Toyota just unveiled a blacked-out edition of its aging 4Runner SUV at, of all places, the Texas State Fair where potential customers can ogle it and envision doing a hard day's work, wash it off, and then taking the wife out for a swanky steak dinner. We just say it's trying to disguise the fact that the 4Runner is a freakin' dinosaur. The trim is called the Nightshade Edition, so named for a deadly flower whose berries can kill. 

4runner nightshade front 58
Even in black-tie garb, we know that the 4Runner is really an off-roader at heart.

The 4Runner Nightshade Special Edition just has visual changes, since there's nothing under the hood or in the SUV's tech that sets it apart. There are fancy gloss black 20" wheels, black chrome grille and front/rear bumper spoilers, and black chrome exhaust tips/mirrors/door handles. Even window trim is black. Hell, everything that used to be silver is now black including the rocker panels, the roof rails, and all the brand and model badges.

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toyota 4runner nightshade front

The interior gets the same treatment, including black bits on the steering wheel, center stack, instrument cluster, shift knob and surrounding panel, as well as the door handles. It can't exactly hide the fact that the blocky and rather low-tech interior is the same. Toyota, apparently, wants to lure in buyers who want a fancier and more masculine 4Runner than is currently offered. 

toyota 4runner nightshade rear

Is it a final edition? We doubt it since Toyota has confirmed anything about a much-need 4Runner redesign, along with the Tundra pickup truck that underpins the 4Runner. Of course, many automakers follow this same pattern close to the end of a vehicle's current generation. It's an attempt to drum up interest in a dated model by changing out some parts and hoping to give the vehicle a fresh look. But no amount of black trim is going to mask this SUV's age. 

toyota 4runner center stack
Toyota's gone and changed out painted silver interior trim for piano black. 

Don't get us wrong. The 4Runner is built very well, and it's an incredibly capable off-roader. But the fact that it's a decade old means it's time to swap out designs, not trim bits. Toyota is creating new models like the C-HR, which is less than stellar, and they're also redesigning key models like the RAV4. It's time, though, to pay more attention to their larger vehicles like the 4Runner, Sienna, Land Cruiser, and Sequoia, which all lag behind the competition in terms of styling, tech, and driving dynamics. 

toyota 4runner nightshade road

The Nightshade Edition package is currently available on the Limited trim 4x2 and d 4x4 models for $1,740 on top of the 4Runner's $35,955 starting price. The Nightshade trim can be paired with black metallic, gray metallic or pearl exterior paint choices. Whatever you choose, however, the 4Runner will still be as dated as ever. 

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