By on May 4, 2018

The old mining track descends from the shattered and tilted tablelands toward an imposing palisade of Wingate sandstone running to the horizon in each direction. This is one of the more dramatic and violent geologic upheavals on the Colorado Plateau and the road across it isn’t kind.

Sunbaked boom-time miners once hacked out jeep tracks across this wilderness, scouring for uranium to feed America’s nuclear frenzy. Only a few made it big, but if there ever was a more intriguing landscape in which to lose your mind seeking fortune, I’d like to see it. We’re here for lighter reasons, though, blithely rolling over rocks and ruts that would have halted most CUVs miles before, dropping into steep wash crossings that would stub the long front overhang of an Outback, and confidently inching up a stepped bedrock shelf that would trouble the long wheelbase of a full-size pickup.

The Toyota SUV that is a bit of an archaic brute around town has come into its own out here. The soft suspension requires some care when applying the brakes over obstacles, but otherwise it clambered stoically over terrain inaccessible to me since my friends gave up their 1990s Toyota pickups years ago.  Tonight we will make camp far from the thrum of RV generators as a sunset shrouds the cliffs in crimson before yielding to a panorama of stars and complete unviolated silence. We are continuing a family tradition and crafting memories I hope my children hold onto.

I passed up a MkVII Volkswagen GTI for this experience. Press adoration of VW’s wunderkind is not misplaced and I envisioned monthly open track nights at Miller Motorsports and zipping through canyons near home. Then I came to my senses. You can’t string together three turns on our canyon roads without running into traffic, and my routine motoring environment is an utter waste of a driver’s car. The outlying environment, however, is a geologic variety show that people from the other side of the planet pay real money to visit, and graded roads don’t get you very far into it. The time had come to inoculate my young kids with something good before they become another lost generation destroyed by digital media. The criteria shifted to a reliable, high-clearance 4×4 with room for four and a manageable footprint. Miller has kart racing in the meantime.

The elimination process didn’t take long because, not wanting a massive full-size pickup or the Conestoga Wagon that is the JK Jeep Wrangler, there were few other options. Jeep again rose to the forefront with two more-civilized unibodies, but the small cargo hold of the Cherokee Trailhawk was disqualifying and I couldn’t convince myself to trust the very handsome and well-furnished Grand Cherokee long term. Midsize pickups are compromised – the cabins are cramped, the prices are plump, and the Tacoma in particular is cheaply trimmed and uncomfortable compared to the adjacent 4Runner, which was the only remaining option at that point.

[Get new and used Toyota 4Runner pricing here!]

The 4Runner. Legendary nameplate and last man standing, but is it good enough to own? I’ve been critical of this iteration since a 2011 auto show where I squinted in disapproval at the MSRP that clashed with the plastic interior. But I wasn’t a truck buyer then and didn’t have truck priorities. Looking at it again I saw nearly 10 inches of ground clearance, good angles of approach and departure, skid plates, a low-range transfer case, and the A-TRAC off-road traction system. Exceeding this level of capability would require more than I intended to throw at it as a camping and exploration rig. Test drives revealed an acceptable level of comfort and civility in town despite the throwback truck frame and hardware. We purchased a base SR5 for … well, CPO Lexus IS350 money, and it’s probably best I don’t dwell on that.

The SR5 is expensive for a base trim but it is better equipped than an XLT F-150. Standard is an eight-way power driver seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors and wipers, and power tailgate glass. Heated seats were negotiated into the deal. Toyota’s Entune system provides eight speakers, muddy bass, and an unremarkable but responsive and intuitive touchscreen to control the standard navigation and audio sources that include USB and Bluetooth streaming. None of this is bleeding edge stuff, but to someone who came from a car with a single line dot-matrix stereo it feels like the bridge of the Enterprise.

Interior materials vacillate between basic and decent, when at this price point they should be firmly in the latter, but this has been par for the course in the world of trucks. Somewhere along the way Toyota abandoned clean interior design and typically high-quality materials for busy layouts and hard plastics and the 4Runner is no exception.

There are shades of Yaris in the thin carpet, headliner, and scratchable dash and door plastics. Assembly quality appears sound, but the mature design and better materials I had in my Sportwagen would be missed here. How much would that have cost Toyota in this high-margin vehicle? A hundred bucks per unit? Seriously, Toyota, get with it for the redesign. Fix the thin fragile paint as well, you are getting killed in the tactile quality fight.

At least we have the meaty leather wheel, thickly padded and stitched door armrests and sills, and comfortable seats. Driver ergonomics are superior to the Tacoma and prior 4Runners – the seating height is normal, adjustability is greater, and the firm seat cushions provide good thigh support for six-footers. Time and use will not be kind to the plastics or paint, but the most important touch points and ergonomics have been properly attended to and this remains a comfortable vehicle to travel in as a result.

The 4Runner drives precisely nothing like the GTI, and this has been an adjustment and a compromise.  Everything must be executed with deliberation and mass is evident everywhere.  The steering is a black hole of feel, the gravity of its numbness so strong that it sucks tactility from adjacent cars. Freeway tracking is more butter knife than scalpel. Road noise is well suppressed but at brisk freeway speeds wind noise arrives.

The ride quality is compliant for a truck, but the downside of this is roll and pitch. I don’t think the Cutlass Ciera I had in high school leaned quite this much in corners, but apparently the optional KDSS suspension upgrade on the Trail Edition improves this if you want to spend new IS350 money on your 4Runner. The brake pedal is effective but results in an alarming amount of front-end dive and some bobbing fore and aft when completing the stop. You get used to it, and I focus now on the feeling of invincibility as I bounce out of steep parking lot ramps to catch that gap in traffic and run straight over potholes that could flatten low profile tires and tweak alignments. This thing feels solid, and there is undeniable charm in this.

The powertrain is a compromise, as well. The 4.0-liter, 270-horsepower 1GR-FE V6 and five-speed automatic have been in 4Runners since 2003 and operate with the pace and powerband you would have expected in a truck before the recent monster engines surfaced. The conservative throttle calibration is absolutely a boon when crawling off-pavement, but it also makes this vehicle feel dead slow on-road if driven the way I am accustomed to in other cars. The power is certainly there, as evidenced by a 7.5 second run to 60 mph, but you must learn to dig deeper for it against a stiff pedal. The torquey engine operates below 2500 rpm most of the time, groaning quietly while doing so, but as the revolutions build those hoping for the silken quality of Toyota’s V6 sedans will be a bit disappointed.

