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Toyota 4Runner



  • rokinkrokink Posts: 25
    This is not something that is unique to Toyota V8s. Volvos used to give off this smell from in the eighties. I tend to smell it on cars with fancy emission control systems. It has to do with sulphur additive(s) in gasoline. It tends to be regional and is based on climate and the games that the refiners play at the time. Now, I do not know if it relates to the current price (and hence composition) of gas. I know that I smelled it alot in NJ, and I have smelled it to a much lesser extent in Florida.
  • beercoll1beercoll1 Posts: 88
    After reading about the new 4-runner for 6 months, and test driving them on 4 different occassions, I finally purchased a V8 Sport model in black. I do not really mind the cladding as much. I know this is just a personal choice. I also liked the little bit of extras you get with the sport model over the SR5.
    I traded in my 1994 4-runner with 120k miles. With the reputation of the 8, I hope to get at least that far without any major problems with this new one.
  • burt2burt2 Posts: 8
    I purchased 2003 4 runner SR5 V-8 4WD,black w/Appearance pkg. I have previously owned various 4wd vehicles, including 3 Jeep Cherokees (1982,1990,2001), 1 Jeep Grand Cherokee(1994), 1 Trooper (1998), 1 Tahoe(2002), 1 Lexus RX,(2003).

    I am extremely impressed with the new 4 runner and its capabilities. Absolutely the best 4wd system. After test driving 11 different makes I decided the 4 runner more closely met my needs. My biggest problem was deciding on which model of 4 runner ??

    Just sharing my personal opinions and why I selected my vehicle. First,it had to be 4wd. (I personally would never buy this type of vehicle with 2wd.) Next, V-6 vs V-8. Drove and liked both. V-8 approx $750 more. Insignificant. Gas mileage difference, 1-2 mpg, insignificant. Probably easier to run reg vs prem in V-8 due to compression differences. V-6, new engine. V-8, tested and bullet-proof. V-6 has 4spd automatic transmission. V8 has 5 spd auto trans. I chose V-8.

    The engines are close enough that I suspect the informed buyer will choose based on the respective differences in the 4wd systems. Both excellent. With the v8 you get fulltime 4wd with lo capabilities and center diff locking capabilities in 4high or 4 low. With the v6 you get the ability to run in 2wd which you cannot do with the v8 system. Many serious off-roading enthusiasts may prefer the flexibility of the system that comes with the v6.

    Next X-reas. I had read about it and wanted it. Standard on Sport, opt on Ltd, not available on SR5. Drove with X-reas and without. Frankly, I could tell the difference but it was not extreme.(Any of the 4runners don't roll and toss like a Tahoe or an Expedition. I worried about the "new technology". I would have gotten x-reas if I could have found on vehicle I liked otherwise.

    Now the all important "cosmetics". I liked the LTD., but it had a lot of things I personally did not like ( cargo-system, self-dimming mirror, silver roof rack). I wanted a black vehicle. If I had wanted silver I would have purchased the Ltd ( roof rack is silver). Liked interior on the sport, but did not like cladding and could not get appearance pkg. The appearance pkg in the sr5 allows you to get the LTD look for approx $300. Also you can get a black roof rack and black running boards ( instead of silver). Also you can order the wheels you want, 16 or 17, in aluminum.)

    Well, IMHO , the 4 runner is a great vehicle. The fun is selecting the model that fits your personal tastes. Hope this helps someone decide.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    You should post your review and give comparison of your new ride to your old here:

    bigorange30 "Jeep Grand Cherokee vs '03 Toyota 4Runner" Feb 28, 2003 8:25pm
  • china7china7 Posts: 3
    Just purchased Titanium sr5 - v8 - lighted running boards, leather, rack, mats,appearance package,spoiler. Sweet ride .. v8 awesome and the ride is surprisingly quiet and smooth so far. Highly recommend the appearance pkg and lighted running boards. The app pkg makes an sr5 look just like a limited and the running boards are nice when you use the key pad to unlock. The coolest is that rear window. Just a note, cant put it up remotely, must use key or the button in the cab. (make sure you dont have the "window lock" button on, thus the rear window won't work .. duh) Two more things .. many thanks to all that have posted to this page, it prevented me from purchasing a galatic grey 2 1/2 months ago when info on that sr5 appearance pkg started leaking out, especially cliffy and toyotaken and others. Hard to deal w/ dealers in s Florida. No one likes to go outside there own dealership and acquire a vechicle. Use the "Toyota .com " to check inventories and find your vechicle. Lastly, haven't had a chance for a real road trip yet but you won't believe how many people have looked at this thing from just going from Church to Wendy's. Amazing, I almost felt sorry for them !!
  • martin45martin45 Posts: 51
    Does anyone have any thoughts on how to get out of a 2003 SR5 V8 lease. I got a great price, but it was BEFORE the appearance package was available. I love the SUV, but I want the appearance package!
  • steverstever Posts: 52,572
    There are some (one?) places that will "trade leases."

