Should You Buy a TRD Pro 4Runner? A 2-Year Review of the TRD Pro
An In-depth 2-Year Look at the TRD Pro 4Runner In Off-Roading Capabilities & Feature Options
When it comes to buying a vehicle there are a lot of things to consider.
Some may seem not so important as it is to others, and this could never be truer than with the highly demanded Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro.
I have owned my 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro for a couple of years now.
While a lot has changed since when I first bought it, I thought I’d help out those who are considering buying one on whether they should or shouldn’t.
One of the main reasons people buy the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is simply because of the special color option.
Each year Toyota puts out three colors for the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. One is a throwback color that the original Land Cruisers (J40) used.
TRD Pro colors by year:
- 2015 Inferno
- 2016 Quicksand
- 2017 Cement
- 2018 Cavalry Blue
- 2019 Voodoo Blue
Why Toyota chose to go with blue during back-to-back years is a bit confusing, but nonetheless, they are selling them left and right, so blue must be new in color.
These same colors you can also get on the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro as well as the Toyota Tundra TRD Pro.
The other options are base colors which you can buy on each Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma and Tundra.
Every year one of those choices is white, the other is randomly selected. 2015’s other option was Attitude Black Metallic, 2016 was Magnetic Gray Metallic, 2017 was Barcelona Red, 2018 was Midnight Black Metallic, and 2019 is Midnight Black Metallic.
Unlike the Toyota Tacoma and Toyota Tundra, the following years Toyota 4Runner DOES NOT receive the previous years special color. For example in the 2018 Tacoma and Tundra models, Cement became a color option. Whereas the 4Runner did not receive that as an option for 2018 models.
Despite being the trademark of the line for being the off-road capable horse, there isn’t much different from the base SR5 and Off-Road (formerly Trail) models Vs. the TRD Pro.
The major difference is the Bilstein (or as of 2019 FOX) suspension setup.
Though it is, in fact, more of an off-road capable suspension, it is the base of the base. They are not adjustable, they have half an inch of extra travel, and will literally give you close to no advantage over the other suspensions.
The main perk is having the rear reservoir to help keep the suspension cool when it’s being worked extra hard on say washboard road. While the suspension may be able to handle it for short spurts, I would not recommend it for long-term abuse.
You have a true skid plate protecting your oil pan over that cheap plastic/thin metal ones that come from the factory, and the front coils allow it to sit an inch higher over the other models.
The only other additional perk is the vehicle coming with A/T tires, meaning if you bought this to off-road you can immediately hit the trail and know your tires can handle just about anything you throw at them.
With that said, the Nitto’s that come on the TRD Pro stock happen to wear terribly, and additionally are awful in rain.
I didn’t test them in snow, but I would be shocked if they were any better in snowy conditions.
Pro Model vs SR5 – Off-Road / Trail Models
The Crawl Control feature is one major difference between the Pro Model and the SR5 (the Off-Road/Trail models have this as well). When in certain situations of being stuck in the sand, going down or up steep terrain crawl control will automatically drive the vehicle for you (you will need to steer). It applies the braking and speed for you.
A while ago, there was a really good article on how to use crawl control and 4Runner 4WD. You may want to check that out for an in-depth guide and explanation of the controls.
You will see crawl control mostly used in areas where people have become stuck in the sand, but it can be extremely useful with steep terrain.
Badging and Trim
The TRD Pro comes with the Pro-specific “TOYOTA” front grille badging, as well as blacked out badges on the sides.
You can easily achieve the grille option on your SR5 and Off-Road by simply buying two pieces and swapping them in. It is, however, an expensive “mod” at around $600 if you buy the OE grille.
The dealer will charge you nearly double that to do it for you.
The rear is still chrome for whatever reason.
TRD Pro Wheels
The last main difference is the wheels, which are matte black and specific for the TRD Pro models.
The only issue is, for a vehicle Toyota loves to pump up as the King of off-roading is the wheel is only 7″ wide, which means if you want to run a bigger tire setup, you’ll need to change rims or know the risk of running a tire that’s too big for that rim.
The Off-Road (formerly Trail) models come with a rim that is 7.5″ wide. Making it much more suitable for those who want to run bigger tires.
What should you buy? TRD Pro, Off-Road or SR5?
Between the Pro and Off-Road (formerly Trail) models, there is very little difference. The main being the grille, badging, suspension, tires, and front skid.
Otherwise, they are the exact same vehicle. The SR5, on the other hand, has one less feature, a rear locker.
