By on August 21, 2015

2014 Toyota 4Runner dirt path

A few days ago, we all woke up to the sad news that the Nissan Xterra is going to be cancelled. This is especially depressing for people who post Instagram photos of themselves lifting weights.

Personally, I could take or leave the Xterra. It’s outdated, it’s trucky, it’s too tall, it’s a bit expensive, and it lacks a wide variety of modern technology. By this I am not referring to forward collision warning, or lane keep assist, or blind spot detection. I mean the base model doesn’t have a height-adjustable driver’s seat.

So the Xterra’s fifteen-year run is coming to an end, and we must all marvel at the fact that yet another off-roady vehicle won’t be available to us anymore. In the land of reasonably priced off-road vehicles, they all seem to vanish: the Toyota FJ Cruiser. The Suzuki Vitara, and Sidekick, and Samurai. The Ford Bronco. The K5 Blazer. All gone, replaced by something more mainstream, or not replaced at all, leaving the Jeep Wrangler to soldier on as today’s sole off-road vehicle choice.

Well, not quite today’s sole off-road vehicle choice. There’s also the Toyota 4Runner.

That’s right ladies and gentlemen: the 4Runner is still on sale, flying in the face of the trend that has seen virtually every automaker either cancel their body-on-frame SUV, change it into a crossover (Ford Explorer, Nissan Pathfinder), or move it upscale, like the Toyota Land Cruiser and the Range Rover. Indeed, the 4Runner still soldiers on, using the same old and trucky design it always has.

Who the hell is buying it?

You might think my question is unfounded, so allow me to explain myself. For one thing, the 4Runner starts at $34,500 with shipping. This isn’t tremendously expensive until you discover two things. Number one: the 4Runner comes standard with only basic items, like cloth seats, manual dimming mirrors, two-wheel drive, and a manual passenger seat. And number two: the Toyota Highlander starts at $30,500 with shipping, or roughly four grand less than the 4Runner.

Although I don’t consider the Highlander to be a true competitor to the 4Runner, I bring it into this discussion for an obvious reason: If you’re a family and you’re looking for a new family car, do you pick the smooth, car-based, easy-to-drive, well-equipped Highlander? Or do you spend four grand more and get the loud, truck-based, off-roader, overstyled 4Runner? You or I may choose option number two, but the vast majority of buyers would rather save the four grand and go for the more family-friendly vehicle.

So it must be off-roaders buying the 4Runner, then. And yet, the 4Runner seems like an expensive proposition if you’re taking it on the trails. A 4-door Jeep Wrangler starts at just $27,700 — around seven grand less than a base-level 4Runner. The average asking price for a new 4Runner on Autotrader is $39,905. And there are some models that cost more than fifty grand.

So the 4Runner isn’t comfortable enough to be a family crossover, and it’s too expensive to be an off-roader. So maybe the 4Runner competes with other trying-to-be-bold midsize SUVs, like the Nissan Murano and the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

The problem here is the 4Runner’s lack of technology. While those cars offer forward collision warning this and blind spot that and automatic this and touchscreen that, the 4Runner’s greatest safety advancement is a backup camera. And its best high-tech gadget is a push-button starter. A push-button starter that you can only get on the 4Runner Limited, which starts at $44,900 with shipping.

Now, is there a coalition of car buyers out there interested in an expensive, off-road-ready but sized-like-a-midsize-SUV, low-tech vehicle? Apparently the answer is yes, there is. I’m just curious exactly who it is.

I say this because Toyota’s SUV lineup now includes an almost amazing five vehicles — the RAV4, the Highlander, the 4Runner, the Sequoia, and the Land Cruiser. And this is without a subcompact Honda HR-V-sized vehicle, which we can only assume Toyota is poised to make in the next few years. So with all those models and all those choices, how are they still finding buyers for the 4Runner?

To me, it’s impressive: despite the segment crashing down around it; despite newer technology everywhere else; despite cheaper rivals better suited for daily duties; despite its high pricing, the 4Runner has braved it all. How does it do it? Has its 4Runner name achieved cult status, like the Jeep Wrangler? Who’s still buying the Toyota 4Runner?

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

109 Comments on “QOTD: How Is The Toyota 4Runner So Damn Popular?...”


  • avatar
    Tomifobia

    Cloth seats, manual dimming mirrors, and a manual passenger seat? OMG, it may as well have a manual choke and crank starter, to boot!

    /sarcasm

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      why don’t people like cloth seats? It’s actually hard to even find cloth seats in even mid-scale vehicles anymore. One of the selling points for my S4 was that it came with alcantara on the seats instead of leather.

      Ever sit in a black car with black leather on a sunny August afternoon? It burns worse than holy water on Sunday morning. How about sitting in the same car on a crisp October morning when it’s been cold all night but you didn’t wear a jacket over your dress shirt? Sitting back on that frozen slab of a seat is like getting doused with a bucket of ice water.

      No thanks!

      • 0 avatar
        andyinatl

        +100
        I am seeing this new trend with manufacturers replacing a quality cloth seats with vinyl (aka pleather, leatherette, etc). I would not buy a car with vinyl seats even if it was exceptional in every other aspect. Vinyl seats used to be reserved for the worst of the econoboxes, as well as Mercedes (MBTex), and my car will never have those. On the other hand, i love the plushy cloth seats, not the new sport/yes garbage fabric that feels like you’re sitting on a used up tent.

        • 0 avatar
          Urlik

          Even the mass produced actual leather seats are plastic coated so they may as well be vinyl.

        • 0 avatar
          Roberto Esponja

          Amen to that, andyinatl. I sat in a 2015 F-150 with cloth interior this week, and whatever that cloth is made of, feels nothing like cloth. Hated it, and I like cloth seats…

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            It might be the copious amounts of fire retardants in the cloth that makes them both feel “off” and be really hard to clean (or maybe not, I don’t know). When my father went from a ’98 F-250 to an ’06 F-150, he had to get seat covers because there were small stains from the previous owner that would not come out. When we got the ’08 F-350, Dad just put those polyester Indian-blanket-style seat covers on from the get-go.

          • 0 avatar
            cimarron typeR

            This is exactly why I prefer leather,and I love the chestnut MB tex in our ml350 even more than leather .Its bombproof and somehow not sticky in the summer months like traditional leather.Id stay away from alcantara.Its not very durable, my steering wheel on my 330i zip pilled after only 50k miles

        • 0 avatar
          Dave M.

          Check out a Benz from 40 years ago (even in the junk yard) and the MB Tex is still highly durable. That they’ve since then made it more comfortable and easier to maintain than leather is only a plus.