    Lease Trading

    and this may help too:

    Answers to Three Tough Leasing Questions

    Good luck!

    Steve, Host
  • lynleytlynleyt Posts: 11
    Took delivery of an '03 4Runner V8 Ltd, Galactic Gray (who thinks up these color names?) on Friday. My wife thinks I am crazy since I am moving from a 2000 Audi A6 4.2. A few observations:
    - Virtually all the capability in the high-end Audi quattro systems are now available in the 4Runner.
    - Same with safety devices (brakes, curtain airbags, VSC, etc.)
    - For urban commuting (I consider the fuel cost to be the price of safety), the better view of the road and problems ahead can't be beat.
    - Although the best AWD cars have incredible traction, they don't have the ground clearance for deep snow (or the ridges made by snowplows at exit ramps, etc.). Obviously, you can't even think of taking them off road.
    - Reliability/cost of repair - 7/100 extended warranty for the Audi was 3 time the cost of one for the 4Runner.
    This site was really helpful in making my decision, thanks for your posts.
  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    After having my new V8 Limited for all of 4 days now, I'm very pleased overall. My reasons for choosing the V8 were just about the same as burt2's. Wanted X-REAS, too, and the LTD's around here pretty much come standard with it. Liked the looks of the LTD vs. Sport better (Sorry, I hate the fake hood scoop on the sport), and the wife wanted heated seats. So, to get the X-REAS and heated seats and have it look nice the LTD was the only real choice. We would have slightly prefered to have the vehicle in red or green, but alas, the LTD doesn't come in these colors.

    All the ones around here are 4WD, and it seems, to me at least, kinda pointless to have this vehicle without.

    Took it for a drive up US36 to Estes Park, then down US34 to Loveland. This route goes from 5000 feet, US36 peaks at over 9000 feet, Estes is about 7700 feet, and US34 goes back down to 5000 feet. Both roads are quite twisty. The V8 made getting up the hills effortless. With the X-REAS, this vehicle felt almost sporty in the turns. I was impressed on that account.

    The one thing that doesn't feel as good as I'd like is the brakes. They're a bit spongy, and not confidence inspiring when you feel like "Is my 4400 lb SUV really gonna be able to stop?". I think yes, it will stop, but the brake feel doesn't let you KNOW that.

    Observed MPG (not trip computer, this is calculated) in mixed driving, including the trip to the mountains, is 17.5mpg. Trip computer told me 19.0 after that trip plus some time on the Interstate, so it probably went up after the computed MPG.
  • kpitwldkpitwld Posts: 1
    Greetings from Montana! I'm new to the column but have been following the dialogue for a month or more - thanks to all of you for sharing your insights and observations.

    I purchased a 2003 Titanium Sport Edition V-8 in late December. I love most things about the truck after 2000 miles, with one or two exceptions. The weather seal on the trailing edge of the back doors is ineffective at keeping mud, sand and small gravel outside. The (1/4 inch) gap between the doors and the body is directly in front of the rear tires. Sizeable accumulations of slop collect between the paired weather stripping on the inside edges of the doors and must be hosed out at the car wash with doors opened. The mud also drains down from the interior door jam area onto the running boards. I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed this problem. I looked at three 2003s at the local dealer lot and noticed considerable variations in the width of the fenderwell door gap (presumably a function of door alignment at the factory).

    The rear tires also throw slop onto the rear portion of the running boards, which then gets tracked into the vehicle by the kids. The old 4Runner integral running board/door design seems to have been a better arrangement for keeping the mud in the fenderwells. The running boards just might have to go.

