Piston Slap: The Luxury Sedan Fanboi Fallacy
My wife wants me to sell our pristine, time-capsule 90 Cressida for a 4Runner (or similar) because we live in winter-world. I am looking at used 4Runners and the prices are crazy. Typically a rusted 1996-98 with 350-390,000KM will be asking $5,000 – $6,000CDN. I have seen Lexus LS with half the mileage, far better condition and all services done for that price.
What gives? Are 4Runners that good?
Of course used 4Runners aren’t that good! Well, except they are that good for many folks.
Here’s the deal: you, much like me, have a soft spot for classic luxury (or near luxury) sedans. They are so nice, so affordable and give you so much more than any other road going machine. And the Cressida isn’t a K-car derived New Yorker, it kinda gives the same thoroughly satisfying experience as a newer near luxury sedan. But for pennies on the dollar. An excellent value proposition that everyone should embrace!
The fallacy? Nobody’s gonna embrace a cheap alternative to an Avalon under warranty. But everyone outside of Manhattan wants a beater truck (or truck based SUV) to carry shit, safely travel through snow, flash floods, non-KOA campgrounds, etc. As much as my Lincoln-Mercury fanboi self enjoys the occasional compliment on my cars, I get cash offers on my 5-speed Ranger. On a regular basis: the market has spoken, son!
Is the 4Runner worth the money? Sure, as they earned a reputation for great quality, excellent performance and even superior fit and finish. And the market reflects those opinions. But that’s another fallacy: the quality gap at the fully depreciated level really depends more on service records. I’ll take a cherry Explorer/Blazer/Durango with a binder full of receipts over a rust bucket 4Runner with zero service history. Odds are both can be had for the same price.
If you are so frickin’ bad-ass enough to roll a choice Cressida, I don’t peg you as a lemming. The tone of your letter also proved the point. But if the sedan has to go to keep your household in balance, buy something other than a 4Runner. Because, unless your Fanboi blood runs deep, Toyota SUVs and Trucks (especially Tacomas) can be a poor value for their premium asking price.
Send your queries to email@example.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.
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Yes, 4Runners really are that good when it comes to reliability and durability. There is one in the below thread with over 500k. Many make it over 200k with only basic maintenance. I'm at 170k with 0 issues. http://www.toyota-4runner.org/4th-gen-t4rs/37419-highest-mileage-4th-gen-39.html
Go for the Toyota/Lexus, whether that's a 4Runner or LS. Speaking from personal experience I have had absolutely ZERO mechanical, electrical, fit/finish problems on my 2007 V8 4Runner. My previous Land Cruiser went 180,000 miles without a single failure. Look at the stats from the pros and it speaks volumes. I highly doubt you can find a better used car.