Toyota’s 2017 4Runner TRD Off-Road can handle anything you throw at it

The Toyota 4Runner is a dinosaur, a truck-like body-on-frame SUV in a world of car-based crossovers. That means the 4Runner is no longer the big seller it once was, but it also means this Toyota is pretty good off road.

Toyota is highlighting those off-road capabilities with the new 2017 TRD Off-Road model. It basically replaces last year’s Trail model, and slots in below the more hardcore TRD Pro in the 4Runner lineup. TRD, by the way, stands for Toyota Racing Development. That’s Toyota’s motorsport division, and it has many off-road race victories to its credit.

Like most modern off-roaders, the 4Runner TRD Off-Road gets many gadgets to help drivers negotiate tough terrain. The Multi-Terrain Select system allows the driver to adjust the vehicle’s behavior for different conditions using a knob on the dashboard. An electronic-locking rear differential helps manage power, and Toyota’s Crawl Control system helps manage speed. It works like low-speed cruise control, maintaining a constant speed without the driver having to touch the throttle or brakes.

An optional Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) enhances the 4Runner’s sure-footedness. On pavement, it restrains body roll for better handling. Off road, it allows extra wheel travel to help the 4Runner climb over obstacles, rather than smash into them. KDSS also controls wheel slip, allowing more where it is advantageous, and less where it isn’t.

Toyota will offer the 4Runner TRD Off-Road in both standard and Premium trim levels. Both versions are distinguished by black-trimmed wheels and “TRD Off-Road” badges on the C-pillars. Interior changes include fake carbon fiber trim on the center console, and floor mats with the “TRD Off-Road” badge. Premium models get the same badge stitched into front headrests as well.

The TRD Off-Road uses the same powertrain as every other 4Runner model. A 4.0-liter V6 produces 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, which is sent to all four wheels through a five-speed automatic transmission. The 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road goes on sale later this year; pricing will be announced closer to the on-sale date.


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