2019 4Runner, quick thoughts after 600 miles, before I forget what the Tacoma was like

Almost two weeks ago, I replaced my perfectly functional 2015 Tacoma DoubleCab TRD Sport 4x4 (Toyota should make that name a little longer) with a 2019 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Premium. Here are some quick thoughts after putting a couple of tanks of gas through it.

The 4Runner, in SR5 Premium trim comes with such goodies as SofTex (pleather) heated seats, Entune Premium with Navigation, etc, etc. It has a few features that were unavailable on the Tacoma...all 4 windows are one touch down/up windows. It also has the awesome, but dust inhaling power sliding rear window. Installed options are running boards, moonroof, third row, and the overpriced OEM floormats. So that’s what my 4Runner has, now it’s time to get into the feels.

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The first feeling? The doors. They’re big, they’re heavy, and they open wide. It’s quite a change. There’s a heft and solid feeling to the 4Runner that the Tacoma lacked. The Tacoma didn’t feel cheap, but was definitely more utilitarian in nature.

Overall, the 4Runner is more comfortable in nearly every aspect. Remember, I’m comparing this to a pickup whose design dates back 13 years. Focusing first on the interior, there’s more room in most areas. One that is lacking is additional storage. I utilized the underseat and behind seat storage available in the Tacoma. No such additional storage exists in the 4Runner. Sure, there’s a giant cargo area, but that’s not where I want to keep jumper cables, for example. There isn’t any cargo area subfloor storage. The Tacoma wins the battle for places to shove small items that you don’t want to keep loose.

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From the driver’s seat, visibility is better than in the Tacoma. I sit higher, and the greenhouse seems airier. That might be aided by the moonroof, but overall, I like it. Even three and a half years in, I still toyed with the seat in the Tacoma a bit, mainly because the telescoping when didn’t telescope enough. In the 4Runner, it feels like it has an extra inch or two of movement. The seats are also more comfy for me. If there’s one thing I don’t like about the ergonomics, the heat temperature control is set way to the right, and even for me at 6’4” with a long reach, it’s a stretch to turn that dial. I can see the benefit of the optional dual zone climate control, as the dial near the driver (which is the fan speed control in lesser models) is the temperature control.

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Rear seat legroom is a vast improvement over the Tacoma. I can sit behind me, and if a little extra room is needed, the second row seats can recline. This is high on the list for reasons to trade the truck. Comfier back seat for my son, including the center console mounted heat a/c vents, makes for a happier kid.

Here are a couple of pictures of me sitting behind me.

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Interior thoughts out of the way (I’ve discussed the third row previously), I’ll touch on performance a little bit. The 4Runner also has a 4.0 V6, but it musters up a few more ponies than the Tacoma (dual VVT-i vs VVT-i). The extra hp is nice (as well as the modest MPG gains over the Taco), but when it comes to motivating the 4Runner, that power has to push quite a bit of extra heft around (4425lbs vs 4675). The 4Runner, to me, feels slower than the Tacoma. Some of that may be perception, the cabin in the 4Runner is significantly quieter than the Tacoma. Without babying the throttle, I’m averaging 19.1 MPG (calculated, not using the trip computer on the 4Runner)

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When it comes to handling, the 4Runner also has quite a bit more body lean, which has taken some getting used to. While the lean is something to get used to, the comfort isn’t. It rides much smoother, with much less NVH than the Tacoma. As well it should, we’re talking SUV vs unladen pickup. But again, that’s part of the reason I traded in the truck, it was used to cart around hockey gear 99.9% of the time. The bed served me well for the times I truly did need it, which became less and less often over the last year or so. I’m probably better served renting a pickup when needed, or (more likely) buying an old beater/project to have around for both hobby and utility purposes.

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Overall, I’m very pleased with the new ride, it does exactly what I want and need it to do, which is haul 4 people and their hockey junk in reasonable comfort. I already know we’ll be putting the third row to use during my son’s birthday party and when family is in town in a couple of weeks.

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