      • 0 avatar
        IHateCars

        Agreed….I’m actually switching out the leather seat covers in my Raptor for a set of cloth covers out of an FX4. Too hot in the Summer and too cold in the Winter…and they are not wearing well….already far too creased and worn after 3 years. I’ll save the leather for when I sell the truck and swap them back in.

      • 0 avatar
        qfrog

        Because even diners have the good sense to provide the facade of faux luxury to the ‘merican consumer with standard vinyl seating surfaces. Based on the number of times I’ve seen people think pleatherette is real leather it is my opinion that most people just think anything smooth and not obviously velour or perhaps also burlap… is leather even if the animal it was once part of lived before creationists admit there having been light to let alone a planet.

      • 0 avatar
        zamoti

        I for one rather like leather and prefer it to cloth. Leather, when properly cared for, is very durable very easy to clean when compared to cloth. Leather certainly has some disadvantages, such as being ice cold in the winter, but I’ve rarely come upon a reasonably modern car that did not have heated leather.
        My experiences with cloth ended many years ago back when GM had the terry-cloth style covers that absorbed every drop of filth and were impossible to clean. I did also have a Ford Probe with cloth and those flat gray seats were nasty–so much so that I removed them and pressure washed them in attempt to get them to look nice again. It made them look better, but they never really did look great.
        So yes, leather will freeze your butt if not heated or permit swamp-ass if it’s hot (unless it is perf’d/cooled), but I still think it is the better material–even the plastic coated stuff that most Japanse cars use. The cars that use real leather that’s not coated also have such a delightful aroma that I couldn’t imagine going back to sitting on a throne that absorbs farts.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Wool tops all. Soft, quiet, understated (to non initiated plebs), cool in summer, warm in winter and cozy all the time. And “eco”, even the treehuggers who whine about the skinning of cows, don’t seem to mind the shearing of sheep.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheeljack

            Interestingly enough, when Ford launched the heavily redesigned 1998 Town Car, the base models had a fabric for the seats that was either made out of wool or something doing a darn good imitation of it.

        • 0 avatar
          thornmark

          >>The cars that use real leather that’s not coated also have such a delightful aroma that I couldn’t imagine going back to sitting on a throne that absorbs farts.<<

          Virtually all cars use coated leather. If water doesn't immediately soak in, it's coated. Likewise, if water beads on the leather, it's coated.

          “The automotive environment is extreme and virtually all auto leather is heavily protected,i.e., coated. Unlike leather luggage or jackets, automotive leather has to be durable enough to resist stains and fading and survive your butt sliding across it thousands of times.”

          “Only 3% of hides are made into Full Aniline Leather: "These high-end hides are used for the finest of leather products where natural weathering are desired and allows for the leather product to develop a natural patina due to an unprotected surface. These leathers will absorb moisture, spills, oils, etc. In addition, will also change, weather, or oxidize due to sun exposure. These types of leathers have not been used in the production of cars since the very beginning of leather seating. As you can imagine, most people probably would not like their leather car seating to look like a heavily soiled and worn out baseball glove or horse saddle."”

          Even Bentley doesn't use Full Aniline Leather.

          “Virtually all of the leather used within cars is either semi-aniline or corrected grain leather.”

          “This means that the outdated, misinformed opinions regarding car leather care that society still clings to, must be replaced with correct information.”

          “This also specifically means that virtually every leather found within your car or any car is going to be dyed first with aniline dyes, coated with color pigments to create a completely uniform color, and coated with a clear protective coating. So what you are actually cleaning and conditioning is not natural leather, but natural leather that has been enhanced, re-colored, reconfigured, and coated.
          The car care industry not only has very little incentive to inform the public with updated car leather care specifics, but actually keep us car owners in the dark so as to continue to sell us products that are outdated.”

          “Reduced down to its most basic understanding, because car leather has been coated with this clear protective resin coating, THE reality is that you are cleaning and conditioning a form of plastic; plastic that is both flexible and clear.”

          “You could also make the same comparison to clear coats on your car. While the clear coat on your car certainly consists of a different formulation than the clear coat on your car leather, it is still a form of polymer resins….most generally known as plastic in its most basic description.”

          “Because clear coats on car paint and clear coat on car leather is a form of "plastic" (a combination a different polymers, resins, polyesters, etc., etc.) care for these coatings has changed the nature of the beast forever. It's just that most people remain in their ignorance and the industry has very little desire to educate as this would decrease their ability to continue to sell us an ever increasing array of car care products.”

          http://www.best-auto-detailing-tips.com/car-leather-care.html

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The quality of seat cloth has gone way down since leather or fake leather became mandatory on “well-equipped” cars. I loved, loved, loved the seat cloth in my ’88 Accord. I haven’t seen cloth that good in any car built in the 2000s.

        Some of the fake leathers are really good. I think BMW’s is more comfortable than their lowest grade of real leather, and it’s certainly more convincing than the real leather on my G8 was, because the G8 stuff had the texture of a brand-new football.

        • 0 avatar
          360joules

          You can see how de-contenting sucks in the long term by comparing our 97 4Runner cloth seats with our 98 Accord. Hardly any visible wear on the 4Runner, which has a deeper nap and more flexible weave. Mouse fur Accord (part of Honda’s efforts to reduce the parts count and expense from the prev generation) looks like a Breaking Bad character’s car. Same household, different wear.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            Auto cloth quality has tanked since the turn of the last century. It just became hard and scratchy.

      • 0 avatar
        Jacob

        I prefer cloth seats to, but leather/leatherette is easier to clean, which is something to consider when you travel with a dog sometimes.

      • 0 avatar
        Counterpoint

        Those of us with small children hate cloth seats because they’re harder to clean and can get permanently stained.
        And who would be foolish enough to buy a black car in a hot climate???

        • 0 avatar
          mchan1

          “.. who would be foolish enough to buy a black car in a hot climate???”

          Lots of people based on what I see…
          Dark colored exterior with black interior.

          Also, the auto maker may only make a black interior available depending on the exterior color choice.

          Lastly, if you end up buying one of a handful of closeout models for a good price, don’t expect much of a selection to choose from when it comes to color or equipment.

      • 0 avatar
        mchan1

        I prefer cloth upholstery instead of leather. It feels better! You don’t have to worry about possible scratching or ripping the leather. As you’ve mentioned, it’s hot and sticky in the hot months and cold during the cold months.

        I remember that in years past, many dealerships would have leather for top trim models and many of them did NOT include heated seats! WTF?! Why order a leather interior without heated seats?! Rarely do I see that nowadays but it does happen with newer cars whenever I visit any auto showroom.

