You’re probably acquainted with the expression, “They don’t make them like they used to.” On the subject of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, that’s definitely not the case as a result of the present technology is in its 14th yr of manufacturing (with the model additionally celebrating its fortieth anniversary). Regardless of receiving an inside replace for 2014, together with numerous exterior facelifts over time, the 4Runner stays comparatively unchanged as a really succesful off-road car. The truth that it’s previous and lengthy within the tooth would possibly lead you to imagine gross sales have declined as extra trendy equipment have joined the market, nevertheless it’s fairly the other: for 2010, the primary model yr for this technology, the 4Runner bought simply over 46,000 models within the U.S., and it will break the six-figure mark in 2016. Up to now, the 4Runner has had its greatest model yr in 2021 with over 144,000 models produced. So, why do individuals proceed to purchase the 4Runner when it’s clearly lengthy within the tooth? That’s what we got down to be taught.
The Toyota 4Runner has eight trim ranges, beginning with the SR5 2WD at $40,155 and topping out with the $54,620 TRD Professional. The principle variations in trim ranges come from off-road efficiency (arguably the primary focus of the 4Runner), together with numerous inside tweaks and expertise. All 4Runners since 2014 have utilized a 270-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 paired with a five-speed automated transmission. Our check car was essentially the most aggressive off-road trim stage of the bunch: the TRD Professional.
It is a rugged, handsome SUV, however you already knew that. Our 2023 4Runner was painted in a TRD Professional-exclusive Photo voltaic Octane hue, which is a vibrant orange with a little bit of metallic that makes it simple to seek out in parking tons or forest roads (even at night time). Aiding this 4Runner’s stout look are the TRD hood scoop, aluminum skid plate, roof rack, 17-inch matte black alloy wheels, and distinctive “TOYOTA” entrance grille. The TRD Professional sits a half-inch increased than lesser 4Runners (not together with the roll bar), with an improved 9.6 inches of floor clearance. Together with the bodily adjustments, you’ll be able to really see the TRD Tuned entrance suspension and TRD high-performance Fox shocks.
Energy comes from a 4.0-liter V6 rated at 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque, which has remained unchanged since 2010 and is tried and true for Toyota’s high-reliability requirements. As commonplace throughout all trim ranges, the V6 is paired with a five-speed automated transmission, however the TRD Professional features a switch case providing HI and LO four-wheel-drive settings — obligatory for off-road lovers. The powertrain’s drawbacks change into obvious on paper if you understand the 4runner TRD Professional has a curb weight of 4,750 lbs., which suggests a power-to-weight ratio that isn’t the envy of any competitor. Clearly the 4Runner is just not a sports activities automobile, however it will profit from extra grunt to maintain its efficiency and economic system up to date … talking of which:
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Professional has an EPA score of 16 mpg metropolis/19 freeway/17 mixed, which is worse than the a lot bigger 2022 Tundra 1794 Version we examined earlier within the model yr — that regardless of a twin-turbocharged V6 with 119 extra horsepower and 201 lb-ft extra torque. In fact, gasoline economic system is just not the first focus of a car like this, however different up to date off-road autos outclass the 4Runner on this regard. When budgeting on your 4runner, don’t overlook to account for gasoline.
The inside of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner immediately transports you again to 2010, however the TRD Professional does characteristic some further off-road devices. Look previous the previous and you will see that SofTex-trimmed seats (Toyota’s spill-resistant artificial leather-based), leather-based steering wheel, 15-speaker premium JBL audio system, a mixture of carbon fiber-patterned bits, TRD shift knob, and the ceiling buttons for multi-terrain off-road controls. The seats themselves are high-quality — no consolation complaints right here — and the entire controls are inside attain, although the seating place gives the look you’re driving a tank. When you must get away four-wheel drive, you’ll be able to swap from 2H to 4H on the fly beneath 50 mph, however for 4L you must cease. The four-wheel drive shifter requires some manhandling however does supply stable, assured clunks as you turn out and in of 4L, which is the place you’ll be spending most of your time if you wish to use the rear differential lock and crawl management. Whereas the cool off-road tech definitely provides to the fee, it’s onerous to get the sense of the worth proposition contemplating the dated inside.
Driving the Toyota 4Runner TRD Professional definitely leans in direction of the off-road facet of issues. As hinted earlier, this car is sluggish and, throughout common metropolis driving, there’s loads of physique roll from the large Fox suspension, which is comfortable sufficient to really feel the TRD Professional leaning backwards and forwards below acceleration and braking. The 4Runner feels comparatively clean underway, even over potholes and velocity bumps. Steering is ok — not too over-boosted but feels direct sufficient to level the place you need the car to go (although you’ll definitely really feel its dimension). Visibility is nice, as one would anticipate in an SUV of this stature, because the squared and upright windshield gives the look of an all-conquering rugged tank. Nonetheless, there’s nothing to concern within the nether areas the place visibility is missing, as cameras beneath the grille help with viewing the terrain throughout off-roading, the place the TRD Professional feels most at residence. The four-wheel drive simply moved the 4Runner by way of a few of the thickest mud I’ve ever seen, and it was simple to crawl up informal hills. The added off-road modes could be useful in some situations, however I really feel some are pointless, just like the sand mode, which slowed the car down when extra velocity is mostly wanted for comfortable sandy hills. The crawl management is rarely a nasty factor to have, though the 4Runner’s system makes some horrible noises within the first velocity which will hassle all however essentially the most mechanically sympathetic, however the clashing goes away as you improve velocity on the fly. The actual advantage of the 4Runner TRD Professional comes from the out-of-box off-road capabilities that don’t require any actual upgrades. Nonetheless, it’s not one of the best each day driver from the added street and car noise, if not the attainable parking difficulties.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Professional provides all the advantages and utility of an SUV with a ton of off-road functionality. It does have a handsome, stout look, however the inside and powertrain have been displaying their age for fairly some time. Appearances apart, the inside remains to be purposeful, however there’s fairly a little bit of engine and street noise that makes its means again to the cabin. The powertrain can’t be granted any leniency, nevertheless — whereas it’s a tried-and-true dependable engine from Toyota, the low energy/displacement quotient, together with horrible gasoline economic system figures, go away lots to be desired regardless of sturdy gross sales suggesting in any other case. With a redesigned 4Runner coming for 2024, we anticipate all our quibbles to be addressed; although 4Runner info is missing in the mean time, Toyota has introduced the usual 2024 Tacoma will characteristic an i-FORCE 2.4-liter turbo 4 with 270 horsepower, with an accessible i-FORCE MAX hybrid placing out 326 horses and 465-lb-ft of torque. Finally, if you’re contemplating the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, you need to head to your native Toyota dealership and check it for your self.