Here’s The Last 3rd-Row 4WD SUV for Under $50k
During the global supply chain shortage, most automakers bumped the MSRPs of their 2023 SUVs. Most 3rd-row SUVs now start at over $50k. But there’s one outlier: the 2023 Toyota 4Runner has an MSRP of just $39,555. What’s more, you can currently get into a 4WD configuration for a total of just $40,930. That’s more than $10k less than its closest competitor: the Nissan Armada. Find how the 4Runner stacks up to the competition, and whether this 4WD should even be considered a 3rd-row SUV in the first place.
How much does a 3rd-row 4WD SUV cost?
Most 3rd-row SUVs have MSRPs of $50k or more, with especially expensive options such as the Toyota Sequoia, Wagoneer, and GMC Yukon starting at over $57k. In addition, most automakers charge $3k for an upgrade to 4WD. The notable exception is the 2023 Toyota 4Runner, which costs $52,900 for a 4WD.
A word on definitions: we’re only considering vehicles built on a full-frame chassis (usually shared with a production pickup truck) to be SUVs. This excludes 3rd-row crossover cars such as the Volkswagen Atlas and Toyota Highlander. In addition, some excellent full-frame SUVs, such as the Jeep Wrangler, Mercedes G-Wagon, and Ford Bronco, are not available with a 3rd-row.
Here are the prices for every full-frame SUV available with a 3rd-row of seating and 4WD:
|Make/Model||MSRP||Price w/ 4WD|
|Toyota 4 Runner||$39,055||$40,930|
|Wagoneer (by Jeep)||$58,995||$61,995|
Is the 2023 Toyota 4Runner cheap?
With an MSRP of $39,555, the 2023 4Runner SUV is $10k more expensive than its Tacoma counterpart (though Toyota’s currently offering the 4Runner for $39,055). It is also several thousand more expensive than either the full-frame Ford Bronco ($32,295) or the four-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited ($35,690).
Compared to other mid-size, full-frame SUVs the Toyota 4Runner isn’t what you would call cheap. But here’s the catch, you can order a 4Runner with a 3rd-row of seats (at a cost of about $800, depending on upholstery), which vaults it beyond the class of the Wrangler and Bronco.
In the 3rd-row SUV category, the 4WD 4Runner is very cheap. Its Toyota Sequoia cousin (a full-size based on the Tundra truck) starts at $58,365–$61,365 for a 4WD. Its closest competitor is the Nissan Armada, which starts at $49,900 and will cost $52,900 as a 4WD.
Note that SUVs such as the Sequoia and Armada are based on full-size trucks, so they’ll have a lot more room–especailly in that 3rd row–than the 4Runner. The 4Runner’s 3rd row is more comparable to a unibody crossover such as the Grand Cherokee. Some say it’s not really a 3rd row SUV at all.
Is the Toyota 4Runner a 3rd-row SUV?
You can order the mid-size Toyota 4Runner with a proper, forward-facing 3rd row of seating. But don’t expect to fit either adults or child seats back there. Sure, it would be a good way to legally transport some extra passengers a short distance but doesn’t stack up to modern, full-size 3rd-row SUVs.
The Toyota 4Runner’s available 3rd row does not comfortably fit most adults and has no LATCH anchors for car seats. So it really only has one use: transporting children who no longer need car seats. If this describes your family, you might consider this mid-size SUV. But note that when you are using this 3rd row, it will take up much of the cargo space. Therefore, some have even called the Toyota 4Runner’s third row pointless.
On the other hand, the Toyota 4Runner is engineered to fit on off-road trails where a full-size SUV cannot. It’s even available in capable off-roading trims such as the TRD Pro.
One reason the 2023 Toyota 4Runner SUV may have a lower MSRP than 3rd-row competitors is that its drivetrain has gone for over a decade without a major redesign. Some traditionalists feel this is the key to the 4Runner’s dependability, while others are waiting for Toyota to come out with a more modern mid-size SUV.
See our MotorBiscuit review of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner or watch Toyota’s official specs video below: