The Flexible 4Runner 4×4 TRD Off-Road Premium

I drove the 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium in the city and to the foothills, but I should have had a tailgate party, towed a 5,000-pound boat, found a really steep, rugged mountain to conquer or packed it with four of my closest friends along with their stuff. That’s what I should have done.

Whatever you want to do, the 2017 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium is up for the challenge. Although the models are technically the same as last year’s Trail and Trail Premium, they have been renamed Off-Road and TRD Off-Road Premium. Badging, from the floor mats to the seat, denotes this change. I test drove the nautical blue-colored Premium.

This 4Runner is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that makes 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. It is equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission. Distinguishable features include color-keyed bumpers and overfenders, hood scoop, and silver painted front and rear bumper accents. It also comes with silver roof rails, front and rear mud guards as well as projector beam headlights and LED rear combination lamps.

The 9.6 inches of ground clearance, crawl control, and multi-terrain select system will induce an adrenaline spike for those extreme off-roaders. Maintaining control when driving up and over obstacles and through different conditions from mud to sand is key.

Although I only touched on the Premium’s decades-long history of conquering the rugged wild, I thoroughly enjoyed driving this huge piece of boldness in the city. It’s even and steady. It commands attention from adults and children alike. I’ve test driven the 4Runner a few times, and it doesn’t matter how cautiously I drive through the neighborhood, it’s pretty much guaranteed to make adults look up and to send children running the other way with a smile on their faces. Exciting times.

The interior of the Premium provides a significant comfort upgrade with SofTex®-trimmed seats, heated front seats, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. The 40/20/40-split seat makes it easy to create various cargo and seating configurations, with nearly 90 cubic feet of cargo space opening up when folding the rear seats flat. It offers a standard 120V outlet and two 12V outlets. The Premium, which features a full-size spare tire, offers loads of safety features from Star Safety System which includes smart stop technology all the way to the eight standard airbags protecting the driver and front passenger as they lean into their next adventure.

2017 4Runner 4×4 TRD Off-Road Premium MSRP: $39,295; Combined City/Highway MPG: 18.