Excited About Wife's New 4Runner

Messages
3,599
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Well, since we got married earlier this year, in April, and then found out we're expecting our first child (he's due Jan. 30), we had talked about eventually getting something larger than my wife's 2018 Honda Civic Hatchback.

But we really liked the little black Civic Hatchback, with the 1.5L Turbo engine and 6-speed, and I figured we could fairly comfortably continue to use the car for at least a few more years, even if we have another kid right after this one, since the hatchback body style has so much cargo space. And, I was going to get a rooftop cargo carrier for trips. Plus, the thing was so much fun to drive, especially after I swapped on some 18" Civic Si wheels, and a KTuner ECU programmer that increased turbo boost to provide a boost of +30 WHP/60 WTQ, and still netted well over 30 MPG.

I had the trip of a lifetime to Costa Rica planned for our honeymoon, with the suggestions of some of you guys, then the thing we don't talk about hit, and our Central America honeymoon turned into a roadtrip in our little Civic through Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee. Ended up being epic, and we had an absolute blast driving! Lots of memories.

Then, back on Dec. 4, my wife was on her way to work one morning, stopped in traffic at a light, and a guy in a Ford Flex tried to whip around her and miscalculated. Caught the left rear of her Civic with the front right of his Flex. Wife was shaken, and sore for a few days, but OK. She and the baby got a clean bill of health after getting checked out.

Our little Civic? Not so much. As a friend put it, "these things are built like Faberge eggs these days". The way these unibodies are built, makes them expensive to repair when they get hit. The rep at Progressive, who handled my wife's case, thought for sure that the car would be economically repairable. Nope. Damage estimate exceeded 80% of the car's value, and doubt was expressed as to the structural integrity if it was repaired, especially if the car was hit again in the same area.

They deemed it a total loss.

Oh well. Thankfully my wife was in good shape on it, financially, thanks to putting some money down when she financed it, and Honda's great resale value.

As a result of my ownership experience with my Tacoma, we had naturally talked a lot about Toyota, and, the 2 main Toyotas we'd talked a lot about, were the 4Runner, and the Sequoia.

With both my wife and myself being automotive enthusiasts, and having lots of conversations about all different kinds of cars, trucks, and SUVs, especially while we're out driving around and seeing lots of vehicles on the roads, we'd talked a lot about the 4Runners and the Sequoias - the pros and the cons, etc. The pros being the good looks (well, we consider the 4Runner ruggedly attractive; I'm not so sure the Sequoia can be called good-looking, although a lift and some aggressive, off-road wheels and tires sure do a lot for the looks of them).

We also love the Land Cruiser, but they're far and away out of our price range! I'll never forget getting to ride in a mid-to-late '80s Land Cruiser 60 Series when I was a kid, in around 1989. It's my only ride in one before or since. It was so very different from the Plymouth minivan my parents drove (they weren't car people by any stretch), and just exuded not only quality, but an exotic aura of "cool". It was dark gray.

The Land Cruiser has always just had a rep for quality and indestructibility, and, with the 4Runners still being made at Toyota's Aichi, Honshu, Japan plant, they're sort of like a "Land Cruiser Jr" - every bit as capable as the Land Cruiser of lasting 20 years and beyond when you take care of them.

We talked about different kinds of sport utilities other than the Toyotas, but never for very long. She likes the look of the GM and Ford full-size SUVs, but what stopped us from even considering those trucks, and I know I'm going to irritate some of y'all with this, but it's just my experience - the lack of quality and dependability. My experience with them (no, I haven't owned one, but I've known lots of people who did) is that they just nickel and dime you to death. Fuel pumps. Water pumps. Alternators. Starters. Blower motors. Blower motor resistors. Etc. Etc. And, to us, the interiors just aren't put together very well.

To me, it's really a very clear difference. I guess it started with my dad's parents back in the 80s (the worst time for domestic vehicles). My dad's dad was a WWII and Korean War veteran, and lifelong mechanic and Chrysler service manager, and then, later on, a rep for the old Sun Electronics (some of y'all know Sun made those old, huge, automotive diagnostic machines you used to see in auto repair shops). In the 80s, he switched over to Japanese, having seen how much better they were put together they were, and how much more reliable they were. And, naturally, his switchover made an impression on me, as a kid who was interested in cars. Now, Papa never owned anything exotic, but, even as a 10-year-old kid in 1990, I could clearly discern the quality difference between our 1987 Plymouth Voyager, and Grandma and Papa's 1990 Honda Accord LX and 1990 Nissan SE-V6 pickup.

