TRD Pro Vs. TRD Off-Road Premium

 In Reviews, TRD

TRD Pro 4Runner Vs. TRD Off-Road Premium 4Runner

TRD Pro Vs. 4Runner TRD off road

4Runner TRD Pro or 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium Differences

We had a question come in about the TRD Pro and the TRD off road premium. There are a few key differences between the TRD Pro and the TRD off road premium that you should note before pulling the trigger on either 4Runner.

The most important difference to me is KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System). This component adjusts front and rear stabilizers based on a set of interconnected hydraulic cylinders. KDSS is an option on the TRD Off-Road and the TRD Off-Road Premium only. KDSS is not an option on the TRD Pro. Both models offer some seriously impressive features so whatever direction you go, prepare to be impressed.

Both models offer a fully capable 4WD system with Active Traction Control (A-TRAC), Hill Start Assist Control (HAC), Multi-terrain Select and Crawl Control (CRAWL) and a Locking rear differential. The locker and the 4wd being the most notable features of the body on frame platform.

The Question: Buy a TRD Pro or TRD off road premium?

After reading a bunch of the threads on the TRD Pro and the TRD off road premium. I’m still indecisive based on the following after factoring that would apply to my personal preferences. I know, it’s really about your preferences. But I really value yours because of the site that you have put together and you’re very fair with your opinions on mods and products out there. I have an opportunity to purchase brand new 4Runner TRD Pro or the 4Runner TRD off road premium both in super white. My question is which 4Runner should I buy, the TRD Pro or the TRD Off-Road Premium.

KDSS (TRD Off-Road) Vs. Bilstein shocks (TRD Pro)?

I don’t plan on doing some crazy 4Runner Lift Kits or anything, maybe something minor.  I’m gonna be doing most of my driving on the road-highways (I live in Southern California) probably gonna be doing some overlanding and camping 6x times a year hopefully around the western region for like a weekend getaway, nothing crazy like a Baja trip to Mexico.

Cost Vs. Value

I don’t plan to own a 4Runner in a short term. My goal is own it for a long time. The Pro is $44,155 vs off road premium is $39,695 (plus add $2200 into it for TRD Pro grill/black cover bumper and TRD 17-inch wheels wd tires to make it look like a PRO) total to be $41,895. I love the pro look but I’m just justifying the cost.

Other than that, the only diff between what you can’t have is the sunroof (TRD off-road only).

Your insight on those two (2) major points for me will be much appreciated.

Other mods I would like to do on both 4Runner models regardless on which one I ended buying:C4 Fab low front bumper, 4Runner Roof Rack Upgrade, and nnerf bars – side step bars.

Short Answer: Buy the TRD Off-Road Premium

KDSS Vs. Bilstein shocks Vs. General Features:

The TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium have the KDSS option which kicks ass for on-road and off-road performance. KDSS makes the 4Runner much stiffer, reduces body roll, and nose dive. To me, this is incredibly important. From an off-road perspective though, KDSS will only get your travel so far.

The travel with KDSS is not going to be as much as an SR5 with an aftermarket suspension. This is an important factor to consider if you are looking to have the max travel possible. Some guys have ripped the KDSS off in order to achieve more travel.

We own a 2016 SR5 with a level kit and a 2014 Trail Edition Premium (TEP) with KDSS. I am not a fan of driving the SR5 unless I have to. The body roll and nose dive on the SR5 is really bad compared our TEP, granted we have a stage 2 Icon Suspension which stiffens things up a bit more. Also, I test drove a TRD Pro just to see what it was all about and the suspension is definitely stiffer than our SR5 but nothing compared to KDSS with Icons.


The Bilstein shocks (TRD Pro Suspension) are great but you can get by with the stock shocks on the TRD Off-Road Premium just fine all while having a stiffer ride (less body roll, and nose dive) with the KDSS. The TRD suspension is always something that can be replaced and swapped with something else. The TRD suspension kit is merely a Bilstein 5100 suspension system that you can get for a fraction of the price. In my opinion, the “TRD Tuned” Bilstein shocks are overrated and there are better suspension systems out there.

You can always replace your stock shocks with something else if you decide to go with the TRD Off-Road. You can buy a stage 2 Icon suspension, a KING suspension, OME suspension or any other adjustable performance suspension system that will be much better (adjustable) than the TRD suspension. I would take that $2200 difference and buy a better suspension system and throw it on a TRD Off-Road Premium.