        Sometimes, even the cushioning is better with the cloth version than the leather version in which the cushion is thinner.

        If you want cloth fabric to maintain its look, try using some Scotchguard on it as it does work but you’ll need to use it several times a year to maintain it properly esp. if you store stuff in your car.

        With leather, I now have to pay more attention with what I put onto the seats as my car is like my second home ;)
        It’s still new but now will have to deal with leather conditioner and so on to maintain the leather.

  • avatar
    FractureCritical

    you’re missing the point: people buy these things because they work. You don’t buy a 4runner because you have a family or because you offroad, you buy one because you’ve had one before and it didn’t break. It might have worn out, it might have gotten beat-up, it might even just stink too much from your American Labrador Retrievers slobbering over the inside (side note: ALD’s rate the highest among all dogs for energy level x weight / intelligence. I am not a fan of them or the people who own them)

    You buy a 4runner because you probably had one before and it didn’t give you any grief, unlike someone who has a Ford Explorer with Sync issues, a Pathfinder with broken springs and crappy fuel economy issues, or a Jeep product with FCA/Mopar issues (pretty much where everything breaks at once and the interior plastics are clearly made from recycled condoms)

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I think these are the same people who, twenty-thirty years ago, would only buy Grand Wagoneer regardless of the fact that it had barely had changed in it’s entire long life span.

    • 0 avatar
      energetik9

      I would add to this too that the 4runner historically has had great resale.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        Yup. I paid $32k for my 2010 SR5 in April of 2010. Traded it for $27,500 in January of 2014 with 40k miles. The Rav4 I traded it on was purchased at invoice. I guarantee you that our Rav has depreciated over $4,500 in the 18 months we’ve had it. We only traded the 4Runner because my wife thought it was too big to be her daily driver. It was reasonably efficient in the WV mountains, too. My lifetime average was 21mpg over those 40k.

        • 0 avatar
          SirRaoulDuke

          21 mpg in WV for a 4×4 is excellent.

          People buy these not only because they hold their value, but because they work well for more than one use. Anyone ever drove a Wrangler on a long trip? It sucks.

    • 0 avatar
      ttacgreg

      Heh, dogs. A colleague of mine had two “wet mouth” St Bernards that always rode in the back of her Cherokee. One could barely see through the side and back windows for all the dried dog slobber on them.

  • avatar

    That is one damn ugly thing though…

  • avatar
    andyinatl

    I think it has to do with several things. 4Runner is the only semi-civilized off-roader left that is still somewhat affordable. It may not be used for off-road much, but it projects a macho/tough image that plays to certain people insecurities. It’s also a safe buy, much like Jeep Wrangler, as it’s going to retain its value very well, but it will have better reliability. There are many examples on Ebay and Craigslist of them selling for around $10K with well over 100K miles on them, and even examples with over 200K still command decent money.

    Between it and Wrangler, i’d go with 4Runner based on reliability and way better comfort and ride. Plus, that awesome, awesome retractable rear window would potentially eliminate need for a truck if one needs to carry longer objects.

    • 0 avatar
      FractureCritical

      remember when that was a standard thing? the rear windows on FS suvs and wagons used to go up and come down like aircraft elevators on the Nimitz. My old 78 Cherokee Chief had a power one, and watching it go up and down was an event.

      • 0 avatar
        200Series

        It will never break, does what is was designed to, and has tremendous resale. And now it has one less competitor.

        What’s so hard to understand?

        • 0 avatar
          MeJ

          This is exactly why they sell.
          They are very durable. My brother knocked the gear shift into reverse on my friends 90 4runner at highway speed(he was waving his arms around, telling a story because he was drunk)I was in the backseat (drunk as well) and the truck locked up its wheels and skidded about twenty feet until my friend, the driver (no, he wasn’t drunk) knocked it back into drive. Then the 4runer just continued along as though nothing happened.
          I was looking out the back window to see if the tranny was lying on the highway!

    • 0 avatar
      SirRaoulDuke

      Exactly. The 4Runner is so much more comfortable than a Wrangler. I think of a Wrangler as a toy. The 4Runner is a nice ride on a long trip.

  • avatar
    anti121hero

    Nobody offroads Toyotas around here… These seem to have a following with soccer moms though.

    • 0 avatar
      dolorean

      I don’t think any one off-roads these when they’re new and most never have. I bought a ’00 4Rnr when it was four years old specifically because I wanted the capability and I was unwilling to tear up a new car. Most of the Jeep off-road crowd buy used so they can save their cash for the modifications that they want to do to their rigs.

      I think you’re right about the soccer moms and the commuter dads who buy these for the prestige of owning a “real” SUV, not to actually do something real in them.

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I always thought it was more of a bro-truck. I have 2 friends that both use them as the family SUV – both wives have confided with mine that they’re not huge fans of it, but they let their husbands get it anyway because it made them feel macho.

      Meanwhile I’m sitting here with a Santa Fe. but hey, at least I still have my S2000

  • avatar
    JDiddyMD

    Why I own one and will buy another:

    1.Rugged. I have 70 acres and beat the hell out of it. Will go anywhere, tows enough for me. Laughs at snow.

    2.Reliable. Runs forever and costs little to maintain.

    3.As useful as pockets on a shirt. Best dog hauler ever.

    4.Fits in my garage.

    5.I wouldn’t own a GM or Chrysler product if someone else paid for it.

    My ’06 will be replaced when the next generation comes out. I hope they don’t screw it up.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      I also own a small hobby farm and could hardly agree more. Mine is a 95 and unlike those badmouthing it’s appearance I really like the look. Tows everything I need and the 4WD has pulled my chestnuts out of the fire several times. After I got it I realized I really didn’t need the tractor I had bought previously. I wish I had found a 96 as I understand the engine was better and 4Runners after 96 were on a LC chassis, but I am not about to get rid of my 95. According to Toyota the callback for head gaskets was made and that is the only real drawback the car had. After losing my Saturn Vue to a thrown timing chain I am real happy to have a non-interference engine. Btw, I liked the vue better except that it kept breaking. In a year and a half I have changed a speedometer cable (yup, mechanical speedometer) and tuned the engine once.

      Have previously owned the aforementioned Saturn Vue and an Olds Bravada. They were snappy while the Toyota is ponderous. Neither made it to 200k despite maintenance and repairs. The Toyota turned 196k on the first tank of gas I gave it. Everything works on the car.

