SR5 Vs. TRD: Which 4Runner Trim Is Best For You?

5th Gen 4Runners - SR5 & TRD Off-Road Premium

The Differences Between TRD and SR5 & How To Choose

In today’s post, I’ll compare the TRD and the SR5 trims on the 5th Gen 4Runner. In doing so, we’ll determine whether or not the added cost of a TRD is worth it or if saving some money with an SR5 is a better value.

For a more in-depth breakdown of the 5th Gen 4Runner trims, check out our detailed comparison guide.

TRD

2021 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium

TRD (Toyota Racing Development) was founded in 1979 and has since developed performance parts, accessories, and entire packages for Toyota vehicles. In the case of the 4Runner, it has been specially modified and enhanced by Toyota’s in-house performance division for off-road driving.

Four trims have this package, these include…

TRD Sport

Think of the TRD Sport as the street-performance-oriented package (a bit of an oxymoron for a 4Runner). It comes with the hood scoop and is available in exclusive colors. However, it doesn’t have all the other off-road goodies like a rear locker. Rather, it has the X-REAS suspension found in the Limited.

TRD Off-Road & OR Premium

These two are virtually the same, except the Premium package has leather, heated seats, and a couple more optional upgrades that the standard OR does not have. These include off-road features, like a rear locker and CRAWL control.

TRD Pro

The Pro is the top-of-the-line. It has all the bells and whistles that anyone would want in a Toyota off-road truck from a custom-tuned suspension to a rear locker. However, it is also the most expensive.

SR5

5th Gen Barcelona Red SR5 Premium 4Runner

The SR5 is the base trim option in the 4Runner lineup. However, it is still a well-balanced option, offering comfort, convenience, and capability. This makes it an excellent value, especially if you don’t require all the bells and whistles of higher-end options.

Similar to the Off-Road, the SR5 is offered in a standard or premium variant. The latter will come with SofTex leather and heated seats.

40th Anniversary Edition

Many argue that the 40th Edition is essentially an SR5. However, I will not include it in this post as it is not officially labeled that way.

SR5 Vs. TRD

5th Gen TRD Off-Road Premium and SR5 Premium 4Runners

Regardless of the trim level, all 5th Gen 4Runners have the same drivetrain and frame. The main difference between them are the off-road features.

You also only have the option to add KDSS with TRD OR. Let’s take a closer look at what differentiates them.

1. Price

5th Gen 4Runner Lime Rush TRD Pro Build

Here is a breakdown of all 6 and what their base MSRP is based on the 2024 models…

  • SR5: $40,155
  • SR5 Premium: $43,015
  • TRD Sport: $43,215
  • TRD Off-Road: $44,000
  • TRD Off-Road Premium: $46,580
  • TRD Pro: $54,620

Between the SR5 and the Pro, there is a $14,465 difference. This accounts for an upgraded suspension, interior with more technology, better sound system, wheels, and a few more items.

2. Exterior Features

5th Gen 4Runner Winter Overlanding

Exterior features between the two are easily apparent. The TRD have a more rugged and aggressive appearance with unique styling elements like badging, hood scoop, and silver (OR & ORP) or black (Pro) valances.

The Pro also has a unique heritage grille, an improved front skid plate, all-terrain tires, and a roof rack. Not to mention, exclusive colors.

On the other hand, the SR5s have a slightly more understated exterior. There’s no color-contrast front or rear valance and less attractive wheels.

The main exterior difference between the premium and non-premium is sequential turn signals on the side mirrors.

3. Interior Features

4Runner Trim - OR vs. TRD

The interior of both is virtually the same. The only major difference will be the red TRD logos and red stitching for both theOff-Road Premium and Pro with SofTex leather seats. TRD Sport has SofTex seats but with a light grey logo. Unfortunately, the standard Off-Road with cloth seats does not get logos on the headrests.

All will have the same sound system, except the Pro which will have an upgraded JBL system. Premium ones get an upgraded infotainment system with navigation.

One noticeable difference between the SR5 and TRD (Off-Road and Pro) models is in the overhead console. SR5 and TRD Sport have sunglass storage in front of the rearview mirror. The MTS, CRAWL, and rear locker controls occupy this space on the TRD Off-Road and Pro.

A pretty cool feature that Toyota added in the last few years is the Panoramic View Monitor with a 360-degree Overhead View. This is a 360 camera that is available on the SR5 Premium, TRD Sport, and TRD Off-Road Premium. It comes standard on the Pro.

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will also be standard across all (newer) trims on the 5th Gen.

4. Suspension

2021 TRD Pro Fox Suspension (Buyers Guide)

Both the SR5 and TRD have the same Toyota suspension, except the Pro which comes with a specially-tuned FOX suspension.

The Off-Road and Off-Road Premium have available Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS).

When taking on extreme off-road terrain, the KDSS system is designed to automatically decouple 4Runner’s sway bars as needed, helping improve wheel articulation. And when the terrain goes back to smooth and flat, the sway bars are designed to automatically reconnect.

For some, this system is a huge selling point.

5. Manual Vs. Electronic Transfer Case

Manual Transfer Case On OR 4Runner

Something to consider is the way you engage 4WD (if equipped). The Off-Road and Pro use a manual level with SR5 and TRD Sport uses an electronic dial.

