The 2023 Toyota 4Runner: What You Need to Know

Much-needed upgrades are coming soon. Here's what you can expect.

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It's hard to deny that the Toyota 4Runner remains one of the most charming SUVs on the road. It’s capable, it’s bulletproof — and, perhaps most importantly, it just looks cool. The trouble is, the fifth generation — which entered production back in 2009 — has grown outdated. It gets less than than 20 mpg on the highway, and its five-speed automatic transmission offers half the number of gears that the new Ford Bronco does. It’s time for Toyota to give us an upgrade for the 4Runner; luckily, one should be arriving very soon.

Here’s what you need to know about the upcoming sixth-generation Toyota 4Runner.

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When will the sixth-generation Toyota 4Runner arrive?

Toyota is in the midst of overhauling its off-road trucks and SUVs. The new 2022 Tundra just came out, and will arrive at dealers before the end of 2021; the full-size Sequoia SUV should launch next, with the future 4Runner following after. So expect the sixth-gen 4Runner to arrive as a 2023 model, hitting dealers in late 2022 or early 2023. The new Tacoma should follow after the 4Runner.

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Expect the new 4Runner to move to a new TNGA platform

Toyota has been moving its vehicles to their Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platforms. The new body-on-frame truck version, TNGA-F, underpins the full-size Land Cruiser and the new Tundra. A smaller version of it should be used for both the new 4Runner and the new Tacoma. With the common platform, it’s possible Toyota could shift 4Runner production — traditionally performed in Japan — to America.

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The 4Runner's Global Architecture will be global

Toyota diverged its truck lineup in 1995: America got the Tacoma and 4Runner; while other markets got the Hilux and the Fortuner. As part of a Toyota effort to reduce production costs, those vehicles will move back to the same platform. Bodies and badges may differ, but components and powertrains will be similar.

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Which gas engines will the Toyota 4Runner get?

Toyota should be looking to get better fuel economy numbers through smaller displacement engines, turbocharging and a transmission offering more than five speeds. We'd guess the base engine will be a four-cylinder — perhaps the 275-hp 2.4-liter in the Lexus NX350 — which would offer substantially more torque (317 lb-ft) than the current V6.

It's also possible Toyota could then give the 4Runner an upgraded version with the nearly 400-hp 3.5-liter V6 from the Tundra. That combo would set up the 4Runner well to compete with the Bronco, Defender and Wrangler.

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Will the Toyota 4Runner be a hybrid?

Yes. Toyota wants every model to offer a hybrid by 2025, so that would obviously include the 4Runner. The question will be how Toyota goes about that. Three plausible routes for Toyota to get a 4Runner: adding electric components to supplement the base engine, use some form of plug-in hybrid like the RAV4 Prime — or all-out attack on the Bronco and Wrangler with the Tundra's V6 hybrid that offers 437 hp and 583 lb-ft.

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The 4Runner should get an updated interior

The new Tundra interior (shown here) received a major modernization. The 4Runner should follow suit with Toyota's new infotainment system that debuted on the Lexus NX with an optional 14-inch touchscreen. Typically, Toyota doesn't try to blow away buyers with interior material quality. But expect some modest upgrades to help fend off rivals.

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The 2024 Toyota Tacoma: Here's Everything You Need to Know

What we know so far about the most-eagerly-awaited midsize truck.


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