      I am 72 years old and really don’t know how long I will be fortunate enough to drive. However, unless I have misjudged the car I think I know what I will be driving. My future plans are to beef up the rear end (all 4runners of that age seem to have a saggy butt), change the oil in the diffs, transfer case, and trannie, and drive it till it won’t. Then I think it will be cheaper to fix than the typical fwd. I would have been just as happy to find a 4 door Tacoma or Frontier but this is mine and it’s paid for.

  • avatar
    Marcados

    I like them and own one because:
    – High resale value.
    – Durable and proven powertrain. No DI or turbos, longitudinal layout, solid rear axle.
    – It doesn’t have a lot of tech, which I think makes people worse drivers and just introduces more failure points.
    – They are cheap to own and maintain. MPGs could be better, but gas is cheap now!
    – It’s not too large, but big enough to fit camping stuff for four adults. I’m not buying a Tahoe.
    – It’s a known quantity, which I think is reassuring in today’s market.
    – My last 4Runner went over 200K miles, and probably could’ve gone more. Very few major issues to speak of.
    – Rear window goes down, that’s a bigger selling point than most realize.
    – You can option a decent stereo on them.
    – There is a fairly robust aftermarket to bro your stuff out.

    Lots more reasons, and I’ll likely replace my wife’s 2006 Honda Pilot with a 4Runner when her car dies.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      +1

    • 0 avatar

      All true, but Doug’s point is that Wrangler checks all those boxes too, and it costs way less.
      – High resale – oh yes (in proportion to lower cost)
      – Proven powertrain – absolutely, although they promise to add 8-speed in 2017
      – MPG and size – same
      – durability – totally, at least in the current generation; zero issues well into 100k..200k region
      – rear window opens up, which is not worse than your roll-down window
      – I’m not judge of stereo, but infotaiment is Uconnect, which is the best in the industry this side of Mercedes S-class
      – Aftermarket support – let’s see which one is greater, I dare you

      I think the biggest elephant in the room here is Consumer Report’s very low reliability score for Wrangler. Frankly I cannot see how they came to it. Perhaps statistically. It should be noted that my 2010 came out of Toledo with a defect. FCA fixed it under warranty and it was zero issues ever since.

      I am completely onboard with 4Runner, I see them on the trail often. Heck, Tacomas too. But I just can’t bring myself to part with the extra money.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        By the time you option a Wrangler to have 4 doors and a hard top, the price difference is negligible. Then you are still left with a much less passenger room, much smaller cargo area, and still a louder, rougher ride. I do like 4 door Wranglers for off roading and popping the roof/doors off, but I’d only want one if I didn’t have to drive it every day. The 4Runner is one notch on the scale toward the more civilized/practical side than the Wrangler. Both clearly have no problem finding buyers, though.

        • 0 avatar
          stuki

          Exactly.

          On a scale from civilized to hardcore, the 4runner is a Tacoma, the Wrangler a Power Wagon.

          Measuring “reliability” in potentially very hard use vehicles like the Wrangler, isn’t what you’d call an exact science. At the end of the Rubicon, I’m pretty sure the eponymous Wrangler would have held up better than a 4runner. While the opposite is likely true at the end of 250,000 commuter miles.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Maybe we should stop complaining that $40k is “too expensive.” It’s not 1980 anymore, people are obviously paying that amount. Just look at the thousands of $50k pickups on American roads.

    • 0 avatar
      Jacob

      I read somewhere that the median new sold car price is now around 30 grand. And that’s just a well equipped Accord or an entry level Pilot. So 40 grand shouldn’t be bad for a well equipped rugged mid-size 4×4 off-roader. Having said that, I do think there could have been a market niche for a smaller off-road vehicle. Something in the class of rav4 or the old Vitara.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    I’ve been pondering this same thing for a good month now, as I for some strange reason find myself desiring a 4Runner. And I’m not a truck guy or a Toyota fan.

    You’re right the pricing is stupid based on the features. However it is my understanding that resale is also incredible, especially in certain locales. Old ones with a ton of miles can still fetch excellent money.

    And they don’t break. This is also huge. Something tells me that a lot of 4runner buyers buy for the long term. Paying $35k for a car that you might use for 10-15 years and it will still fetch good money at the end makes a lot more sense than buying or leasing another suv of some sort that is worth half after 2 years and dead or falling apart by year 7.

    At least for me (male, early 30s, no kids) I think there is a lot of appeal in that it is still a “real” suv. Ignoring the perceived reliability issues that might exist on a grand Cherokee, I know the GC is better in every way (I don’t off road in anything a GC couldn’t handle, much less say an Outback) and yet I still feel a strong attraction to a 4runner instead.

    So I don’t know. Excellent value proposition despite the initial price, reliable as all get out, good space, “authenticity” or whatever and I can still overlook the terrible price/feature ratio, the crude V6 and the ancient 5 speed automatic. It might be the last car/truck that can truly do just about anything (groceries, family, work, skiing, camping, woods, hardcore off road… It can do it all) while never breaking over decades of service. For a lot of folks that’s probably enough. An all new model or even a significant overhaul like the Tacoma I bet would make it even more popular. Couple tweaks and the current issues generally go away.

    I incidentally had a stripper XTerra rental this last weekend. I actually really enjoyed it, but do agree the cheap model is cheeeeeeap (no powered outside mirrors? Or was I an idiot?), not much adjustment on the seat. Crude motor. But it works. It’s big. It eats the potholes. Hated the throttle program tho. Barely push accelerator and it jumps off the line like a Corvette… But from a roll you realize it’s dog slow.

    • 0 avatar
      BigRig

      I think you hit most of the salient points – I owned a 4th gen Sport until we had our 3rd kid and then traded it in for a Sienna. One of the saddest days of my life haha. I ended up getting a 3rd gen that I just sold, but I’ll probably get another one some day. Not crazy about the aesthetics (and moreso the size) of the 5th gen, but given how reliable my previous two were, I’d have to consider it. They go through anything (two feet of snow, rain, mud, backroads, highway) without trouble and I rarely had to do anything but change the oil. Admittedly, the rugged image and BoF had a lot to do with it for me plus the size of the 3rd and 4th gens is perfect, the 5th gen got a little too big if you ask me. Plus as you said, teh resale is pretty absurd. I bought my 3rd gen for $6200 and drove it for two years, and then sold it for $6000. My 4th gen took a bit more of a hit but it was also a lot newer.

