2020 Toyota 4Runner Nightshade Special Edition

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Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

The 4Runner is tough as nails with enthusiastic off-road prowess that allows you and the crew to venture into the deep wild whenever requested. Since 1984, the midsize SUV has been raw, hardcore, and unapologetic. It’s slated for nomadic owners who choose adventure first, whether traversing through muddy tracks to the campsite or rolling over boulders for a natural high. So, don’t expect fancy amenities that sway in the direction of luxury SUVs because that’s not this Toyota’s forte.

My Magnetic Gray Metallic 2020 Toyota 4Runner came into town as the Nightshade Special Edition which blacked-out everything including the 20” alloy rims, lower body trim, badging, door handles, mirror caps, and roof rails. But if you’re really looking to stunt out your body-on-frame utility, then go with the progressive TRD model. Similar to the prior 2019 model, expect a few more amenities and sensations from the 2020 4Runner but keep in mind the interior is uneventful, and the 5-speed automatic transmission is pretty rough. However, it will last you almost a lifetime as both the sturdy 4Runner engine and transmission are ultra-reliable with proper maintenance.

During my test-ride, I took out the mountain bike a few times to local trails here in Maryland. The 2020 4Runner was ideally suited for the activities at hand, such as foraging through some rough patches in the wilderness. The vehicle is powered by a robust and reasonably efficient 4-liter V6 exerting 270-horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque. A full-time 4WD system with a center differential, Hill-Start, Downhill Assist Control, and a sport enhanced suspension ascertain that obstacles and challenges in your path become nothing more than recreational activities. The truck rolls on chunky 245/60R20 Yokohama Geolander G96 highway all-season tires.

One of my favorite features is the lowered and widened rear bumper that substitutes as a bench when the tailgate is up. Before entering the Toyota, power-retractable running boards slide out for easier entry into the cabin. Some of the updated multimedia functions include Android Auto, Amazon Alexa, and Apple CarPlay compatibility. I had just created a new “roots rock” reggae playlist to engage from the 15-speaker JBL sound system and keep the drive alive. A manually adjusted steering wheel is heated, which is always a pleasure for early, chilly mornings before hitting the trails. Audio activities and dynamic navigation are managed through the 8″ touchscreen and large knobs located on the robotic center stack keep things simplified. The rear features stadium seating, manual slide and tilt second-row seats, an optional 3rd row, two USBs, and an AC 120 plug.

TSS-P, Toyota’s active safety system is standard on every model. The 4Runner also maintains visual awareness through the front and rear parking sonars, automatic high beams, brake assist and smart stop technology, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and much more. Expect 18 combined mpg and an MSRP of $48,660. With options, my loaner totaled $51,645. A base 2×2 model starts at $36,120.

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