2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium: Grading the Upgrades

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2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium – What Makes It Better?

Sometimes, it’s those extra little touches — like heated leather seats and puddle lights — that make a badass 4Runner even better.

The 2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road is a pretty badass SUV with its styling and performance. Yet, there is another higher grade of this popular trim: the Premium edition. Fortunately, we got to spend a week behind the wheel of one of those Premium-trim editions, and it is an interesting mix of upgrades for those looking for a bit more luxury in the off-road SUV.

2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium – What Makes It Better?

One of the first things we notice separating our Premium model from the standard TRD are the leather SofTex seats. This leather trim is a definite upgrade from the standard cloth option, and they’re heated. Plus, designers added a splash of style to the headrests with the “TRD” red lettering.

Next, the optional power tilt/slide moonroof with sunshade is unique to the Premium trim level.  While people love to hate on moonroofs, it does add more ways to enjoy the view while driving, and it is especially handy when cruising through the mountains and checking out the scenery above your head.

The outside mirrors are also upgraded with turn signal indicators and puddle lights. The puddle lights are pretty nice when climbing in after a day-long hike, although, we do wish designers would add the TRD letters to the puddle light like other brands have started to do.

Technology wise, our test model came with the Entune Premium Audio. This is a slightly better infotainment system than the stock Entune Audio Plus with Connected Navigation App. However, for those who always use their cell phone for navigation, it isn’t anything special.

Finally, the auto-dimming rearview mirror and HomeLink universal transceiver finish off the list of upgrades. Again, these are small convenience items that add just a little bit more to the Premium model.

2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Off-Road Premium – What Makes It Better?

While we have driven nearly every configuration of 4Runner and really appreciate the hardy cloth interior found in the base model, moving up to the Premium model and spending the nearly $2,000 more ($37,535 vs. $39,495) is well worth it in our book because sometimes those little features really make a big difference over the course of ownership.

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Tim Esterdahl is a regular contributor to YotaTech and Ford Truck Enthusiasts. He produces the weekly podcast Pickup Truck Talk.

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