    • 0 avatar
      360joules

      No kidding about long term ownership: wife has daily driven 1997 for 266,000 miles. Mild to moderate off roading and towing. The electric locking differential is the cat’s meow for off-road. I’ve posted my reliability rave elsewhere on this site but gen 2 & 3 are very tippy with accident avoidance situations – nearly rolled last summer when a moose mosied out in the road last summer. If you do roll a gen 2 or 3 then game over as they have very poor rollover protection for the front occupants. I would recommend the 4th gen as the best value for safety & reliability for the buck or loonie.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        Even the 5th gen is pretty tippy, unless you get trail with KDSS, or at a minimum the limited. The SR5 is an old school, rolly SUV. Great for teaching someone handling dynamics, but not so great for testing them out at the limit. I’d almost be surprised if Toyota doesn’t stick KDSS on all trims for the next generation. It’s the best thing to come out of Oz since beer.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    Bit of a crazy suggestion here. Ever notice the number of cars today that have wheels that look like Hot Wheels cars? They’re thick and shiny and fill the wheel well. That used to only be the case with some performance cars. Now family cars look like that. I think that taps into something from when we were little kids.

    The 4Runner may be similar. It looks like the kind of “truck” we saw when we were kids. Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Etc.. It’s a subliminal thing. Even if you’re not off-roading, you still want that.

  • avatar
    IHateCars

    The truck pictured is a “Limited” which I agree is way overstyled and ugly with the chrome on chrome bits. However the less optioned versions like the SR5, Trail and upcoming TRD Pro are far better looking and have a more purposeful appearance. I agree with the above comments, people buy these things because they are capable and reliable. And if you want a blinged out street version you can buy a Limited, if you want an off-road version, there’s the Trail or TRD Pro…a version for everyone. The domestics used to offer the same range….not so much now.

  • avatar
    WhiskeyRiver

    I own one – a ’99 SR5. It may run forever. Explains the brand loyalty.

  • avatar
    turf3

    So, you’re telling me there is a truck/SUV out there that:
    – Doesn’t have a bunch of computer weenie BS to break a couple of years after you buy the vehicle
    – Does what it’s supposed to do
    – Comes in a variety of trim levels including a cheapo one that has cloth seats rather than vinyl (I grew up in the 60s and 70s, I will never never never have vinyl seats again, I’ve sat on too many split seats patched with duct tape)
    – Has Toyota reliability (heck, probably near the top of Toyota reliability, given that it’s an old platform and has minimal computer weenie BS to break)
    – And it costs a bit more than the only alternative, which has reliability numbers so low they have to be presented in scientific notation.
    – Plus, it looks from the picture like you might even be able to see out the back so you don’t have to rely on the periscope like so many other SUVs/CUVs/whatever marketeering jargon you want to call them.

    And you wonder why it’s still selling?

    I guess it proves that there ARE still some people who buy cars based on actual value for money rather than advertising hype, fad, and styling excesses.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    The 4Runner is one of the few vehicles offered today, where buying it new actually makes better financial sense than used. Resale value on these and four door wranglers are off the charts.

    A good friend of mine just bought one, last week. Unloaded his frontier that he had for 14 years that was falling apart.

    Every salient point you make in your write up as a reason to not buy, is the reason he did buy.

    Low technology, check
    BOF check
    Reliable, check.

    As noted above the only draw back to these things, they guzzle gas as compared to the many other offerings today with substantially higher hp output.

    So to answer the who buys it? The guy I mentioned: two kids, one dog, our families camp together, big time skies, he’s an engineer and likes simplicity.
    At 37k with some cloth seats, 4×4, tow package, the 4Runner represents an exceptional value.

  • avatar
    RS

    “, two-wheel drive, ”

    Who buys a 2Runner?

  • avatar
    slavuta

    I don’t know who buys them but two of them are parked here in my office building.

  • avatar
    crtfour

    For me it’s brand loyalty. Although not a 4-runnner, I’ve hung on to my ’97 T100 SR5 4X4 owned since ’99 as it has been hands-down the best vehicle that I have ever owned. It has no squeaks and rattles, it does not quiver over bumps as previously-driven domestics tend to do and in 16 years the only unscheduled repair has been an alternator. Other vehicles have come and gone as daily drivers, but this is the one that I can’t make myself get rid of. I’d likely replace it with a Tacoma….even though the GM twins are loaded with more technology and get better fuel economy, I probably wouldn’t even look at one since the Toyota has treated me so well.

    • 0 avatar
      SoCalMikester

      they did a really good job on the T100. too bad people mistook it for a slightly larger tacoma. the early tundras seemed to be the perfect size for a mid size truck.

  • avatar
    Carrera

    While ugly as sin, the 4Runner is a very sturdy and reliable vehicle. I still don’t understand why people buy them though. In higher trims looks better but in lower trims looks like Predator’s sister. I get it that it can “out-tow” most car based SUVs but most of those with the V6 tow at least 5,000Lbs. A lot of people driving these SUVs…including the 4Runner just tow a small boat, some wave runners or pop-up trailers. My uncle and I test drove one back in 2007. Weird seating position, feels like you’re sitting on the floor, hard to see out and I am 5’10 ish. He is 6’3 and his head was almost touching the ceiling. It was reasonably smooth for a BOF but very loud engine, at least at start-up. Well insulated because the noise wasn’t coming into the cabin. A bit Spartan inside in the SR5 RWD trim but not in a cheap way. The problem was, the Tacoma was exactly the same inside, same engine but a lot cheaper. He was going to buy a Tacoma but they didn’t have his style in stock. When they did get later on, he realized he doesn’t really need a new vehicle and kept his old 1994 Non-Tacoma Toyota Pick-Up LX extra cab. Drove that to about 190k and sold it to someone from Central America for about 3500. If it was a 5 speed manual, he would have gotten about $4500. Those trucks will achieve cult status.

  • avatar
    rileyru

    Own one; purchased it (used) a few years back because I wanted the V8 (2UZ) which was only in the 4th gen 2003-09 models. That motor doesn’t produce any more power or performance than the newer models, but it is so smooth and quiet. As others have already commented, 4runners are close to Land Cruisers in terms of legendary durability. I do take mine off road as well

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      “That motor doesn’t produce any more power or performance than the newer models, but it is so smooth and quiet.”

      Don’t sell that Lexus V8 short, it’s an absolute gem with effortless torque everywhere. The new ones don’t make any more power at WOT but there’s a long pause, a downshift to 2nd, and an obnoxious noise to get there. The V8 just moves.

      If Toyota had had the sense to put that V8, or any V8, in the new body style I’d have bought one. I still would.

