Do you need all the things that come with your off-roading package? Let’s work on this together.
I had the opportunity to test the 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, and it was a real head-turner! The green paint job, blacked out wheels, giant tires, and black roof rack garnered stares everywhere I went. No lie, this SUV looked amazing and I knew it would be ready should adventure come calling.
But what does TRD Pro mean? What do I get with it? And do I want it?
First off, TRD stands for Toyota Racing Development. Just like it sounds, TRD is an in-house group that has been responsible for creating race-specific parts for Toyota vehicles since 1979. Like a lot of technology we see in cars today, the parts and systems developed for racing have found their way into cars that are available to consumers. The Toyota trucks and SUV’s that have TRD parts and equipment are the RAV4, Tundra, Tacoma, Sequoia, and 4Runner. The trim levels are TRD Sport, TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro. TRD Sport offers some basics. All models add a bit more, and at the other end of the spectrum, TRD Pro is the most capable, and in my opinion, the most visually dynamic. What’s in each model, and how necessary is all the equipment? Follow along as we break the models down.
Let’s Start at the Beginning
The TRD Sport has a base price of $40,450 and has a chrome TRD Sport badge on the pillar by the rear window, TRD-branded details include stitching on the front headrests, hood scoop, shift knob, carpeted floor mats. In case you were wondering if it’s just a cosmetic package, it’s not. The TRD sport package does have an enhanced suspension, and mud and snow tires are standard with this package, too (as opposed to all-terrain tires). It’s got a skid plate as all 4Runners do, but not the sharp-looking TRD one. Because it’s all-wheel drive, I think this model is great for people who enjoy hiking, skiing, paddle-boarding and canoeing and the like, but still live in the city or suburbs and don’t need a ton of full-time off-roading options. If you want to add more capability, you can add the part-time 4-wheel drive option with active traction control (but that raises the base price of this trim to $42,175).
Level up to the TRD Off-Road model and you get some more goodies. It costs $41,435 and comes with part-time 4 wheel drive. From here on out, all models have that drivetrain. You’ll also get a multi-terrain select system and crawl control. It also adds a skid plate that covers the transfer case. The Off-Road model has a locking differential, too. So it’s a bit more off-road ready than the TRD Sport. This is a great choice for people who love to do outdoorsy activities, and also like to camp and get off the beaten path a bit. Maybe they’re interested in going off-road and want to learn and explore what that is all about.
Because this model adds available 4-wheel drive, it will be more capable in a variety of conditions. By the way, crawl control means you can set the speed and the 4Runner won’t exceed it. This is most particularly helpful when you are wanting to negotiate trails very slowly, when you’ve got a variety of conditions to contend with and want to know your speed won’t get out of control. The TRD Off-Road also has hill start assist control, to keep you from rolling backwards. Multi terrain ABS brakes are on this model, too. They prevent wheel lock, just like regular ABS systems, but are tuned a bit more specifically for challenging terrain. To round out this model, you get some visual spice in the TRD Off-Road badges. I think this model hits the sweet spot of capability and price.
The TRD Off-Road Premium model costs $44,380. What makes this one different than the others so far is some creature comforts like USB ports and heated outside power mirrors. It’s still got the part-time 4-wheel drive. This model is the same as the Off-Road model in terms of the suspension and the off-road modes like crawl control, multi-terrain select, and hill start assist control. The multi-terrain monitor is optional on this model, too.
Related: Off Road, All Electric, Women Required: Meet Extreme E, The Electric Racing Series That Will Change Motorsports
Are You Still With We? Because We’ve Reached the Top
Toyota’s TRD Pro is the top of the off-roading lineup. It combines all the fun visual details with meaty off-roading equipment. The standard multi terrain monitor gives you a view all the way around the vehicle when it’s in motion. This can help with towing, navigating narrow trails and rock crawling, or even a super narrow parking spot at the grocery store. What? You need to get groceries if you’re going to be out in the wilderness for a week! It’s also got special grip tires, black TRD Pro badges, high-performance shocks, and TRD-tuned front springs. The skid plate has a bright red TRD Pro logo on it. This means you’ll be ready to take in some bug bumps with some resiliency in the TRD Pro. I love the TRD black allow wheels with the red-letters caps. So sharp. This model starts at $52,420 and while there are plenty of accessories to add, there’s nothing more to add in terms of off-roading performance. It is for adventuring, for serious off-roading, and for people who want to drive one of the coolest SUV’s out there. This model hits the cool-factor spot and I would really like to have one, please.
But do you need all that? A lot of people want to use their cars for what they are truly capable. In reality, very few actually do. So the pragmatic answer is, of course, no. No, you don’t need all that. But you’d really do yourself a favor to not rule it out if you think you’re wanting to really make good on learning how to use all the off-roading features.
What’s great is that there is flexibility within these trims to level up a little bit to match your needs and wants. After all, when adventure calls, you want to be able to answer!
Disclosure: Toyota provided the 2022 4Runner TRD Pro for me to test. All opinions are my own.