Shopping for an off-roader? You will most likely bump into brochures and dealers offering your all-wheel drive SUVs which are most likely advertised as good for off-road use. Then, you get to see 2015 Toyota 4Runner Premium and you instantly know what you’re getting for a trailblazing offroad experience. Toyota 4Runner is one of the few remaining body-on-frame builds on the market so although there may not be an intense competition, the offroad enthusiast expects it to deliver everything.
Toyota 4Runner falls into the mid-sized SUV category and currently offers 4 main trim levels: SR5, Trail, TRD Pro and Limited. The last two are further divided between standard and Premium sub-trims, each offering a different set of equipment both of the mechanical as well as the comfort area of the car.
The currently reviewed Trail Premium trim rests at the higher end of the package offers, readying a set of 17-inch unique wheels, skid plats and mud guards, silver exterior trim accents, a tow hitch, heated side mirrors and fog lights.
Aside from the visible elements included in the trim, the Trail Premium package also boasts a crowded package of assistance features, both mechanical and electronically-controlled. Starting with keyless entry system and cruise control, the Premium sub-trim also comes with vented front and second row, 6-way powered driver seat, adjustable steering wheel, 8-speaker audio system with Bluetooth connectivity and a 6.1 inch touchscreen media interface.
While for a family-oriented mid-sized SUV all the above add a point on the score sheet, the main goal of such an off-roader is to be able to overcome slopes, earth cracks and rough terrain. This is why Toyota made it optionally for the 4Runner Trail Premium to be equipped with Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System (KDSS) which automatically disconnects stabilizers, allowing the suspension to mold better on uneven off-road terrain such as boulders or deep ruts.
The power unit reveals a 4.0 liter V6 engine capable of delivering 278hp and 270 lb-ft of torque through a 5 speed automatic gearbox with low-range gearing. Trail Premium trims come with 4WD system only along with a rear locking differential and a crawl control unit to be used in low rpm conditions. The 4Runner Trail Premium is able to reach 60mph in 7.8 seconds, sitting inside the segment average. An EPA estimate of 19 mpg combined makes the 4Runner fall below the segment average in terms of fuel economy.
As it has been mentioned above, Toyota’s 4Runner Trail Premium gets at its best right after the pavement ends. Ideal for off-roading situations, drivers may find the steering to be a little too light in regular daily traffic conditions. The engine provides a decent pump of force, although it cannot quite match the V8 units found on rivals such as Grand Cherokee. Also, while the gearbox shifts seamlessly, another high gear may have sorted out the fuel economy issue.
On the overall, 2015 Toyota 4Runner Trail Premium does what it was designed to do: blaze through off-road areas where regular SUVs would not even consider entering. With the bunch of specific off-road features available it is safe to assume that the boulder-climbing enthusiasts will look over the lower fuel economy index.