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Toyota SUV haters have a seat. The extraordinarily old Toyota 4Runner just snagged a prestigious honor from Consumer Reports’s 2023 Auto Reliability Survey. Toyota’s 4Runner SUV is THE most reliable vehicle included in the study. I drove the 4Runner 40th Anniversary Edition this year, and you could say I was smitten with it. Why? It felt familiar. More on that later.

The Toyota 4Runner is the most reliable model

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner SUV on a painted road
A 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

Few words resonate more with buyers than “most reliable,” and the Toyota 4Runner has a big advantage. On a recent Zoom call with Consumer Reports about the 2023 Auto Reliability Survey, it was revealed that Toyota and Lexus remain some of the most reliable brands on the market.

Even though the Toyota 4Runner hasn’t been redesigned since 2009 (how many times have you heard me say that), it remains the crème de la crème for reliability. Even though Consumer Reports is changing how they rank vehicles in the new year, nothing can hold the 4Runner back. It is actually more popular than ever, too.

How do the experts get this reliability data? Asking actual owners about problems with the 4Runner over the last 12 months. This includes 330,000 vehicles from the model years 2000 to 2023. Even though the midsize Toyota SUV looks the same as it did in 2009, that actually seems to have helped it.

Old technology helps the Toyota 4Runner

The Toyota 4Runner 40th Anniversary Edition
Inside the 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

Technology is one of the biggest factors that impact the reliability of vehicles like the Toyota 4Runner. Every year, there seems to be some new and improved tech to change how cars do things. On the Toyota 4Runner? That is not the case. Even though the 4Runner has Apple CarPlay and all the doodads drivers want in a new vehicle, the rest feels very familiar.

Have you ever heard that people with anxiety like to watch the same shows over and over because they know what’s going to happen? It kind of feels like that with the 4Runner. Inside the cabin, it feels like 2009. You have big knobs to adjust the audio and other settings. There are big buttons to turn things on and off. To put it into drive, you use an actual gear selector like in the old days. It clunks into gear, and off you go. Even the speedometer and odometer are old-school displays, not some digital animation studio project.

Plus, it is one of the more capable vehicles off-road. It doesn’t have every fancy new system to make off-roading easier, but it does come with important systems and four-wheel drive for the adventurer.

Toyota remains a top contender for overall reliability

Real knobs inside the Toyota 4Runner
Inside the 2023 Toyota 4Runner | Amanda Cline, MotorBiscuit

The Toyota 4Runner isn’t the lone winner from the brand, even though Lexus did snag the first spot. Lexus has the NX, RX, and UX with their respective hybrids as the most reliable SUV models. But for Toyota? Choose from the 4Runner, Corolla Cross, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, RAV4, RAV4 Hybrid, RAV4 Prime, and even the Venza. That doesn’t even include Toyota’s reliable trucks and sedans.

Even if the way we rate reliability is changing, the Toyota 4Runner isn’t. As they said, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. And now I ask that you leave the midsize SUV alone forever, like a relic of the good ol’ days of reliability.


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