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Rankings by automotive publications that specialize in consumer advice can act as guides to consumers. On the other hand, they get vehicle owners pretty upset as well. A vehicle can be objectively great (or bad), but consumers will have personal experiences with a nameplate that change their perspective. Automotive publications rely on research and testing to come to conclusions. Car and Driver’s worst three-row midsize SUV for 2023 pick makes sense to some, but it will make Toyota fans clench their fists.

Car and Driver ranks this Toyota SUV as the worst three-row midsize SUV for 2023

An orange 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV is parked outdoors.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

Ok, Toyota fans, hang on tight because this could be a wild ride. Car and Driver ranked every three-row midsize SUV for 2023 to give consumers an idea of how different models stack up. Of the 15 models, the Toyota SUV that ranked dead last was drumroll, please, the Toyota 4Runner.

Before you toss the device you’re reading this on in outrage, let’s explore why Car and Driver came to this conclusion. The first thing that jumps out about the 4Runner on the list compiled by Car and Driver is its price. The 2023 Toyota 4Runner starts at $39,555, making it one of the more expensive options on the market.

Now, when you consider the 4Runner’s longevity, its starting price seems like a steal for drivers who intend to keep the three-row midsize SUV for a long time or sell it at some point. The reality is that not every driver wants to keep the same vehicle for over a decade. According to, the average new vehicle ownership period is 8.4 years. A new 4Runner could last twice as long, but is that what the average consumer is looking for?

The seating capacity is the next point that can justify the 4Runner’s placement on this ranking list. The Toyota 4Runner is a five-seater with an optional third row. We can’t knock the 4Runner for not being a standard three-row SUV. Its inclusion on the list mentioned is questionable, but its placement makes sense in the context that it’s not a true three-row midsize SUV.

The Toyota 4Runner is a thirsty midsize SUV that needs a redesign

A gray 2023 Toyota 4Runner midsize SUV is parked outside.
The 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Toyota

The 4Runner’s fuel economy leaves much to be desired for many consumers. Some Toyota 4Runner owners don’t mind that it’s thirsty, but times are changing. Gas mileage is becoming increasingly important as gas prices rise and automakers develop hybrid solutions.

The Toyota Sequoia is now a standard hybrid. Its fuel economy isn’t incredible, but Toyota has redesigned it to keep up with the times. The 4Runner is on its fifth generation. It hasn’t been redesigned in over a decade.

Toyota has been redesigning its more antiquated nameplates like the Tundra and Sequoia. The 4Runner’s 16 miles per gallon in the city and 19 miles per gallon on the highway don’t cut it for most drivers. Toyota’s midsize SUV is legendary, but it’s time for a redesign.

Should you get a 2023 Toyota 4Runner?

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner is a midsize SUV with off-roading prowess known for its longevity. If you can see past its fuel economy, the 4Runner is a great choice for drivers that want a long-lasting SUV. In terms of reliability, Toyota’s midsize SUV is among the best in its segment.

Many consumers are opting for the Kia Telluride because it’s a standard three-row SUV that’s affordable and comes with luxurious standard features. The Telluride won’t last as long as a 4Runner, but it’s ideal for drivers that want a midsize family SUV for an ownership period of 10 years or less. The better midsize SUV depends on preference, but it’s clear that Toyota should redesign the 4Runner to make it more competitive.


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