What Is the Most Capable Version of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner?
If you want Toyota's ultimate suite of off-road goodies, check out the TRD Pro.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path and reliably make your way back to it, a Toyota can make for a great choice. The 4Runner is a body-on-frame SUV that has proven itself time and again with its capability and dependability. It’s available in a host of trims for 2023, with the top TRD Pro offering the most capability — as long as you’re willing to pay the price.
2023 Toyota 4Runner: The Basics
All 4Runners come with a 270-hp, 4.0L V6 engine with 278 pound-feet of torque mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. Frankly, the powerplant doesn’t feature much to write home about except for reliability that’s darn near bulletproof. You’ll get more refinement from other brands, but the TRD Pro makes up for it in other ways.
The TRD Off-Road, TRD Off-Road Premium, and TRD Pro have many of the same features. They all get a Multi-Terrain Select system with four drive modes to optimize wheel slip in different off-road conditions. They have a crawl control feature that works like off-road cruise control, so the driver need only set a slow speed and then just worry about steering. They all come with hill-start assist, low range, and a locking rear differential. Plus, these 4Runners have 9.6 inches of ground clearance, an approach angle of 33 degrees, and a departure angle of 26 degrees.
Slick Shocks and More
Only the TRD Pro gets the upgraded Fox shocks and TRD-tuned front springs. These internal bypass shocks with 2.5-inch rear piggyback reservoirs are a huge upgrade over the standard setup on the TRD Off-Road trims. Not only will the shocks work harder and stay cooler, but they really smooth out the ride when the going gets rough. They don’t offer any additional travel, but they do allow for faster speeds on slightly whoopy terrain and ample comfort when traversing rocks.
Up front, the TRD Pro gets a 1/4-inch-thick aluminum skid plate to protect the undercarriage from errant rocks, and the SUV comes straight from the factory wearing 265/70 Nitto Terra Grappler all-terrain tires on 17-inch alloy wheels. These aren’t the most aggressive tires out there, but in my experience, they perform well enough in the dirt while still providing a decent on-road ride.
The final feather in the TRD Pro’s cap is a multi-terrain monitor with front, side, or rear views. In theory, this is a great feature that allows the driver to precisely place the tires for maximum traction, but in my experience, the system falls flat. The view is blurry and thus not very helpful. Other manufacturers do it better.
2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro: Is it Worth It?
Finally, we come to the price. For 2023, the Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro starts around $55,000. That’s a tall cup of mocha, especially when you realize that this fifth generation of the 4Runner has been around (in roughly the same form) since the 2010 model year, though the TRD Pro was introduced in 2015. Competitors with fresher designs such as the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler have more technology, better powertrains, and a lower starting price for the same or better off-road capability.