The TRD Pro has been the top-dog 4Runner model for seven years now. It's the most hardcore in terms of capability and appearance, which perhaps has made it desirable enough to warrant the hefty price tag. There is another factor, however: There has been a new, special color each year, several of which were once offered on the FJ Cruiser. It was Inferno Orange for 2015, Quicksand for 2016, Cement for 2017, Cavalry Blue for 2018, Voodoo Blue for 2019, Army Green for 2020 and now Lunar Rock for 2021. And not only were these a one-and-done situation, not only were they unique to the TRD Pro, but they were also the only vaguely interesting color selections available. The rest of the palette has been white, gray/silver, black and perfectly acceptable but undistinguished blue and red. I can guarantee you people have purchased TRD Pros simply because of the colors. It's definitely a bit silly, but I know I would, and I have a friend who entirely wanted the TRD Pro because of Army Green.
For the 2021 Toyota 4Runner, though, the TRD Pro isn't the only version available with interesting colors and you don't have to pay top dollar to get them. Quite the opposite really.
The new 4Runner Trail Special Edition is effectively a base SR5 that adds matte black badging, dark gray wheels from the TRD Off-Road, black fabric upholstery with tan stitching, the otherwise optional sliding cargo tray, a Yakima LoadWarrior roof basket and all-weather floor liners.
Oh, and this.
That's right, you get a 40-quart 4Runner cooler. I'm not used to disseminating cooler specs, so I'll just share what the press release says. There's a lockable lid with a freezer-grade gasket to provide an airtight seal and keep ice frozen for as many as seven days. It has two heavy-duty rubber latches with integrated bottle openers, a built-in drain plug, and tie-down straps designed for special brackets on the sliding cargo tray. I honestly didn't do a cooler comparison test with my 38-quart Coleman, so we'll just assume it's a decent enough cooler. It at least comes painted in a standard shade of Cement.
Speaking of which, let's get back to those colors! The 4Runner Trail Edition dips into the TRD Pro back catalog to offer a cooler-matching Cement, which you see above, and Army Green, which makes a lot of people happy. I don't have a pic of the Trail in Army Green, so one from last year's TRD Pro will have to suffice.
You can also get the 4Runner Trail Special Edition in Midnight Black or Super White, but dude, lame.
Pricing starts at $39,490 for a 4x2 model, including destination, or $41,790 for a 4x4. That's a $1,795 premium over the SR5, which seems totally reasonable given what you get. A LoadWarrior costs $349, a similarly sized Yeti cooler goes for $300, the sliding cargo tray is $350, and according to the 4Runner's accessories list, "Blackout Emblem Overlays" go for $160 and All-Weather Floor Liners are $169. That adds up to $1,328, which leaves $467 for the TRD Off-Road wheels and unique paint. Again, totally reasonable. Perhaps even a bargain.
And, should you really only be interested in getting an interesting color, keep in mind that the TRD Pro goes for $51,645. Checks math. Yep, that's about $10,000 more.
Now, the Trail Special Edition is cheaper and you do get the fun colors (and the cooler), but you're also otherwise getting a base-model 4Runner. There are no automatic headlights or automatic climate control. There's no proximity entry and push-button start. The sound system is quite poor. And even if an SR5 4x4 is a perfectly capable beast off-road, you'll nevertheless be living without extra off-roading equipment like the TRD Off-Road's locking rear diff, Multi-terrain Select off-road settings, Crawl Control and optional KDSS suspension, or the TRD Pro's Fox shocks, special springs, cat-back exhaust and Nitto Grappler tires.
So it won't be for every 4Runner buyer, but if you're honest enough to acknowledge you're more keen on cool colors than Fox shocks, the Trail Special Edition is a superb addition to the lineup.