By on May 20, 2019

2017 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro - Image: Toyota

What’s the matter with the car I’m driving? / Can’t you tell that it’s out of style? / -Billy Joel

William Martin Joel might’ve been on to something here. Late last week, while behind the wheel of a new 4Runner, I was reminded of just how much I like the thing, despite its prehistoric infotainment system and Ralph Kramden driving position. Plenty of others seem to agree, as Toyota has no trouble moving them off dealer lots.

Then I realized something mildly startling — this isn’t the first slightly-outta-date new vehicle that I thought was the bee’s knees.

Take the old Montero Sport, for example. Still sold new at Mitsubishi in Canada well into the 21st century, it was a throwback to upright and trucky SUVs in an age when most customers were scrambling towards machines such as the car-like Toyota Highlander. Parked next to an early-90s Pathfinder, the 2003 Montero Sport compared well. I loved it.

That’s hardly the only example of yesterday’s style and tech being sold as brand new on which I periodically check the build-and-price tool. The Nissan 370Z, for instance, captures my attention despite being on sale in its current form since the late Jurassic period.

But it was spending time in the 4Runner that cemented today’s QOTD. If a tree fell on the Charger tomorrow, I’d be taking a hard look at Toyota’s SUV — while investigating aftermarket options for the infotainment system. My next date might be outta date, then.

How about you? Are there any vehicles on sale today that are at or near the end of their product cycle yet you still find desirable?

[Images: Toyota, Mitsubishi]

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30 Comments on “QOTD: Next Date? Outta Date!...”

  • avatar

    Challenger (or a 300 or the Charger) have been high on my list for the past few years.

  • avatar

    Nissan Frontier! What’s old is old again.

    • 0 avatar

      I like the old-timey SUVs like the Frontier. Low-tech= Long life when it comes to cars and trucks

      I know, I’m a Luddite, but I’m keeping my Windows 7

    • 0 avatar
      Joe Enrico

      and look what they did to the Pathfinder! You call that a Pathfinder? My 2005 Pathfinder was an animal in the snow and sand, rode like a truck and had terrible gas mileage- but I loved it every step of the way. Too bad they wimped out with the latest version. – bleh!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    While I do not care for them, it is hard to beat a 4Runner. I think they just about run forever and at some point on the depreciation curve, they actually start to gain value. I believe between 120-160k on the odo the value goes up for some reason.

    Other than they drink gas and have a pathetically small gas tank that requires one to top off quite regularly not much to dislike about them.

    • 0 avatar

      Our American market 4Runners have the spare tire where most overseas Prados have their gas tank (Prados have tailgate mounted spares most of the time). For the Australian and Middle East market Prados I believe it is possible to order a Prado with both the behind-rear axle AND the “belly” gas tanks location installed for some truly impressive range, particularly with a diesel.

      • 0 avatar

        How much of the Prado capability to they take out to make the Lexus GX for the US market?

        • 0 avatar

          Our GX has a lower hanging valence and is missing the rear diff lock option, aside from that they’re about the same (we get the 4.6L V8 and perhaps a bit more sound deadening and high end audio options). In the US the 4Runner is the offroad workhorse, the GX is the mall cruiser that happens to be immensely durable/capable offroad (until you start tearing bumpers off)

  • avatar

    They should keep building the current 4Runner into perpetuity (if they can get away with it). If my tired old ’05 F-150 Supercab STX 4.6 V8 4-speed auto was re-popped today/new (adjusted for inflation) I’d be all over it, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

  • avatar

    Charger or 300 (still mad about no V8 + AWD option) I don’t even want a Hellcat etc just an R/T or possible 392.

    Frontier – even in PRO 4X trim low priced enough compared to a Tacoma that you wouldn’t be afraid to go do real truck stuff with it.

    Grand Caravan (too bad you can’t get the GT anymore) load up an SXT and have a relatively cheap family hauler.

    Dodge Durango (current one has been on sale since 2010) but given budget I’d have to live with the V6. I do love all the stuff that crammed into the towing package for less than $1200.

    • 0 avatar

      The LX cars definitely get a lot of love from me, and yes the Grand Caravan continues to offer a boat-load of utility/comfort for the money. WK2 Jeeps are still very relevant in terms of features/dynamics/styling IMO, the 8spd+Pentastar is a great powertrain.

      Mitsubishi Outlander Sport gets my vote: it looks downright handsome these days compared to abominations like the CH-R.

