The 2015 Toyota TRD Pro won our 2015 4x4 of the Year test, and as such we took one home to see if living with it for a year would solidify our confidence in it. The 4Runner replaced our prior yearlong test winner, the 550hp Range Rover Sport. Going from the Range Rover to a 4Runner may seem like a letdown, but we quickly realized the 4Runner is a different type of fun. Even without 550 British thoroughbreds under the hood we still got tagged with a speeding ticket on our first day behind the wheel of the 4Runner. It just goes to show that having tons of power isn’t everything. The 270hp Toyota 4.0L V-6 is no slouch, and at $42,000 it is a fair bit more affordable than that Range Rover.
The TRD Pro 4Runner is packed full of off-road options, such as a rear locking differential, Crawl Mode multispeed off-road cruise control, skidplates, Nitto TeraGrappler all-terrain tires, Bilstein remote reservoir shocks, a great approach angle, a front skidplate, and our favorite, a real lever-shifted transfer case. The suspension is born to run through desert whoops or bomb through city streets full of potholes and drainage ditches.
After a year living with this latest 4Runner we can say it is everything Toyota fans have been hoping for in a capable off-road–ready SUV. It has room for the gear we like to take with, and it has the gear to get us where we want to go.
During our year of testing, the 4Runner had no major issues. We averaged 17-20 mpg and lived in the lap of luxury with heated leather seats and Bluetooth audio system that allowed hands-free calls during on- and off-road driving. Even better, the rear locker and various off-road systems gave us the ability to reach locations where no phone signal existed.
Trying to do all things with an SUV isn’t easy, but the TRD 4Runner didn’t seem to mind. We towed a small Jeep with it. We hauled everything from groceries to truck parts and logged thousands of miles up and down the West Coast. We see them every weekend running around packed full of gear and loaded with bike or board racks, and we now know why the 4Runner is so popular with people living active lifestyles, like off-road enthusiasts.
It is common knowledge that many SUV and 4x4 truck owners also have dogs. The TRD Pro has a subtle advantage in that the fabric and leather outfitting the interior is easy to clean. To some of you this may not seem important, but we found dog hair, muddy footprints, and wet nose marks easy to vacuum and clean up, leaving the 4Runner looking like new, a trait other dog owners will appreciate. Oddly enough, we have never found any hidden fossilized French fries under the seats.