2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro Review - I Bought One!
Well, after a year of ownership, the Mazda3 Turbo is gone. It was a great ride while it lasted, but it was time to move on. Its stiff suspension had worn on me, and I was ready for something more relaxed, old-school, and adventurous.
Enter the 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro. I was fortunate to spend a week with one of these Lime Rush beauties in July of 2022, and I admit, I was inexplicably captivated by it. Seriously, I can’t explain my love for this vehicle. It’s so old. Ancient, even. It has just enough modern tech to be somewhat relevant, but overall the 4Runner hasn’t changed much in 14 years. The engine is tried and true ... and inefficient. It has a five-speed automatic transmission. A FIVE speed. Are there ANY other new cars still using a five-speed transmission?
*Huge thanks to Chance for the amazing photos!
It’s just so wonderfully old-school, I can't help but be charmed by it. “Sometimes the old ways are the best,” as they say, and with the 4Runner, it’s true. I am full-on drinking the dinosaur Kool-Aid of this lime green machine, and I couldn’t be happier about it. I loved my test week with it so much that I bought one — exactly like the one I tested. That’s right, I put down good money on an SUV that’s largely the same as it was when I was not too long out of high school — and I would do it again. I know that a new generation is coming, but it certainly will lose some of the charms this generation carries, especially as it evolves with turbochargers, technology, and other modern “conveniences” we seem to believe we want/need.
I love my 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro in Lime Rush paint. Here's why.
We’re living in something of a golden age of cars. There are so many excellent offerings in every segment, it’s hard to go wrong. I really do believe that. The cars of 2023 are amazing. In the past year, I’ve driven probably close to 100 different new cars, and you know what I’ve come to appreciate? Simplicity. I think, in general, the best, most memorable cars are the ones that K.I.S.S. After toddling around for a few days in, well, just about any of the current market offerings, getting into the 4Runner is a breath of fresh air. It’s an experience I look forward to Every. Time.
I love the shift knob, the boring engine, and the overt straightforwardness of it. There are no gimmicks, no trends, no attempts at faux luxury, just a confident, simple attitude you can rely on again and again.
I’m getting tired of screens. There are just too many. I don’t want to drive a phone. I want to drive a car. I want buttons, analog gauge clusters, and minimal distractions. That’s the 4Runner. The buttons and dials are HUGE here, and I love this thing all the more for it. In a world of giant screens (even in the Toyota family), It’s refreshing to spin an actual knob and touch an actual button.
I mean, just look at these photos by Chance. It might be old, but the 4Runner, especially in TRD Pro form, has aged really well. It’s aggressive, muscular, and lean all at the same time. It looks like that guy who takes care of himself and is capable, strong, stylish, and trustworthy — all with a little flare that makes him catch your eye as he goes by. It’s just so cool looking, I love it. The Lime Rush paint isn’t for everyone, but Chance did a great job at capturing what a unique color it is.
Hear me out: the 4Runner TRD Pro is a GREAT car for small families. The backseat offers TONS of leg space (and it reclines!), and the SofTex seating material is by FAR the easiest seat material to clean - ever! There are even rear seat air vents to keep the kids cool in the summer. There’s also plenty of cargo space in the rear for all the gear you could ever need to take with you. Sure, the 4Runner might be a little challenging for little legs to climb into, but once they're in, you’ve got yourself a super kid-friendly SUV that can take a beating and still look good in five years.
Oh, how I love the Fox shocks and TRD springs on this thing. They're so soft and cushy, it handles big potholes and bumps with all the support of a memory foam mattress. On or off-road (and yes, I do take this thing off-road. One of the many blessings of living on the foothills north of Salt Lake City), this suspension is wonderful.
For such a hardcore, offroad adventure vehicle, the TRD Pro 4Runner sure makes a great daily driver. It tracks super straight, is easy to drive and park, and is extremely versatile and practical in its applications. It’s one of the best all-around vehicles I’ve ever been in and kind of makes you feel invincible. Want to go off-road? Only the best Rubicons will beat you. Need to go to Lowe’s? No problem. Pick up the carpool kids? Hop in. It checks nearly every box (fast & furious drivers look elsewhere), and it does so so earnestly that it’s hard to find serious faults in its character.
Tried and true
Many, MANY YouTube commenters decry how outdated this truck is. And it is, in so many ways. But, it’s also tried and true. Low drama, with no surprises. I like that. Again, I’ve found that most things are better when they’re simplified, and thus part of the appeal of the 4Runner for me. Efficiency be darned.
Now, to be fair, there have been some things I haven’t loved. First, it’s overpriced. Sure it’s great, but it’s still about $5k too much. Second, there is no heated steering wheel. The 2023s get one, but not the 2022s. This was almost a deal breaker for this Utahn that grows increasingly disdainful of the cold weather each year. Third, there’s an obscene amount of brake dive. Like, hilariously so. Fourth, the brake pedal is way over-boosted, kind of like in the Tacoma, it's very difficult to modulate smoothly. Fifth, fuel economy is surprisingly dismal. I average about 17 mpg. Oh well, that’s the price you pay for old-school reliability, right?
In the end, I love this thing. It’s a dinosaur, lumbering along, surviving the apocalypse. But that’s part of its appeal. There aren’t many cars like this anymore, especially offered as new. Cars of the ‘90s and 2000s get a lot of money right now on auction sites, and driving a 4Runner is like driving the newest “old” car you can — and I am all for it.
Stay tuned for more long-term ownership updates here on the Everyday Driver blog. Here’s to the adventures to come!
About the author: Having owned everything from a DeLorean to an E46 BMW M3 and a Toyota Land Cruiser, Jason Bell is a lifelong car enthusiast who loves sharing his passions as a teacher, writer, speaker, and social media manager. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org for comments/questions, or just to say "hi.
*Shoutout to the guys at Secured Auto Group in SLC for helping me get a great deal on my 4Runner TRD Pro.
The views and opinions expressed here are my own and may not align with the founders of Everyday Driver.