    • 0 avatar

      Just had a 300 for a two day rental in Seattle – it may be old but honestly there is nothing wrong with it at all. Seats and overall ride was super comfortable. U-connect is a great infotainment system and that appears to be all that has changed over the years. Only stupid thing was the dial gear selector.

      • 0 avatar
        MRF 95 T-Bird

        I rented a Charger with the Pentastar some weeks ago and was quite impressed with its smoothness. It compared well to the Challenger Hemi I rented last summer.
        I liked that it had a shifter lever vs the 300’s knob which is also on the dash on many Ram pickups.
        When I was at the Hertz lot I was “hmmm 300 or Charger.

  • avatar

    To answer the specific question of “at or near the end”, I can only say, “No.” On the other hand, there’s a near-20-year-old tech that I’m happy to see may make a comeback, along with some even older models.

    As has been posted previously here on TTAC, Volkswagen is bringing back an Avalanche-style idea that to me was an excellent mix of SUV and pickup truck and it appears VW is not alone with the idea. Aside from that, we also have Ford suggesting the possibility of a true compact pickup, meaning notably smaller in height, width and length (we hope) than mid-sized and more in line with the compact truck of the 1980 period.

    But until the American OEMs start doing 2-door models of their “cars” (meaning CUVs, now) there’s not one “aging” vehicle that holds my interest.

    • 0 avatar

      Land Cruiser for sure. The rumored turbo 6 next gen hurts my heart.

      EDIT: This was meant to be a standalone comment, not a reply.

      • 0 avatar
        Art Vandelay

        Why? They were six cylinders forever. With the Turbo at least they won’t be ridiculously underpowered sixes.

        • 0 avatar

          No rational reason other than another depressing move toward our inevitable downsized, turbocharged future. I had the same reaction when the LS lost its V8.

          Deep down I’m confident that Toyota has done the development and testing necessary to ensure their legendary 25 year design life for this engine. I guess I just have an inherent bias against trusting small turbo engines in heavy vehicles over the long haul though.

        • 0 avatar

          Turbos just make them more awkward to drive. Especially offroad. Then throw in cooling issues in Lo1 in Death Valley in the summer, and it’s just not worth it.

          Bring in the diesel, for those who care more about range than nimbleness.

      • 0 avatar
        Dan C

        say it aint so! i love my 09 200 with its big hairy v-8

      • 0 avatar
        Dan C

        say it aint so! i love my 09 200 with its big hairy v-8

  • avatar

    Those Montero Sports are great underappreciated rigs for a rough and tumble weekend hauler/camping rig, they do not carry the Toyota Tax (or Jeep XJ tax), but are functionally the equivalents of a 3rd gen 4Runner in every way except lacking a roll-down rear tailgate. Stronger transmissions (automatics) compared to the similarly sized Rodeo of the same era, roomier and more refined than an Xterra, and a true tough BOF unlike the R50 Pathfinders of the same years.

    • 0 avatar

      While the T4R/Tacoma tax is very real, by keeping them in relatively nice shape, you also get a lot of your money back when you’re done with it. While I am a big fan of the Mitsu SUVs as well, prepare to deal with parts availability compared to a similar year Toyotas.

      It’s a cashflow kind of question, can you deal with the more upfront cost of a Toyota?

      • 0 avatar

        I’m talking about buying a 20-25 year old SUV for a weekend rig. A good 3rd gen 4Runner without frame rot is a $5k proposition around here, even with 200k miles, goes up from there for lower miles/newer ($8-$9k or so for a clean ’99-’02 with 150k miles or less). There’s just a cult around them, same for XJ Cherokees. I’d rather just scoop up a Montero Sport with 150k miles for $3k and be done with it. The Mitsu V6 stuff is absolutely ubiquitous, yes a few oddball OEM parts might be harder or more expensive to get than Toyota, but it isn’t old-Mazda tier (absolutely horrible and Euro-tier prices).

  • avatar

    Ram 1500 classic. Not as good looking as the new models but still quite a nice looking and riding beast.

  • avatar

    The Morgan lineup is a little long in the tooth, but I still like them.

  • avatar

    Well, Jeeps haven’t changed that much, styling-wise, but I’d love to have another ’99 Cherokee XJ. The recently discontinued Patriot is a close relative, but I’d rather have the XJ’s straight six and RWD, so NO, there’s nothing in the form of cars out there with old-timey styling still made or recently departed.

  • avatar

    As of right now you can still buy a leftover 2018 RAM 2500 / 3500 with the Cummins diesel and a 6-speed manual transmission.

    That’s the last full size pickup available with a stick shift in the US. Probably ever.

  • avatar

    Land Rover LR3/4

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