SO, anyway, if you can't tell by now, I became a fan of Japanese cars when I was a kid, and I still have an affinity for them.

And my Tacoma has been as reliable and durable and dependable of a vehicle as I've ever owned.

Now has 234,000 miles (I've owned since new), and all I've had to replace has been:

- U-Joints in driveshaft twice now - first was around 100K, then, again, recently, due to clunk that could have been just a worn-out isolator in the center carrier bearing, but I went ahead and replaced the u-joints again while I had it out

- All 4 wheel bearings and rear axle seals (hey, I like to drive fast)

- Belt tensioner and idler pulley

- Center console latch broke from me slamming it down too hard

- Sunvisor broke

- Overhead compass/temp display failed. Known issue with these. Re-soldered for free. Fixed.

All underhood components original except belt, battery, spark plugs, filters. A/C blows ice cold. Engine and transmission run like new. All original suspension components, though the shocks are pretty worn out and I'm looking at swapping some on from a 2016+ Tacoma, as I hear they're better.

Bottom line, we decided on a new 2021 4Runner, because the wife has always liked them, and the indestructible, tried-and-true nature of the powertrain (it shares an almost identical engine and transmission to the Tacoma) and the tough, body-on-frame construction made it an easy decision. Not to mention, they're very roomy inside - more so than I thought. I'm 6'2", and, when I sat in the back seat of a new 4Runner, I was surprised at how much leg room I had back there, even with the front seats all the way back.

We decided on the base SR5 model, in 2WD. We didn't feel the need to go with one of the higher trim levels, because, these 2020 and up 4Runners actually come with a LOT of standard equipment, including Apple Car Play, power driver's seat with power lumbar (that was important to me; I have to have lumbar support), LED headlights, heated side mirrors and de-icers for the windshield wipers, power sliding aft tailgate window, roof rails, 17" alloys, Bluetooth audio/phone connection, 4 USB ports, and Toyota's electronic safety suite, including Pre Collision System with Pedestrian Detection, Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams.

We decided against 4WD because we didn't need it - we don't go off-roading, and the gnarliest gnar this thing will ever likely see will be maybe an unpaved road somewhere. Nothing a 2WD body-on-frame, truck-based SUV can't handle. Plus, 4WD adds complexity and weight (in the case of the 4Runner, 4WD adds 275 lbs), and extra maintenance. Just more to go wrong when it's something we'd never use. And, we'll enjoy the better acceleration with almost 300 lbs less weight. And then there's the $1800 savings. And better tow capacity.

And we'll likely upgrade the wheels, so, I'll keep the stock wheels and put some good winter-rated tires on those.

Also got the 3rd Row Seating, which makes this, technically, a 7-passenger truck. Although whoever's in the 3rd row, ain't gonna wanna be back there for long. We looked at it as something that can expand the usefulness of this truck for us, as we're planning to have more kids, Lord willing. So, we can put a kid or 2 back there, on short trips, and not have to take 2 cars. The seats fold flat, and there's a ton of room back there for cargo or whatever.

We decided to go new because it just doesn't make a lot of sense to buy these used, especially if it's only a few years old, because they just do not depreciate.

Getting this thing will be a little bit of an adventure, as I'm buying it out of Arlington, TX. Being 700 miles from Nashville, the thing that made the most sense was to hop a plane for a $129 one-way ticket, then drive it home. So, next Thursday, I'll do that. Just a little bit nervous about flying down and then potentially finding something wrong with it, like a scratch or dent or something. But the salesman has assured me that there are no scratches or dents, and he checked the odometer - 14 miles. I've asked him to make a note for them not to wash it - don't want to take the chance of someone scratching the paint or swirling it with a buffer.

We plan to keep this forever, and, with the proven longevity of these, there's no reason we should ever have to get rid of it. If anything, we'll pass it on to Jr. when he turns 16 :) Just hoping it won't get hit!

Review to come after we drive it for a while!

Who all here has had 4Runners?
 
Last edited:

Ws6

Messages
3,610
Location
South Central US
If you need a rugged, offroad vehicle, the 4Runner has a lot of nice amenities and a very solid reputation! I considered one before I bought a Mazda CX5, because they are nice, hold value insanely well, and are excellent offroad, but ultimately, most of my use is snow/ice/pavement and so handling and on-pavement refinement and an awesome softroad/snow/ice AWD system took precedence over serious offroad chops like the 4Runner brings to the table. I think you'll get years of rugged service from your 4Runner! Enjoy!
 
