2022 Toyota 4Runner 4x4 TRD Sport – Review by David Colman +VIDEO
Sophisticated, but with old-school sensitivities
Special Correspondent to THE AUTO CHANNEL
Toyota has introduced a new model of their venerable 4Runner for 2022 called the TRD Sport. You can instantly identify the Sport by its refreshingly simplified exterior trim. Thanks to a fortress-like black front grill with body color front cross bar, prominent hood-top air scoop, and color keyed body trim details, the TRD Sport stands visually apart from the rest of the 4Runner line. Inside the cabin, TRD embroidery caps the front seat headrests, with further TRD call-outs on the carpet and shift knob. While the $45,904 Sport model does not share the ultra sophisticated Fox Shocks technology of the top line TRD Pro 4Runner, nor does it share the TRD Pro's $55,000 price tag.
What the Sport has to offer the serious off roader, however, is a highly sophisticated X-REAS "sport enhancement" suspension system, which includes a locking rear differential, plus 20-inch alloy wheels shod with first class Yokohama Geolandar G96 off-road rubber (245/60R20). The wheels were finished in a Dark Grey Metallic color that perfectly complemented the 4Runner's Lunar Rock exterior shade.
The newest 4Runner also provides Crawl Control, which automatically modulates throttle and brake according to five low-speed settings you can dial up as needed. Standard Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) automatically decouples the sway bars as needed to improve wheel articulation when traversing rough trails. These unseen features distinguish the 4Runner Sport from imitative competitors which mimic the looks of the 4Runner without providing its 4x4 chops. If you're in a bind in the outback, the 4Runner Sport is the one to have.
Just up the coast from home, there's a heavily rutted, very steeply inclined piece of terrain that can be perilous to surmount. Most pretend SUVs struggle to complete this short climb. The 72 inch tall TRD Sport cruised up the daunting slope with a panache that confirmed its off-road credibility. As you might expect, however, we spent most of our week with this Toyota driving around town, completing the kind of daily chores you would normally assign to such a handy sized box on wheels. The 4Runner is big enough to bring home just about anything you can find at Costco. With a wheelbase of 110 inches, it will very comfortably accommodate three adults in its second row bench. Fold that rear seatback flat, and you've got a storage floor good for 44 cubic feet of cargo. A feature new for 2022 is an electrically controlled "power sliding" rear window to facilitate loading access.
Insatiable futurists of the automotive press decry the control layout of the 4Runner as being woefully outdated. Leave them to their hapless haptic controls while I instead commend the wonderful, old-school layout of the 4Runner's cockpit. If, for example, you want to engage the emergency brake, no need to look high and low for some hidden e-switch to accomplish the task, and then ponder which way to move that switch for on and off. In this Toyota, the emergency brake is still floor mounted, with a resilient spring action to let you know it's down and engaged, or tapped to disengage. Likewise, the dashboard face is covered with great big fat knobs, knurled for better grip, to control everything from fan speed to temperature to radio volume, to station position. Our test 4Runner carried a $1,585 up-charge for a Premium 8-Speaker JBL Audio system controlled by an 8-inch touchscreen which also operated Dynamic Navigation. This upgrade provides a 3-month trial for Wi-Fi connection (up to 2 GB), plus a 12 month subscription to Toyota Safety Connect. The system supports both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, so while the control surfaces may look vintage, the guts of the unit are very much current issue.
Another asset in the 4Runner's portfolio is its tow capability. With its 4.0 liter V6 rated at 270hp, and 278lb.-ft. of torque, this truck is equipped to pull a 5,000lb trailer with ease. You can thank the 4Runner's ladder frame construction for that staunch tow rating. Toyota provides the Sport with a standard Receiver type tow hitch, along with 7 and 4 pin electrical connections. Like everything else on the Sport, the hitch looks ultra sturdy.
2022 TOYOTA 4RUNNER 4x4 TRD SPORT
ENGINE: 4.0 Liter V6, 24-Valve, DOHC with Dual Independent VVT-i
FUEL CONSUMPTION: 16MPG City/19MPG Highway
PRICE AS TESTED: $45,904
HYPES: Great Tow Grunt and Cockpit Interface
GRIPES: Tall Rear Shelf Liftover
STAR RATING: 9 Stars out of 10