You can’t buy an aftermarket KDSS kit if you decide to purchase the TRD Pro. KDSS is one option that you really need to consider, which really comes down to a hard test drive on both 4Runners.

TRD Pro Bling

The TRD Pro has a lot of bling; TRD PRO external hard badges, TOYOTA front grille, an auto sensor on/off headlights, TRD-stamped aluminum front skid plate, TRD alloy wheels & 265/70R17 Nittos. For the interior; TRD PRO floor mats, TRD shift knob, and the TRD stitched seats.

TRD Off-Road Bling

The TRD Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium offer bling as well; TRD red lettering on the driver and front passenger headrests, the TRD Off-Road external hard badges, TRD shift knob, and TRD Off-Road floor mats.

Customizing your TRD Off-Road to look more “pro-ish”

To me, the wheels, grille, and skid plate are easily replaced with something a little more “you”. You can buy each of these items (TRD Wheels, TRD Skid Plate, and the TRD Grille) after you purchase a TRD Off-Road and then throw them on at your own pace. Or, you can go with something different.

You can buy your own wheels and if you want, go bigger with the tires. You can buy a new TRD skid, blackout your badges with a blackout emblem kit, and buy a better shift knob made by Ellis Precision or AJT Design. For the floor mats, there are better floor mats out there that I would replace with, anyway.

At the end of the day, you can make your 4Runner, your own look or you go for the TRD Pro look. Going with the TRD Pro look, I think you can achieve this look for less than what Toyota will charge you. It just depends on if you want to do the installs or not.

Cost Vs. Value on the TRD Pro Vs. the TRD off road premium:


If you love the look of the TRD Pro, and you want some of the features like the grille added on, you are overspending at $2200. You can buy and install the TRD Pro 4Runner Grille yourself which is not very expensive. You can also blackout your bumper (Vinyl wrap) for fairly inexpensive as well.


Also, there are the FN FX PROs which look almost identical to the TRD alloys (but I think they might have discontinued this wheel). In any case, there are so many cool 5th Gen 4Runner wheel options out there that really make your 4Runner… “your 4Runner”. To each their own on this one, though. If you love the TOYOTA front grille, the TRD alloy wheels with 265/70R17 wrapped Nittos, then spend the money with Toyota.

Skid Plate

You have quite a few skid plate options when it comes to the 5th Gen 4Runner. There are many companies out there that make pretty bad ass skid plates. Some companies; RCI Metal Works, ARB, Shrockworks, C4 Fabrication, Budbuilt Skid and CBI Off-Road all make Skid Plates for the 5th gen. I am probably leaving out a few, but you get the point. You have options.

There are just so many options out there for you to go a cheaper route if you are looking at the cost vs. value aspect, especially from a finance perspective. Also, moving forward with your build, nothing in this world is “cheap” but you can move at your own pace when adding parts and accessories. Personally, I would save the money and customize your 4Runner at a later point with a TOYOTA grille, different wheels, and bigger tires. But, that’s just me.

Sunroof on the TRD Off-Road & TRD Off-Road Premium

As for the sunroof (technically a moonroof), that is all personal preference again but I love my moonroof. I had one on my 1999 SR5 and loved it. I have one on my 2014 TEP and love it. My girl has a moonroof on here 2016 SR5 and she loves the fresh air as well. This is another huge reason why I would consider a TRD Off-Road Premium over the TRD Pro. It is a small addition but to me, a very cool one.

What to buy: TRD Pro or TRD Off-Road?

Other than all of the bling options, they are both very capable platforms on-road and off-road. Whatever direction you go, you will be happy with your purchase. At the end of the day for me, it comes down to KDSS. KDSS makes the 4Runner such a better (all relative) platform to use on-road and off-road. Let’s put it this way; I hope I never own another 4Runner without KDSS. Just my opinion, though. Take it with a grain of salt and test drive both of them a couple times. Make sure to corner hard and brake hard on both 4Runners to understand the difference in the KDSS.

