Review: Is The Street-Focused 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport Worth Your Time & Money?

The TRD Sport appeals to the crowd who wants a comfortable rig that can still hack it off-road

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport
(Images: Toyota)
Still packs some rugged 4×4 capability Mediocre fuel economy
Roomy Old-school (bumpy) ride
Ease-of-use “Sporty” it is not

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport Overview

The 2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport, even with its street-focused intent, is still the real deal as a true adventure SUV.

With a rugged construction, high ground clearance and rugged underpinnings, this old-school mid-size SUV touts superior tough terrain capability to modern, unibody crossovers with greater on-road refinement but less actual prowess — not to mention more plastic cladding and fake skid plates — once you get them off the beaten track.

This high-riding, boxy 4Runner TRD Sport trim packs some special items including a more aggressive-looking TRD Sport hood scoop, color-keyed front bumpers and spoiler, unique badging and 20-inch wheels in Dark Grey Metallic. It also carries upgraded interior touches over the base SR5, such as TRD-embroidered headrests and sport carpet floor mats. 

The 4Runner comes in a variety of trim levels with prices ranging approximately from $37,305 to $52,120. My test 4Runner TRD Sport had especially supportive SofTex synthetic leather front seats, with a power-adjustable driver’s seat. Also standard in newer 4Runners is push-button start, and as always you get the car’s signature power-sliding rear widow.

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

On-road performance

All 4Runners have a robust 4.0-liter, 24-valve dual overhead cam V-6 with dual independent variable valve timing. As in previous gears, it generates 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The 0-60 time is a reasonable 7.6 seconds, although the engine roars during hard acceleration.

The four-wheel drive 4Runner TRD Sport is heavy at 4,600-plus pounds, and only has a five-speed automatic transmission to shuffle it along. These days, its rivals work with many more gears than that. For what it’s worth, though, the archaic automatic is decently responsive, and you manually shift through the gears using the console-mounted lever. While you can engage the part-time four-wheel drive system through a rotary dial near the gear selector, the TRD Sport does not bring in Multi-Terrain Select, Crawl Control or a locking rear differential (those come with the TRD Off-Road and TRD Pro).

Despite the new trim, this 4Runner isn’t as sporty as it looks. However, it does have what Toyota calls its “X-REAS Sport Enhancement” suspension that is meant to enhance the 4Runner’s on-road handling. The 4Runner has been around a long time and there’s no question about its off-road prowess, but I also found that it handles on-off expressway ramps at above-posted speeds with little body roll. And, despite its boxy shape and brick wall-like 0.36 drag coefficient, it cruises along quietly at over 70 MPH with little discernible wind noise, even with its standard black roof rails. The engine also sits at only 2,000 RPM at 70 MPH.

Sticking with on-road performance, the 4Runner TRD Sport’s steering is firm, but surprisingly quick for such a tall, heavy vehicle. The brake pedal has a reassuringly firm feel with little travel required. We are still talking about a body-on-frame truck, however, so occupants can feel the bumps and potholes.

Estimated fuel economy stands at only 16 MPG in the city and 19 MPG on highways. Unlike most turbocharged options, just 87-octane fuel is needed to fill the 4Runner’s 23-gallon tank.

2022 Toyota 4Runner TRD Sport

Features, comfort and convenience

In terms of its everyday use, the 4Runner’s (analog) gauges are easy to read at a glance, and the Toyota keeps it equally user friendly with a set of physical buttons and switches for nearly all the controls, including volume and tuning knobs for the radio. There are several cabin storage areas and an 8-inch infotainment display, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard fare.

The 4Runner is 71.5 inches high, so extra effort is needed to climb in, though no more so than most pickup trucks. One helpful option is $1,500 automatic running boards that are wide enough to handle large-size shoes. They deploy at the touch of a dashboard switch, making ingress and egress much easier. One feature I disliked, however, is the $350 sliding rear cargo deck. While it’s said to make loading heavy objects easier, it eats up cargo space when the rear seats are in their upright position, and I found it clumsy to operate. 

The 4Runner easily seats four adults, or five (in a pinch) if the rear center armrest isn’t lowered. Front doors open widely, but the rear door openings are rather narrow.

Cargo room is 47.2 cubic feet with the rear seats in place and 89.7 cubic feet with rear seats folded. The rear hatch and engine hood smoothly raise on hydraulic struts, but there is no power liftgate option — just a strap to heave it closed when you’re finished. The 4Runner’s towing capacity is 5,000 pounds, and there’s a two-inch hitch receiver, as well as a 4-pin and 7-pin wiring connector.

Safety features include a pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, dynamic radar cruise control, lane-departure alert and automatic high beams.

Bottom line

My test 4Runner’s options and $1,215 freight charge brought its bottom-line price to $48,297. Extras included some expensive items such as a $1,585 eight-speaker premium audio system and $1,310 technology package, as well as the nifty automatic running boards I mentioned earlier.

The 4Runner has a reputation for running just about forever if given the necessary oil changes and routine maintenance. It’s easily good for many off-road adventures. Bottom line, it’s one of the few truly rugged, old-school SUVs left, and it still packs plenty of charm.

For more on the most off-road-focused 4Runner TRD Pro, head over to TFLoffroad: