By on May 24, 2022

While hardly the most modern vehicle in Toyota’s lineup, the 4Runner has developed a reputation for being a versatile body-on-frame SUV with the ability to actually tackle off-road trails — rather than simply looking the part.

This year, the model is celebrating its 40th birthday and Toyota has opted to issue a special edition limited to 4,040 examples. The vehicle in question comes with the 4Runner’s 4.0-liter V6, five-speed automatic transmission, and some visual embellishments designed to set the vehicle apart. These include bronze-colored wheels, bronze-colored badging, and TRD (Toyota Racing Development) stripes down the side. But those are just the broad strokes. 

The 2023 Toyota 4Runner 40th Anniversary Special Edition (its official title) is basically the SR5 Premium with a slew of visual cues cluing you into its status as a limited model. Rather than the standard emblem, the Special Edition’s front comes with a heritage-inspired “TOYOTA” logo spelled out in the brand’s preferred font. Unique interior badging adorns leatherette seats (not standard on the SR5), unique floormats, the glovebox, and more. There’s even contrasting bronze stitching to really drive the point home.

Though it’s the exterior that’s making the biggest statement, owed largely to the 17-inch wheels and tri-colored TRD stripes along the side. It actually looks pretty boss in black and the manufacturer has said the model will also be offered in white and red if that’s not to your tastes. Assuming you’re a fan of the 4Runner, then these inclusions are probably right up your street. However, it’s not a vehicle for everyone and some of the visual accouterments are already available on higher trims. For example, swapping the Toyota logo out for the full script on the grille is something you can also get by purchasing the TRD Pro.

While noteworthy for its outstanding durability, the SUV’s 270-horsepower engine is arguably outdated and chugs fuel like a V8 capable of more oomph. It also rides like a body-on-frame vehicle, sacrificing on-road performance for superior characteristics when off-road, and forgoes a lot of the technology features that currently divide the market. This again, makes the 4Runner extremely popular with some and a non-starter for others. If you’ve got questions about how it might (or might not) fit into your home lineup, feel free to check out any of our reviews on it from the last several years. As luck would have it, the model hasn’t changed much within the last decade.

Though the 4Runner’s development hasn’t been totally stagnant and Toyota has seen fit to add a few new items for 2023. All models will now receive blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard equipment. Pricing has not yet been announced but we’re expecting customers to have to pay a premium for the 40th Anniversary Special Edition. For reference, the base SR5 Premium retails for $41,515 (before accounting for destination). But we also expect just about everyone to option all-wheel-drive since it would be downright embarrassing to have splurged on a limited variant ORV without it.

[Images: Toyota]

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18 Comments on “Toyota 4Runner Gets TRD Stripes for 40th Birthday...”


  • avatar
    jalop1991

    If they don’t use Mr. T in the ads, they’re missing the boat.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Oooooh, stripes!

    Snark aside, the look is actually pretty cool. Toyota seems to have gotten a good deal on bronzed wheels – they put them on the Camry.

  • avatar
    Oberkanone

    Nice vehicle. It’s outdated goodness is reminder of Toyota quality of the past when vehicles were a bit more substantial in their materials and construction.
    Not excited about the exterior colors in the package. SR5 premium is the sweet spot for equipment. Make mine gray.

  • avatar
    redapple

    Does the 4Runner ride as hard as the Tacoma?
    I Rented a Tacoma in DTW last month. That thing rode so bad that a 1 inch bump in the road jarred me like it was 2-3 inches.
    Truly – remarkably bad.

    Does the new style Frontier ride well -anybody know?

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Posky

      I would say the 4Runner is noticeably more comfortable and makes better use of its interior space. I have not driven the Nissan, however.

      • 0 avatar
        CKNSLS Sierra SLT

        The 4Runner is biased towards off road and rides like it. You can only fit two across comfortably in the second row. It’s not great at anything other than off road. But then again what would you expect on such an ancient platform.

        • 0 avatar
          Matt Posky

          This is true. It absolutely does not feel or drive like a modern SUV on road. Body roll is prevalent and it’s a little bouncy. It could probably use a tad more power. Fuel economy is pretty bad (and that is coming from someone who spent many years daily driving V8s). The interior also doesn’t feel all that modern (which some would argue is a plus) and lacks a few features. But it’s exceptionally good at absorbing the big bumps and monster potholes because its designed to go off-roading.

          I would argue that one’s enjoyment of the 4Runner is entirely dependent on what they expect from a vehicle. If you want something modern, quiet, and comfortable for long highway commutes, this probably isn’t for you. Maybe check out the Highlander if you dig Toyota and want a similarly sized SUV. But if you like more analog vehicles, actually intend to do some off-roading, and live somewhere with extremely bad roads, then I would give the 4Runner a look. It’s a good value, but only if it satisfies a specific set of needs.

    • 0 avatar
      gozar

      Sounds like there was a problem with that Tacoma – I have one and it rides as nicely as any other pickup.

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m glad that the 4Runner has stuck with the 1GR-FE V6; I just wish they could fit something more modern than the 5-speed automatic. A 6-, 8-, or 10-speed could help at least a little with fuel economy.

    • 0 avatar
      MGS1995

      It would have been a nice touch if they used the 1UR-FE from the GX on this special edition model. Maybe even grab the 6 speed gearbox and AWD transfer case as well.

  • avatar
    Hayden535

    I used to dream of owning a Toyota someday… too bad they continue to finance insurrectionists pushing the big lie and trying to erode faith in American democracy.

    • 0 avatar
      CaddyDaddy

      The United States of America is NOT a Democracy, it is a Constitutional Republic, but I digress…. Maybe a used yellow Suzuki Esteem is in your future?

  • avatar
    bkojote

    Despite people complaining it’s dated, I’d counter it’s a refreshing break from a lot of the awful crap in newer vehicles.

    I recently drove one with KDSS, and to be honest it drives, handles, and rides better than most CUV’s. It’s not *fast* and it’s a tad thirsty- but no more so than its more modern competition (cough Bronco), but if you can live with that it’s quite a nice no-nonsense vehicle, free of some of the half-baked gimmicks that utterly ruin a lot of current vehicles (see Subaru Outback’s awful giant screen.)

    The appeal of the 4runner is pretty easy to see in 2022, and when you factor in build quality it’s no contest.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    I wonder if they’ll start showing an omnipresent ad featuring THIS instead of the Corolla GR?! Hint, hint!

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      That would be a good idea, since trying to sell heavy, thirsty vehicles while the oil companies are reaping extra large profit margins on fuel is a bit of an uphill battle.
      On the other hand, other than complaining, American drivers have not changed their driving (and parking with the engine running while playing with their phones) habits. They seem to buy everything in sight, although the personal economic consequences of that will come home to roost before too long.

  • avatar
    conundrum

    And in today’s breaking news! Toyota Racing Developments develops go-faster racing stripes for the Woolly Mammoth.

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