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Showing 43 comments
  • John

    This helps alot. I appreciate you taking the time to write back. I just needed a nudge on the TRD OFF-Road prem w/ the KDSS, which I was leaning on to buy now after I was dreaming of owning a TRD Pro for the past 6 months. Yes I agree I can make this my own look and also I can do it on a cheap to make it look like a TRD PRO. Again, thank you. I will send you a picture of my 4runner TRD OFF Road Premium after I do my first phase of my mod.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Yeah, no problem. It was a good question.
      Cheers man, for sure send us some pics when you buy it!

  • Steven

    Just went through the same decision and got a TRD Off-Road premium, super happy about it. I put the pro grill on, got Stealth Custom Series wheels and OME BP-52 suspension. This way you can make it the way you want it. Not saying the Pro isn’t awesome, off the lot with no mods it is a beast and looks awesome. But if you’re going to get suspension anyways might as well get a premium. Also the moonroof for me was a huge plus.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Sounds about right. Good move on the purchase. Sunroof vs. Moonroof: Technically, it is a moonroof, not a sunroof. Thanks for pointing that out.

  • Rick

    just typed out two very longwinded responses that were deleted by toggling between open tabs before hitting “post comment”

    Short answer—–i went w/ pro
    resale value
    limited production
    realistic liklihood of me modding it to be an uber truck

    remember this is short version
    cant go wrong with any 4 runner……

  • Matt

    I went through something similar recently, but I ended up with the non-Premium TRD Off Road w/KDSS. I’m not a fan of the blacked-out look and I didn’t want a black leather(ish) interior out here in Colorado… and I wanted Silver with no moonroof. I did add the TRD Pro front garnish and lower valence. Will probably add sliders and maybe a leveling kit in the near-term. Since I expect to drive this 4Runner for 12 years or so, longevity is a primary concern for me.

  • John - TRD Off-Road

    The TRD Pro is more “out of the box” ready, but I chose the TRD Off-Road route. I enjoy picking out my own components and making my ride a little unique in the process. I figured I saved a fair amount of money building up the TRD Off-Road, plus was able to get the moon roof, which I was pretty set on. I have added a Bilstein Suspension, TRD Skid Plate, black negative offset wheels (different then the TRD PRO ones) and plan to get some BF Goodrich KO2 tires to wrap them in. So I figure I have all the function (In some cases better) of the TRD Pro with the exception of the automatic head lights, which I don’t care about. I don’t think the Pro has the “puddle lights”, so guess that’s a fair trade, right? I don’t have a preference on the grill, I like them both, so no worries there for me, but one could swap that out as mentioned. I mostly see SR5s and Limited editions in my town, so either way I think you will have something unique (But Pro is more unique for sure). I would assume the Pro has even better resale, but I have no plans to sell anytime soon, so personally not a factor for me. As stated earlier I think you can’t go wrong with either the Pro or the TRD Off-Road. Still kind of kicking myself for not getting the sliding cargo deck, but that is my only possible regret. It’s one I can live with.

  • William

    I believe a big Pro benefit is the colors. Many people I know went for the Pro simply cause they like the cement or that new blue they got. Those two colors aren’t avail in the premium.

    That being said, whenever I see those new blue Pros out there, it hurts me to see it get pinstriped.


      I’m with William here. The Cavalry Blue is crazy cool to me, and KNOW the better equity is with the Pro. I drove one…rare to find, but just couldn’t justify a purchase price $5-10k above MSRP. Knew I could wrap a TRD Off-road for <$3k any color I wanted to and ended up buying a new 2018 for well below MSRP….a huge swing just for what boiled down to a color for me. Glad to learn about the KDSS after the fact. Maybe I will wrap it a cool color some day!

  • Kit

    I agree with Everything Brenan said. I recently went with an Off Road Premium. At the time the Pro was going for >5K over MSRP. No way. With the money savings with the ORP, and price well under MSRP, making the grille and wheel upgrades simple. The main factors that I am happy with in the end are the KDSS and moonroof. I was very happy how little body roll and nose diving there was driving on road. The moonroof reduces claustrophobia for passengers and allows for that cool air flow through the cabin and rear window without opening the side windows.

    • Kent

      Yeah, I started negotiations on out Off Road Premium at $3K below MSRP

  • louger

    My response is probably as long as the original post, unless you are bored, just move on to the next one…

    I really think this is a decision that needs to be based on real usage and what is important to you.

    I have spent many hours researching and asking this question to myself over the past few months.

    If you are a serious off-roader, you will no doubt get more for your money and have a more capable truck with an Off-Road and investing in better suspension and tire.

