The increasingly iconic Toyota 4Runner soldiers into its ninth year without a full redesign. A typical car or crossover is redesigned after six. Frankly, the 4Runner was never a bastion of modernity, as its truck-based structure and interior design result in comfort, refinement and efficiency compromises that always stood in contrast to similarly priced and sized crossovers. That's still the case with the 2019 Toyota 4Runner, but its interior design and technology have only fallen further behind the times, while its handling, noise and overall comfort are worse than what you'd get in a midsize crossover like the Honda Passport or Toyota's own Highlander. Its fuel economy is comparatively abysmal.
Now, if all of that makes you think twice about the 4Runner, we've done our job. It's certainly not the most rational SUV purchase, and it's smart to consider its many downsides. That said, we also love the 4Runner and understand why you might as well. It has character in spades, especially the ultra-rugged TRD Pro trim, and can go places none of those crossovers would dare. This is a serious off-roader, yet when compared to other such vehicles it's surprisingly comfortable and genuinely large inside. Few two-row SUVs — crossover or truck-based — can match its utility. Yes it's old and less refined than a crossover, but it's also not as crude as you'd expect, and there's also something to be said about simplicity.
What's new with 4Runner for 2019?
The TRD Pro trim level is upgraded. It gets Fox shocks, a new skid plate and a bulky roof rack similar to the one once available on the FJ Cruiser (its classic Voodoo Blue paint also makes its first appearance on the 4Runner TRD Pro, pictured above). A sunroof and JBL sounds system are also now standard, but the price rises by a somewhat questionable $4,000. Elsewhere in the lineup, the 4Runner Limited is offered in a new Nightshade Edition that consists of a bunch of blacked-out exterior trim.