The Toyota 4Runner has always been a fascinating case when it comes to the world of off-road SUVs. It has aged with the grace and dignity of a typewriter (or a pioneer-era hornbook), yet it still manages to deliver the goods when it comes to sales and performance. Toyota, however, is focusing on pavement-based adventures this time around, with the 2022 4Runner TRD Sport.
A Beast Of Burden For The Road Commonly Traveled
As the name implies, the TRD Sport goes in a different direction when compared to its siblings. Whereas the rest of the trim ladder (SR5 TRD Pro etc.) goes off the beaten path, the TRD Sport stays firmly on it. This is evident in its exterior styling, with the TRD Sport embracing color-keyed accents on the grille, 20-inch aluminum wheels with darkened pockets, and a new hood with a TRD sourced scoop. Other trim exclusive details are sprinkled liberally onto the rear fascia while the rough and ready roof rack is covered in a slick shade of gloss black. Finally, for those looking to enhance the brightness they get from the lights, all 4Runner models now get full-LED lightning as a welcome piece of standard equipment.
While these minor changes do little to hide the fact that the 4Runner is still one of the oldest vehicles in Toyota’s current lineup, they show that the Japanese auto giant is not only listening to its core audience but is still finding new ways to milk every cent it can get out of the venerable platform.
More Luxury Makes TRD Sport Stand Out
With the TRD Sport embracing the on-road life, that meant Toyota stylists had to make the interior more civilized. The cloth seats, for example, were swapped out for slightly cushier SofTex leather thrones with the luxurious thrones featuring standard seat heat. This version of the 4Runner also comes with sprinkles of TRD goodness, including the shifter and the cloth floor mats.
But other than these minor changes, the rest of the cabin still retains much of what we have seen in prior 4Runner updates. That includes the 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. A recent update also added Alexa functionality, but the 4Runner is still a step behind the Jeep Wrangler, which has undergone far more extensive updates, with the interior of that model being a far cry from older Wranglers.
Rugged Performance Hardware Soldiers On For 2022
With all the changes occurring elsewhere on the 4Runner, we’re glad that Toyota engineers chose to keep things simple when it came to the matter of motivating the big SUV. Like other versions of the 4Runner, the TRD Sport is powered by the familiar 4.0 liter V6, which still makes 270 hp and is mated to a five-speed automatic. This literal time capsule of a combination is paired with Toyota’s Safety Sense P system, which comes with goodies such as adaptive cruise control, a pre-collision alert system, and automatic high beams.
The core suspension hardware also stays roughly in step with what we have seen in the past, but Toyota engineers grafted the Limited model’s Cross-Linked Relative Absorber System (X-REAS) to the TRD Sport. Toyota representatives claim that the addition of this feature helps make the TRD Sport an easier beast to drive on the road, but we’ll wait until we have the chance to sample it out in the real world to see if it can indeed deliver on the goods. But don’t think that the 4Runner has completely given up on its rugged lifestyle, with the TRD Sport retaining an optional two-speed transfer case and a limited-slip differential.
With all the changes coming to the 4Runner for 2022, Toyota has chosen to keep final pricing away from prying eyes. However, look for the 2022 TRD Sport to be the newest gap filler in the 4 Runner lineup, with the model being slotted between the base SR5 and the similarly created TRD-OffRoad. Both models start at $36,765 and $40,730, respectively, so look for the TRD Sport to fill that proverbial sweet spot between these two figures.
Look for the full 2022 4Runner lineup to begin trickling into Toyota dealerships later this year though we will have to wait for the final word from Toyota themselves, and as a result, that timeline is subject to change.
Carl Malek has been an automotive journalist for over 10 years. First starting out as a freelance photographer before making the transition to writing during college, his work has appeared on numerous automotive forums as well as websites such as Autoshopper.com.
Carl is also a big fan of British vehicles with the bulk of his devotion going to the Morgan Motor Company as well as offerings from Lotus, MG, and Caterham. When he is not writing about automobiles, Carl enjoys spending time with his family and friends in the Metro Detroit area, as well as spending time with his adorable pets.