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2023 Toyota 4runner - 6th Gen?

Photo: Toyota Car News

It's speculated that summer of 2022, Toyota will introduce the next and 6th Generation of the Toyota 4Runner for the 2023 year. Toyota in the last decade or two has spent a lot of effort and albeit money to keep things under wraps for as long as possible, it's actually somewhat of a company practice just a bit more scrutinized than other automotive brands. And although there is no real spy photos or leaked photos of the 2023 Toyota 4Runner to date, some sources at the Automotive Press (AP) feel they have a pretty good idea of whats to come in 2023.

Still built in Japan, Toyota's Tahara Plant in Aichi, the 4Runner is made in Japan alongside the Lexus LS/GX, Landcruiser, Land Cruiser Prado, and the RAV4 which all should be noted to having a VIN thats starts with a J to signify a Japanese build which can be acquired or ordered in North America for you future RAV4 owners.

Photo: Japanese News


So what are the rumors? For bread and circuses, multiple engine options you might not expect unless you keep your ear to the ground in the 4Runner scenes. With all the hype already, the biggest question is; "is the 2023 4Runner going to keep the current 4.0L engine?" There's speculation that it may not. However, the NEW Land Cruiser 300 Series, and for markets outside of Japan, they are continuing to offer that 4.0L engine so it will likely remain in the Toyota engine family and so it's possible that it could carry on to the 2023 4Runner.

The prediction is the 4Runner might see the 2.4L Turbo inline-4 cylinder engine that is slated for the 2022 Lexus NX. I know, a few peoples hearts may have sunk a little but honestly the newest of engines in the Toyota line-up has respectable power and good torque numbers associated with it for a SUV or Mid-Sized truck like the Tacoma.

A Hybrid option may also be available for those wanting to migrate from a RAV4 or Highlander and adjust to the Americanized larger space for family needs or for the safety in size wile keeping climate conscious of mind on the temperate West-Coast where the infrastructure is growing and spreading in demand. It is suspected that the 2.5L Inline-4 (A25A-FXS) Hybrid Engine with two motors would be the likely candidate for the task. We think at times that the newer 2020 Highlander that also shares this configuration of the 2.5L and two electric motors for the AWD version, is a bit under powered at times and feel that the V6 option for the hybrid engine would have been much better suited like it was before the 2020 Highlander re-design which also means a AWD 4Runner and 4WD?

Photo; WapCar 2.4L (t) T24A-FTS))

With the 4Runner retaining the body-on-frame chassis and not following the Highlander which is under the UNI-body assembly as it has been for the last two generations. We of course hope the current 4.0L power-plant would be maintained as much as I know many fans who would like.., no, I mean "love', to see the V8 return to the upcoming migration to the TNGA-F1 chassis. which is shared among the Tundra, Sequoia, Land Cruiser, Prado, and eventually Lexus LX/GX too. Sidenote; this shared chassis will be very important because so many models will share this TNGA-F1 platform which should help in keeping costs down without sacrificing Toyota quality.

My guess is if all of the above vehicles, most of which have already a 4.6L+ V8 option currently, might see Toyota leaving us with possible opportunities for making V8 swaps easier for future owners which leads me to another line of thought... Is Toyota, bitten by the addition of the new GR-Performance line-up of Toyota vehicles reaching into the way back machine of chasing the performance desires of its loyalist that TRD spun away from? Alright,.. whose else's under-shorts just got tighter?

AP Press: Renderings by David Koichi Chao (top) Land Cruiser based design (bottom) Tundra based design

Not that it will completely satisfy the anxious anticipation of fans, the expectations after the current design change from 2010 are expected to be another lock-down in fandom. After all, people who love their Toyota trucks, SUV's, and cars should expect nothing short of complete positivism of progress. The Toyota 4Runner has likely disappointed few in the last three decades. In fact, there is reason to believe that for decades the 4Runner has kept families on and off the road and well versed in happiness.