    I am not hard core. I don’t want to admit that. I would like to think I need a truck that can handle anything. My wife and I like to explore dirt roads and back trails (she is a serious amateur photographer). For us it is important to for us to get to the remote destination, enjoy the ride and feel safe getting there, I will try to avoid avoid the rough stuff when possible instead of trying to see if I can make it (old man mentality). I had a FJ with the basic off-road package and I felt that it was going to get me where I want to go and get back. I am looking for this feeling again and I am sure that any of the TRD models would be fine for this. For me, having an off-road truck and modifying it is not really the point as much as getting where we want to go and feeling confident. Again, in my opinion you need to decide what you really are going to do as well as what is in your heart. I personally have no problem with folks with fancy, expensive trucks and lifts driving down the street. Vehicles are a way to express ourselves. For me it is important to really like what I drive. I respect that in others as well. Drive what makes you feel good.

    On some of the forums I read a lot of hate for the Pro and support as well (not seeing the hate in these comments so far, which is nice). I recently put a deposit down (refundable) to be first in line for a 2019 Pro (paying MSRP I am told) and can order it the way I want, there not many choices though I can avoid all the added port options that make no sense and drive the cost up. I figure the 2019 will hold value a little longer with the new shocks and upgraded stereo. I am not looking for a new truck until the end of the year anyway, so this all works out okay for me.

    While I could still change my mind on this I am trying hard not to spend too much time rethinking this. The following are my main reasons why I am planning on going Pro, I acknowledge that they are not all good reasons, I am just trying to be honest with myself (and remind myself why I made this decision). A few months ago I was pretty convinced I was going to build up an Off-Road Premium.

    As pointed out, you can build your own better version of the Pro for the same price. However, there are several reasons I don’t think this is the best option for me.

    First let me say (like most of us) that I want to buy a truck and keep it for years. Though, honestly I have said that many times in my life and usually end up replacing my car/truck much sooner that I originally planned. I like new vehicles and sometimes lifestyles change.

    Also, keep in mind that for my use, the Pro suspension is all I need (probably more actually). It is very easy to get caught up with all the Icon Stages and King shocks, though these are really not something I need.

    Honestly, I would not be happy with a standard Off-Road just due to vanity reasons. I would be investing money to make it look “better”, some of this would likely be lift, suspension, wheels, tires. If you can be really happy with the just truck you need (or anything you need in life), I am jealous and have a lot of respect for you.

    As far as the Pro I like the way it looks. There are a lot of 4Runners where I live, not very many Pros. I can afford a Pro and don’t want my truck to be like every other 4Runner in town. It seems like a lot of people put down the TRD Pro (for more than just the price) and then try to make their truck look like a Pro. If it was all about price/value for our actual usage, most of us would be driving an older trucks or maybe a SR5. If you need a regular car (not talking trucks) everyone should not need anything more than Camry or Accord, though look at what most people drive and how much they spend to feel good and look good. A few thousand extra to buy a TRD Pro is pretty small compared to extra $$ people spend to drive luxury cars and feel good about their ride.

    Also, “real cost” is important to me. Currently the Pro is holding resale value extremely well, I know you can get lucky with a specific buyer, though everything I have read pretty much says what ever you spend upgrading any off-road truck, you are not going to get back and can actually hurt the base value of the truck as well. Many buyers and dealers are leery of buying a truck that has been modified (it will be assumed that it may have been abused). With a Pro, this does not seem to be an issue. So even with a higher cost, I believe over the first few years the return will be there as long as you are not paying above MSRP. Note that I am not really the kind of guy that likes to sell things on Craig’s list or selling a car myself. If you are, you will likely be better off. I have done a lot of math, I don’t think a TRD Pro is as bad a buy as most people say (I may just be delusional).

    I also would have a hard time doing a minor upgrade to a Off-Road model. This is a personal issue (though I know I am not the only one). I do believe in doing it right the first time and make sure you over build instead of under build. I would end up spending much more on suspension than I really need. Why do stage 1, when you can do a stage 2. I don’t want alignment issues, so I would talk my self into UCAs, then why not just go to something with adjustable shocks, so it is more versatile. It would be very easy for me to put a LOT of money into the truck. With the Pro, I think I can tell myself just don’t do it, I don’t need to (repeat over and over). For me I think an Off-Road could be a money pit.

