Gold Mine Hill is a difficult section of the Switzerland Trail west of Boulder, Colorado that often has travelers seeking an alternative route. TFL often uses this short, steep, technical ascent to test a vehicle’s traction control and true off-road capabilities. In this episode of DiffLock, Tommy’s ’95 Jeep Wrangler is challenged by the latest iteration of Toyota’s 4Runner TRD Pro. Can a Jeep with 20-year old technology conquer Gold Mine Hill with the same verve as a 4Runner with a modern traction control system.
The Jeep Wrangler YJ features a wider track, angled grille, and a modernized interior compared to the CJ series. While it did share the open-body profile of the CJs, it shared few parts with its predecessor. Despite the bold move of replacing the round headlights with square-shaped headlamps, the Wrangler, square headlamps or not, was the modern embodiment of classic Jeep brand style and off-road capability.
The Toyota 4Runner is built with simplicity and off-road ability in mind. The engine is designed to run on third-world gas with wet spark plugs and infrequent oil changes for hundreds of thousands of miles. It’s a vehicle that can be driven to Chile and back without a hiccup. All of the components on the TRD Pro are there solely to increase off-road prowess. It sits more than an inch higher than other 4Runners, which allows for more wheel articulation. Its part-time 4WD system is boosted by an electronic-locking rear differential, Crawl Control, and Toyota’s Multi-Terrain Select system that adjusts wheel slip via the stability control system.
Each episode of the DiffLock video web-series highlights affordable off-road adventures and modifications that will help almost anyone who wants to get into off-roading on a budget.