trim level is upgraded. It gets Fox shocks, a new skid plate and a bulky roof rack similar to the one once available on the FJ Cruiser (its classic Voodoo Blue paint also makes its first appearance on the 4Runner TRD Pro, pictured above). A sunroof and JBL sounds system are also now standard, but the price rises by a somewhat questionable $4,000. Elsewhere in the lineup, the 4Runner Limited is offered in a new Nightshade Edition that consists of a bunch of blacked-out exterior trim.
What’s the 4Runner’s interior and in-car technology like?
Quick answer: behind the times. The 4Runner’s design is dated and excessively utilitarian at a time when most vehicles, including the new Jeep Wrangler, are increasingly refined and characterful. The materials are also on the hard and cheap side, especially compared to the similarly priced Jeep Grand Cherokee, while the various knobs and buttons are from at least two Toyota generations ago. For instance, pushing down on the turn signal produces only one blink, unlike the three-blink set up of virtually every other car.
How big is 4Runner?
Truck-based SUVs are typically smaller inside than crossovers with less useful cargo areas and lofty load heights. That’s not the case with the 4Runner. Its cargo area floor is actually quite low, while the space beyond is big, boxy and a whopping 47.2 cubic feet.
Maximum cargo capacity with the back seat lowered is 89.7 cubic feet, which rivals many three-row crossovers (the Highlander has only 83.7) and surpasses a Jeep Grand Cherokee (68.3).
What’s 4Runner’s safety equipment and crash ratings?
While standard accident avoidance tech is the norm for Toyota vehicles, the 4Runner is the exception. Forward collision warning, lane-keeping, etc., are not available at all. You do get the typical airbags, plus front knee airbags and a rearview camera.