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Toyota 2023 40th Birthday 4Runner

Toyota 2023 40th Birthday 4Runner

We are at the point where the Toyota 4Runner has been around for 40 years. That’s not an insignificant amount of time, but one in which Toyota’s SUV hasn’t changed all that much. To commemorate the occasion, the Japanese automaker is building 4,040”special editions” with unique aesthetic cues to stand out from the crowd. Last week we flew to Plano, Texas, to get a first look at this unique 2023 4Runner at Toyota’s North American headquarters.

40 years 4Runner

If you keep track, the first 4Runner arrived in 1983, so the math shouldn’t really add up. However, if you count the 83 as a model year 84, you get the magic number 40 in 2023. While it’s not the sixth-generation Runner enthusiasts would have wanted, it’s a nice nod to the vehicle’s history.

You will probably notice that the party vehicle is based on an SR5 bounty. Yes, we were a little disappointed to see Toyota not slapping these largely aesthetic tweaks on a TRD Pro or even TRD Off-Road trim. However, you have to remember that this trim level has essentially been with the 4Runner since day one.

exterior

Matt Crisara

Toyota Tacoma 40th anniversary in use

Matt Crisara

On the outside you can see the bronze-colored 17-inch wheels of the TRD Pro model, which look quite handsome against the “super white” paint hue. The vehicle will also receive gold badges – with a historic front with ‘Toyota’ spelled out instead of just a badge. The only other notable differences are a series of 40th anniversary bronze badges around the rear of the vehicle.

One of the more notable additions to the exterior is the yellow, orange, and red graphics pack that honors Ivan Stewart, aka “Ironman.” He was a desert racing legend who drove for Toyota and whose trophy truck sported the famous color scheme. The Japanese automaker offers the custom 4Runner in Midnight Black Metallic and Barcelona Red Metallic, but it appears to have been shot in Super White, which is definitely the color to go with in my book.

Light re-flashed interior

Toyota Tacoma 40th anniversary in use

Matt Crisara

Toyota Tacoma 40th anniversary in use

Matt Crisara

Changes to the cockpit are much more reserved with just a few special 40th anniversary graphics adorning the headrests and floor mats, along with a “1 of 4,040” badge next to the glove compartment. Unfortunately, one of Toyota’s product experts said that not every vehicle will have a unique number at 4,040. Instead, every vehicle has the exact same “1 of 4,040” pin.

The result

Toyota Tacoma 40th anniversary in use

Matt Crisara

Toyota’s 40th anniversary 4Runner looks a lot like a non-fungible token (NFT). If you were to buy one, you own a limited edition product, which is sweet. Pricing has yet to be announced, but for some perspective, the 2022 SR5 Premium would have set you back $41,515 MSRP — Toyota also didn’t mention when you’ll be able to give your name for one. Anyway, if you want to build a very similar 4Runner yourself, it wouldn’t be that hard. Mechanically, there is nothing that sets this vehicle apart from a standard SR5 premium. Pricing has yet to be announced, but if you’re in the market for a mid-sized Toyota SUV, you’ll probably want to wait for the new 4Runner and Tacoma to be released. Fingers crossed that in 2023 as model year 2024 will be.

Matt Crisara
Matt Crisara is a native Texan with an unbridled passion for cars and motorsports, both abroad and domestically, and as Autos Editor for Popular Mechanics, he writes the bulk of automotive digital and print coverage.

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