As of 2021, Land cruiser - Toyota's longest living nameplate, is leaving North America after proving through it's cult like following through a rich heritage and it's military roots, Land Cruiser has undoubtedly been revered for it's abilities to do exactly what it's nameplate states in it name: cruise the land, no matter the terrain. The most recent of Land Cruiser, known as the 200 Series, dates back to 2008 to current 2021 year and with Toyota offering zero marketing support - the Land Cruiser has seen just barely over 35,000 units sold since 2008 with the highest in annual sales being that of the the 2008 year with 3,801 units moved. despite it's capabilities and high levels of luxury, status-obsessed buyers aren't so apt to folk over its steeper base price of $86,780 (for 2020) on something dressed in a Toyota badge, even with the heritage series additions.

There are better markets for the Land Cruiser abroad in the world so it is not the end for the Land Cruiser in itself. Toyota's open ended statement leaves the possibility of a return sometime in the near future, and if not with a vehicle with the LC name, perhaps one with it's spirit. Maybe the Sequoia gets renamed? Time will tell.

Photo: 2020 Land Cruiser 200 Series

I do share in the belief that the Toyota 4Runner will replace it, and thereby may receive many attributes from the Land Cruiser in order to fill those tires. Since the lack of availability in exterior photos aren't available, there stands to reason why there would be even less chance of interior pics. However, following the trend of Toyota the prediction of newer materials and fabrics and slight tweaks in usable space. Toyota's dedication to safety, efficiency, comforting features, and of course infotainment - usually the result of size of screens and the touch and feel found among multi-media options of Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and available USB port.

My second biggest interest would be what changes to the suspension will we see to make the Toyota 4Runner as becoming match ready to take on the role of the Land Cruiser? Suspension comes to mind here. In terms of basic design, both ethe Toyota 4Runner and the Land cruiser share body-on-frame designs, in regards to the 6th Gen 4Runner, it will inevitably receive the above mentioned TNGA-F1 shared frame but the current difference between the 4Runner's suspension and the Land Cruiser 200 for example differ in their off-roading features.

Photo: Assembly line Tahara Plant Aichi, Japan

Unlike the Land Cruiser, the basic of Toyota 4Runner's doesn't come with standard 4WD, in fact it's a $1700 upcharge on the SR5 trim. The non-Limited 4Runner's 4WD system is part-time, with a transfer case that is able to shift between 2Hi, 4Hi, and 4Lo. The Land Cruiser's 4WD, meanwhile, is full-time. The Land cruiser's Torsen limited-slip center diff can be locked, the transfer-case-equipped 4Runners can lock their rear differentials.

Technology wise, the 4Runner shares Multi-Terrain Control (MTC), Off-Road Cruise Control, and assistance for both climbing and descending hills. However again, the Land Cruiser does get a slight edge with an underbody camera that the driver can be used to spot obstacles. The Land Cruiser also has standard the self-leveling KDSS, adjustable suspension which is available to the 4Runner but only in a TRD PRO or TRD Off-Road with Premium package.

Another attraction of the 4Runner is the longer-travel Fox shocks which the Land Cruiser cannot get - but the KDSS adjustable suspension is generally fine for the average off-road experience, it is better suited for those who spend more time on the day to day tarmac. One advantage of a the Limited trim of the 4Runner is the X-REAS dampening system which does improve on-road manners.

Although not necessarily a suspension feature, but an off-road one. All Land Cruisers come standard with skid-plates where the 4Runner only receives such treatments in TRD trims. Many new buyers get them installed at time of accessory purchases as normal 4Runners.

Photo: Toyota | 2020 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro

So the question now becomes, are you going to hold out from buying a 2022 for the redesigned 2023 4Runner? Let us know in the comments what your thoughts are.

About: David Koichi Chao

Automotive Engineer and Toyota veteran David Koichi Chao just developed two new images of what the next generation 2023 4Runner could look like. Following the exact same methodologies he used to predict the 2022 Toyota Tundra - which turned out to be extremely accurate - David creates the new renders and provides predictions of the new 6th gen 4Runner.

David Koichi Chao, a global expert in the field of automotive evaluation, consulting and strategy. David is known around the world as an authentic specialist of Lean Thinking or Toyota Production System.


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