    • 0 avatar
      Marcados

      The one problem I’ve had with my 07 V8 was the exhaust manifold leak. I replaced the manifolds with Magnaflow OEM stainless parts, and ended up to a Magnaflow catback too. Their exhaust exits on the passenger side of the truck, which was a need for me (I errantly melted a cooler on a hitch n’haul from the exhaust coming out the truck once). Boy, this thing sounds the business now, but not as much drone as I expected at highway speeds. Frankly, I like this engine so much, I’ve been shopping Lexus LS400’s from 98-00. They’ll run forever!

  • avatar
    Quentin

    When I showed up somewhere in my 4Runner, I always felt prepared for most anything you could throw at me. My FR-S (or my previous GTI) requires a lot more thinking ahead when I’m planning camping and biking trips. Whatever I run into in the mountains, be it snow, water, dirt, or unexpected cargo, I was ready for it in the 4Runner. I miss mine dearly and I will very likely have another when the situation presents itself. 200 series Land Cruisers are getting down in price, so that would be the only thing that would give me pause about buying another 4Runner.

  • avatar
    MR2turbo4evr

    My parents bought one new in ’05. They bought the V8 sport edition. It does a great job hauling their camper. It’s needed a new battery and a break caliper piston in the past 10 years. My dad also occasionally to go fishing and hunting. He couldn’t be happier with it.

  • avatar
    formula m

    If you have ever owned one you would understand. Best vehicle I have ever owned. I bought mine with 150k mi and sold it with 275k mi for $1000 less than I paid. Amazing reliability, simple, locking diff., etc…

    I did by a Highlander though. It’s smoother around town and more luxurious. The money I saved I bought an ATV for off-roading and this is working out better for me. I don’t have to worry about my daily driver being damaged or getting it stuck so badly I have to leave it in a swamp over night and can’t get to work Monday…

    I do miss owning one though. Single, early 30’s so a highlander isn’t my style but I wanted a better daily and a medium sized 4wd SUV with Toyota reliability like I experienced with my 4Runner.

    I really do find the fact that there isn’t a bunch of electronics to fail in the 4Runner very appealing. Last thing I want is a broken touchscreen in a 6yr old vehicle that will end up being a giant black hole in the dash.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It’s a last man standing situation.

    Kind of like the Ford Panther platform once the GM B-body was put out to pasture. For a certain customer it is the only choice remaining.

    Plus I’m sure the 4runner is a heck of a lot quieter inside than a Wrangler.

    • 0 avatar

      It’s true. However Wrangler’s engine (both of them – old and new) are annoyingly quiet if windows are closed. Good thing mine is automatic, so I don’t really _need_ the engine sound. And the transmission isn’t making the old whine. It’s the transmission from a minivan, only turned sideways, and the t-case is strangely quiet despite the chain design (well, in 2H). Most of Wrangler’s noise is wind noise, which is pretty terrible.

      • 0 avatar
        Wheeljack

        You think your JK is loud? Try a TJ with its dead flat windshield. :)

        I’ve got a lot of seat time in JKs both as a driver and a passenger and it feels like a luxury car compared to my LWB TJ Rubicon…

        Still love every minute of it though.

  • avatar
    CoastieLenn

    I also find myself oddly wanting a newer 4Runner but not for the reasons of reliability. Mainly becuase I don’t want the car-based SUV.

    My question is this. I’m sure this will ruffle a few feathers but I’ll offer some of the most anecdotal evidence I have to support my opinion. Is this truck (or any Toyota or Honda for that matter) really as reliable as they used to be and can they actually and accurately still be labeled as “don’t break”?

    Case in point. My wife has a 2014 RAV4 XLE AWD now with 23k miles and it’s the most stiff, jarring, rattly, uncomfortable thing I’ve ever driven but she loves it so it stays, unfortunately. I’m only 32 and I’m not big- 5’9″ 165, but I can’t drive that thing for more than 1.5hr without feeling like someone took a baseball bat to my back. It’s still relatively new but the paint sucks (white) and requires constant waxing to keep it looking as new as it actually is and the interior silvery plastic crap scratches when you look at it wrong. Hard plastic touch points? Yep… everywhere accept that one panel on the dash. It’s about to have to go into the shop because I’m fairly certain that the RF wheel bearing is eating itself. Car hunts for gears at low speeds like its not sure what it’s supposed to be doing at what time. Car prior was a 1999 Honda Accord 4cyl that was in the dealership for CEL’s more than I can count after it hit 100k miles. It was purchased new by her dad and meticulously maintained its entire life. Transmission- two replacements. EVAP canister and valve- multiple replacemenets each. Oxygen sensors- multiple. It was a money pit.

    I just don’t buy into the mantra that Toyota (or even Honda) has anything over their rivals anymore in terms of overall reliablity or comfort anymore. Hell, in most cases, I’d say that for this particular Toyota (my RAV4), you actually sacrifice comfort to have that badge on the back. Sure, each manufacturer’s vehicle will have it’s own quirks, but Toyota isn’t immune. I’ll drive my 2015 Sentra SR any day of the week over that RAV4.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I was just in a 2014 4Runner a couple weeks back, it rode very, very well to me. But with that said, I’m used to very hard suspensions and they really don’t bother me, so whether the 4Runner is truly a gem as it felt to me or harsher than the competition is not something I can answer.
      Either way I came around with a desire to own a 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      Quentin

      We have a 2014 Rav4 Limited and other than the slightly harsh suspension, we haven’t had any of the issues you mention. With 20k miles, it still feels very tight and the interior looks great (just did a quick cleaning). Odd.

  • avatar
    jco

    I own (title in hand!!) a 2006 V8 4Runner

    – it’s a 911, in that it is it’s own category of vehicle. continuously evolving the same vehicle, and it’s a niche vehicle with enough unique attributes to separate it from others in the category thereby making comparisons somewhat irrelevant. the Wrangler is the same thing, but a Wrangler is not a 4Runner. the improvements it’s seen in the last few years, like two more doors, an actual roof, and less antique interior help but they’re still for different end users

    – there are people (like me) who do not want to drive a crossover but want a 4 wheel drive truck that is garage-sized but can do things that crossovers do

    – like someone else said, that roll down rear window is magically useful. i can do a lot of things pickups can do. you can throw down a rubber mat, roll down the rear window, and your dog will be loving life back there and your passengers don’t have to deal with the mutt all over them

    – it tows a whole lot more than a wrangler can. and I still hate hate hate the idea of putting 4000lbs behind a unibody structure. its hard enough on my truck frame/transmission

    I would love to replace it with a Lexus GX when it’s time to let it go.. but I really will miss the roll down rear window. it’s really that important to me. but the V8 is such a great match for the vehicle.. I wouldn’t be able to/want to use it as much as I have with the V6. and while I do not off-road it daily, it’s been up to the doors in mud, full of gear.. I use it fully for what it’s intended for

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I have a Lexus GX, same chassis but the whole thing is just a tank on top of it, really solid design. It’s basically just a slightly shorter Land Cruiser. Nice bonus is many of the suspension parts are direct fit from the 4Runner.