Some people favor the manual level more because it has a much lower failure rate. I haven’t seen any issues with the electronic dial failing; however, it is possible.

6. Off-Road Features

5th Gen 4Runner OR Trim Extra Features

The TRD do offer a few more additional things that are important to note…

Crawl Control

This system essentially acts as an off-road cruise control system. It can automatically adjust individual wheel throttle and braking to optimize traction, allowing the driver to focus solely on steering. This is extremely helpful when going over steep inclines, rocky trails, or slippery surfaces. You can pick from several speeds (they’re all slow).

Multi-Terrain Select (MTS)

Another off-road feature found on the TRD is Multi-Terrain Select. This system helps regulate wheel spin by automatically adjusting traction control and throttle response to match different off-road surfaces and conditions. You can pick from various terrains including rock, rock/dirt, mogul, loose rock, or mud & sand.

Rear Locking Differential

This mechanically locks the rear wheels together, ensuring they turn at the same rate regardless of which has more traction. By distributing power equally to both sides, the rear locking differential enables both wheels to share the workload evenly, maximizing traction in challenging terrains. With a standard open differential, the wheel with the least resistance (traction), gets the power, which doesn’t help you off-road.

Is The TRD Worth It?

2022 TRD Off-Road Premium 4Runner Build

It’s hard to determine whether or not the added cost of a TRD is worth it without first figuring out your overall goal for the vehicle.

If you plan on building an overland or off-road rig, you could go either way. The SR5 leaves you more money to upgrade things such as the suspension, tires, brakes, skid plates, etc. On the other hand, the TRDs come with a rear locking diff, crawl control, and MTS, which are good to have if you plan on doing any intense off-roading and rock crawling.

If you want the 4Runner for space and a more luxurious interior, I would opt for the SR5 Premium. This will lower costs while giving you leather and heated (front) seats, navigation, and a moon roof. If you also want the look of the Pro, you can always install a Replica Pro Grille. You may even be able to find a hood with a hood scoop, granted, that’s purely aesthetic.

At the end of the day, the TRDs are just off-road-oriented SR5s. If you want something that’s trail-ready right off the lot, I would opt for one of those. Just know that all 4Runners are or can be trail-ready with a little extra work.

Final Thoughts

2021 SR5 Premium 4Runner Off-Roading

I went with an SR5 Premium because I wanted to build my truck out while saving some money on the initial cost of purchasing. I also still wanted some of the luxuries of the premium package.

Despite minor differences, all 4Runner trims offer similar functionality and capability for most off-road situations. If you don’t need a rear locker or the special suspension found in the Pro, the SR5 will probably serve you well. It saves money for other modifications while still providing ample capability off-road.

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Dmitry
Dmitry
17 days ago

Forgot the Venture

Sactown
Sactown
17 days ago

Would be nice if Toyota offered the ability to order a 4runner exactly how you want it. I care about the offroad capabilities and couldn’t care less about all the stupid bling.

Konrad Chojnowski
Admin
Nomad
15 days ago
Reply to  Sactown

At the right dealer, you can. Many try and avoid the extra work. I thought it was impossible anymore. Then a bigger dealer told me certain ones just avoid going through the extra steps. Try calling around! There are ways to make it happen. At least relatively close to perfect.

Sactown
Sactown
16 days ago
Reply to  Marie Dubray

I highly doubt it, they make more money loading them up with stuff we don’t want but pay extra for to get what we actually want. The worst is the dealer extras overpriced bling junk, walked away from many cars because of that nonsense, but someone ends up buying it.

Don S.
Don S.
17 days ago

This is a great article. My buddy is wanting to purchase a 4Runner and I have been telling him the differences in packages. So this went more in depth that I could have.
I have a 2020 SR5 Standard I bought new. I went to the dealer for the Pro and then realized that I wanted to build my Runner my way (and I like cloth seats). So I saved money on the purchase and over time added a two inch OME (standard load) lift, Yokohama Geolander X/AT’s (in the stock size), RCI skid plate and Yakima roof rack. I did add a heritage grill for giggles and bc I like the look. I built mine as a purpose built fly fishing, kayaking and long distance travel vehicle into remote spots in the Midwest and north. Honestly, I have never needed the rear locker and it has gone through around or over anything in any place I have taken it. I agree that trims are all in what you want to do with your rig. And I will attest that the right choice for you can absolutely enhance what you enjoy doing!!
I hope this furthers the excellent post on the differences.

Rich
Rich
18 days ago

I paid $36,600. in 2017 for my new TRD OR Premium. Up 25% in 6 1/2 years is amazing.

RayC
RayC
18 days ago

I should add-the KDSS also greatly enhances on road performance by noticeably reducing body roll while driving down a curvy road. I’m very happy to have KDSS.

Sactown
Sactown
17 days ago
Reply to  RayC

KDSS is nice until it needs fixing

RayC
RayC
17 days ago
Reply to  Sactown

I agree, its like most things. At least once a year you should remove the frame mounted protection plate(two easy bolts) and clean out the gunk around the KDSS valving unit, then spray it with Fluid Film rustproofing. Mine is a 2016 and still in excellent shape.

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