Road Test: 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Road Test: 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

Story and photos by Benjamin Yong     

Sure, the current fifth-generation Toyota 4Runner is going on 14 years old now — but if it ain’t broke, why fix it? The truck-based SUV is still as off-road-ready as ever and continues to deliver practicality and fun at a relatively reasonable price point.

“Canadians are embracing outdoor getaways like never before, and there’s no better way to explore our magnificent country than in the Toyota 4Runner,” says Cyril Dimitris, Toyota Canada vice president, in a press release. “Regardless of the activity, the weather, or the season, the 4Runner is the perfect vehicle for any adventure. It’s unquestionably capable and rugged yet also surprisingly comfortable and refined.”

The exterior remains the same on the TRD Pro grade Trucks Plus evaluated, featuring that stubby snout with the blacked-out mesh grill, hood scoop, cool metal TRD skid plate, 17-inch TRD wheels wrapped in Nitto A/T tires and a wicked bright green Lime Rush paint colour added to the 2022 option list. Power moon roof, running boards and LED low beam and fog lamps are standard.

If the model’s age shows anywhere, the interior is the place. To be fair I actually prefer a more nostalgic cabin where some physical controls still exist and everything is easily manipulated, even while wearing gloves as was intentionally designed. The eight-inch Display Audio infotainment system works fine though the faux-carbon fibre around the centre console area should probably go. The red contrast stitching looks sporty against the dark Softex leather and the available 15-speaker JBL stereo sounds excellent. New for 2023 is a heated steering wheel.

The TRD Pro doesn’t have a third row, but those needing extra seats can purchase either the SR5 ($51,050) or the Limited ($58,500), both providing space for seven. Instead, our test vehicle had lots of storage room behind the rear seat that one-touch folds to accommodate large loads. The backrest is able to recline up to 16 degrees so passengers are able to relax on the drive.

No changes have been made to the trusty 4.0-litre V6 under the hood, mated to a five-speed automatic transmission. The engine note coming out of the TRD Pro exhaust is absolutely beastly and actually caught me off guard the first time I fired up the ignition, and makes the 270 horsepower and 278 lb-ft of torque feel faster.  A tow hitch receiver and wiring harness are already built in and towing capacity is rated at 5,000 pounds.

Users may choose between on-demand or full-time four-wheel drive, and combined with the proven body-on-frame chassis, rear differential lock and Fox shock absorbers all around, there’s virtually nowhere this vehicle can’t go. The Multi-Terrain Select Control really helps dial settings down to suit specific surface conditions as well, boasting four modes: Mud, Sand and Dirt; Loose Rock; Mogul and Rock. The 4Runner ate up the gravel trail I threw at it and just demanded more.

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro starts at MSRP $66,220. In addition, a special 40th Anniversary Special Edition ($54,380) is being sold limited to 400 units and packs a heritage grille, retro-inspired pinstriping and bronze details throughout.



Base price (MSRP): $66,220
Type: SUV
Layout: front engine, 4-wheel drive
Engine: 4.0-litre V6
Transmission: 5-speed automatic
Power: 270 hp @ 5,600 rpm (net)
Torque: 278 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm (net)
Brakes: front/rear disc with ABS
Fuel Consumption (L/100km, city/hwy): 14.8/12.5