Does the 2023 Toyota 4Runner Really Deserve Last Place?

It’s time to look into another mystery about the Toyota 4Runner. It seems like it may be receiving a few unfair rankings as it sits at the bottom of various best SUV lists. Does the 2023 Toyota 4Runner really deserve to be in last place, or is it misunderstood? 

Why is the 2023 Toyota 4Runner in last place? 

White 2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro
2023 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro | Toyota

It’s no secret that the 2023 Toyota 4Runner may feel a bit older. It was last redesigned back in 2010, so it’s one of the oldest SUVs on the market. But it still has plenty to offer families with above-average off-roading capabilities and an excellent reliability ranking. 

According to U.S.News, the 2023 4Runner is at the bottom of the barrel. It came in 22nd on the list of 22 best SUVs to buy. It’s outranked by the Nissan Murano, Dodge Durango, Ford Edge, Mazda CX-9, and more. 

U.S.News ranks vehicles based on published reviews from respected automotive critics and third-party data. Rankings from magazines, newspapers, and online outlets are used to provide each vehicle with an honest score. 

Vehicle performance, tech, interior quality, comfort, safety rankings, cargo space, fuel economy, towing, reliability, and awards are considered. The 4Runner is in last with a score of 7.0, while the Nissan Murano hovers above it with a 7.6. 

What do critics not like about the 4Runner? 

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner has a weak fuel economy. The standard 4.0-liter V6 engine cranks out 270 hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. It gets an EPA-estimated 16 mpg in the city and up to 19 mpg on the highway. 

That’s not great, but the Ford Explorer gets an EPA-estimated 25 mpg in the city and up to 28 mpg on the highway. Also, the 4Runner uses a five-speed automatic transmission that may feel clumsy or unrefined. 

On that note, the 4Runner has a stiffer ride than its rivals because of its body-on-frame construction. It’s more durable for off-roading and provides more suspension travel at the cost of on-pavement comfort. 

But it’s not terribly bouncy. Also, the upright, boxy design contributes to wind noise at higher speeds. However, the cabin is well-insulated against road noise. 

The Toyota 4Runner also loses points because it has an aging interior. It may look old, but it’s not cheap. You can opt for premium leather upholstery with ventilated seats and other modern amenities. 

Plus, the layout is simple and intuitive. Everything you need is placed within reach. The tech has physical controls, works quickly, and is easy to understand. 

What are the 4Runner benefits? 

2023 Toyota 4Runner interior
2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner is praised for having plenty of cargo space and versatility, thanks to the slideout floor. You can access 47.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and up to 89.7 cubes overall. It can tow up to 5,000 lbs. 

You’ll find that the 2023 4Runner is available with tons of options and configurations to meet various needs. There are six different trim levels, and it comes with a long list of standard features to increase its value. 

It has standard 4wd, skid plates, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power sliding rear window, keyless entry/ignition, roof rails, a power-adjustable driver’s seat, LED headlights, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen. 

Also, the 4Runner has unmatched off-roading capabilities. It’s a durable and reliable option that can take the whole family on adventures. It deserves to be a little higher on the list! It might not have Kia Telluride comfort, but it makes up for it in other areas.