Messages
102
Location
VA
Glad to hear your family was not injured in the accident. I'm sure the new 4Runner will serve you very well. My wife and I bought a lightly used 2001 4Runner SR5 4WD in 2003. It had the 3.4L engine which did not have a lot of power and did not get really good gas mileage but man was it reliable and capable off road. Great vehicles!
 
Messages
38
Location
Formerly CARJ Olathe, KS
This was my 1997. It was a 5 speed and easily my most favorite vehicle I've owned.
1997.jpg


This is my current 2004. It has 200k on it and has been a great vehicle.


2004.jpg
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Messages
3,599
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
Those are great vehicles. Not a fan of the new ones because of all the electronics and everything but still should last a really long time I think.
I’m like you - I like simplicity, because I’ve learned that simplicity usually means greater reliability.

However, I am actually kinda geeked about the automatic cruise control system that holds a distance behind the car ahead, and the Apple Car Play, since the wife and I have iPhones.

Now, the Lane Keep Assist, they can have that. No use for it. I’ll turn it off if I can when I’m driving it.
 
Messages
7,353
Location
North America
First: Glad your wife & baby are fine!

Second: *raises hand as 4Runner owner* you've made a great choice in vehicle! T4Rs are top three in longevity and reliability in a list of all vehicles. Not a sports car but ride nice and haul whatever you need to.
 
Messages
5,020
Location
Roanoke Virginia
I’m like you - I like simplicity, because I’ve learned that simplicity usually means greater reliability.

However, I am actually kinda geeked about the automatic cruise control system that holds a distance behind the car ahead, and the Apple Car Play, since the wife and I have iPhones.

Now, the Lane Keep Assist, they can have that. No use for it. I’ll turn it off if I can when I’m driving it.
Yes lol 😂 we always had them brought into the dealership to turn many things off when they had all that stuff on there. Does this one have a push button start? I hate that too usually the system fails on them after awhile. I’m a real key type of guy.
 
Messages
4,856
Location
OK
I’m like you - I like simplicity, because I’ve learned that simplicity usually means greater reliability.

However, I am actually kinda geeked about the automatic cruise control system that holds a distance behind the car ahead, and the Apple Car Play, since the wife and I have iPhones.

Now, the Lane Keep Assist, they can have that. No use for it. I’ll turn it off if I can when I’m driving it.

I bet what you'll dislike the most about the 4R is the oil change procedure (compared to your Taco).

They use the stupid cartridge oil filters and you may have to unbolt a bunch of under panels to get to the filter and drain plug. (But yours being 2WD might have a lot less metal skidplate underneath)
 

john_pifer

Thread starter
Messages
3,599
Location
Nashville, TN via Memphis
I bet what you'll dislike the most about the 4R is the oil change procedure (compared to your Taco).

They use the stupid cartridge oil filters and you may have to unbolt a bunch of under panels to get to the filter and drain plug. (But yours being 2WD might have a lot less metal skidplate underneath)
Yes, I was very disappointed, when I opened the hood of the forerunner in the showroom of the dealership, and did not see the remote mounted oil filter boss, like my taco has.

But, I guess it is better to have less waste.


Good Lord I didn’t read your novel. But congrats on the new baby boy.
Haha, thank you sir!
 
Messages
5,624
Location
the canyons
Congrats.

I had a '97 I bought new and owned for 22 years. The only repair was a hydraulic clutch hose. $20.00 or so and a bit of my time to replace was it. I sold it last year for waaaaaaaaay above high book.

I bought a TRD ORP to replace it. Only 1300 miles so far, but I don't plan to sell it anytime soon.

I recently did it's first oil change myself. I didn't think it was a problem at all. The '97 had skidplates, the new one has skidplates. The canister filter just means it's easy to inspect the filter element, without having to cut open a filter. I would suggest getting a tool to remove the canister cap, like the "MotivX model MX2320" available on Amazon. IF you do use the 2 year/25k "Free maintenance" I would suggest removing the skidplates yourself beforehand, as there is a good chance that dealer lube techs will strip fasteners for the skidplates.

IMG_20200611_154632.jpg



A picture of the '97 the day I sold it doing an in-and-out through the dealership. No, I didn't park it there, the new owner did.
IMG_20191023_182902.jpg
 
Last edited:
Top