My Take On The New 2023 Toyotas At The CIAS:

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I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the media day at the Canadian International Auto Show in Toronto this year and as you’d expect, I ran straight to the Toyota booth.

In the past, Toyota has been accused of being a little on the “safe” side of things (read: boring) but I can assure you this was not the case with their booth at the 2023 show. As a matter of fact, it looked like a bag of Skittles blew up with all of the bright colors scattered everywhere.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Toyota trucks so I’m trying to be objective here. The truth is, I really was impressed with what I saw. Toyota is clearly putting effort into adding little details to their cars to keep them interesting without going overboard. Here’s my take:

2023 Toyota 4runner TRD Pro

2023 Toyota 4runner TRD Pro

It seems fitting that we start off with the 4runner on this site, doesn’t it? With the 5th Gen 4runner nearing the end of its life, it’s no surprise that there aren’t a whole lot of changes for this model year.

The big story here is the color – Solar Octane. I can tell you that if you’re into bright trucks, you’re going to LOVE this shade of orange.

I’m normally much more of a dark vehicle kind of guy but I have to admit that something as shocking as Solar Octane suits an offroad vehicle like the 4runner. The black wheels and badges of the TRD Pro add a really nice contrast and overall, I think it’s a great look.

Every year that Toyota makes the TRD Pro trucks, they have a “Premium” color that is only offered for that year. In the past, they’ve offered subtle colors like Cement, Quicksand, and Lunar Rock but they’ve also jumped to the other end of the spectrum with Lime Rush, VooDoo blue, and Inferno Orange. Clearly, they’ve chosen to go bold for 2023.

Aside from the color and some safety features, there’s really nothing new with the 2023 4runner. “Nothing new” isn’t an understatement either – despite its $67,000 MSRP, it still has the same 4.0L 1GR-FE V6 engine as my 17-year-old Tacoma. Yes, it’s a great engine but I think it’s time for something new.

The TRD Pro still uses the same Fox suspension as previous years along with a set of Nitto Terra Grappler A/T tires. The interior is a big upgrade over my 4th Gen 4runner but I think it’s a little dated by modern standards.

Toyota loves roof racks lately – they’re putting them on nearly all of their trucks (except the Tundra). The 4runner features more of a roof basket than a rack which could definitely come in handy for loading gear.

2023 Toyota 4runner TRD Pro

There’s just something about the Toyota 4runner. On paper, it appears to be outdated and underperforming. Yet people (myself included) absolutely love them still. I think the 4runner’s charm is actually caused by these shortcomings.

We love them because they’re simple, reliable, and fun. The 4runner is like an old pair of jeans that fit perfectly. Perhaps more modern vehicles should take a page from the 4runner’s book rather than the other way around.

2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

Similar to the 4runner, there aren’t a lot of changes to the Tacoma for this year. There’s a reason why the resale value on these trucks is so strong though – the existing combination works really well. Fox bypass shocks, thicker skid plates, Rigid fog lights, a locking rear differential, and an optional manual transmission make for a pretty darn fun truck.

I did notice a couple of interesting updates for this year. First, the upper control arms appear to have been training with Mr. Olympia during the off-season – they’re beefy! The Candy Red finish on these forged antlers almost makes it a shame to get them dirty.

Possibly the biggest change that jumped out at me was the TRD Pro logo stamped in the bedside (like the Tundras used to have). Did Toyota get sick of people bolting parts onto regular Offroad models and claiming they’re a TRD Faux? It does look good though.

2023 Toyota Tacoma TRD Pro

You’ll also notice the roof rack on the one featured at the Autoshow. I really like the way it looks and correct me if I’m wrong but there aren’t many other pickup trucks that offer a similar rack.

The interior appears to be the same as usual. Technically, it has all the features you need (and more) but it isn’t necessarily going to “wow” you as soon as you climb in. I think this suits a mid-size offroad truck though. If you want fancy, buy a G Wagon. The Tacoma is meant to get beat up.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

The Sequoia TRD Pro was the clear star of the show in my opinion. The regular Sequoias are great already but the Pro version is really a special truck. If it were offered with a V8, I might just be remortgaging my house right now.

The attention to detail is evident on both the Tundra and Sequoia. Despite the fact that we’re living in an era where fuel economy and fighting climate change are the top priority, Toyota basically said “What the heck, let’s build a beastly offroad version of our biggest SUV”… and I love it.

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

I think the Sequoia TRD Pro is the ultimate choice for adventurous larger families. You’ve got room for multiple kids, a couple of dogs, everyone’s gear, and the ability for everyone to stretch out.

On top of that, you get features like Fox suspension, 33″ A/T tires, a locking rear diff, and you guessed it, a roof rack (which features a pretty cool floating design). Name another 8-passenger SUV that will give you that – go ahead, I’ll wait.