The five-speed automatic is acceptably responsive, but the wider ratio gaps are noticeable when summoning a downshift and first gear is too tall for my tastes. I don’t want 10 gears, but a sixth to tighten the ratios would be nice. The distinct upside to this very conservative drivetrain from this very conservative automaker is that I expect it to be durable and run for a very long time. While that isn’t nearly as interesting as an F-150 lighting up the quarter mile with whistling turbos, it is an important attribute to the 4Runner’s intended mission and appeal.

Fuel economy? Bad. The numbers are 17 mpg city/21 mpg highway per the EPA, which is realistic in my experience — if you keep it under 70 mph. Consider, though, that a 3.5-liter Explorer is no quicker, returns only 16/23, and has devolved into a fat station wagon that will have its low-hanging front fascia ripped off on the first wash crossing that a 4Runner wouldn’t even blink at. The JK Wrangler Unlimited is slower and thirstier, and the Grand Cherokee with its newer V6 and three additional gears is rated higher but doesn’t seem to achieve it easily in the real world.

This is the price you pay for the particular strengths the 4Runner possesses. Because I live where I do and can exploit these strengths, the fuel costs and road manners are worth it to me. Given how well it aligns with our family’s interests, I can see this 4Runner having a 15 to 20-year service life with us, faithfully and gradually fading as we cycle through more involving daily drivers for our second vehicles. It’ll become an old family friend, and that is a different kind of automotive enthusiasm than is typically expressed on these forums. So, while I may not have my nimble and smartly trimmed turbo hot hatch, I do have a longitudinally-mounted large-displacement engine driving the rear wheels.

If that isn’t the golden recipe for TTAC, I don’t know what is.

[Images © 2018 30-mile-fetch/TTAC]

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112 Comments on “2016 Toyota 4Runner SR5 Reader Review – Purpose Built for the Boonies...”


  • avatar
    ldl20

    You know, I can drive into NYC from NJ in about 15 minutes and experience everything it has to offer (good and bad). This is something I don’t take for granted; people save up for years and travel from all over the world to see the sites. Perhaps it’s a case of the grass being greener on the other side, but damn, when I see the landscape of Utah and surrounding environs, I must admit, I get a little jealous.

    Enjoy the ride (one of the remaining few trucks that can do just what you set out for it to do), and thanks for the great pics.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Thanks for the kind words. It’s a beautiful part of the world and as it gets more crowded, the more useful a vehicle like this is in getting a bit away from that.

      Regarding NYC, it is most certainly on the list for when the kids are old enough to appreciate the historical significance and cultural diversity.

    • 0 avatar
      probert

      You could fly roundtrip to Denver for about $400.00 – rent a jeep – and take a ride. Or – 3 days of hard driving you’d be there. It seems like another world, and it is, but it is that c;lose.

  • avatar
    srh

    Did the author of this review just graduate from an MFA program?

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      Obviously a lot of effort was put into the review, but some basic grammatical errors made it a tough slog at times.

      • 0 avatar
        "scarey"

        And a product review without mention of vehicle price ? Seems like it should be included, possibly with prices of the vehicles that it was compared to.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Word limits.

          I decided that anybody can google MSRPs and used the space to instead describe why I chose the vehicle and what I thought of it after extensive use.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    So, it was down to a GTI or this, 30-mile? Well, God bless America!

    (Enjoyed the review, by the way…I think you know which ride I’d have taken, but I have nothing but respect for the 4Runner.)

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Thanks, Freed.

      Weird, huh? I looked at low mileage G37, 328i, IS250, V6 Camcords, nearly settling on the GTI as the best offering. But the backcountry itch suddenly called and its hard to backpack with little ones yet.

      • 0 avatar
        FreedMike

        GTI is at the top of my list as well, but I’ve been thinking about the 328, etc. A three year old 328 (or A3/A4/ATS/etc) is an absolute steal.

        If I were into off roading, a 4Runner would definitely be near the top of my list.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          FreedMike, I’ve noticed them too – under twenty for a three year old 328i. Make mine imperial blue, oyster leather, sport/light/cold weather package, please.

      • 0 avatar
        Nostrathomas

        Huh, these are the exact choices (and I mean exact!) I’m pondering right now myself for a 3rd car… fun but relatively practical cars that can handle a kid on occasion…or a 4Runner or Landcruiser for the camping/utility factor. The cars are more fun as city runabouts, but the 4runner has that practical old-school quality that I can’t help but be drawn to. Decisions decisions.

  • avatar
    ajla

    I wish either the 4Runner came with the GX’s engine/transmission or (even more) the GX came with the 4Runner’s off-road dimensions.

    Also, props for using a new 4Runner for more than just mall crawling and highway use.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I’m curious about what Toyota will replace the old 4.0 with whenever this rig gets redesigned. The durability is great for a certain kind of buyer, but even brief test drives show how outdated it is.

      • 0 avatar
        DeadWeight

        I always appreciate Reader Reviews, 30-mile. Thanks.

        That said, I really am perplexed at how lazy Toyota is in terms of failing to modernize this vehicle.

        It’s not as if they couldn’t engineer a FAR more efficient vehicle (V6 or V8 getting 18-20 city/24-26 highway – if GM and FCA can, so can Toyota), with even more power and torque, just as much ground clearance and off road capability, while MASSIVELY improving the interior materials, interior ergonomics, NVH, and the rest.

        This is the worst of Toyota, like a Yaris or Echo is, in a different way.

        And the kick in the balls is that it’s insanely expensive given its ancient-ness and Toyota’s laziness.

        I’ve have a chance to rent these as they are in the same category as “full size” SUVs by some rental companies, and pass every time if that ticket gets pulled (give anything else in the aisle). They are sloppy, crude, uncomfortable vehicles, UNNECESSARILY SO.

        The reliability thing may be its only redeeming feature, but despite the pushback I’ll get inevitably by saying this, most other manufacturers have closed that gap dramatically, and there are vehicles that can do anything this can and more, with luxurious interiors and world class NVH, and 25% to 35% better fuel economy, that are likely to be fairly trouble-free for 150,000 miles if well maintained.