    KDSS. It seems for a lot of people it is a huge deal and maybe it is. Though in a lot of forum posts and even in this blog entry, when comparing the difference I believe the KDSS truck also has an Icon Stage 2 kit, so I am sure some of the nose dive is solved by the suspension upgrade. Forums are forums, opinions vary, some folks say it makes all the difference, some say it does not matter too much. I believe many are just defending their purchases. I am not a young guy and have driven quite a few trucks over the years, while I would probably like KDSS, I don’t think I will know what I am missing. This is not enough to sway my decision.

    Sunroof. Non-issue for me. I have had them on most of my cars/trucks and 99% of the time keep the roof and blind closed. I like the solid feel of no sunroof and less chance of rattles and leakage (probably not a common issue these days on a Toyota). I would have tried to find a Off-Road with no sunroof.

    Warranty. With the Pro, it is all covered, if there is an issue with a shock I don’t have to take it off the truck and send it somewhere. Just less for me to worry about.

    Insurance. No concerns if any modifications are covered. This is not something that everyone worries about, and I believe you can get extra equipment covered with most carriers, though again a non-issue if I can just stick with a plain Pro.

    Wife. It is much easier for me to get approval to spend a few extra thousand for the truck upfront than spending the same money afterwards. Is it logical, or matter (maybe for resale), probably not. Though it is a reality in my household.

    So these are most of the reasons. Some of them may not be great reasons, though I am trying to be honest with myself about my process.

    If I stay on course and end up with the Pro, I know the serious off-roaders will think I am a money wasting poser when they see me drive buy, though I can live with that at this point in my life. I think I am making a good decision for me and if I decide that I want a new truck in two years (or something bad happens job wise and have to go the other direction), I will be good position with resale. If I put a couple hundred dollars aside each month, it would be pretty easy to have a new truck every couple of years if I want to go that route.

    I think if a Pro is “enough” truck for a person and just wants to have a just little more capability, look a little tougher and just be different than a stock Off-Road, it is a good purchase. If you really want to build the best off-road 4Runner for the money, it is probably not the best choice. If you just want a great off-road capable truck just get a stock Off-Road and put some tires on it.

    Just be happy with what you have and remember everyone has there own reasons for what they drive.

    I would love to have anyone provide feedback to by thoughts and help me make sure I make the right decision for myself when the time comes later this year.

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      louger, well said. First off, I love how “wife” is a section of its own. I agree with you on many levels. The sections about KDSS are my personal experience with owning two 4Runners and enjoying the KDSS 4R more than the non-KDSS 4R, even before the Icon stage 2. I am not defending my KDSS because it’s the only 4Runner I own (although I don’t think that was your intention).

      I bought myself the Trail/KDSS and my lady an SR5. I drive both of these 4Runners on a daily basis and can whole-heartedly say that KDSS is very nice on-road and off-road compared to the SR5. I really like it… obviously. On the other hand, my girl does not mind the difference at all, which I do not understand. There should be a big title on every forum/ blog that reads “IT’S ALL PERSONAL PREFERENCE” because it really is.

      The PRO is BAD ASS and should be enough for many people out there. I think that is the real question. How far do you plan on taking this build? If you are going to swap the PRO shocks for rebuildable coils, that alone would point one to buy an SR5 or an Off-Road. If I were in the same position as you, I might buy a PRO and swap a larger tire size (the 265/70R17 on the pro are a little over 31s). I would want at least 33″ tires but it all depends on your preference and would require more adjustments which can cause more questions and a bit more time.

      I also agree with your phrase “I don’t need to (repeat over and over)” in regards to the mods. We are in pretty deep, but not even close to where we want to be. $45k for the truck and over $15K in mods so far… at least. We still have $20k+ more to be where we want. That really brings our Trail to about $75k+/- not to count interest on the loan. I just got a quote for gears and a front locker today for $3800. Money pit? Yes and no. I love my 4Runner, the build process, the lessons learned and the miles that go with it. Would I be happy with a stock PRO, probably not but that’s just me. Do I regret starting this website and buying two 4Runners (my third now), not at all. I am a 4Runner owner and lover through and through so I am along for the ride.

