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While the current 4Runner model is nearly 10 years old, dating back to the 2010 model year for its last redesign, it remains quite a popular vehicle for Toyota, thanks to its excellent off-road credentials. Like many cars in the Jeep lineup, it straddles the line between a comfortable vehicle with off-road abilities and a pure performance-driven off-roader, with many of its models falling on one or the other side of that divide.
While Toyota has not made more than minor updates to the 4Runner in recent years, the six different trim levels of the 2018 Toyota 4Runner can still be a bit difficult to navigate, especially for buyers that are new to the model.
Compare the 2018 4Runner SR5 vs SR5 Premium Trims. What is the difference?
The SR5 is the traditional entry-level nameplate for Toyota’s off-road vehicles, though the 4Runner SR5 does go a step beyond the basic when it comes to equipment. In addition to the basics, it also comes with a 6.1-inch touchscreen infotainment, 17-inch alloy wheels, a power driver’s seat, and a rearview camera, along with a host of connectivity features like Bluetooth and USB ports.
Like all 4Runners, it comes with a V-6 engine and rear-wheel drive, though four-wheel drive is an optional upgrade. Other options include a third seating row, running boards, and a navigation system.
The SR5 Premium is a small upgrade on the SR5, mostly focused on creature comforts than functionality. It comes with an auto-dimming rearview mirror, the optional navigation system, heated front seats, and synthetic leather upholstery. Running boards and the third row options are also available on the SR5 Premium just like on the regular SR5, and the SR5 Premium can also be equipped with a power moonroof as well.
In general, the nice equipment that the SR5 includes standard makes it a solid choice for anyone looking to get started with this off-road/on-road hybrid vehicle. While the two SR5 models may lack some of the more advanced performance features of the higher models, they still acquit themselves nicely off the pavement.
Compare the 2018 Toyota 4Runner SR5 vs TRD Off-Road Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The TRD Off-Road trim for the 4Runner takes the standard features of the SR5 and builds on them. While it does include the standard navigation system of the SR5 Premium, otherwise the TRD Off-Road has all of the same features as the base SR5. It differs mostly in the mechanics, where it offers an impressive set of off-road technology.
It comes equipped with a multi-terrain selection system with crawl control, a lever-type transfer case, and an electronically locking rear differential. It can also be equipped with an optional dynamic suspension system for improved off-road ability. Aside from that, running boards are the sole available option for this model. It is available solely in an all-wheel drive configuration. Similarly, the third row is not an option on this model.
The TRD Off-Road is the first dedicated off-roader in the 4Runner lineup. While the lower two models can certainly tackle some unpaved terrain, this TRD Off-Road specializes in doing so.
Compare the 2018 4Runner TRD Off-Road vs TRD Off-Road Premium Trims. What is the difference?
The TRD Off-Road Premium serves the same role for the TRD Off-Road trim that the SR5 Premium model does for the standard SR5. It offers the same basic equipment, as well as adding an auto-dimming rearview mirror and SofTex synthetic leather upholstery. It also features a similar set of optional features, including running boards and a power moonroof. Additionally, it also offers the dynamic suspension system that is also available as an option on the regular TRD Off-Road model. Like that model, it is also all-wheel drive exclusive.
The same considerations apply to the TRD Off-Road Premium as the regular SR5 Premium: are you looking for a leatherette upholstery, or do you prefer the standard cloth interior. The optional moonroof is also a difference between the two models, but it is not as major. If either of the two is a must-have, then opt for the TRD Off-Road Premium. Otherwise, stick with the regular TRD Off-Road for a bit of additional savings.
Compare the 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium vs TRD Pro Trim Levels. What is the difference?
The TRD Pro is the 4Runner trim level that is dedicated to high-grade off-roading performance, similar to vehicles like the Jeep Wrangler. In addition to the regular features of the TRD Off-Road models, it also has a special off-roading suspension complete with Bilstein shock absorbers, alloy skid plates, and thick, grippy all-terrain tires.It comes with the same SofTex synthetic leather as the SR5 Premium and the TRD Off-Road Premium models, and includes the off-road upgrades found on the TRD Off-Road trims as well. Similar to the rest of the TRD models of the 4Runner, this one can also only be found with an all-wheel drive powertrain. It also offers no optional features to choose from.
Compare the 4Runner TRD Pro vs Limited Trims. What is the difference?
Where the TRD Pro is a consummate sportsman, the Limited is the one that cashed out for an early retirement. It lacks the high-end performance gear of the TRD Pro, instead sporting some nice comfort upgrades. It is the only model in the 4Runner lineup with genuine leather, and that is accompanied by front seat heating and ventilation. Dual-zone climate control, JBL audio, push-button start, and shiny 20-inch wheels add to the premium ambiance.The Limited still has an off-roading ability on par with the SR5 models, but it is meant more for occasional jaunts into the unknown rather than long exploration expeditions. Third-row seating and running boards are the available options, and the 4Runner Limited can be specced in either rear-wheel or all-wheel drive as well.
Which Trim Level to Choose?
The 2018 Toyota 4Runner offers effectively two trim tracks - one for dedicated off-roaders and one for the casual ones. Those who find themselves in need of a strong SUV that can occasionally be called to traverse some terrain should opt for the main line, which includes the SR5, the SR5 Premium and the Limited models.
The off-road aficionados looking for the full performance package should instead select from the TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro models. The base and the Premium models of each are differentiated almost entirely by their upholstery, while the high-end models bring a full range of either performance or comfort options.
Depending on your preferred price point and the features you are after, any of the three models in each category can offer a good value.
• Why buy a 2018 Toyota 4Runner? w/ pros vs cons