        I’m really disappointed with Toyota slacking off Sith something like this, which looks like a 1990s or early 2000s vehicle, and getting a total pass by their fanboys. If GM, Ford, FCA even attempted such a lazy, half-a$$ed move like this, they’d be (rightfully) ridiculed.

        Toyota gets way too many free passes by their cult-like fans.

        Anyways, my opinions aren’t directed towards you or your review (and don’t take offense at the ways we may see this vehicle differently), but at the vehicle itself, my experience with it, and Toyota’s unbelievable laziness coasting on past credibility in still selling vehicles such as these at a ridiculously high price.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Counterpoints DW:

          “FAR more efficient vehicle…just as much ground clearance and off road capability” Not likely unless they succumb to a clearance-robbing chin spoiler like all of the domestics and Nissan. I do think some sort of version of the Lexus 4.6L V8 with some well tested cylinder shut-off tech could help with both power and some mpg improvements, than and a modern 6 or even 8 speed automatic. But I hope they realized what a fiasco the 3.5L in the Tacoma is and stay with 4.0L+ for displacement.

          How much do you think a Tahara built SUV with the 4Runner’s size, capability, and features be sold for? An inflation-adjusted 4Runner from the 90s is right at about $50k, just like a ’96 Camry LE would be $30k in today’s money. Which gets into the next point…

          Interior quality: it’s fully competitive with mid-trim half-tons (F150 as 30-mile mentioned), the ’14+ interior is really not bad, especially in Premium or Limited guise. But I’m inclined to agree that Toyota has fall quite a ways from their 90s heyday in this regard.

          ” and there are vehicles that can do anything this can and more, with luxurious interiors and world class NVH, and 25% to 35% better fuel economy, that are likely to be fairly trouble-free for 150,000 miles if well maintained.”

          Is something like a Tahoe Z71 really getting 25-35% better fuel economy? What is comparable to the 4Runner in capabilities that gets that much better mpg?

          I believe that a carefully street driven Grand Cherokee won’t completely fall apart if driven for 150k, you’ll just have the usual smattering of electrical issues and interior accessory systems on the fritz, maybe some fun with the Ecodiesel engine or air suspension. I think where the 4Runner runs away with things is that someone like 30-mile can go trail driving out to hiking spots every single weekend in his 4runner for the next 15 years and can rely on it to not rattle itself apart or leave him stuck trail-side. I absolutely would not trust a GC or Wrangler to do the same, nor an Ecoboost F150 or Chinesium GM pickup. That’s where the 4Runner has always been strong and still has that baked into the current ones, despite the cost cutting on the interior and cheaper paint, etc.

          A few notable Chrysler customers from my brother’s shop in the last few months:
          ’14 Grand Cherokee with a phantom no-start issue in wet weather where the dash goes full Christmas-tree mode

          ’08 Wrangler with the front brake hoses mis-routed from the factory where they rubbed on the wheel (stock rims/tires) until they failed.

          • 0 avatar
            dividebytube

            Co-worker had a 4runner with 300k miles on it… sold it.

            He also has a Tundra with over 300k miles on it – daily driver. Only problem was a rusty frame that Toyota paid to replace! Insanity on their part to replace a frame on such a high mileage truck.

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          DeadWeight,
          I’ll agree with gtem to a large degree.

          How can you compare a 4Runner to a 2016 Expedition? The EcoThirst powered Expedition I had was a POS. I drove like a 1960s vehicle. And I wouldn’t take it off road as it would be smashed. I didn’t like my Sorento I had either, but it was far better than the Expedition.

          Remember the 4Runner was a pickup truck first, then converted into a wagon second. It’s a utility, not a floor up designed off roader.

          If you want that then you use a 70 Series Landcruiser. If you want highway performance, then you use a “car”.

          Pickup truck station wagons are not prestige or luxury, no matter how much they invest into them, they are still based on a $20 000 chassis.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Remember the 4Runner was a pickup truck first, then converted into a wagon second. It’s a utility, not a floor up designed off roader.”

            I’ll reiterate, the 4Runner has been on the Prado platform since the mid 90s (Hilux Surf became Prado 90 based). It is currently on the Prado 150 chassis. Do you consider the Prado a floor-up designed offroader?

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtem,
            I’d read up on Toyota’s J Series chassis.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Big Al, I’d suggest the same to you.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          No offense at all, DW. The 4Runner is best as a niche vehicle. That niche seems to be bifurcated, with one end being people like me who want the offroad capabilities and are willing to sacrifice on road dynamics for it. The other seems to be people who just want an SUV and are drawn to its not-a-crossover nature and image and just don’t care about anything else. The Wrangler seems to serve both of these as well.

          The problem is, there really isn’t anything like the 4Runner on the market and hasn’t been for awhile. You have to spend a lot more on the Grand Cherokee to get this level of capability, and you have to endure a whole new level of crudeness, NVH, ergonomics, junky interior plastics, and manufacturer price gouging that exists because of a strong customer following. I built an outgoing JK Unlimited Sport online just a few weeks ago and the price skyrocketed by the time I finally added the features this 4Runner has standard. And unlike the Rubicon, the Sport isn’t more capable off pavement.

          So while I fully agree that it is very outdated, it has managed to retain enough comfort and refinement to make it livable, and there simply isn’t an alternative for my niche criteria.

          • 0 avatar
            silentsod

            I have to agree with there being no 1:1 competition with the 4Runner. I’m looking into the same segment as a possible future vehicle and it’s in a class of one, though I am hoping the Bronco ends up competing against it. Do you want 4WD, BoF, 5 seats and a big ass cargo area? 4Runner and that’s about it.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    “The JK Wrangler Unlimited is slower and thirstier, and the Grand Cherokee with its newer V6 and three additional gears is rated higher but doesn’t seem to achieve it easily in the real world.”

    Here’s what I’ve noticed when journalists test vehicles available with both the Pentastar V6 and 5.7 HEMI V8. Real world fuel economy the Pentastar DOES NOT meet its EPA cycle numbers – usually down about -1 mpg while the HEMI generally beats the EPA cycle numbers by PLUS 1 mpg.

    When thinking of Chargers, Dakotas, Grand Cherokees and 300s this is food for thought.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Auto journalists all drive like they’re trying to beat land speed records and prop up the House of Saud. I haven’t had any trouble matching EPA ratings with the various Pentastar-powered vehicles I’ve driven on trips (JGC, 300, Charger, Grand Caravan).