    I called Toyota customer service today to inquire about dealer installation of the appearance package for those of us that didn't know the option would be available a month after we purchased. I was told there was no plan for retrofitting. I'm disappointed -- no mad!
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I checked the rear door weather seals today. The inner bottom of the rear doors (metal, not fabric) have some of the salt mixture that they used on snow covered roads in the DC area. I can't imagine gravel getting in there, but some watered down slush made it's way in there.
     I have the V8 Titanium Sport that I now have a little over 2K miles on. I bought mine in late DEC also.
    Just think, we now have the highly prized, extremely valuable, very rare, saught by collectors of vintage vehicles, the 2003 gray cladding, V-8 Sport 4Runners.
  • rentorento Posts: 1
    I owned a limited model and I noticed this issue when I had 1500 miles on it. I hate going to the dealer and wasting my gas and time just to fix an issue like this to a new car. WD-40 will easy fix the problem at the squeking railings. One more thing is the right side mirror loose, 2 small rubber padding is missing (check left side mirror for rubber spacer). Put a tiny rubber pad solve the problem. You can get it in any hardware store.
  • burt2burt2 Posts: 8
    Even though I selected an SR5 with Appearance pkg, IMHO , of all the 4runners with cladding, it looked the best on the Sport Titanium silver. It just seemed to "go with the vehicle". FYI - presently the Appearance pkg is only available on an SR5. Not available on the Sport.
  • trb2trb2 Posts: 2
    I have a 96 Jeep Grand Cherokee and have started looking for a new vehicle. I love driving the Jeep but it's past repair record is? I just started looking at the new 4Runner and now read about the "appearance pkg" and poor gas mileage. I apolgize for being ignorant, but my dealer visit nor Edmunds references an appearance pkg...can someone help me out? Also, it appears that the 17/20 or 17/21 mileage rating for the V6 may be too optimistic...user experiences?
  • jaredmsdjaredmsd Posts: 127
    Just for your reference, the toyota website now references the appearance package. If fact, they show a picture of the SR5 with the appearance package on the front page of the 4runner section.

  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    Am I the only one who absolutely hates the appearance package? Now all those SR5 owners can have a vehicle that looks as cool as my Limited!
    Bah, humbug!

    Seriously, it does look a lot better with it, from the pics I've seen. Personally, I do like the other extras the Limited has, though. Dealers around here are just starting to get SR5's with the appearance package in, at least they said when I picked up my Limited.

    There have been quite a few mileage posts in the forum, maybe you could search on them? Though most of the ones I've seen are for the V8. Seems like the range for those that I've seen are within the EPA estimates. My personal mileage is. Dunno about the V6, though.

    What kind of mileage do you get with your JGC, and what engine does it have?
  • kim47kim47 Posts: 9
    I've also run into the problem with mud and sand collecting on the inside of the rear doors (just at the bottom as others have mentioned). I simply assumed it was a design flaw in a first year model but maybe that's not the case and it is a random door alignment issue?

    It's more of an annoyance than a major gripe since I'm very happy with the car overall. But if anyone figures out a way to prevent this interior collection of mud and crud I'd love to hear about it!
  • morrymorry Posts: 24
    I live in Ohio. I ordered a fully loaded black Limited with navigation over 2 months ago. It would have been nice to have it for the record snow we have been having. I just found out today that it hasn't even started production. Does anyone know if there is one available anywhere in the country?
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I don't think it's a door alignment issue as the doors seem very well aligned. The weather strip on the bottom of my rear doors is very hard, sort of like solid plastic - not at all like the rest of the seal . Maybe it's to allow water to drain out when you leave the moon roof open and it rains.
      I am going to have my dealer check it when I take it in for service. I also want them to make my door lock alarm much louder. It sounds like tweety bird now. I am so embarrassed in parking lots when I lock it, "tweet" or unlock all the doors "tweet tweet tweet"
  • trb2trb2 Posts: 2
    I am starting to believe that I test drove an SR5 with the appearance pkg as it had all the clad, etc. The sticker didn't say anything special!

    As for my Jeep GC, it has a straight 6 and I get about 20mpg on the road below 65mph and 18mpg at 75.
  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    I ended up buying my 4Runner off of Just took a peek and they have the appearance package for the SR5 listed as an option. Dunno if it's part of one of Toyota's other option packages; generally, unless you special order, they put groups of options together, which means you might be getting it with other stuff, too. Toyota's website doesn't seem to include the appearance package in the 'Build your own' section. That would give you a good idea of what option combinations are available.

    I seem to remember some discussion about the appearance being a port-installed option, but I'm not looking back right now. Anyone know if this is the case, and why it might not show up on their website yet?

