Trucks & SUVs

Is the 2021 Toyota 4Runner’s Lunar Inspiration Enough?

One thing you’ve got to appreciate about the Toyota 4Runner SUV is that it is not pretending to be a luxurious and peaceful SUV. For 2021 Toyota did absolutely nothing to improve the 4Runner’s road manners. But a few tuning tweaks have been implemented to help it out on the trails. Plus, there’s a new Lunar Rock Toyota 4Runner new color that looks pretty out of this world.

the new Toyota 4Runner LED headlights illuminating a pitch black dark
2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

It’s now poised to compete with the Jeep Wrangler and the 2021 Ford Bronco that just came back onto the off-roading scene. But will these tweaks and minor improvements be enough to keep this ancient SUV in the running? We aren’t so sure.

Lunar inspiration

The Toyota 4Runner’s fifth generation is still chugging along. It’s been around for more than a decade and it’s remained largely unchanged. This is part of the reason these boxy beasts maintain such great resale value. Another is the Toyota reliability that accompanies the brawny off-roaders. For 2021 the Toyota 4Runner gets some lunar inspiration.

We already knew that the 4Runner could handle some rocky terrain, but now it will also take some cosmetic tips from the rocks it climbs. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro will get a new color called Lunar Rock, according to MotorTrend. The TRD Pro will come more equipped for off-roading than ever. But what else is new for this 2021 SUV? It’s looking like the same rugged SUV that it was 10 years ago––and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But what’s the hype?

Toyota 4Runner limited Trail Edition

The entire 2021 Toyota 4Runner range receives new standard LED headlights. There is also a new limited Trail Edition for the Toyota 4Runner. According to Car and Driver, this Trail Edition 4Runner is based on the SR5 base model 4Runner. Only 4,000 of these Trail Edition models will be made. The Trail Edition won’t get the Toyota 4Runner new color.

cargo of a trail edition 4runner full of gear
Rear Cargo of the Trail Edition 4Runner | Toyota

This is common for limited edition trims. In fact, only 3,500 of the 2021 Ford Bronco’s First Edition trim were available. It already sold out of reservations for this range-topping exclusive trim.

a trail edition 4runner SUV off-road in some hilly countryside
2021 4Runner Trail Edition | Toyota

RELATED: The Toyota 4Runner’s Third Row Is a Joke But Who Cares?

The Toyota 4Runner’s Trail Edition is also seen on the Toyota Tacoma and the Tundra, proving yet again that the 4Runner really is a truck at heart. It comes with a Yakima rack up top and a custom cooler in the spacious rear cargo. The Trail Edition, which starts at $39,000, will also get 17-inch dark gray TRD wheels and a few black badges in its exterior. The interior features black seats with tan stitched detail and all-weather floor mats that any adventurer can appreciate.

2021 4Runner TRD Pro

2021 Toyota 4Runner on display with new lunar paint color
2021 Lunar Rock Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

RELATED: Three Reasons Not to Buy the 2020 Toyota 4Runner

If you are really serious about off-roading, the TRD Pro is the best option. It’s also the best competitor against other designated off-roaders like the 2021 Ford Bronco or the Jeep Wrangler. The 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro is the most expensive 2021 4Runner option. According to Car and Driver it has a starting price of $51,000.

It’s a highly capable designated off-roader. Plus, it is the only trim level that features the exciting new Lunar Rock color. The Lunar Rock Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro gets some new shoes and retuned dampers. The upgraded black TRD wheels are hugged by Nitto Terra Grapplers tires and, according to Car and Driver, Toyota says that the damper tweaks should “improve isolation during trail driving.”

Can it compete with the new Ford Bronco?

Ford bronco sideview
2021 Ford Bronco 4-door | Ford Media

It can’t go topless, or doorless. So on that level, the 2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro absolutely can’t compete. It does, however, offer very ample cargo space and some models feature a third row option. It’s definitely a capable off-roader, and once we get the Bronco, the Wrangler, and the 4Runner together on a trail it’s going to interesting. The Lunar Rock Toyota 4Runner will at least be able to compete in the unique color department. Apart from that, it will all come down to trail performance.