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      My Charger 5.7L uses the old 5A and on a trip from FL to TN last month I got 27.1 MPG (hand calc). My lifetime fuel economy is 18.7 (again hand calc). With the 8A I’d probably get .5-1MPG better.

      I’m sure the V6 could average in the low 20s, but the V8/8A acceleration & noise is considerably more entertaining IMO. The MSRP bump isn’t too bad either so I’d definitely go V8 if shopping the LX cars.

      On the Jeep and Durango, the calculus is a bit different because V8 availability is more constrainted to the higher priced trims.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        As an example when C&D did their 200 mile fuel economy loop with a V6/V8 Durango and a V6/V8 Grand Cherokee in both cases the V8 model beat the V6 model in real world fuel economy. That to me (given that roughly the same drivers were involved) was remarkable.

        I’m noticing these things because my commute is almost all highway and I’d love to get V8 power and almost the same fuel economy I’m getting now with a V6.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          A counterpoint – when I was researching buying a used WJ Jeep Grand Cherokee I found that while the V8 didn’t get much worse mileage than the venerable old I6, and they didn’t cost much more to buy, literally everything specific to the V8 cost notably more. And they seemed to be considerably harder to work on. I doubt any of that has changed.

          How fast do you need to go in a Grand Cherokee when the V6 already has *300hp*?

  • avatar
    Zipster

    When I go out with my back pack for a few days in the wilderness, I can only envy those awesome men and women in their utility vehicles that don’t have to walk. Such is my fate, and a wretched one at that.

    • 0 avatar
      deanst

      I just look at these photos and wonder how anyone could consider despoiling that beauty with an SUV?

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Ouch! I stay on designated roads! And compared to the dirt bikes and ATVs that also ply some of these routes, an SUV is silent and invisible.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        I think it’s funny how more often than not (but not always), the people complaining about offroad vehicles defiling the pristine wilderness are rarely out there enjoying said wilderness themselves. They want to shut off access for all motorized vehicles to protect species of rock moss and butterfly, but are not much of outdoors people themselves.

        Like 30 mile, my 4Runner gets me to some awesome and more remote trailheads that then enable me to hoof it by foot even further into the wilderness than I otherwise would have. Or hauls a canoe to an awesome paddling/fishing spot, hauls my camping gear and dogs to a beautiful primitive camp site, etc.

        • 0 avatar
          Fordson

          I have been backpacking for 45 years, and I have found very few trails that don’t have accessible trailheads – without a 4X4.

          People who want to drive to remote trailheads rather than use the ones that are more accessible usually just want to drive more and walk less. Which is kinda NOT the point of backpacking. This is not always true, but more often than not.

          When I see broken beer bottles and a half-burned 9X12 plastic tarp despoiling a remote campsite, I’m pretty sure those did not get there on someone’s back.

          And castigating people who want to preserve the wilderness for species that actually live there (imagine that…), but don’t go there themselves…how about people who advocate for the disabled? They’ll never use the ramps, the elevators, the kneeling buses, don’t need the extra-wide bathroom stalls, the embossed concrete curb cuts at intersections…so that makes them somehow inauthentic champions of those particular causes? How does that reasoning make sense?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “so that makes them somehow inauthentic champions of those particular causes? How does that reasoning make sense?”

            They’re depriving people that enjoy the outdoors from enjoying the outdoors, while sitting smugly at home with Sierra Club stickers on their Subaru or Prius. That rubs me in the wrong way.

            I agree that the beer cans and other garbage that certain members of the motorized outdoor recreation contingent are associated with is a very real problem and I acknowledge that. They are absolutely reviled by responsible members of that same offroad community. As long as that bunch is around, everyone will keep suffering the consequences of more and more land closures.

            As to trailhead access, I’m inclined to agree for the most part. I guess I’m more so thinking about primitive camping sites and exploring far out places out west where it’s not so much an officially designated trail but just some remote area you drive out to, then poke around. Consider this too: the fact that you’ve never encountered a difficult to access trail while never owning an high-clearance vehicle is kind of confirmation bias, no?

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          I hike a particular natural area about once a week. I see an average of maybe one other hiker or party of hikers per hour I spend there. Meanwhile, there are throngs fighting to keep mountain-bikers out of the area. The world would be a better place without people who try to stop other people from enjoying our taxpayer-funded parks however they’d like to.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I enjoy backpacking. Little kids, however, make that difficult. This gets us out into some solitude until they’re old enough to put on the frame pack. This has also allowed me to have several very memorable hikes originating from trailheads accessible only by high clearance vehicles.

  • avatar
    cimarron typeR

    Thanks for a well written ,descriptive review about most of the questions/concerns potential buyers would have regarding this vehicle. Sadly, most of the reviews on this site leave a lot to be desired in this regard.

  • avatar
    dal20402

    Nice review! The compromises in handling ring true. I could have written pretty much exactly the same words about my transition from cars to my LX570. Also familiar are the off-road-friendly throttle and brake pedal calibrations and the “bad” fuel economy.

    On the other hand, these trucks make mincemeat of roads to trailheads that are an exercise in sphincter puckering in normal cars, and that’s a wonderful thing. And they do things like carry an old charcoal grill to Goodwill, as I did with the LX just last week.

  • avatar
    TwoBelugas

    “The SR5 is expensive for a base trim but it is better equipped than an XLT F-150. Standard is an eight-way power driver seat, leather wrapped steering wheel, heated mirrors and wipers, and power tailgate glass. ”

    So 4runner is for people who cannot operate manual seats, allergic to plastic, and can’t live without a power tailgate glass?

    Stereotype checks out.

    “The JK Wrangler Unlimited is slower and thirstier”

    Um…sure about that?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      “and can’t live without a power tailgate glass?”

      You’re absolutely correct. Once you have one, you can’t not have one.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        “You’re absolutely correct. Once you have one, you can’t not have one.”

        Why settle for a sliding glass when you can have an open top or a top that slides back easily?

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          “Why settle for a sliding glass when you can have an open top or a top that slides back easily?”