    Seeing the V8 mileages, I would imagine that a V6 4Runner would probably be similar in mileage to your JGC for highway driving.
  • china7china7 Posts: 3
    I picked up a sr5-v8 with appear pkg on Friday. Titanium. The msrp on the app pkg was $370 and it appears from the outside to look like a limited. It will have NO cladding on it, except for the difference in roof racks (black on sr5 and silver on limited you really can not tell any difference)I also recommend the lighted running boards. I suggest watching inventories of dealers in the area. I believe I got one of the first since out of 5 dealers that I was watching only one dealer got 2 of the same type. I don't believe it a port installed option. When I was looking on the toyota site I believe the package showed up under accessories or packages unless they changed it since last Wednesday. That is how I was able to locate the sr5 pkg at that one dealer. I would highly recommend this package. As for the MPG on v8 - only used 1/2 tank and have over 180 miles.
  • jaredmsdjaredmsd Posts: 127
    Does anyone have an opinion (tried and true opinion, not just ANY opinion) on the cladding on the sr5 or sport besides the looks of it? Like: have you taken it offroad and the paint outside of the cladding got scratched, but the cladding was fine, etc?

    I personally don't value the looks of the truck enough to care whether or not it has the cladding, but from a durability/strength/long-term-looks standpoint, I am interested.

    Thanks ahead for any insight,
  • morrymorry Posts: 24
    I live in Ohio. I ordered a fully loaded black Limited with navigation over 2 months ago. It would have been nice to have it for the record snow we have been having. I just found out today that it hasn't even started production. Does anyone know if there is one available anywhere in the country?
  • russhwrusshw Posts: 3
    the cladding should have more durability i think that was the hole point .

    I love my cladding :>)
  • vodgutvodgut Posts: 162
    I know there are a few of them out there. One of the dealers I talked to around here had presold one that was probably available about now. Dunno if it's a regional thing, though. Try calling some of the larger dealers in your area, or they may even have websites that list inventory. If you're looking to get one with nav soon, I don't know if you'll be able to be all that picky about the color, they do seem pretty rare, at least around here.
  • steveb84steveb84 Posts: 187
    Did a couple quick searches...

    Only 6 in the Chicago Region, 9 in Cincinatti Region.

    Contact me direct and I can try to help.
  • burt2burt2 Posts: 8
    My attempt at explaining my understanding of the cladding / appearance pkg debate. The 4runner has 3 trim levels, Limited (top-of-the-line), Sport, and SR5. The Limited comes standard with painted (matching the body) fender flares. The Sport and SR5 have standard gray cladding as fender flares. This is the only way the Sport is available. The SR5 has an option package known as the Appearance Pkg, which includes color-keyed over fenders, wheel flares and bumpers. (Just like the Limited) The pkg also includes front fog lights. (The Toyota web site is somewhat misleading, by indicating that the Pkg also includes running boards). If you order the Appearance Pkg, msrp $370, you must also order running boards msrp from $$345 to $399. Together that is a minimum of msrp of $715. Again, only available on SR5.

    To trb2, look at the KBB website, for more detailed info on option packages. IMO, better site for reviewing options than Edmunds.

    IMO, the gray cladding is a much better choice for serious off-roading, hence the reason only choice on the Sport model. To many the painted look is better on the Limited for "street use". You have a choice on the SR5.

    Just my opinions. Thanks
  • I own an '03 LTD V8 and the rear wiper doesn't function- i.e., you can spray the washer fluid then the blade sort of "skates" over the area without really touching the window. What is the likely reason for this? I have only about 1k miles...also...

    I am really frustrated by the ambiguity of the manual regarding says you need a minimun of 87 but recommends premium for 'increased performance';;...what the heck does that really mean? In my experience vehicles are usually meant to operate with just one grade of fuel.

    Question: What "performance" is increased exactly, and also, will using 87 decrease in any way the life span of my engine? I really want to get it right so I can enjoy this truck for many years...

  • khaugkhaug Posts: 64
    Barbarian, my rear wiper works much the same. So did the rear wiper on our '98 4Runner. Maybe someone else can offer a suggestion for improving its performance.

    Most modern engines are adaptive, in that they can detect when low-octane fuel is causing knocking in the combustion chamber and adjust the ignition timing to compensate. Of course, this timing change reduces power output and cuts miles per gallon as well.

    I've tried 87, 89 and 93 octane fuel in our '03 V8 and haven't really noticed a difference, but our weather here in Michigan has been so cold that it's really hard to draw any conclusions. I've settled down to running 89 octane regularly as a compromise. I tow a 4,000# trailer, and plan to use 93 when I tow, as I did with our '98 V6.

    Since Toyota says 87 is OK, I don't have any concerns about it doing any damage to the engine.

    -Karl, '03 Limited V8 4WD
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