How Can The Same Car

Be So Different Every Time I Look?

[Toyota 4Runner Model Comparison 2017]

by Bill Flitter

My wife and I are considering the Toyota 4Runner. To be honest, though, it’s just me considering it. She has her heart absolutely set on the Honda Pilot. She is humoring me and entertaining a Toyota 4Runner model comparison, though.

However, with so many models, it’s difficult to truly know the differences. In fact, it’s hard to decide whether or not the extra money you pay is worth it, too.

I’m very fortunate to be working with Carjojo. Consequently, I have access to tons of sales data on new cars.

In fact, I was able pull up the sales of the Toyota 4Runner to determine what trim or model is the most popular. In addition, I figured the sales numbers would get me closer to a more clear Toyota 4Runner model comparison.


Boys and Their Toys

I love the idea of a fully equipped Toyota 4Runner with a premium off-road package that allows you to drive anywhere. In my opinion, the beach, rocks, snow or any other earthly terrain sound great to drive around on. You feel like you are true adventurer while the rest of the family has the creature comforts they demand (to an extent).

Still, the Toyota 4Runner is actually one of the last SUVs built on a truck body. This is what makes it solid, strong, and exciting to drive on all terrains.

Actually, a small overlooked feature not found in the Honda Pilot for example, is the back window. This window goes down so that the air really circulates in the great outdoors. Moreover, my wife halls a lot of stuff too. She can extend the long items out the window or just easily drop things in without lifting the tailgate.

As I previously mentioned, I love the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro in Cement. Regrettably it’s a bit too truck-like for my wife. Still, I tried to sell her on the fact that no one is going to stop her as she muscles her way to the front of the carpool line at school.


Toyota 4Runner Model Comparison 2017


There are six models of the Toyota 4Runner. Each model below in ascending order adds more features:

  • Toyota 4Runner SR5
  • Toyota 4Runner Premium
  • Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road (formerly known as Trail 4×4 in 2016 models)
  • Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium (formerly known as Trail Premium in 2016 models)
  • Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
  • Toyota 4Runner Limited

Whew, I don’t know about you, but I can only hold so much information in my brain while looking at cars. When the salesman starts spouting out letters, numbers and other stuff, my eyes glaze over, too.

Top 5 Most Popular Toyota 4Runner Models

When I look at what models are selling, we garner the research of thousands of buyers who have gone through the painstaking process of buying a new Toyota 4Runner. The sales data is a Toyota 4Runner model comparison that includes MSRP.

If you are going to buy an SUV  I suggest that before you even start shopping read our SUV buying guide to help you narrow your choices.

Sales My Model MSRP Percent of Sales
Off-Road Premium 4×4 V6 $40,879 26.57%
SR5 Premium 4×4 V6 $39,779 21.31%
Limited 4×4 V6 $47,609 21.12%
Off-Road 4×4 V6 $38,140 17.34%
SR5 4×4 V6 $38,862 13.65%

Aftermarket Add-Ons or Premium Model Upgrade?

Personally, I like to go camping. Of course I like driving off-road as well. I’m also drawn to Toyota 4Runner forums and enjoy see pictures and videos of the fun people have in their 4Runner.

Although I find the features of the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro very compelling, I have to consider the entire family. For example, my wife who is petite at 5 foot 2 inches, might have a tough time getting in out. I like the idea of running boards, but I’m not sure if they would help.

Actually, I discovered that I couldn’t get special off-road suspension with an SR5 model. With the premium models of the Toyota 4Runner you can get an incredible full-time all-wheel drive system. It has the optional KDSS technology that automatically disconnects both stabilizer bars when maximum articulation is needed for uneven, bumpy or extreme terrain.