          Because an operation as simple as opening the rear hatch fully is a whole endeavor, and once you open it you have a highly compromised seating and cargo area with a bunch of roll bars eating up space. Then the sealing/weather proofing issues, security issues. I test drove a JKU and while I thought it was awesome to have a 6spd stick+solid front axle in a 4 door variant, it is still a far less practical utility vehicle than a 4Runner.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      I simply listed the features you get for what appears to be a steep entry price. The rest was your interpretation. The internet commenter stereotype, as you might say, checks out.

      This one’s slower and thirstier:
      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2016-jeep-wrangler-unlimited-test-review

      This one’s about the same:
      https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2018-jeep-wrangler-jk-quick-take-review

      Looks like it depends on final drive ratio.

      • 0 avatar
        dallas_t4r

        Right on 30-mile fetch! The counter points you listed of the competition are why I chose the 4runner as well.

      • 0 avatar
        TwoBelugas

        Jeep called, they just came out with JL so it’s less thirsty and definitely quicker than the 4runner.

        Happy 2018!

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          Did a 4Runner run over your dog or something? LOL

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Toyota called to congratulate Jeep for finally creating a powertrain for the Wrangler that outperforms the FIFTEEN YEAR OLD one in the 4Runner.

          Mine’s a 2016. Was the JL around then? You do realize you were wrong about the acceleration and economy of the JK, yes?

          I’m sorry the Wrangler didn’t fit my needs, but it simply didn’t. It’s too biased toward off pavement and makes a worse daily driver. And the interior’s poorly packaged, I’d need to tow a trailer to fit the gear I can fit behind the tailgate of the Toyota. The Jeep is a fine vehicle for the right person but that isn’t me. Don’t take it personally.

  • avatar

    Why can’t Ford produce something like this.

    Hackett must go.

  • avatar
    tonycd

    Nice job, Fetch! Loved this line: “The steering is a black hole of feel, the gravity of its numbness so strong that it sucks tactility from adjacent cars.” Great sunset view, too.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Thanks, the steering took awhile to get used to. The sunset was after a very rewarding day of getting down some backcountry roads I’d wanted to see for years, and a 10 mile roundtrip hike to a hidden arch perched up in yonder hills.

  • avatar
    gtem

    Awesome review! One of the better ones I’ve read on TTAC all year to be honest (that’s aside from my 4Runner bias).

  • avatar
    Fordson

    About five years ago, on the way out of town to a backpacking trip in a 2007 Sienna Limited, the tranny developed issues (Toyotas breaking is anathema to the TTAC crowd, but there it is…). Rather than bag the entire trip, we limped it to our Toyota dealer left it with them, and took a 4Runner rental for the trip. Since we were backpacking, the radically smaller amount of cargo area relative to the minivan was not an issue, but…everything EVERYTHING in that brand-new BOF SUV felt prehistoric, compared to our six-year-old Sienna. I half expected to see an eight-track player in the dash.

    Toyota is the most unapologetic carmaker, in terms of selling completely outdated vehicles, outside of the former Eastern Bloc.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      You’re not wrong. The Grand Cherokee feels like a Mercedes in comparison (but has quite a bit less cargo room), with a powertrain nearly two generations newer.

      I harped on the interior and it is deserved, but just yesterday I sat in a brand new Ford Superduty XLT, ~$46K MSRP to start, and if there is one vehicle on sale currently that makes the 4Runner’s interior seem modern and plush in comparison, that would be the one. My BIL’s 2015 F150 XLT is also plastic fantastic in comparison, but at least you get one hell of a powertrain in that one.

  • avatar
    PenguinBoy

    Spectacular photos!

    Were these taken on the White Rim Trail by chance?

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Thank you. Not White Rim, but general region. San Rafael and Grand Staircase. The White Rim is on my list for the scenery but it is rather popular now.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Man, Toyota! How much uglier can you make that front end!

    I would let this Indian kid in the commercial in the link loose on the 4Runner and turn it into something decent looking.

    I do believe Toyotas are looking worse lately.

    Great Indian commercial. Because it’s a youtube, I’ve cut and pasted it in two parts hoping it will submit. You’ll need to copy and paste it in two parts to watch.

    It’s very entertaining…………if the link works. Why doesn’t TTAC allow youtubes?

    https://www.youtube.

    com/watch?v=7HwHVK_a62A

  • avatar
    dallas_t4r

    “Given how well it aligns with our family’s interests, I can see this 4Runner having a 15 to 20-year service life with us, faithfully and gradually fading as we cycle through more involving daily drivers for our second vehicles. It’ll become an old family friend, and that is a different kind of automotive enthusiasm than is typically expressed on these forums.”

    Spot on here! Keep a car for a long time. Buy it because it’s reliable. Hand it down to a kid to treat them well too. We need more of this in auto journalism.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      That’s the plan. I find worn, high mileage trucks more appealing than worn high mileage cars, so it has a better chance of working out that way.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        My ’96 4Runner and legions of 1st/2nd/3rd/4th gens well past 200k miles lend support to this plan. 30 mile sounds like you’re out west so the frame rust issue is much less of a concern. For those of us in the salt belt, be warned.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          Yes, I was pleased to see the 4Runner didn’t suffer the premature frame rot of some Tacomas and Sequoias. We have some salt here, but not excessive.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            Well I wouldn’t call it “premature” necessarily, but currently there are a lot of 3rd gens leaving our roads with perfect engines/transmissions and not a spot of visible rust, but with rotten frames that are simply not worth fixing. 4th gens are the same way by the looks of it. Fantastic sheetmetal galvanization and paint on the body panels, but the frames are still susceptible (if not quite at the rate of Tacos and Sequoias/Tundras, which all have US-made Dana Corp. frames).

  • avatar

    Why can’t Ford build decent vehicles like the 4Runner. Ford is a disgrace!!!

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    30-mile fetch,
    What rubber are you running, it looks very highway terrain’ish?

    I’m asking because the Gran Treks that came with my pickup had their sidewall ripped open when running over rocks. I ended up buying 10 ply BFG T/As.

    Great yarn. You should maybe move to the Northern Territory. We used to go out a couple times a month and enjoy the great outdoors.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Thanks Al.
      Dunlop Grand Treks. They…keep the rims off the road. These were the OEMs and no one seems to like them, but we had a mild winter and I haven’t had to deal with mud or much deep sand. The sidewalls worry me.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        30-mile fetch,
        Yeah, I asked because Toyota here use Grand Treks. I don’t know why.

