Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO – New Color and Entune Audio Upgrades

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Armed with a new color and upgraded Entune audio features, the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO once again proves it is quite capable off the beaten path and on it. While I still hope for more powertrain performance, it is hard to deny the appeal of the body-on-frame SUV.

Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

The new Quicksand color may look awful at an auto show, but it shines outside.

I’m happy to say, I’ve driven every model year of Toyota 4Runners since the 2014 model came out with its facelift of new exterior and interior styling upgrades. Over the years, I’ve driven every trim level of 4Runner: SR5, Limited, Trail and TRD PRO. Each of these trims truly offers a different flavor of the SUV and it isn’t just a cosmetic touch here and there.

Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

The TRD PRO grille gives it quite the different look compared to stock models.

The TRD PRO is especially a different kind of 4Runner with its l7″ tires, skid plate, 1.5” lift for the front of the vehicle, 1” of additional wheel travel and blacked-out TRD badging. Incidentally, I drove this SUV to the Denver Auto Show. While pulling into a parking spot downtown, I spotted a white TRD PRO 4Runner with the dealer tag on it. Why bring this up? Because the new owner had already de-badged the 4Runner. No license plates yet, but no badges either!

While some of the changes above are cosmetic, the others are performance. I’ve had the opportunity to go really fast (don’t tell the police) on a variety of surfaces like dirt roads, muddy fields and highways. In all cases, the Bilstein shocks deliver a smooth ride – one I would argue is better than the stock. While at the Denver auto show, I had the opportunity to chat with a Toyota product trainer on this very question and he agreed, the TRD PRO versions simply out perform the stock models for road comfort.

Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

Over the years, I’ve become accustomed to the exterior style, yet the interior still feels crowded.

Back to this generation of TRD PRO. When I first started driving the 4Runner the sharp edges of the exterior styling were off putting and the interior layout felt cramped. Over time, I’ve gotten accustomed to the exterior styling, however, the interior styling still feels a bit cramped. Look, I love the big knobs. But, they can dominate the center console.

Also, I really, REALLY wish Toyota would add their excellent TRD exhaust to this package. In fact, if I were to buy one, I wouldn’t take it home without it installed. When you drive the TRD PRO Tundra with the exhaust, it simply changes the way you feel about the powertrain.

Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

Once up to speed, the 4.0L V6 is up to the task, yet a more fun to drive powertrain would be a great addition.

Speaking of the powertrain, it is still the 4.0L V6 mated to a 5-speed manual returning 17/21/18 city/highway/combined. And still leaves something to be desired.

I’m starting to wonder at what upcoming show, we will see changes to the 4Runner. As many have pointed out on this site, it is ready for a full re-do or another major facelift. I haven’t heard anything official, but it is time.

In the meantime, the 4Runner TRD PRO is simply awesome. Sure, it has a high step-in height and can be a bit cumbersome to access the very edge of the rear storage for vertically-challenged men like me, but the ground clearance gained is worth the sacrifice. Besides, the rear cargo area featured an optional sliding rear cargo deck that brought things to me as well as added under floor storage below it – a neat addition.

Finally, like with the TRD PRO, the Quicksand color looked terrible to me at auto shows and awesome against my background. This color is sure to be a winner for attracting a younger or off-road enthusiast buyer. It also hides the dirt really well.

Review: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO

Always seemingly ready for an adventure, the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO is really a great off-road vehicle option.

If you are looking for a no-nonsense body-on-frame SUV that can literally tear up the dirt, the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO is really, really good. Check it out.

Model: 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO
Engine: 4.0L V6
Transmission: 5-speed auto
Fuel Economy: 17/21/18 city/highway/combined

  • Sliding Rear Cargo Deck – $350

Price as Tested: $42,800 with $900 Delivery, processing and handling fee

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  1. Breathing borla says:

    pretty cool,

    needs a V8 and it’s too tight inside for me

    but cool none the less

  2. DJ says:

    TRD Pro 4Runners are just plain cool. Yes they have a very high step-in height but the ground clearance is amazing for a stock vehicle.

    As I’ve said I own a 14′ Limited 4Runner, I love the center stack and the whole interior for that matter. Even coming from a Tundra it has never felt cramped, to each their own.

    Would love to do some high speed romping and check out those bilsteins like you got to.

    But yes, Tundra and 4Runner are overdue for some updates Toyota!

  3. Speedster says:

    I’m waiting to hear if 4Runner is going to be changed next year too. My wife wants one, but I’m underwhelmed with its motor/transmission performance. For what they cost, I want to be happy with it for a long time.

    Keep me updated if you hear any rumors on a new generation.

    • DJ says:

      We have had our Limited for a year and a-half and honestly I’m pretty happy with both. These magazine reviewers bash it for being slow and lumbering, and archaic, however I find the V-6 to be plenty powerful in 95% of situations and has gotten quicker as it’s broke in.

      I am at high altitude and with 85 octane still get close to 19 MPG with full-time AWD in the Limited.

      My only gripe is probably it’s ride over cracks in the road but otherwise the ride is pretty good, and also it doesn’t corner very well, even with the x-reas suspension in my limited.

      Other than that it’s a pretty great car, and the 4.0 with the 5-speed work pretty well. Does it need an update? probably, but if you look at real world MPG against most Jeeps it’s about the same. Remember it’s all about perception and media bias!

      • Tim Esterdahl says:


        I would agree the stock 4.0L is plenty good for 95% of the situations. I just find in the TRD PRO with its off-road setup, I’d love to have more off the line power. I think if Toyota put in a new 6-speed and/or direct/port injection into the 4.0L, it would easily feel more powerful.

        Now that is just with the TRD PRO. In the other trims, I think the powertrain is just fine. Just a different perception of powertrain needs with the TRD PRO styling setup.


  4. gordich says:

    A bit off topic…with 55,000 hard Alaska miles it’s time for shocks. Bilstein for sure, but which model? 2010 DC 4X4 with ride rite air bags and 2″ leveling kit.
    PS. Would love to get my gal this 4Runner. She’d have a blast! Probably couldn’t catch her though once we got off the pavement…

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