If you’re in the market for a rugged SUV that’s as comfortable off the beaten path as it is on pavement, then the 2022 Toyota 4Runner is a spectacular option. However, it can be tough choosing between the eight different trim levels that it’s available in. And while many hardcore and wannabe off-road enthusiasts will lust after the top-trim TRD Pro model, I found that the Trail Edition makes a lot more sense for most consumers in reality.
The 2022 Toyota 4Runner Trail Edition has a more comfortable ride than the TRD Pro
The Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is outfitted for the craziest off-road paths so it can climb over giant boulders and traverse rivers with ease. But let’s face it, most of us don’t need that type of capability 95% of the time. On top of that, I found that while the 4Runner TRD Pro’s Fox suspension is amazing off-road, it’s actually a little stiff for daily driving. Additionally, the one-inch lift up front makes it a little harder to get into the driver’s seat, and, as Regular Cars put it, “it makes you feel like you’re driving baby’s high chair.”
That being said, the 4Runner Trail Edition felt a lot more comfortable on the road. For the unfamiliar, the Trail Edition is a gussied-up version of the base 4Runner SR5 trim, which means that it still has the stock suspension and 17-inch wheels. That standard equipment translates into a more compliant ride that soaks up bumps and road imperfections instead of transmitting those vibrations through the steering wheel like the TRD Pro does. Of course, the all-terrain tires on the TRD Pro don’t help much in terms of ride quality either, so that’s something to consider as well.
Also, I found that the Trail Edition was capable enough for some light off-road driving on dirt roads and uneven ground. So if you like to go camping or fishing on the weekends, it will serve your purposes just fine.
Both trim levels are equipped with the same powertrain
Whether you choose the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro, the Trail Edition, or any other trim level, you’ll get the same 4.0-liter V6 that pumps out 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. It’s a great engine that Toyota has used for a long time and it’s connected to a five-speed automatic transmission that can route power to all four wheels.
Both the Trail Edition and the TRD Pro come in all-wheel drive guise, however, the latter also comes standard with a locking rear differential. Of course, if you don’t really need a locking differential, then the Trail Edition will work just fine when venturing off-road.
The 4Runner Trail Edition is a lot cheaper than the TRD Pro
It always comes down to price, doesn’t it? Fortunately, if you choose the 4Runner Trail Edition, you’ll spend a lot less than you would on the hardcore TRD Pro. In fact, it’s around $11,000 cheaper as the TRD Pro retails for $52,120 and the Trail Edition has a sticker price of $41,150 (before destination).
That’s a pretty big jump in price, but if you don’t mind having cloth seats, manual HVAC controls, and a standard suspension, then the 4Runner Trail Edition will be the much more sensible choice.