        Ford use them as well on the Ranger and Mazda use them on the BT50.

        They are 4 ply with 2 ply sidewalls. When I ripped the sidewall open I was amazed at how thin the sidewall was. I’m talking maybe 2mm in places.

        The BFGs have a 10 ply tread and 6 ply side wall. I have 17″ rims and fitted 265/75’s. This protects (more protection)the alloy rims as well.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Oh, the BFB ride like a dump truck. Very little give in the sidewalls.

        So, I have a set of steel rims with my off road tyres with a deeper offset to push the vehicle body away from walls in ruts when you drop into one.

        I still have what’s remaining of my BFGs on the pretty alloys and I will put HTs on them. I will not miss driving a dump truck like vehicle. Remember our pickups are rated to carry around 3 000lbs, so the assend is stiff already.

  • avatar
    probert

    Did a ride like this last October on a small washed out trail through the Mojave. Did it in a Kia Sportage : locking diffs and short overhang.
    It was a rental with street tires, and sometimes I was pushing sand, but it never stopped. Slow but steady, bring lots of water, and off line gps (I use Hereto go/osmand+ on my phone) because where the road washes out, you can follow it via the satellite maps.
    Only time I turned around was when I hit a lot of lava rocks – just worried they’d shred the tires. Found another trail.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Excellent. The bold can boogie some CUVs farther down a trail than I would think. I recently saw a RAV4 hybrid with aftermarket wheels, something ridiculous like T/A KO2 tires, and a roof cage with full size spare. May have had a Tepui tent as well. Struck me as excessive for the limited clearance and traction systems on that vehicle, but the fuel economy would be nice.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      ” locking diffs”

      Sorry to be pedantic but this drives me nuts when the “laymen” throw that term out there casually. There is not a single locking differential on the current Sportage. There is a electronically controlled viscous coupling that can simulate a hard 50/50 split (and the Hyundai and Kias are more serious about simulating that “lock” than many others). Aside from that there is some form of brake-based traction control, open differentials at both ends. But it is very far removed from any sort of physically locking differentials.

      I also happen to fully agree with your sentiment. I’d call it mostly about factors of safety. With a BOF 4runner with skid plates, that rock outcropping you missed is less likely to put a hole in the oil pan or transmission case, and you’re not worried about overheating the viscous coupling or transmission on a long dirt road climb in the mountains.

      I’ve been in a beat up RHD courier spec AE100 Corolla with water coming over the hood in a river crossing, and bashed a jack mount flat on a rental Lada, both incidents on seperate trips to the Altia mountain range in Siberia. Both cars made it, but I’d have much rather been in a Land Cruiser or some other SUV.

  • avatar
    Trucky McTruckface

    Wish I had kept my 4th gen. Since, 15 years later, this is basically the same vehicle, just much uglier and without the full-time 4WD on non-Limiteds that made it a more palatable CUV substitute.

    And I thought Wrangler prices were eye watering until I took a closer look at what these are going for.

    Another cheap, lazy (and hideous) effort from Toyota. I get why people still like these, given the lack of competition in this niche, but that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a substandard vehicle that excels at nothing.

    • 0 avatar
      tonycd

      “Excels at nothing”?

      I don’t think its mission was to displace a Lexus RX for one-finger drivers and dash strokers in the mall parking lot. I think it’s quite clear what it is instead, and it sounds like it’s quite good at it: taking four people and their stuff to places that lack a paved road.

      What I hate about posts like yours, Trucky, is the implied disrespect and sublimated aggression toward the person you’re rebutting. It’s quite obvious Fetch has staked his credibility on endorsing that this vehicle performs its (quite specific) appointed function well. Your detail-free cheap shot at his testimony just feels to me like the usual anonymous online phallus-wagging. It doesn’t take a lot of courage. Do yourself a favor and give that a bit of thought. Not that you’re alone – TwoBelugas should give it two bits of thought, and I’m confident he won’t.

      • 0 avatar
        Trucky McTruckface

        I like how you jumped to the conclusion that I was personally attacking the reviewer or anyone other than Toyota. What part of “I get why people still like these” don’t you understand?

        I like the concept of the 4Runner well enough that I owned it’s immediate predecessor – did you miss that part, too? I hate the current model because it’s hideous, has a less useful 4wd system and has little-to-no meaningful improvement in drivability, capability or comfort over the 15 year old model. And it’s not like this a Wrangler, where rugged austerity is a baked-in brand virtue; It’s a TrailBlazer with better panel gaps. I guess that’s not specific enough.

        I’m not attacking anyone for buying and enjoying these things; I’m attacking Toyota for taking advantage of lack of consumer choice to continue offering such an out of date vehicle at nosebleed prices.

        I didn’t realize dissenting opinions on these reader reviews weren’t allowed. Thank God somebody’s here to white knight for the author. Get over yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          gtem

          FWIW the 4th gen, in stock form, is IMO the worst performing 4Runner offroad Toyota has made. It is simply too neutered in terms of ground clearance to go where a a stock 3rd gen like mine or 5th gen like 30-miles’ can go without body damage. They also lost the option of a locking rear diff except for a exceedingly rare ’09-only Trail Edition model.

          You make a good point about the loss of a full-time t-case as standard across the 4WD range, that is indeed an unfortunate loss.

          As far as pricing goes, how is a 5th gen in inflation adjusted dollars any worse than a 4th gen or even 3rd gen? My ’96 Limited had an MSRP of about 33k in 1996 dollars. That’s damn near $50k in 2018 bucks. A current SR5 for $38k ish is a veritable bargain by comparison in terms of the added features and power (but unfortunately weak paint, some cheap interior bits, thin sheetmetal and vulnerable painted plastic bumpers).

        • 0 avatar
          Big Al from Oz

          Trucky,
          These vehicles are pickup truck station wagons. They are and were not designed from the onset to be a rival to vehicles like the Grand Cherokee.

          They are quite cheap for what you get. That’s why you have plenty of them in the US and even Australia.

          They are a compromise vehicle.

          I agree Toyota doesn’t offer the latest and greatest on their vehicles, but the formula seems to work for them at the moment.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “These vehicles are pickup truck station wagons. They are and were not designed from the onset to be a rival to vehicles like the Grand Cherokee.”

