Go Ahead, Get Dirty! There’s Nowhere the 2016 Toyota 4Runner Can’t Go

A Girls Guide To Cars | Go Ahead, Get Dirty! There'S Nowhere The 2016 Toyota 4Runner Can'T Go - Sbctoyota4Runnerprooffroad

We tried; we put the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro – a beast and a half – to the test.

“Whoa, Nelly!” and “Holy Cannoli!” are phrases that come to mind when you try to recap a week with the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. This mid-size SUV is a beast and a half. Its commanding exterior paired with the quicksand color and solid black wheels turned heads everywhere we went.

2016 Toyota 4Runner

The Quicksand color really hides the mud and dust! Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

I’ve been in love with the quicksand color since I first saw it on other Toyotas at the Dallas Auto Show. I knew I wanted to own one someday. After a week with the 4Runner I’ve made up my mind. Our next truck will be a Tundra TRD-Pro and it will be this color. Why? We drove this $40,000+ vehicle all week; down gravel roads, through fields and down by the lake where there are no roads, and it never looked dirty. In fact, it was filthy in all these photos, but unless you got about a foot from the vehicle, you couldn’t tell. I’ve dubbed it the perfect color.

Who is the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro for?

While this mid-size SUV that is absolutely gorgeous, the TRD Pro version of the 4Runner isn’t for everyone. Practically speaking, it doesn’t get the best fuel economy – about 18 miles per gallon. It’s also really tall and requires some climbing or a boost for the kids to get in. This model does not come with an option for a third row seat either. (The SR5 is the only model that does.) So, keep these things in mind as you drool over all the things that will make you want this vehicle!

On the upside (and there are many!) this vehicle can handle any terrain, so if you live in an area with washed out roads, have property to explore, go hunting and fishing a lot, or just like to visit the local mud bog, this car is for you. You may even choose it if you don’t have a long work commute to worry about and you just really like the way it looks and sounds. That’s why I’d have one.

No, I Didn'T Make Those Tracks. They Were Actually Made By Something Much Wider. The 4Runner Didn'T Fit In Them, But Had No Trouble Crawling All Over Them!

No, I didn’t make those tracks. They were actually made by something much wider. The 4Runner didn’t fit in them, but had no trouble crawling all over them! Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

What does Pro version mean?

The TRD-Pro version of the 4Runner comes with some pretty hefty features like TRD Bilstien shocks for a smooth ride on any terrain, an aluminium front skid plate, front and rear mud guards, an advanced airbag system, front and rear stabilizer bars for safety, crawl control/hill start assist to keep you from rolling backwards as you start up an incline, and lots of other specialty equipment you never see, but would need for a safe off-road adventure.

2016 Toyota 4Runner And Highlander Comparison

4Runner Next to the Highlander for size comparison. The Highlander has a 3rd row seat option, but the 4Runner has a much taller profile making it look a lot bigger. Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Here, there, everywhere – our 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro experience

The week we had this vehicle saw us trekking all over the countryside, from one small-town parade and fireworks show to another. One of the days I left it parked for the morning at our local Toyota dealership while I borrowed one of their Tundra’s for the parade. The sales guys were blown away by the 4Runner and loved getting to check it out since they didn’t have a TRD Pro version on their lot. The rest of the week I drove the 4Runner out to the middle of nowhere, across fields, over the dam of a lake, and down lots of dirt roads. My husband helps with fireworks in three different small towns so we had a lot of coolers, chairs, picnic lunches, bug spray and gear to haul around. It really was the perfect vehicle for our tasks!

2016 Toyota 4Runner

Second row. Great SofTex looks and feels like leather Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

I was quite impressed by the comfort of this SUV. Sometimes a vehicle engineered for rough terrain lacks in the creature comforts, but the 4Runner TRD Pro does not! The SofTex covered seats feel like leather, but seem a little more durable and they’re easy to clean. From heated front seats to a filtered air conditioning system, the touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth audio system, and backup camera with projected path, not one feature was lacking!

2016 Toyota 4Runner

Cockpit of the 4Runner Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

I loved the way it hugged every inch of the ground and made me feel safe, even when I was asking it to do things I’ve never asked another vehicle to do. I felt super confident taking the 4Runner off-roading and while I would love to have needed the 4 wheel drive, it didn’t require it once! Honestly, I haven’t had that much fun driving an SUV since I had my first Jeep.

2016 Toyota 4Runner

Conquered some old ruts, mud, dirt roads, and wildflower studded fields. Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Things that make you go “huh”?

OK, so I don’t know that I’ve ever been so baffled by a special feature on a vehicle than I was over the sliding rear cargo deck on the 2016 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. If you haven’t seen this in person, it’s a slide out floor that extends beyond the back bumper. It literally pulls out like a drawer. After a day or two of pondering its possible uses I got online and started searching on 4Runner forums to see what this sliding deck was made for and how people use it.

2016 Toyota 4Runner

Sliding rear cargo deck Credit: Erica Mueller for AGirlsGuidetoCars

Its intended purpose: to allow a user to load and unload heavy objects (up to 440 pounds) without having to bend over into the rear of the vehicle. Simply release the lock, pull out the deck, and lift with your knees. Sounds great if you regularly haul heavy loads.

What it’s really used for: People online had so many uses for this slide-out floor! From a buffet table when camping, to a seat at a tailgate party, to holding their boxes of ammo while they shoot skeet…everyone had a favorite use for it. We got to try it out some when we went to see fireworks on Independence Day weekend and I must admit, it makes a great tailgate!

Would I pay an extra $350 for this feature? Probably not. I think I’d rather have a nice flat floor with some storage underneath and not have to worry about stuff getting stuck down under the floor.

What I loved

  • Keyless entry
  • 2 front, 2 rear, 1 cargo area 12V and 120V power outlets
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Power sliding rear window
  • SofTex(R) covered seats
  • TRD Pro branding

What you need to know

  • Base price: $41,550; price for the model we drove, $42,800
  • 5-speed auto transmission
  • Part-time 4WD with Active TRAC
  • Fuel economy: 17 miles per gallon in the city / 21 mpg on the highway
2016 4Runner 4X4 Trd Pro V6

2016 4Runner 4×4 TRD Pro V6

Toyota provided me this vehicle to drive for a week. I was not paid or given incentive to say all these wonderful things about it. No, the 4Runner captured my adventure-loving heart all on its own and you’re reading authentic fan-girl thoughts.

A web developer, digital marketing consultant, auto journalist, truck expert, photographer and lover of gadgets, Erica is a textbook... More about Erica Mueller