      Since my 1999 SR5, I always wanted to build it right. I was broke and in college so I never got that chance with the 3rd gen. Now is my chance and I am doing it. It really is about your own personal goals and what you want out of your 4R. I now have the ability to explore new places and see new things with money in the bank, which I was never able to do. I am 30 years old and also love photography, although I have much learning to do there as well. The point is, I am ready to build a truck that can take me places, far places, and sketchy places. I want to get there and not get stuck. Are most of the mods we all do overkill? Maybe. Is it worth it the one time you need it? I think so. I don’t think anyone with a PRO made a bad choice because any 4Runner model is better than no 4Runner at all.

      For your situation, I think it is completely justified and if someone thinks you are a poser tell them to go fly a kite! I can go on and on about all sections of your comment but I think you made the right choice for yourself which is the most important part. Not letting someone else make the choice for you is key.

      For anyone thinking about buying a PRO or an Off-Road. Which one makes more sense for YOU? That is the question.

      Thanks, louger! Big Cheers for the comment : )

      • louger

        Brenan, we are absolutely on the same page on this. I was definitely not referring to your post in regard to KDSS. You know what it is like in the forums when you try to research these things. All the info at has really helped me along my path. There is a lot of information without a lot of opinion just for the sake of opinion.

        As far as a money pit, to me is something where you spend a lot of money when you didn’t really want to or not realizing what you are getting into. Making a conscious decision to invest in something that you truly enjoy and allows you to live life the way you want to does not fall into this category, no matter how much you spend. I think one of the keys in life is try to figure what brings happiness and pursue it as hard as you can.

        I am also with you in regards to the build process. If I could justify it, I would likely try to follow the same path. I think I would find it to be very rewarding as well.

        It has been a few years since we had the FJ and are really looking forward to getting back out there and enjoying the peace and beauty that can be found by getting away off the highway.

        Perhaps once we get the truck our paths will cross, we’re up in Reno. Your post on Boca and Stampede brought back some good memories of my Wrangler and FJ days, though I never explored it in the winter.

        Take care and keep all the great info coming.

        • Brenan - Trail4R

          To you as well. Boca and that whole area was really cool, I need to go back during spring and hit the top of Verdi. What a cool view of the mountains. Part of the reason why I want such a build is because I love solo trips. Being alone in the middle of nowhere is everything. Sketchy, exciting, daunting, nerve-racking, rewarding, fulfilling, you name it. Although it was a day trip with people close by, the challenge and pushing your limits is so cool. Knowing when to stop is also key but god damn do trips like that make all the money I have spent on my 4R worth it. Many more builds and stories to come.

    • John

      Your logic for your choice to get the Pro makes complete sense. If you are going to love it right out of the box and it will fulfill all year needs, why worry about expensive upgrades, insurance, warranty issues, etc… For those wanting to modify, customize, and make their truck more unique, that’s also great, spend your money on things you are passionate about. I’m probably in the middle ground, I want to make some modifications, but won’t go too overboard for me, as I don’t have a lot of tough trails where I live. I am mostly on dirt, gravel and snowy roads to get to a trail head to run or snow show. Our more serious off road adventures (when I say serious, I mean moderate) happens when we are on a trip. We do a lot of trail races in mountains, so I always look for a fun place to off road while I am there. We also camp occasionally and it is a great tow rig. Speaking to you waiting for a 2019, I think you are going to be much happier with the JBL sound system. I have not heard it, but the standard system on the 2018 Pro is pretty horrible, as it’s the same one as my TRD Off-Road. The magnets on the speakers are so small and light, it is almost unbelievable. Again, I took the middle ground and upgraded all 8 speakers and kept the original stock amplifier (which works better then you would think, but not spectacular). Sounds much better, but nothing like the Rockford Fosgate that came in our Xterra, which is incredible. In any case, you won’t have to spend thousands on a stereo upgrade, I think the 2019 JBL will be great right out of the box. Also, I kind of like the roof rack that is coming on the 2019 Pro, it looks a lot like the FJ Cruiser one. I have seen a lot of hate for it on the internet, but I personally would love to have it, all a matter of preference and practical use I guess. I am not a suspension expert, but supposedly the Fox suspension is a little better then the Bilstein one, so that should be a win for you too. In any case, you sound like you have a solid, thought out plan, go for it, you are going to love it! Just curious, what color are you getting? I think it comes in the black, white and a unique blue. I like the white, because of the contrast with the black trim, but after three white rigs in a row, my wife vetoed that and we went with the charcoal grey.