            Wrong, big Al. You should know this space better. The Prado is a purely SUV family, the Fortuner is the lower end Hilux based SUV, just like the Pajero Sport is L200 Triton based, and Isuzu/Chevy has their DMax derivative.

            Personally, I feel like I’m getting a lot more bang for the buck buying a classic BOF SUV made by Toyota (at their renowned Tahara plant no less) for $35-37k for a basic SR5 4WD over any number of transverse-engined FWD-based crossovers for the same price. The Grand Cherokee is sort of a “third way” with its unibody/IRS setup but with serious capability (if not what I’d consider durability). The GC is just to darn small in terms of cargo space to really compare head to head with the 4Runner IMO. 4Runner plays in the realm of the Highlander and almost the Explorer in regards to cargo hauling, the GC is quite frankly compact-crossover sized when looking at interior and cargo room.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtem,
            Did I mention the Prado or even Landcruiser, yet the Pajero, Patrol? These are based on pure 4×4 platforms.

            Most (popular) US and even here in Australia are pickup truck station wagons. They are cheaper and generally not as good off road as the dedicated 4×4 platforms.

            As for the US. You have a limited number of midsize pickup truck station wagons to choose from. If I lived in the US I would pick a 4Runner. You just don’t have choice.

            Again, I’ll use the chicken tax as the excuse for you guys in the US. You just don’t have the vehicles to platform share with the midsize pickup truck wagons.

            The Taco can share much with the 4Runner. That’s why you’ll have the Bronco and Ranger.

            The Colorado7 can’t share with the US Colorado because the US Colorado was “cheapened” too much and changed.

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Did I mention the Prado”

            You’re talking about the 4Runner as if it isn’t literally a reskinned Prado 150. It has much less relation to the Tacoma or Hilux or any other pickup Toyota makes.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtem,
            Toyota J150 platform is used on a number of vehicles, with some significant differences in construction.

            The Tacoma/4Runner use the lighter of the chassis. The Prado and all of the 70 Series use a heavier chassis.

            The FJ Cruiser uses the J150 platform as well. But, judging by it’s price it sits on the lighter chassis.

            The 4Runner and Tacoma are not a 70 Series, or then a Prado.

            Technically you if you had the ability you could bolt a Tacoma onto a 70 Series with the V8 diesel, but it’s horses for course here.

            Plus the Prado is limited off road as much as a 4Runner due to the IFS. The only difference is the Prado is heavier underneath, like a 70 Series.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            gtem,
            Why doesn’t someone in the US bolt a 70 Series live axle onto a Tacoma?

          • 0 avatar
            gtem

            “Toyota J150 platform is used on a number of vehicles, with some significant differences in construction.

            The Tacoma/4Runner use the lighter of the chassis. The Prado and all of the 70 Series use a heavier chassis.”

            Nope. Tacoma is its own thing, with a c-channel rear section. 4Runner/FJ/GX were and are straight up Prado frames (Toyota global medium duty frame). 4th gen 4Runner (sold for a few years as a Hilux Surf) and FJ= Prado 120. 5th gen 4runner/GX = Prado 150. The LC70 is likewise its own thing (Toyota global Heavy Duty frame). Do a bit more reading.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        Tony, I have no credibility to stake here! I’m an argumentative Camry fan, no one takes me seriously :)

        Trucky, I understand some of your frustration with this vehicle. It feels like it has been allowed to stagnate due to lack of competition. It occupies a middle ground between Grand Cherokee and Wrangler and therefore has the drawbacks of both without some of their advantages. However, the balance works for me whereas something like a Wrangler Unlimited is just too crude and the Laredo GC is just a bit too road-oriented. I love the styling of the 4th gens and wish they’d kept it here.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I think this is a really excellent review. And it matches my experience of a rented one of these (on pavement anyway) – same color even.

    But I could not live with driving something like this every day. Which is why I have a GTI as a daily driver, and an equally capable though rather nicer to drive BOF SUV in the garage that I bought used for when I need to do SUV things. Different horses for different courses.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    Thanks for this review.
    You changed my opinion of this vehicle.

  • avatar
    sooperedd

    I own a 2015 4Runner SR5P and it is an outdated pig and all the other things the author described.

    But. The. Dang. Thing. Is. Bulletproof.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Here’s an interesting link with a comparo between midsize SUVs. The Patrol is the odd one out here as it’s a fullsize and a dog of a vehicle for day to day use.

    https://www.caradvice.com.au/431436/family-4×4-suv-comparison-ford-everest-v-isuzu-mu-x-v-mitsubishi-pajero-sport-v-toyota-fortuner-v-nissan-patrol/

    • 0 avatar
      ernest

      I didn’t even realize Izuzu still made vehicles. And that Patrol is old generation. The new version would be familiar to Americans as the new body Nissan Armada.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        ernest,
        Nissan have been selling both Patrols side by side globally.

        With live axles front and rear it made for a reliable, capable and importantly cheap easy to modify large wagon. The engine is okay off road, but is not enough on road.

        The Izuzu MU-X is loosely based on the Colorado platform.

        • 0 avatar
          ernest

          The Armada here is powered by a 5.6L V8. It’s not terribly fuel efficient, but it’s powerful, quiet, and smooth. With the new model based on the Patrol, it’s a decent vehicle. Oddly, that’s something we cannot take for granted of Nissan here. “Substandard, built for a price” describes much of their product line. I personally look at them as 2nd string Japanese- not as good as Honda or Toyota, but better than Mazda or Mitsubishi.

          • 0 avatar
            highdesertcat

            “The Armada here is powered by a 5.6L V8. It’s not terribly fuel efficient, but it’s powerful, quiet, and smooth. ”

            Yes it is all of those! I just got back from helping my friend put on a gunshow in TX and my friend uses an Armada to tow a 14X8 Haulmark loaded to the gills with guns, ammunition and knives for his show display.

            With all that weight behind it, plus two fat old dudes onboard, the cruise control had no problem keeping it steady at 65mph down and up I-10.

            I’d say, just as good as my Sequoia.

          • 0 avatar
            Big Al from Oz

            ernest,
            Without being rude the latest Armada is an Americanised Patrol (cheapened) to be able to compete with what I call the US pickup truck station wagons.

            We have the 5.6 Patrol (Y62) here. I don’t particularly like the looks of them and they have moved up market too much. I would look at the twin turbo V8 diesel Landcruiser first.