While most people will probably never taken advantage of a locker, and others will argue it’s not needed, you will find it very useful in certain situations.
A-TRAC is the king of helping you get out of things, but I would gladly swap A-TRAC out for a fully locked 4Runner any day of the week. When climbing a waterfall (rocky steep section of trail) I ran into an issue where A-TRAC had the vehicle basically sitting in place bouncing around. When I engaged the rear locker, it was night and day difference. The 4Runner climbed up and over without issue.
There are other instances where the locker will come in handy, such as deep snow, mud, or areas where you will need both wheels spinning at the exact same rate to ensure traction isn’t locked (usually on very steep, loose, rocky, or rutty trails).
Of course, you don’t need to buy an Off-Road (Trail) or TRD Pro for this feature, there are aftermarket kits available to add them to a base SR5, but having one ready to go from the dealer is definitely nice.
Adding a rear locker (Commonly added is the ARB) can run you anywhere from $1500+. And, while you are at it, you might as well lock the front differential, grab some 34″ tires and regear to 4.88. That will cost you another $3500+
One positive side for purchasing a pro is the value they hold. White 4Runners and Toyota’s, in general, hold their value extremely well, the TRD Pro continues to go for prices that they were when brand new, even the ones that are nearly four years old now.
While I love my Barcelona Red TRD Pro, I was looking at the 2016 Quicksand colored one first.
At the time you could only buy them used as the 2017’s were being produced. I found one, with 6,000 miles, going for $63,000. They cost $43,000 MSRP. Of course, you will likely never find a Pro for MSRP unless you work the for the dealer and are buying it for yourself, or are buying one of the basic colors and were able to really work the dealer.
You may pay more for a Pro when you buy it but when you sell it, you’ll likely get the majority of that money back, even if it is four years old.
While this may not matter to some people, there are some options that you cannot get on the TRD Pro as you can on other models. For instance, the indicating mirrors on the Off-Road (Trail) models are not an option on the TRD Pro.
Meaning when you turn your turn signal on, the mirror will not flash along with your blinkers.
Though this has changed for 2019, previous models, except in Canada, did not have the option to install a sunroof, thus meaning you would have to resort to paying the dealer to add a custom one for you.
One thing people love with the Toyota 4Runner is the KDSS suspension option, noted in this article. This allows for a much smoother ride on the road and better stability. To some it’s not a big deal, to others it’s like driving on a freshly paved road or pothole filled ones.
I personally didn’t care as I planned to have the Bilstein suspension setup in for a while, but others do swear they would never buy a 4Runner without it.
The Exclusive TRD Pro 4Runner in Barcelona Red
I love my TRD Pro 4Runner, mainly because of the Barcelona Red color. If I would have been able to find an Off-Road in the same color, I easily would have purchased that instead because as mentioned, the main things I liked (front bumper, wheels) I could have done on my own. The perk of having all of that done, along with A/T tires from the dealer made it a little easier to push me the TRD Pro Route.
My local dealers, in fact, could not land a Barcelona Red Off-Road 4Runner.
They continued to try to trade with others, but for some reason, they wouldn’t do it. I’m not sure if the color is harder to find on the West Coast, or if they just didn’t have some to offer them, but with a failing vehicle, I had no other option but to continue to search.
I eventually found my Pro in Hollywood, with a markup of $55,000. I won’t say what I paid, but it definitely wasn’t that or anywhere close to that out the door. At the end of the day though we had a deal and drove it home that night. Only to get up early the next morning to put its first scratches on thanks to some Manzanita Brush in the Sequoia National Forest.
In the end, I wish I would have waited for my dealer to land one, but due to current vehicle circumstances at the time I had little choice in the matter.
The few thousands difference I could have saved would have bought for my King Setup and probably Total Chaos UCA’s.
Though I didn’t originally plan on an aftermarket suspension setup, after adding body armor such as C4 Fabrication rock sliders and Lo Pro Bumper, it was clear that would need to be done as well due to added weight.
Final Thoughts on the TRD Pro 4Runner
The suspension makes a world of difference.
Not only due to supporting the Toyota 4Runner and additional weight added, but also the driving itself. Bumps, drips, washboard roads, they no longer feel as jolly as before.
Whether you go with an SR5, Off-Road, TRD Pro, or even Limited you shouldn’t be disappointed with your Toyota 4Runner. With that said, if you plan on off-roading, but never upgrading anything (and mean it), depending on the price the TRD Pro would be a great choice.
Of course, if you plan on upgrading things over time, save the money and buy an Off-Road.
Questions or Comments? Leave them below!
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