      • louger

        At this point I am planning on white. As much as I would like it to be more unique, Voodoo blue is just not talking to me. I wish they had gone with some type of green for 2019. We also have some high temps here in the summer, so white is always a little cooler when getting in the truck after parking for a while. If I was building a Off-Road, charcoal grey would likely be my first choice.

    • Moe

      What an awesome post and great comments. Louger LOVE your comments. Wife section is so true, and if you are going to end up making your Premium a Pro then why not get a pro. Also with mods, I get carried away and end up spending more than what I need or should and it ultimately costs more money. Also no matter how good of a mechanic there is, nothing can be as good as out the box. I am also going with a Pro.

      Question: I am building my own online and it has a on the Toyota website and it has a Sunroof. Does anyone know if they added it to the new model? Excerpt from the Toyota website “Enjoy the crisp, clear sounds of your favorite songs and the cool breeze from the standard sunroof.”

      Sunroof is a MUST for me.

      • Kent

        Moe, I believe the Sunroof was added as standard on the 2019 Pro. Prior to that I don’t believe you could get the Sunroof (or the KDSS) on the Pro. The Sunroof really lightens up the dark interior. It was a must for all the women in my family. I like it on my own truck as well for the light, the ability to look up and see mountains, trees, etc and to check on gear that is on my load bars.

  • Nick

    about a month ago I picked up a 2018 TRD off road (non premium) without KDSS but had the TRD Pro Suspension with the Bilstein Shocks (PTR13-89160) installed at port (and only paid invoice price ~1700$). I chose this configuration for a couple reasons. First and foremost, I wanted the suspension that came on the TRD Pro and did NOT want the KDSS. For better or worse, KDSS is not something I even wanted to think about fixing in the future so I avoided it all costs. I do not plan to upgrade the suspension past what TRD offers and the TRD suspension seems plenty capable for the “mountains” of Florida and the southeast U.S. haha. The next thing was the interior – according to the build/spec sheet, the TRD pro does not come with the 60/40 fold down rear seats (someone please correct me on this if I am wrong) and this was an absolute deal breaker. I cannot imagine having an off-road vehicle that does allow me to fold down the rear seats. I surf and prefer to store my boards inside my vehicle as opposed to roof racking them. Two other interior related decisions were not having a vehicle with leather and not having a sun roof. Plain and simple, Florida gets really hot and the UV index is always an 11. Leather also gets hot and also dries out and cracks; The driver seat tends to look a lot more worn than the passenger seat over time no matter how much you care for it, based on previous experiences with leather. One last thing I should add: as part of the build process, I opted to have the blacked out emblems installed as an option and the salesman I had went the extra mile and called “port” and had them install the TRD Pro Grille on the front for no extra charge (along with the requested blacked out emblems for all the other badges) – total cost for the grille and black logos was 200$; they really took care of me. The TRD off road seems to pack a few extras that the TRD Pro does not (there 2 12V cig lighter chargers for the rear passengers in the lower part of the center console – 5 total in the interior), and if the TRD Pro suspension and grille is an absolute must, it absolutely can be added during the build…Just don’t pay MSRP for either! Happy trails

  • Brian

    SR5 (got at 4wd for a 2wd price) and modding the hell out of it… and loving every minute of it…

  • Sergio Franco

    Hello guys! I am finally getting my TRD PRO next week and wanted to ask what roof racks do you recommend and also, do HID or LED look better on a TRD PRO? What are your suggestions?

  • Shaf

    I prefer buying base and having more optunities to customize and possibly being more cost effective and less restrictive.

  • Nils

    For me the question is really: If I’m looking at an Off-road Premium and I’m going to take it right from the dealer and go straight to a decent aftermarket adjustable suspension such as King or Fox where I have control over the compression damping, is KDSS still worth it? In general if its not needed, the fewer complicated things with hydraulic fluid underneath my vehicle the better 🙂 With something like the Fox shocks with DSC you can crank on all low-speed compression damping as you like to help with the body roll and brake dive, and back it off when you hit the trails.

    On the other hand, I read someone somewhere opining that suspension is best left to deal with the bumps, and handling and cornering are best left to be dealt with by sway bars – that’s what they’re for.

    Would love to hear your thoughts!