The bright red TRD Pro interior is shocking if you aren’t expecting it. While it’s certainly bright, I think the Sequoia pulls it off. This won’t be confused with your Grandpa’s old Suburban any time soon.

Red accents are littered throughout the interior which ties everything in. From red stitching on the shifter to the TRD logo on the steering wheel, to the red center caps on the BBS wheels, it really is a nicely finished package.

One thing I will say is that despite having an extra 0.5″ of ground clearance over the regular Sequoia, I think it could really benefit from a minor lift. It’s likely only a matter of time before Wescott Designs has a spacer kit for these trucks (if they don’t already).

2023 Toyota Sequoia TRD Pro

My takeaway is that this essentially has the same offroad prowess as the 4runner but with a massive amount of interior space and much more towing capacity. As long as it’ll fit on your favorite trail, it should be super capable. If all of this is just what you’ve been waiting for, you’re going to pay for it – the MSRP of the one pictured is $91,000!

2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

The Tundra TRD Pro at the Autoshow was outfitted the same as the Sequoia. I know it’s a strange comparison, but the white trucks with red guts remind me of the color combo that’s always been legendary on Honda’s Type R lineup. It’s clean, but racy.

There isn’t a whole lot to talk about that we haven’t already discussed with the Sequoia TRD Pro. They offer pretty much the same features with the obvious difference being a pickup vs an SUV.

2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

With that said, I think the Tundra is a great looking truck. I’m just having a hard time getting past the idea of it having a hybrid twin-turbo V6 rather than the grunt of a 5.7 V8. I mean, 437 hp, 583 ft lbs of torque, and a 10-speed transmission are pretty awesome. But I’m a simple guy and the sound of an engine is a big deal to me.

There aren’t many changes from last year’s model but 2022 was when the Tundra was completely redesigned. Aside from the new powertrain, it also switched from rear leaf springs to coils and you can also finally get the large Crewmax cab with a 6.5′ bed.

2023 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro

There’s a lot going on in the front grille of the TRD Pro Tundra. At the top, there are 3 “Raptor” lights with a flush-mounted LED lightbar below. Under that, you’ll find a front-facing camera, adaptive cruise sensor, and a pair of fog lights.

I think the black grille does a good job of hiding everything. Rest assured that your insurance company is going to be pretty annoyed if you rear-end somebody though!

2023 Toyota Tundra Capstone

2023 Toyota Tundra Capstone

If the offroad-oriented TRD Pro models aren’t your cup of tea, Toyota has come up with an incredibly luxurious version of the Tundra – the Capstone. It sits at the top of the food chain above the Limited, 1794, and Platinum models (as if those trucks weren’t already fancy enough!)

2023 Toyota Tundra Capstone

The Capstone features the same powertrain as the other Tundras. I’d say the interior is where this truck most noticeably stands out. In short, it’s gorgeous inside. Like AMG kind of gorgeous.

With the light-colored seats, mood lighting, 22″ wheels, and pearl white paint, this isn’t the truck you buy for the job site. This is the truck that business owners get to increase their monthly expenses for “tax purposes”.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

Once again, Toyota is proving its dedication to making fun cars again. Who’d have thought we’d ever see a rally-inspired AWD turbo car since the Celica All-Trac? I think these are exciting times to be a Toyota fanboy.

The GR Corolla is a super sporty version of their popular yet mild hatchback. It offers a 300 hp 1.6 liter 3-cylinder engine (yes, you read that correctly). I had a chat with the Toyota rep about their reasoning for using this engine rather than a more common 4-cylinder version. The answer shouldn’t surprise you – reliability.

You see, in terms of outer dimensions, this 3-cylinder is actually the same size as a typical 4-banger. That means the internal components are huge. Bigger pistons, connecting rods, bearings, and even cylinder walls. It also has fewer moving parts which any engineer will tell you is a good thing.

2023 Toyota GR Corolla

Toyota knew that GR Corolla owners were going to beat the heck out of these cars on the track. So to avoid any embarrassment, they overbuilt them to be able to handle that.

The GR Corolla only comes in 3 colors (black, white, and red) and with a manual transmission. You can have the Core, Circuit, or the stripped-out Morizo version that had its rear seat removed for weight reduction.

It’s pretty easy to spot a GR Corolla apart from the regular version out in the wild due to its aggressive wide body. It seems as though these might be a bit tricky to get your hands on which will make them even more desirable going forward.

2023 Toyota GR Supra

2023 Toyota Supra

There’s one major update for the 2023 Supra and it’s a pretty big deal – you can now buy one with a 6-speed manual transmission! Supra lovers have been begging for this since it came out and now it’s here.

2023 Toyota Supra

Again, the Toyota rep had some insider info for me on this. We all know that this car was developed in partnership with BMW. The engine is from BMW. The new manual trans is from BMW. This is where it gets interesting though – BMW never actually used this engine and trans combo together in a car.

