In a sea of crossovers, it’s easy to tell a body-on-frame SUV from the rest of the pack. For starters, from certain angles, you could think you’re looking at a pickup truck. Watching the truck-based 2010 Ford Explorer morph into the unibody model of 2011 offers a perfect example.
There are some notable exceptions in 2018, with the full-size General Motors SUVs and redesigned Expedition among them. Yet none of them have endured in their current form as long as the Toyota 4Runner.
Last redesigned for the 2010 model year, the 4Runner has staked its claim as the most reliable vehicle of the decade in Consumer Reports testing. While Toyota can’t boast much about this model’s creature comforts, the automaker can say it’s among the most rugged SUVs on the market.
For 2019, consumers will get more options for upgrading the appearance and off-road capabilities of the 4Runner. Here’s everything that’s new.
Nightshade Special Edition
While you won’t see much in the way of mechanical changes to the base 2019 4Runner ($34,910), buyers will have some customization options. The Nightshade Special Edition offers a number of factory appearance upgrades if you want to build off the Limited trim ($43,225).
Black front and rear bumper spoilers, 20-inch black wheels, outer mirrors, and door handles arethe key exterior style elements of the package. Black badging, chrome front molding, and a black exhaust tip continue the theme.
Inside, the Nightshade package brings black interior trim on the steering wheel, center console, shifter panel, and door grips. Midnight Black Metallic, Magnetic Gray Metallic, and Blizzard Pearl are the three color choices for this package.
Standard options and upgrades to 2019 TRD Pro
In every 4Runner, Hill-Start Assist Control comes standard for help with acceleration on an incline. Meanwhile, four-wheel-drive SR5 ($36,785) and Limited ($45,260) models add downhill assist.
For even more performance, buyers can turn to TRD models ($38,085) that bring in Toyota Crawl Control and electronic-locking rear differential. A multi-terrain select control also helps assist in navigation on the trail.
In the TRD Pro ($46,415), new 2.5-inch Fox Internal Bypass Shocks represent the major performance upgrade. Combined with TRD coil springs, they add an extra 1 inch of lift in the front and provide precision damping in the rear at high and low speeds (on- or off-road).
As far as appearance goes, 2019 TRD Pro models get a new roof rack and standard moonroof. A new JBL Premium Audio system will come in every cabin, along with the TRD shift knob and other accents.
Other options, fuel economy
For buyers looking for a three-row SUV, you have to upgrade to a SR5 or Limited trim. Otherwise, it comes as a two-row model. In the SR5, a backup camera, power liftgate window, and rear-seat vents with pollen filter are some of the standard features.
SR5 Premium models ($36,740) bring in heated front seats, an auto-dim mirror, and SofTex seats.
Advanced safety features remain unavailable on the 4Runner for 2019.
Fuel economy holds at 18 mpg combined across the board. Only in two-wheel-drive models do you get a 1 mpg advantage in highway driving (to 21 mpg).