  • De

    I have a question on TRD OFF ROAD PREMIUM price. I know the TRD PRO are going for MSRP or a little higher. Are the OFF ROAD PREMIUM going for MSRP price too?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      De, I would say yes. The ORP and Pro are hard to come by so dealers know they can mark them up or keep them at MSRP and they will still sell. Patience and shopping the country helps here.

    • Nils

      Just picked up an ORP for $2k under MSRP, Bay Area.

  • De

    Thanks Brenan and Nils. Nils did you get the KDSS kit with your ORP?

  • Nils


    • De

      Sweet! Thanks Nils.

  • Dee

    I think it depends if you are able to get a hand on a TRD Pro; which is limited production and really hard to get one and especially with the special colour. I pre-order a Cavalry Blue and waiting for the truck to arrive. For re-sale in the future; I think the TRD Pro will worth slightly more than other models.

  • Tyler

    Not sure if this was covered in the comments, but it’s worth noting that the TRD skid plate will not fit 4Runners equipped with KDSS. It will need to be modified first. Not sure if that’s worth it on a $300 skid plate. I bought a 2016 TEP brand new and planned to do the TRD Pro wheels, grille, front/rear valances, and skid plate, but I couldn’t justify the cost, other than the wheels. Ended up doing the blackout emblem kit, wrapped the grille crossbar and front/rear valances in satin black, and called it a day. I always look at the TRD grille and want it, but not for $600.

  • Dean Cebuliak

    Wow, what a busy and great topic. I just bought a 2018 off road here in canada and love it, but I’m a newby with forerunners. My issue is body roll and people feeling car sick on twisty roads. I want a little stiffer suspension than the kdss offers even, and to level the truck out on the front. Nose diving too, but I haven’t had a full size 4×4 for awhile. Love the sun roof and i did go trd rims and ko2s, but I’m working with the dealer to upgrade slightly and not affect my warranty. I still don’t want a pro, and this is what I’d like to improve and might help others make a decision. 🙂

  • Don Birdsey

    Can you add KDSS to a Off Road Premium after if it was purchased without it? Or is that any after Market KDSS like products for the 4 runner? Thanks

    • Kent

      The short answer is not really. It would take alot of reworking to make that function. Definitely better to buy one with it from the factory if that is what you want (I recommend it).

  • Billy

    If KDSS is the ultimate, then why is it not standard on the Pro?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      Billy, really good question for Japan. Why is KDSS not even an option on the TRD Pro? I don’t know if its “ultimate” for everyone. I think everyone drives a little different. I may be biased but I think KDSS is better than non-KDSS platforms, for how “I” drive. Some owners have ripped off their KDSS to allow increased travel off-road. It really just depends on the driver.

    • Kent

      “Ultimate” is in the eye of the beholder. If you don’t plan on modifying your truck, the Pro is probably superior. If you do, the Off Road may be better as there are better aftermarket skids & suspension (& some feel the awesome looking Pro wheels are about a half inch too narrow). The limited colors are definitely something you can’t get without a Pro, however you can’t get KDSS with one (& until 2019 you couldn’t get a sunroof either). You really have to drive a KDSS vehicle to understand it. It improves off road travel and at speed performance, almost magical in my experience. If you planned on doing a long travel then you definitely don’t want the KDSS but don’t need the Pro suspension either.

  • Kent

    Here is a simple but nice explanation of the KDSS, albeit on a Land Cruiser.
    I highly recommend the YouTube information videos from Toyota New Zealand. They are far more informative than the American versions.

  • Adam


    Love the site. I always come back to get helpful tips. I have a 2018 off-road premium and I want to upgrade the shocks to something aftermarket. I have my heart set on Stage 3 Icon Suspension, but I have a few questions:
    – Billet vs Tubular?
    – Are there any skid plates available that do not require modification to work with KDSS?
    – Since the lift needs to be 3.5″ front and 2.5″ back to level, what size tire and wheel combination can I get without rubbing?

    • Brenan - Trail4R

      – Billet and Tubular? If money is no concern go with Billet, it’s not needed, though. Tubular UCAs are fine.
      – Good skid plates that work with KDSS? Go with RCI Skid Plates
      – 3.5″ front and 2.5″ back, tires without rubbing? No rubbing 265/70R17, possible rubbing 275/70R17, rubbing for sure 285/70R17.


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