Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: January 13, 2022
The Toyota 4Runner is a mechanical dinosaur living in a modern age, but it holds up incredibly well from both an aesthetic and functional point of view. For a 12-year old vehicle, it impresses on many levels, and now even comes with push-button start, automatic air conditioning, blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree camera that shows you a birds-eye view around the car when parking.
The optional TRD Pro package adds all sorts of off-road paraphernalia, and Lime Rock is a new paint colour for 2022, livening up the rudimentary bodywork, but the interior remains much of the same. The low-rent yet sturdy switchgear will remind you of its humble and distant origins, as will the clunkiness of the tall gear shifter. The massive switches and dials ensure you never press or turn the wrong one, and it’s all a refreshing reminder of how easy and effortlessly they work in a world that has quickly yet needlessly migrated to digital real estate. We really did miss analog gauges after all. The 4Runner offers some quirky charms too, such as the ability to roll down the rear windscreen allowing you to cruise with fresh air coming from all sides.
Toyota sells more of these 4Runners than they do Priuses - let that sink in for a moment. Yes, in 2022, these jurassic off-road behemoths are more popular than small, compact, hybrid hatchbacks. But you realize that because the 4Runner has kept and played on its core strengths like its body-on-frame construction, part-time 4WD with selectable low range, and coil-spring suspension, that its loyal following has continued year after year despite a lack of any significant upgrades.
That doesn’t mean the 4Runner is the best driving SUV out there. Its ride quality is sub-par and a load of wind noise and tire chatter consistently seeps into the cabin and makes quite a ruckus at highway speeds. Still, it’s a church compared to a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco.
The 4Runner heaves like a dragon when you press the ignition and fire up the 4.0-litre naturally aspirated V6. It makes a beautifully organic, raw, and mechanical growl under wide open throttle, and almost sounds like a high displacement V8 at times. It’s a bulletproof machine from what I’ve heard, could be the reason why the wait list for one of these bad boys is off the charts. Think of it like a more reliable, better built, and more comfortable Jeep Wrangler. And it drives with vigour. The V6 is quite potent in the low end and the 5-speed matches its quick wits. Though, it does take the system a second or two to recognize a deeper and longer press on the gas pedal.
From its antiquated V6 and 5-speed gearbox to its jurassic bones, the 4Runner is an old boat riding in a modern sea but for that very same reason, finds a loyal following of enthusiasts willing to fork over their hard-earned money. Its main competitors may have moved onto more conventional chassis’ and setups, but that only makes this 4Runner more unique in the midst of today’s overcomplicated and overengineered SUVs.
Model: 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO
Paint Type: Lime Rush
Base Price: $50,570
Price as Tested: $65,550
Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,829 / 1,926 / 1,780
Curb weight (kg): 2,120
Engine: 4.0-litre V6
Horsepower: 270 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque: 278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, 4WD
Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 14.8 / 12.5 / 13.8
Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 17.1