How can you just sit and idle?
Our 4Runner arrived the night before the most recent ice storm in Texas. I know a lot of my northern friends chuckle at the way Texans react to any form of cold precipitation but trust me – you don’t want someone who thinks anything below 60F is glacial to be out on the icy roads. We watched the weather for a couple of days and decided that we’d be OK to proceed on our planned weekend trip from San Antonio over to Beaumont.
The last time I was in a 4Runner was about four years ago. I took the 2018 model on my first-ever solo road trip with my kids (which seems like such a long time ago) and enjoyed the ride, so I was excited to have the opportunity to test drive the new model on a new road trip.
Can we talk about this standout paint color for a minute?
I’ve said it before: Toyota has the best paint colors. This one is called Lime Rush and it’s only available on the 4Runner TRD Pro and the Tacoma TRD Pro.
Whether you love it or hate it, you can’t argue that it pops. If you aren’t ready for lots of attention, maybe pick another paint color, although I think this is a head turner in any hue. There are other colors, including the primer-inspired Lunar Rock and Army Green. One of those two would probably be my choice if I were to buy one of these for myself.
But, would I? Keep reading.
The good stuff
Here’s what I loved.
The high seating position and visibility
I liked the “old school” SUV vibe of this one. The high seat position offers a great view of the road which is something I really miss. The seating was also really comfortable, which you don’t always find with more rugged vehicles.
Go, go, go!
The V6 engine gives this one some nice giddy up. I didn’t zip through any canyons or scale any hills but the power of this big engine made highway driving pretty fun.
Rugged, sturdy tires
Most of the ice from the previous night’s storm had dissipated by the time we got on the road but the back roads we use to access the interstate had some icy patches and I felt confident in this vehicle. We don’t get a lot of winter weather where I live but I like how I felt safe on potentially treacherous roads.
It’s a great family car
My kids thought the 4Runner TRD Pro was SO COOL. It has a larger than life and bold presence and the Lime Rush was the cherry on top to make them puff out their chests in the school pickup line.
I enjoyed this being my family car for a week, minus the heavy fuel costs. More on that in a minute.
There’s a ton of room in the rear for bags and equipment and plenty of legroom for my two favorite short guys. I mentioned how I enjoy sitting up high. My kids do, too, especially on a longer ride. It gives them a totally different view. I’d like to say it keeps them from bickering in the back seat but…it doesn’t.
Sliding cargo tray
This is the feature that impressed me the most on my 2018 drive and I was thrilled to see it’s still a thing. A tray on the cargo floor slides out so you can reach everything without overextending yourself or having to crawl into the cargo bay. It’s a reasonably priced add-on option and it’s such a neat feature for unloading your gear, tailgating or camping.
But, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows
Here’s what buyers should really consider about this SUV.
Let’s just say it: The fuel economy.
While the 2022 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD Pro is a fun and sharp-looking ride, the fuel economy made it hard for me to fall deeply in love.
The manufacturers Monroney label lists the fuel economy as 17 MPG. We didn’t get quite this much mileage on our San Antonio to Beaumont run, although we were driving into the wind for much of the trip, which will tank your gas mileage – no pun intended.
The vehicle you see in the pictures is priced at just over $55,440, which is a lot for what you’re getting unless you are a true off-road enthusiast. Toyota lists the starting MSRP for the 2022 4Runner SR5 as $39,480, which might be a more budget-friendly option if you’re not set on having all the TRD Pro options.
The silver lining is that Toyotas are built to last and hold their value. Most Toyota owners I know hang on to their cars and that says a lot about the quality.
Bells and whistles? Not so much.
The 4Runner is built for adventure, so I don’t want to come across like I’m whining about the lack of a heated steering wheel (but, it was cold, so yeah, that would have been nice).
The 4Runner is an off road adventure vehicle and we can’t be mad about that or try to force it to be something it isn’t. The amenities in this car were a little bit sparse. If you’re not used lots of luxury and tech bells and whistles and need the off road capability, this is probably your perfect match. There are more luxurious SUVs out there if you want the best of both worlds but if a cushy interior is important to you, this one may miss the mark, although I have to give props to the all-around leg room.
More specs you should consider:
- 5-speed automatic transmission
- Multi terrain selection + crawl control
- 17″ TRD Pro form flow alloy wheels
- Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatible
- Toyota Safety Sense pre-collision system with pedestrian detection
- Lane departure alert
- Automatic high beams
- Panoramic view monitor
- Heated front seats
- 8″ Touch screen
- JBL speakers with subwoofer and amplifier
Read the full Monroney label here.
So…would I buy this?
The Lime Crush was so much fun, and honestly this would have been fun to drive in any color. The fuel economy was what pushed this one over the line of nope for me.
Driving this one on a weekend trip just isn’t desirable unless you’re not going very far, even though the amount of leg room and cargo space is stellar. While it makes an unarguably cool-looking car for everyday in town driving, it lacks the amenities and automation that come standard in so many SUVs and crossovers.
Bottom line: This is built for play time and if you love it you’ll have to accept the price it costs to fill it up as part of the package. If you’re able to buy something for weekends only or to take out just for fun, you might find that the 2022 Toyota 4Runner 4X4 TRD Pro make sense for you.
Disclosure: Toyota Provided the 4Runner TRD Pro for this story; all opinions are my own.