We take a look at the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, including its powertrain, interior options and trim levels. Find out our thoughts here.
2023 marks the 40th anniversary for the 4Runner and Toyota is celebrating with a special edition model featuring retro-inspired badges and graphics. Standard blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are also new for 2023.
2023 Toyota 4Runner – toyota.com | Shop 2023 Toyota 4Runner on Carsforsale.com
Excellent off-roading capabilities
Lots of standard safety features
Versatile cargo area
Poor fuel economy
It’s time for a sleeker design
All 2023 4Runner models are powered by a 270 horsepower 4.0-liter V6 engine and paired with a five-speed automatic transmission. The SR5, Trail Special Edition, SR5 Premium, TRD Sport and Limited trims are available with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, while the other models have standard four-wheel drive. The 4Runner isn’t as quick and nimble as many of the midsize SUVs you’ll find out there, but the engine and transmission are smooth, and it handles turns surprisingly well for a truck-based SUV.
The 4Runner excels in its off-road capabilities, and with features like selectable terrain modes, a multi-view terrain camera, low-speed crawl control, and a locking rear differential, TRD off road models are where it’s at for adventure. The 4Runner’s soft suspension does a good job of absorbing a variety of terrains, but while its lightly weighted steering is adequate for the trails, it lacks a sporty feel you might want for smooth roads.
The 4Runner does come out on top with its towing capacity thanks to its rugged frame and torque-rich engine. When properly equipped it can tow up to 5,000 pounds. This beats out competitors like the Jeep Wrangler. We did a head-to-head comparison—Best ATV: Toyota 4Runner vs Jeep Wrangler—check it out to see how it fared in other categories.
The 4Runner doesn’t fair as well at the pump as most of its rivals. Every model gets an estimated 16 mpg in the city and 19 mpg at the pump. We attribute that to its out-of-date powertrain combination and boxy shape.
The interior of the 4Runner is exactly what you’d expect from this all-terrain, truck-in-disguise SUV. There is nothing fancy or luxurious about it, but it gets the job done if hauling and off roading are on the docket. It made our list of the Best 2-Row Mid-Size SUVs of 2022 for its generously portioned cabin. It has seating for five passengers and a third-row seat is optional on some trims to bump up the capacity to seven.
The second row is spacious enough for adults, but we’d reserve that optional third row for the kids. The 4Runner’s boxy design is great for additional cargo space, but that, coupled with its truck-like design, makes for a bouncier and noisier ride than most other SUVs on the market.
The 4Runner is positioned high which makes entering, exiting, and loading cargo a little more difficult, but once you’re in, visibility is great (thanks to that boxy design), and the driver’s seat is highly adjustable to get in that perfect position.
The 4Runner isn’t the most high-tech SUV out there, but the features it does have are easy to use and well positioned. Every model comes with an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system featuring clear graphics and physical buttons that make controlling the system while driving much easier. Standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration, voice recognition, Amazon Alexa, USB ports, Bluetooth, satellite radio, an eight-speaker audio system, and a subscription-based Wi-Fi hotspot.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 4Runner four stars overall, while the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave it mostly “Good” scores except for a “Marginal” score in the small-overlap test on the driver’s side.
Every 4Runner comes with a decent line up of standard driver-assistance technology including adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera.
The base SR5 trim comes standard with cloth upholstery, an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, reclining second-row seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, proximity keyless entry, LED headlights and taillights, roof rails, an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration, Amazon Alexa, voice recognition, satellite radio, Bluetooth, a Wi-Fi hotspot, USB ports, and an eight-speaker stereo.
Standard driver-assistance features include adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic high-beam headlights, and a rearview camera.
Third row seats are available on the SR5, as well as an infotainment upgrade that includes HD Radio and navigation.
The Trail Special Edition trim takes the SR5 and adds a Yakima roof rack, dark-painted wheels and exterior trim, a portable beverage cooler, and a sliding rear cargo deck with underfloor storage.
The TRD Sport trim was introduced with the 2022 Toyota 4Runner. It takes the SR5 trim and gets an upgraded suspension, synthetic leather upholstery, a power-adjustable passenger seat, and heated front seats. Optional features include a surround-view parking camera system, automatic side running boards, and a universal garage door opener.
The SR5 Premium trim upgrades the SR5 trim with synthetic leather upholstery, a four-way power-adjustable passenger seat, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, navigation, keyless ignition and entry, and a universal garage door opener. A sunroof is optional.
The TRD Off Road trim is basically identical to the SR5 but adds a locking rear differential, multi-terrain modes, crawl control, and HD radio. An adjustable Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System is optional.
The TRD Off Road Premium gets the same upgrades as the SR5 Premium and adds the features of the TRD Off Road. A multi-view terrain monitor, and a sunroof are available.
The 40th Anniversary Special Edition comes in white, black, or red paint with tri-colored graphics on the sides and grille and bronze 17-inch wheels. The leatherette seats and shift knob feature bronze stitching and there are also 40th anniversary badges on the floormats and front headrests.
The Limited is the 4Runner’s luxury level trim that adds leather upholstery, driver’s seat memory settings, ventilated front seats, a sunroof, a 15-speaker JBL stereo, chrome exterior accents, a surround-view parking camera system, front and rear parking sensors, an integrated navigation system, and dual zone automatic climate control. It also uses a different 4WD system and suspension setup for a more comfortable ride.
The top-of-the-line TRD Pro trim has the TRD Off Road Premium’s standard features and adds a sunroof, JBL sound system and a navigation system. It also gets an off-road focused suspension with Fox dampers, TRD springs, a TRD roof rack, TRD wheels with all-terrain tires, and a special front skid plate.
There are some great leasing options, finance offers, and other specials on 2023 and 2022 models. Check out our New Car Incentives article for a comprehensive list of all the available deals.
Toyota provides a limited warranty that covers three years or 36,000 miles and a powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles. Setting this SUV apart is Toyota’s complimentary maintenance coverage for two years or 25,000 miles.
2023 Toyota 4Runner – toyota.com | Shop 2023 Toyota 4Runner on Carsforsale.com
It’s been kicking for 40 years, but the 4Runner may have passed its prime with an outdated powertrain and modest interior. We will give Toyota props for its generous offerings in the driver-assist department, but if off roading isn’t your thing we’d look to one of its more updated and fuel-efficient rivals. On the other hand, if your passion is taking the road less paved with all your gear, then the TRD Off Road is worth considering for its all-terrain capabilities and generous cargo and towing capacity.