      I will say the rear hatch is a pain, terrible design with the swing gate. Also watch for the rear air springs, those almost always go out.

      • 0 avatar
        jco

        i replaced my XREAS hydraulic system w springs and bilstiens and the ride improved

        but yeah uhm i hate how everything is shaped like a egg thingy and the 4Runner and Wrangler still look like blocks of wood and wood is cool

        I did catch myself noticing a diesel Grand Cherokee towing a wake boat, that would be ok w me

  • avatar
    Steven Lang

    Lots of great answers. I’ll just add a few small points since most of the big ones have already been covered.

    1. Track record

    A lot of folks like to call it reputation. But the 4Runner is one of the ten most reliable vehicles out there according to the Long-Term Quality Index. Owners keep 4Runners for incredibly long periods of time and they almost never give any problems.

    http://tradeinqualityindex.com/vehicles/Toyota_4Runner.html

    2.The perception of functionality

    The 4Runner is seen as a vehicle that can truly go off-road while being ‘good enough’ on the inside for family use. The Wrangler doesn’t have the later and most competitors to the 4Runner don’t have the former.

    3. Resale

    Why is this important? Because Toyota is incredibly aggressive when it comes to leasing the 4Runner and high resale values make it far easier to offer a competitive lease term. Jeep tends to be aggressive during the launch of a new vehicle but Toyota is well known for just hammering it at every stage of a vehicle’s life cycle.

    Third-party finance companies have an incredibly hard time competing with Toyota Financial Services because the mothership almost never has to worry about residuals.

    There is an old refrain from back in the 1970s and 1980s that nobody got fired for picking IBM. In the non-enthusiast car world, nobody ever has to explain why they bought or leased a Toyota.

    • 0 avatar
      wstarvingteacher

      Credit where credit is due. Your advice put me in the 4Runner although it wasn’t specifically 4Runner advice. It was enough, however, to make me look. Your data was very specific and although I had already bought the 4Runner it provided affirmations that eased my mind.

      Thanks for the research you do and for sharing it with those of us who need it.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      Steven,
      I went to get a 2015 Tacoma and was not impressed with the lease rates. Everyone knows it has the highest retained valued of any vehicle, period, but they use a relatively low residual value. I suppose they just don’t think they have to try very hard? They really want it back as a used car? Most people don’t lease pickups?

      Well, I loved the truck, and I knew the 2016 Taco was coming out with major updates, so I leased it anyway. Payments are a little higher than I’d hoped, but I’m expecting to have some equity at the end of the term. If I still love it, I’ll pay it off. If I like the 3rd gen enough, I’ll trade up.

      Maybe they are more aggressive on leasing the 4Runner. Or did I just not do as well as I could have?

      • 0 avatar
        Steven Lang

        The 2015 Tacoma is going to be a changeover vehicle. If you’re calculating lease residuals responsibly, you have to estimate the spread that may happen once the prior generation design is off-lease. Most manufacturers prefer to just blow out those vehicles with a strong rebate or incentive since the risk for rapid depreciation is far greater for these models.

        There are times when the manufacturer will just say the hell with it and pursue marketshare above all else. The lease terms on late 2010 to early 2012 Corollas were given exceptionally generous terms specifically because Toyota was trying to hit a segment of the market that GM and Chrysler could not compete with due to their lack of captive financing at that time. While leases were averaging around only 12% in 2011, the Corolla’s volume for leases was well over 25%.

        They made a killing on those vehicles in the end thanks to high gas prices and an acute shortage of late model inventory (2008 and newer). A one-year old Corolla would only experience about $1000 of depreciation a year at the wholesale level.

        Oh, and dal. Good call on the LS. Those vehicles just never wear out given their design and target audience.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      LTQI pushed me over the edge to buy my LS — thank you! Toyota in general really shines, and even more so for their big cars and trucks.

      Of course I say this after having had to put down a first-gen Epsilon Malibu’s worth of cash to fix what seemed like 4 million shot control arm bushings, but that is the car’s single Achilles’ heel, and the redesigned parts have a much better track record.

  • avatar
    Lightspeed

    They’ve become as another poster said, the 911 of 4x4s. Here in Alberta, the resale value is unreal. I want a 4Runner, but can’t afford new, so will have to pay a crazy price for a 15-18 year old vehicle. Typically these have 350 – 450,000KM and lots of rust and still command $6-8,000 prices. But, nothing feels as perfect for the job as a 4Runner, that’s where they are the 911 of 4x4s.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    It’s one of the few “medium” sized SUVs that doesn’t look like a Mommy-mobile.

  • avatar

    Doug forgot that Lexus sells Prado in the U.S., not just the LC. It’s called “GX” and sells alongside LC that’s called “LX”. So that’s 6 SUVs. I’m not sure, perhaps Doug is Canadian and it may be not sold in Canada.

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    A long time ago in college, my then-girlfriend and I used to live out of a 4Runner for a time.

    When 3 out of my 5 roommates dropped of college we ended up living out of our SUV. We couldn’t find new roommates since it was summer and it was a college town with classes out. Granted, given enough effort we probably could have found roommates, but it was excuse to travel for the summer. Our beat-up 4Runner was a transportation and hotel as we traveled through US, Canada, and Mexico.

    You would think spending an exorbitant amount of time in the vehicle would make you hate it, but to the contrary it was such a reliable and solid vehicle I now have a deep seated appreciation for its nuances. It ended up lasting nearly 300k miles as it passed on to my nephew with just basic wear and tear maintenance that we preformed ourselves.

    Much like the F150, which has a sterling reputation and loyal customers, over the decades the 4runner has also built a following of people with positive experiences. Its not always the cheapest option, but you know its a solid investment that will preform well and will hold its value.

  • avatar
    Andy

    The 4Runner is for people who wish they could afford a Land Cruiser. Obviously the LC is way more high tech and luxurious, but it’s the same old-school philosophy. Don’t fix what ain’t broke. Be really good at what you do, without being showy. Not the most efficient, aerodynamic, or spacious, but it’s going to keep on ticking.

    Plus, when the Explorer and Pathfinder gave up and converted, the 4Runner benefited by being the last of its category. It doesn’t have to make sense on paper, and it doesn’t have to sell in great numbers.