Toyota had to take the new transmission apart and figure out how to make it work with the inline-6 engine. One of the changes they made was removing the sound deadening. They felt it wasn’t required because a) transmissions don’t make a lot of noise and b) anyone buying the manual version of the car will likely appreciate a more mechanical experience rather than feeling separated from it.

Despite being slightly slower in a straight line, I think the manual transmission is the way to go with this car. The problem is they aren’t building many of them but hopefully that will change if Toyota sees a big demand.

2023 Toyota GR86 10th Anniversary

2023 Toyota GR86

They grow up so fast, don’t they? It’s hard to believe the GR86 has been around for 10 years already but here we are. The anniversary edition appears to be more of an appearance package (although it includes a cat-back dual exhaust).

It definitely ties in some nice little touches with similar attention to detail found on the TRD Pro trucks. The orange stitching in the interior looks great and it also features a set of black wheels and a duckbill-style spoiler.

I think the GR86 offers a lot of value for the money, especially on the used market. These are simple, lightweight, well balanced cars with pretty strong aftermarket support. I think a nice set of wheels and upgraded suspension is all that’s needed to make these great looking cars that you can have fun in without the fear of being arrested at triple-digit speeds.

2023 Lexus GX 460

2023 Lexus GX460

Of course, I had to stumble over to the Lexus booth to do my job thoroughly. We all know that the Lexus SUVs are just Toyota trucks that happen to be wearing tuxedos – and that’s the main reason I love them!

The GX 460 they brought to the Autoshow was really stealthy looking in all black. I feel like if you can afford one, this is actually a better vehicle than the Toyota 4runner. Why is that?

Well, with a more aggressive set of A/T tires (and perhaps upgraded suspension), the GX 460 can literally do everything the 4runner can offroad. It offers a more luxurious interior though and one other huge bonus – the 4.6L V8 engine. Toyota will never make another V8 4runner (and no, you can’t have mine!) but they continue to make exactly what many of us wish for with the GX.

2023 Lexus GX460

Globally, it’s a Land Cruiser Prado. Here in North America, we put chrome trim and low profile tires on it to look cool in the Starbucks drive-thru. That doesn’t change what it’s capable of though and it’s one of Toyota’s best kept secrets.

2023 Lexus LX 600

2023 Lexus LX600

Ok, let’s address the elephant in the room right off the bat – yes, the grille is enormous. Now that it’s out of the way, can we talk about how awesome the LX 600 is? Earlier, I mentioned that I was a big fan of the new Sequoia. Well, the LX 600 is based on the same platform (as well as the Land Cruiser in other markets) except with a generous dose of luxury sprinkled on top.

This is one beautiful SUV. The interior is about as good as it gets with perfect fit & finish and high-end materials. There are screens everywhere, front and back. If you’re not comfy during a road trip in this thing, there’s something seriously wrong with you.

2023 Lexus LX600

And yet just like the GX 460, this supermodel of an SUV is actually built on a tough offroad platform. Yes, it’s likely to spend its entire life at the country club or the mall parking lot but it’s fun for us regular folks to dream about putting a set of 35’s on it and taking it to Moab.

If you like the one pictured here, you’re going to need deep pockets. About $130,000 deep to be exact. Is it worth it though? I’m willing to bet it’ll retain its value a lot better than an Escalade or Range Rover.

Honorable Mentions

I think the Lexus RC F is a hugely underrated car. With a great sounding 472 hp 5 liter V8, muscular looks, sporty bucket seats, and legendary Lexus build quality, this thing is no joke. And yet nobody talks about it.

Even though this one was drenched in bright yellow paint, I almost missed it since it was hidden at the back of the Lexus booth. I’m ashamed to admit – I didn’t know the RC F was still in production. I can’t wrap my mind around why these cars aren’t more popular. My only hope is that it causes them to depreciate fast so I can scoop one up at a discount, then live happily ever after.

At first, I thought this was a new TRD Camry model – but it’s not. This is the Nightshade special edition and it’s intended to be a sportier looking Camry without jumping to a TRD version.

Fun fact: The Camry is one of the only midsize sedans to still offer a V6 engine. In this case, it’s one with over 300 hp and an 8-speed transmission. Yes, it’s a big car but I bet it still boogies.

The 2023 Highlander is a good option if you want something more fuel efficient and don’t need the offroad capability of the Toyota SUVs. I think styling-wise, they look pretty good too. As you can see, Toyota is on a bit of a bronze-wheel kick this year. I like them on the Camry above but on this Cement colored Highlander, I’m not sure it works.

Wrap Up

I had a great time at the Canadian International Auto Show this year. I can honestly say that I’m a big fan of this year’s Toyota trucks. As a matter of fact, I want one of each. Is it too late to invest in Bitcoin?

This is my first time doing an event coverage style article like this so if you’ve enjoyed it, make sure to let me know in the comments, email me, or DM me on Instagram!

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