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Sunday Drive: Take an ‘Anywhere Adventure’ in the 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

By Craig and Deanne Conover - | Jul 16, 2022
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The exterior of the new 2022 Toyota 4Runner.
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The exterior of the new 2022 Toyota 4Runner.
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The exterior of the new 2022 Toyota 4Runner.
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The interior of the new 2022 Toyota 4Runner.
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The interior of the new 2022 Toyota 4Runner.

Once again, with the 2022 edition of the Toyota 4Runner, it is still one of the last true body-on-frame 4×4 vehicles on the market. Besides the ever-popular Jeep Wrangler, there is really only one other competitor in the market, that being the new Ford Bronco.

We are glad to see more competition in the market with the Bronco, since the departure of the Nissan Xterra a few years ago. Finding a vehicle that would get us to pretty much anywhere there is even the hint of a road was becoming difficult.

Any of these three off-road masters would get to most places. It would come down to personal desires as to which would work best for the buyer. We have only had 30 minutes in the new Bronco, so it is hard to form an opinion on that option. And with the Jeep coming with a more rugged interior, we would enjoy having the 4Runner the most as an everyday driver.

The 4Runner wins in the comfort department when not tackling the off-road world. The inside of the 4Runner would keep any soccer mom or empty nesters such as ourselves happy getting the kids around or just running errands all day long, with much easier access to the back seats and rear cargo room — and, quite frankly, there is quite a bit more cargo room in the 4Runner.

The 4Runner looks and drives more like a sedan than the off-road behemoth that it is. Looks can be deceiving and in this case. With the standard off-road technology in Muti-terrain Select, we could choose from four modes designed to regulate wheel spin by adjusting the engine throttle setting and braking pressure to provide us with the maximum traction in any off-road situation.

Of course, there is also a Crawl Control that literally keeps the 4Runner crawling through the bad stuff. Be it going up or down an incline meant only for sheep and mountain goats, it will stay in a “crawl” stance to get through it all. This continued development of dirt-eating technology keeps Toyota as one of the leaders in this world. With so many different advantages at your fingertips that allow a multitude of different choices when climbing anything from hills around one’s home to the red rocks of Moab, the 4Runner has it covered.

The 4Runner comes equipped with all kinds of great four-wheel drive benefits including the A-TRAC, or a full time 4WD Active Traction Control with a Torsen limited slip locking differential. In other words, the rear wheels can be locked in to spin at the same speed with the A-TRAC doing the same to the front but still allowing brake control in conjunction, so you don’t have to be a professional driver to have complete control of the four-wheel drive!

One of the options that our test ride came with was the addition of KDSS. We quickly had the question what is KDSS? It is Toyota’s name for Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System, of course. Through the magic of some hydraulic system, the sway bars under the SUV are disconnected to improve articulation. In essence, the KDSS-equipped 4Runner can follow the terrain better by allowing the axels to have more travel distance.

Included with this system is the KDSS/CRAWL selector that does a couple of things: one, it automatically adjusts the suspension for better wheel articulation — that would be the KDSS part — and then the CRAWL automatically modulates the brakes and throttle on the five low-speed settings, allowing the driver in essence to Crawl almost automatically over and through rough terrain. If that were not enough, there is also a multi-terrain selector allowing the driver to choose what kind of terrain they are currently encountering, from hard rock to sand.

We have come to understand that it is very important to read and understand how all these different functions work together so the 4Runner experience can be enjoyed as much as possible when out exploring the vastness nature has to offer, just to make sure getting around in nature can be accomplished as easily as possible using all the tools the 4Runner has to offer.

Under the hood, the 4Runner sports a nice 4.0-liter V-6 motor that cranks out 270 horsepower with 278 foot-pounds of torque, making sure that there is always enough power, be it headed up into the hills or passing on the freeway. There is also a 4,700-pound towing capacity on the SUV, so small trailers or small boats will not be a problem. And since Toyota is the only manufacturer to make sure the towing capacity of their vehicles matches up to SAE standards, you can rest assured the 4Runner can handle at least that much weight.

Inside, as we mentioned, it seems more sedan-like with Softex seating surfaces that had a very nice red stitching accent. They were extremely comfortable and, of course, they were also heated, making Deanne even happier during our rides. The control knobs for the heat and air are taken from a page out of the Tundra book and are huge, making them very easy to use even with heavy work gloves on. They add to the ambiance of the vehicle, making it seem more ambitious!

Included also is an 8-inch high-resolution touch screen with the full Toyota Entune sweet available, SiriusXM Radio, navigation and a backup camera. Our phones hooked up without a hitch through Bluetooth and we were able to play our music through the sound system.

Good news is the 4Runner TRD Pro comes with some great color choices, which will make some folks like it even more. But if serious off-roading is something you really enjoy and want to be able to get anywhere, then the 4Runner is worth serious consideration, yet it will keep mom happy running around with the kids, or even Deanne with the grandkids.

Base price: $52,120

Destination price: $1,215

Price as driven: $53,435


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