In fact, for a few thousand dollars more than the SR5 I discovered I could the get the higher trim/model level the Toyota 4Runner Off-Road Premium that has the super KDSS and all of these features:

  • Paint Protection Film (PIO) (3P) $395
  • Door Edge Guard (PIO) (D5) $79
  • Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) (KD) $1,750
  • Wheel Locks (Alloy) (PIO) (WL) $80
  • Power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade (MR) $850
  • Stainless Steel Exhaust Tip (G_SF) $99
  • Cargo Cover (G_CG) $169
  • Cargo Cross Bars (G_CB) $199
  • Automatic running boards (KG) $1,500

With this model we could  save $2,674 off the MSRP and get the moonroof and automatic running boards for my wife.

Toyota 4Runner model comparison

Considering The Entire Family: Practicality Settles In

A few days ago I was at Trader Joes and I saw a woman about the same size as my wife trying to get into a Toyota 4Runner. However even with the running board it appeared difficult for her. Furthermore, my mother-in-law is getting on in years. At this point I can hear her moaning about not wanting to come with us. I’d have to prop her up and almost carry her out of the vehicle.

Also, since writing blog posts about minivans and midsize SUVs,  I know my wife will like the ideas of advanced safety features, back seat entertainment, Wi-Fi, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warnings, lane departure warnings and even automated parking.

The Toyota 4Runner excels in off road activities, 4-wheel drive, power and comfort. In fact, the Toyota 4Runner is a classic without many of the modern gizmos, convenience and safety features (see Toyota 4Runner Safety Ratings).

Toyota 4Runner model comparison 2017

Toyota 4Runner Model Comparison 2017

SR5: Least Expensive, base model

  • 4.0-liter V6 engine, 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway
  • 4×2 and an AWD version is available
  • Tow up to 5,000 pounds
  • Integrated fog lights
  • 17-inch wheels
  • Aerodynamic windshield wipers
  • Skid plates
  • Front and rear mudguards
  • Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation includes eight speakers
  • 6.1-inch touch-screen display
  • Auxiliary audio jack
  • Advanced voice recognition
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Traffic and weather alerts for major metro areas
  • 40/20/40 split folding second seat, and an optional 50/50 split third-row seat
  • Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control, traction control, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake-force distribution, brake assist, and smart stop technology

SR5 Premium: SR5 Base model + a few upgrades

  • Heated, power outside mirrors with turn-signal indicators
  • Entune Premium Audio
  • Integrated Navigation and App Suite
  • HD radio
  • Seats are trimmed with SofTex (instead of fabric)

TRD Off-Road: SR5 base model + 4 Wheel Drive

  • 4×4 Only
  • Fuel economy to the SR5 – 17/20 (1 MPG difference from SR5)
  • Same Audio as SR5 base model.
  • Power front seats, a TRD shift knob, and TRD floor mats.
  • “Crawl Control,” designed to handle acceleration and braking on difficult terrain at low speeds

TRD Off-Road Premium: TRD Off-Road + amenities of the SR5 Premium

  • Entune Premium Audio with Integrated Navigation
  • Entune App Suite
  • Heated and power-adjustable front seating
  • SofTex-trimmed seats

TRD Pro: SR5 Premium + TRD Off-Road Premium + more off road capabilities

  • Special, accented floor mats
  • Bilstein shocks with TRD-tuned springs

Limited: Luxury version of the SR5 Premium made for comfort and safety

  • 2 Wheel Drive or 4 Wheel Drive
  • Chrome accents on the door handles
  • Sliding moonroof with shade
  • Dual-zone automatic climate control
  • Entune Premium JBL Audio. This incorporates 15 JBL GreenEdge speakers in nine locations, including a subwoofer and amplifier
  • Leather seating rather than cloth
  • Smart Key System with Push Button Start
  • Front and rear parking sonar added for extra convenience

Over to You

After completing the Toyota 4Runner model comparison, what became apparent is the limited trim is more inline with what my wife wants. However, the TRD Pro is what I like.

What 4Runner would you pick from our list? Do you agree with my analysis?


Choose from any new 4Runner at your local dealer.
We’ll negotiate the Guaranteed Best Price for you.