  • avatar
    ilkhan

    5 SUVs seems to work for Ford.
    Escape/Explorer/Expedition/Edge/Flex.
    Granted that the escape and explorer have had their off-road balls chopped off already, so who knows.

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    “Now, is there a coalition of car buyers out there interested in an expensive, off-road-ready but sized-like-a-midsize-SUV, low-tech vehicle? Apparently the answer is yes, there is. I’m just curious exactly who it is.”

    This was the Xterra buyer and we see how well that turned out. Same outcome as the buyers of manual transmisison, boosted wagons that came in brown.

  • avatar

    I bought a new, leftover BOF Pathfinder 2.5 years ago. I probably would have bought a 4Runner, but I couldn’t beat the almost 10 grand under sticker that I could get the Pathfinder for. It replaced a Ranger.

    A coworker of mine bought a 4runner a few months later, after his 15 year old Cherokee was stolen and totaled.

    I would guess, like both of us, many 4runner (and previous gen Pathfinder) customers are a not-quite-middle aged single or childless males who do outdoor activities or other activities where they feel that the ruggedness of a BOF SUV is an advantage, but don’t want to spend or don’t need a full size one like a Suburban or Expedition.

  • avatar
    Grunt

    It gets horrific fuel economy.

  • avatar

    Likewise, the Lexus GX 460 (technically a re-badged and luxed-up Land Cruiser Prado, but also a close relative to the 4Runner) is quite popular…especially after the 2014 refresh. It’s also the only BOF luxury SUV I can think of that isn’t full-sized. Every other mid-sized BOF SUV either got discontinued (9-7X, Aviator, SLX) or went unibody. I would be interested in seeing what the sales dichotomy would be if Lexus were to release a true three-row crossover to sell alongside the GX.

    • 0 avatar
      Andy

      The GX’s (and 4Runner’s) third row is a joke. Not as bad as the old Mitsubishi Outlander with the folding canvas slings for a third row… But it truly only fits children who belong in booster seats, which barely fit. And then there’s like 3″ of room to the back glass.

      So, I don’t think a 3-row RX would steal much from the GX. They seem to appeal to different buyers right now. And nobody actually uses the GX’s third row anyway, or buys it over the RX because of that “feature”. If anyone really needs/wants three rows and wants a luxury badge, they are buying other brands. Or the GM things. Tahoe and Yukon are not a luxury badge, but they cost as much as midsize luxury brand CUVs, and they are thick on the ground in the wealthy suburbs of TX. Nobody seems to care that their diamond white pearlcoat Suburban LTZ came from the same dealer as that Sonic the pizza dude is driving.

      (Who are these people that can afford 3+ children AND Lexuseses?)
      Lexus is losing sales

      • 0 avatar
        Mandalorian

        Agree on the third row seat. Even in a Tahoe, it’s pretty useless especially if you want to carry a decent amount of cargo too. I owned a Tahoe for 12 years, the third row spent the entirety of it sitting in my garage. Had I needed the third row, I would have stepped up to the Suburban.

        Now, I drive a Q7 which has a tiny third row that folds flat into the floor. I like this setup. It doesn’t steal cargo space, it doesn’t have to sit in the garage and it’s there if I need it in a pinch.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    I am a long time fan of the 4Runner, having experienced many among family and friends.

    However, I don’t really care for the current model. I think the 2002-2009 was better than the current truck. It looked better, had a V8 and just felt higher quality, especially on the interior. A 4Runner Limited V8 of that vintage was basically a Lexus.

    The new one has a much cheaper and more plasticky interior.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    People who understand that purchase price and cost are different things in a vehicle? Longevity, resale and maintenance/repair average costs make it a much better bargain than comparing purchase price and equipment levels would indicate.

  • avatar
    zoomzoom91

    I’ve read none of this but felt compelled to login and say “Because they do. not. break.” Last summer I was in and around Durango, Colorado, and there are a ton of 4Runners out there. Parts of the San Juans are pretty remote and rugged, and it’s not an area you’d want to be breaking down randomly. These things take abuse and ask for more. Our friends that live there have a V8, 2007MY i believe, over 120K on it and it literally never needs work. Yes, it goes off road. They aren’t cheap (but are priced fairly compared to competitors) and they hold their value–there’s a reason for that.

  • avatar
    dario

    Some people love the 4Runner, many don’t. We have a Limited that my wife adores. Goes anywhere in the Winter with snow tires or chains. Goes through mud easily (not the crappy stock Limited tires). Drives like a truck, which she likes. Has 7 seats, the back two fold flat. Toyota reliability. Holds it’s value like crazy.

    I guess I would ask if you’ve driven one. The SR5 is uninspired and not impressive at all – hate the handling. The Trail and TRD Pro handle great on road and off. The Limited has this crazy good suspension system that essentially eliminates body roll around corners. It’s amazingly effective.

    Given the price and other choices for a 7 passenger vehicle, the 4Runner is by far the best option for us. Nothing else is even close.

  • avatar
    alex2074

    When my 1996 Blazer finally bit the dust (at 233K) I wanted a replacement. But what is out there now? Real truck SUVs no longer exist, except for the 4Runner. I looked into a Grand Cherokee, but everywhere I researched I read nothing but problems. And what mid sized SUV tows anything reasonable anymore (that is not Jeep)? Only the 4Runner qualified for my requirements, quality/longevity and towing. However, I do find the modern 4Runners quite large. I can barely reach the top rack and I’m 6’2″, whereas on my Blazer I could easily reach the rack. I also miss the column shifter. Now they put both the shifter and the 4WD knob in the middle where everybody can spill stuff all over them. I personally think that for people who require a true off-roader, the 4Runner trail is ideal, and that toyota should scale back the size to something more reasonable for commuters. Even a subaru will go almost anywhere, so why does it really need so much suspension and clearance? If Toyota came out with a Blazer sized truck, I would trade in instantly.


Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • kosmo: “How’s that Ranger Raptor coming, Ford? Oh, it isn’t? I see. Thanks for the mobility scooter,...
  • dividebytube: When I’m down south I’m taken aback by the number of decent looking old trucks and even G...
  • redapple: RED…. Great catch. Love it.
  • teddyc73: What an ugly rear end.
  • FreedMike: Have you ever heard a Ghibli’s exhaust? I’d say that’s one big selling point. Otherwise,...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Staff

  • Contributors

  • Timothy Cain, Canada
  • Matthew Guy, Canada
  • Ronnie Schreiber, United States
  • Bozi Tatarevic, United States
  • Chris Tonn, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States
  • Mark Baruth, United States
  • Moderators

  • Adam Tonge, United States
  • Corey Lewis, United States