Monday, 28 November 2022

2022 Toyota 4Runner remains a leader among off-road capable SUVs Featured

Posted On Wednesday, 23 March 2022 22:23 Written by
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The 2022 Toyota 4Runner is a solid off-roading vehicle with lots of interior and cargo room. The 2022 Toyota 4Runner is a solid off-roading vehicle with lots of interior and cargo room. Photo courtesy of Toyota

Long a favorite of off-roaders who prefer rugged vehicles and sticking with the traditional, truck-based, body-on-frame style of SUV, the Toyota 4Runner is back again for 2022.

With its last major refresh over a decade ago, the 2022 version of the 4Runner is likely the last hurrah for this rendition before a new version is unveiled for 2023.

I recently spent some time driving a 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport, a new trim level added to the 4Runner lineup this year, and I’m back with a full report on how it looks, drives and performs.


LOOKS

For starters, I have to mention the very sharp Army Green paint color of my test vehicle; which is not something you see on many vehicles, and very fitting for this type of off-road friendly ride. Another interesting color option is the lighter green Lime Rush paint scheme.

The 4Runner doesn’t hide what it is — a large, bold truck-based SUV with an aggressive, in-your-face design, and aims to be the top nondomestic alternative to the Bronco and Jeep Wrangler.

The 4Runner features a power sliding rear window, 20-inch wheels and a full-size spare. Entering the vehicle can be tricky for shorter folks due to the higher ride height, but that’s not an issue if you opt for rail steps on the sides.

Inside, the 4Runner offers either two or three rows, so between 5 and 7 total passengers will fit. Quality materials were used in my test vehicle, making it very comfortable for the driver and passengers. The boxy shape of the 4Runner mean there’s lots of room for all passengers in the 4Runner, as well as optimum cargo space, including a helpful slide-out floor in the cargo area.

For 2022, the 4Runner family welcomes a new TRD Sport model, which previously was only offered on the Tacoma pickup truck. It features 20-inch wheels, and adaptive dampers that improve body control, as well as a front hood scoop, black roof rails, embroidered headrest, TRD shift knob and other unique features.

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter, V6 engine, paired with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Output numbers are 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque.

It features hill-start assist control, an enhanced sport suspension, a multi-mode 4WD system, high ground clearance and a tow hitch receiver. Some models do offer rear-wheel drive options.

The 4Runner delivers a powerful ride, but one that’s not very smooth, an attribute which is not uncommon for offroad-friendly SUVs. It is responsive to driver input, and features decent braking and acceleration. 

Off-road is where the 4Runner will shine moreso than on the main streets, so the rare breed of folks who actually take the time to venture away from the city often to navigate difficult terrain and weather conditions and explore the great outdoors will find this vehicle quite useful.

Just don’t cross-shop with grocery getters. If you’re testing a 4Runner, you should be comparing it with tough vehicles such as the Jeep Wrangler, Ford Bronco and Land Rover Defender.

Towing is another strong point, with the 4Runner capable of pulling 5,000 pounds.

TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

When you’re sitting in the 2022 4Runner, you’ll be staring at a low-key but responsive infotainment system. Voice commands are extremely effective, whether you are changing the radio station or finding a point of interest along your navigation route, even if the design is quite basic. Touch controls on the center screen and steering wheel are also quite user-friendly. Other systems are flashier, but functional is sometimes a better alternative to flash, and that case can be made here with the 4Runner.

The system features an 8.0-inch touchscreen, and it comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for phone connectivity. An optional Wi-Fi hotspot is available, and Navigation can be featured along with a 15-speaker JBL audio system (8 speakers are standard).

Safety is another strong element on the 4Runner, as the vehicle scored well overall in government safety testing. Safety features on the 4Runner include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane departure alert, forward collision warning and automated emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keeping assist and automatic high beams.

MPG

Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2022 4Runner are 16 city/19 highway/17 combined. I averaged only 15 mpg during my time driving the 4Runner. So the numbers are not great, and are beaten by the 4Runner’s competitors.

If the 4Runner has one major downside, weak fuel mileage would be it, and I anticipate that the fuel mileage situation will be improved on the next generation of the 4Runner that may come in 2023.

PRICE

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport I tested was priced at $48,631; and the base price starts about $38K for the 4Runner. These numbers are close to what you’ll pay for a Jeep Wrangler or a Ford Bronco, and are more affordable that a Land Rover Defender.

Maintenance is covered on the 4Runner for 2 years, and warranties include:
• Limited warranty for three years or 36,000 miles
• Powertrain warranty for five years or 60,000 miles

Trim levels on the 4Runner are plentiful, with options including: SR5, Trail Special Edition, TRD Sport, SR5 Premium, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, Limited and TRD Pro.

And being a Toyota, resale value tends to be higher than some competitors, which may sway some buyers toward the 4Runner — especially if they are Toyota loyalists.

BOTTOM LINE

While it’s getting a bit long in the tooth, the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is still a rugged and strong option for fans of off-roading and other adventures away from the city streets, but it's not aimed at those who are only seeking an SUV to go to the office, grocery store or soccer practice. And this year, the new TRD Sport offering adds a new option to attract buyers.

It’s a niche product, but one that continues to have its devotees, and interest should perk up even more if a new version is announced for 2023.

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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.



Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2022 Toyota 4Runner
  • Price as tested: $48,631
  • Best feature: Off-road ability, roomy interior, safety features
  • Rating: 3.5 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Toyota fans who want a capable off-roading SUV  
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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