            We are slowly running out of family friendly cheap large “proper” SUVs (Outback Reliable). The US full size SUVs are not really good here as we want off road ability. Chev tried out the Suburban to take on the Patrol and Landcruiser and it failed due to poor build quality.

            The Y61, last generation Patrol that was in the review was cheap and very affordable to buy. The biggest downside was the last 3 litre diesel Nissan fitted. I don’t know why Nissan didn’t upgrade the 4.2 inline 6 diesel they used in the previous Y61 Patrols. Or, even use the 3 litre V6 Renault diesel, which is like Ford’s Lion and VMs V6’es.

          • 0 avatar
            ernest

            Big Al from Oz- the prior Armada was a homegrown design to go along with the Titan pickup. To be extremely charitable, it was not competitive, but the powertrain was solid. The new Armada solved the rest of the puzzle. Not a class leader, but definitely in the hunt.

            As you know, our “pickup based station wagons” are actually luxury kid haulers that just happen to have four wheel drive. Most will tackle a speed bump at Safeway as the heaviest duty off-road challenge. And the cost of one of these vehicles (Escalade/Navigator) puts them dead even with, say, a Mercedes S-Class. Which they outsell by a breathtaking margin.

            Taken in that context, the 4Runner has a place set for itself in the US market. For all it’s faults, it is still a dependable, reliable off-road companion. I at least see 4Runners in my travels out in the Pacific Nwst logging trails (The Land Rovers are parked next to Escalades at the mall for the most part).

  • avatar
    Nick_515

    30-mile, really enjoyed reading the review even though i’m more of the urban type, and therefore not the person who notices these vehicles. i liked the writing, and i liked the unapologetic approach to the vehicle itself. people often get afraid to ‘be negative’ towards something they’ve committed too. but the review lays it out pretty clearly what this is, what this isn’t, what what you wish this could be. that made it a fun read.

    You still shoulda bought the GTI!!!

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Ha, thanks Nick. When I see a GTI on the road I try my best to ignore it. I will not tolerate thoughts of “what if”

      Unfortunately it will be quite some time since we will be back in the vehicle market. The cheap family sedan that was supposed operate at minimal cost until the 4R was paid off decided to blow a $4K hole in our transportation account. Booo…

  • avatar
    hoonthatprado

    Great review, wonderful pictures. I get the charme of the old-school Toyota SUVs, and it is the exact same reason I keep holding on to my Land Cruiser Prado to explore the hinterlands of Brazil. Too bad though you can´t get the 4Runner with a Diesel in the U.S.

  • avatar
    NG5

    Well written review and very appreciated perspective.

    The truck market is always very interesting to me because it seems to be competing on the basis of measurables which relate less to the actual use case of road driving. Not that cars don’t, but for most driving contexts cars’ measurables make more “sense” in an every day experience way – speed, braking distance, handling grip, etc – even if they are ridiculously unnecessary in the context of actual road driving.

    Trucks, to me, seem to be about everything but road driving. In which case I would just buy something that met my needs for whatever kind of experience that was and drive the truck into the ground. Unless I would have to tow something even bigger, or my existing truck was getting stuck in certain familiar places off-road, I probably would want to keep it until it died. Toyota generally appeals to me in this regard by providing simple, durable trucks with the working use case in mind. I appreciated this review especially from that perspective.

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      When roads get bad enough as they have where I live, the inherent durability of BOF trucks and SUVs (the ones without the big-pimpin ’20+ inch wheels) makes them very appealing even for purely on-road use. It’s beyond what the auto journalists obsessed with steering feel can measure or care about, but many consumers are cognizant and shop accordingly.

  • avatar
    oldowl

    Given that the 4Runner has lasted so long, why did the FJ Cruiser fail so quickly?

    • 0 avatar
      gtem

      They were released the year before the recession and gas hike, and most of their production was likewise during an era of high gas prices and a slow economy. I can almost guarantee if they simply restarted selling that same FJ right now it’d be selling very strongly. Same for Nissan’s Xterra.

      • 0 avatar
        gtem

        Also worth noting the biggest demerit to the FJ was the highly compromised outward visibility, the back seat is an absolute cave and would be miserable for passengers on a long trip. That and the rear door layout just makes it overall a less practical vehicle than the 4Runner, while not really having much more capability offroad aside from slightly better body geometry.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    For someone that buys and holds on to vehicles, this is a great one to have. It has that fun, adventurous image and is a fully capable vehicle. Given the life expectancy of these things, it’s really worth ponying up to the top trim level to get all the perks.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    For any of our 4×4 fans here are some links about the Northern Territory. I only travelled the “Top End”. Have a looks at how we set up our 4x4s as well.

    I live in a place called Katherine (work related) and spent many a weekend and holiday in the bush.

    https://www.whichcar.com.au/4x4australia/explore/nt

    Kakadu is the size of Switzerland and has some amazing stuff. Jim Jim falls can only be reached by helicopter or 4×4, the wetlands and the escarpment with waterfalls and rocky gullies. Worth a visit.

    https://www.australia.com/en/places/darwin-and-surrounds/guide-to-kakadu-national-park.html

    Litchfield is near Darwin, about an hour or so away. Great for a weekend.

    https://northernterritory.com/darwin-and-surrounds/destinations/litchfield-national-park

  • avatar

    I have a 2008 4Runner V8 AWD. Bought it new has 215,000 miles on it but runs very strong.
    Have done little besides brakes, shocks, and timing belt. Drivers seat is wearing along one side
    of the back.

    It really is a go anywhere vehicle. I’ve never been stuck in either sand or snow. Running BFG KO2’s, they are quiet. 20 mpg average

    We have bonded. I really don’t want a V6

  • avatar

    Who is 30-mile fetch ?

  • avatar
    yotamaster

    You buy a Toyota for reliability. Haters will hate, but there’s a reason Toyota is the size and presence it is today, and having crappy cars and trucks isn’t part of it. Ditto for Lexus. Yes yes, they have occasional lemons and trouble spots. I had an FJ Cruiser with cracked spindle issues. But no one really believes a Jeep or Land Rover will be more reliable, long term, than a Toyota, I hope.

    For real in depth offroad Toyota info, check out 4WD Toyota Owner Magazine. They’re building a 2018 4Runner now.

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