The Toyota 4Runner shines as a budget-friendly and highly capable SUV, putting a focus on off-road performance rather than on-road comfort. Going head-to-head with the Bronco, Wrangler, Passport, and Outback, the 4Runner sets itself apart in the market as an economical choice tailored for those who crave off-road excitement.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner might not catch your eye with its square shape and sharp corners, but its unchanged look over the years carries a timeless charm. It seems like it’s weathered time itself, growing stronger in its appeal.
The 4Runner TRD Pro amps up its style with extra touches. A hood scoop that doesn’t do much adds some pizzazz, joined by a unique tubular roof rack exclusive to this model. Our test car, in Solar Octane, boasted 17-inch TRD Pro matte black wheels wearing Nitto Terra grappler tires, along with cool TRD Pro badges.
Inside, the 4Runner sports a simple black interior with big knobs and buttons on the dashboard. They work well, but their old-school look hints that this design might’ve peaked more than ten years ago.
The 4Runner is equipped with an aging powertrain, featuring a 4.0-liter V-6 generating 270 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque, coupled with a somewhat antiquated five-speed automatic transmission.
Despite its power being on par with rivals, the 4Runner’s engine feels sluggish, displaying a delayed response to throttle inputs and resulting in a 0-60 mph time just shy of eight seconds.
Struggling with limited power and an outdated transmission, the engine consistently falters during acceleration, embodying the 4Runner’s approach of barely meeting essential requirements.
While capable of towing 5,000 pounds, the 4WD 4Runner’s sluggishness is evident in its fuel efficiency, managing only 17 combined mpg, 16 mpg city, and 19 mpg highway — among the lowest in the SUV market. Blame falls on an outdated engine, a transmission with few gears, and possibly the boxy shape.
In everyday use, the 4Runner, with its aged body-on-frame construction, evokes memories of past SUVs. Pronounced body lean in corners, unstable handling during quick maneuvers, significant nosedive during braking, and noticeable steering play all contribute to its antiquated feel.
The 2023 4Runner TRD Pro has an MSRP of $54,045 and a total price of $55,380.
The 4Runner stands out with its solid roof design and usually comes with a more affordable price compared to the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler. Both the Bronco and Wrangler showcase similar off-road capabilities and style.
If you enjoy off-road trips on the weekends, the Subaru Outback, especially in Wilderness trim, provides an impressive combination of capability and improved fuel efficiency.
On the other hand, Honda’s Passport is a noteworthy option for those looking for good value. It excels in on-road handling and performs well on slippery surfaces.
For those in search of a truck with an open bed like the 4Runner, the Toyota Tacoma is a compelling option with a similar range of features.