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2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro First Look

The 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro won't look much different than it does today and it's not getting fitted with a new engine, but the detail changes Toyota has announced at the 2018 Chicago Auto Show stand to make this popular off-road SUV even more capable. Many on the sidelines saw this upgrade coming because the Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro received it two years ago. The two vehicles share many front suspension components, so it was just a matter of time.

We're talking about shock absorbers, specifically the switch from Bilstein to Fox 2.5-inch internal-bypass shocks. The Bilsteins served the 4Runner well, but they didn't have the ability to crank up the damping force as the suspension stroked closer and closer to its limits. The new Fox shocks can do this readily, thanks to seven bypass zones in front (four in compression, three in rebound) and 11 bypass zones in the rear (seven in compression, four in rebound). The bypass feature should make a big difference because it's easier to tune such shocks to deliver smooth on-road comfort and contain large wheel motions associated with off-road use, something that's hard to reconcile when your shocks lack bypass functionality. Beyond that, the rear shocks are mounted upside down to reduce unsprung mass, and they're fitted with piggyback-style remote reservoirs that increase oil volume and improve heat dissipation.

Other aspects of the suspension on the 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro are similar to before. TRD-tuned coil springs support all four corners, and the front ones provide an inch of lift that levels the stance. That stance is still an inch wider than a standard 4Runner's thanks to the unique offset of the carryover 17-inch TRD black alloy wheels that are shod with P265/70R17 Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires. Like the Bilsteins they replace, the Fox shocks are a bit longer than the standard 4Runner gear, increasing front-wheel travel by 1 inch.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro First Look

Up top you'll find a new expedition-style TRD roof rack, while underneath the familiar quarter-inch-thick skid plate is now adorned with red TRD lettering. Inside, the JBL premium audio system with integrated navigation is now standard instead of optional, and the cabin itself is accented with the familiar TRD logo in numerous places.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro First Look

You may be wondering what the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro gets this year since it received its Fox shock transplant two years ago. There are two notable items. The first is the same standard upgrade to JBL premium audio and navigation that's been applied to the 4Runner TRD Pro. The second is a snorkel, something that's sure to perk up the die-hard off-roaders. It's a full factory option, too, which means the necessary fender hole will be put in before that panel is painted at the factory. To avoid damage, the pipe itself will be affixed to the truck after shipping. Toyota doesn't make any water-fording depth claims one way or the other because the automaker's always mum on that subject. It'll surely do the job in water, but this policy is why all of its snorkel photos depict silty desert conditions, another environment in which a snorkel can be a huge asset.

2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro First Look

At this point, all three of Toyota's TRD Pro products — Tundra, Tacoma, 4Runner — share the same suspension philosophy based on Fox internal-bypass shock absorbers. And this year, all will be offered in the same three colors: Super White, Midnight Black Metallic and 2019's TRD-exclusive color of the year, Voodoo Blue. Like the Tundra, the 2019 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro and 2019 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro won't begin arriving in showrooms until this fall, and pricing will remain a mystery until that date approaches.