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Toyota 4Runner



  • asif1asif1 Posts: 49
    Third Row Seat can be completly taken out by folding and unlocking the side hinge nicely coverd in plastic, leaving no clue behind that you ever had 3rd row seat except for 2 small indents on cargo floor. That can also be coverd with spare full floor mat. If you dont like 3rd row seat, take it out. But having an extra potential in your vehicle of carrying 2 extra people when you need is really helpful. Further more for in-town driving it does'nt hurt if you are carrying all 7 seven passengers (on demand) or fold one of the 3rd row seat for added cargo space, use other as extra seating. Folding over to side is helpful in unfolding it, since you dont have to lean over too much, from back, to pick the latch from floor or go around from 2nd door, bend the 2nd row seat and then unfold the 3rd row seat.
    Toyota must have done their study before putting 3rd row seat, since 70 % of 4runner buyer rarely use it for offroad purpose.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    They don't offer the 3rd seat and nav together because the 3rd seat apparently takes up some room needed for the nav system equipment.

    I strongly suggest that you reevaluate your need for a 3rd row seat. The 3rd row seat in the 4Runner is very small and is very difficult to get into. If you need a 3rd row seat, then get a bigger truck or a minivan. If you don't need the 3rd row seat, then it is a waste of money and weight (and therefore, fuel).
  • alfster1alfster1 Posts: 273
    Although helpful (particularly for those smaller in stature), the third row seat is an expensive option that is uncomfortable for adults and not easy to access. Also, folding up the seats to the sides can reduce some rearward visability.

    Ideally, a Highlander, Sienna, or Sequoia fit the bill better for those who need a third row.
  • I am using 17" wheels for off roading and they are doing great. For sand, 20psi is too high! You need to be at 8-12psi for great flotation and comfy ride! Believe me, once you descent and ascend 45 degree dunes and steeper (!) you will believe in your 4Runner!
    I haven't had problems on rocky terrain with 17's either. No bottoming out on the tires or anything.

    17" doesn't have a huge selection but in the size that fits (265/70-17) without rubbing or problems, they look REALLY good.
    The best tires are available in the size too. BFG ATKO All-Terrain, Bridgestone Duler REVO, TOYO, even the Goodyear wrangeler MT/R! etc, etc,

    Plus the fact 17" is great on road and they look awesome, there is no reason to consider 16's.

    Now theoretically, 16's have more flotation but not enough to justify the switch. Unless you are going to do the Rubicon trail rockcrawling (in which case the 4Runner would need a lift and even bigger tires than stock 16's anyway).

    If you have 16's, that is great. If you have 17's you are good too. Just run what you got and don't worry about the minor difference between the two.
  • I am currently deciding between RX330 and 4Runner Ltd V6 2WD, I do not live in a snowy region and I don't tow anything but my dog, lots of groceries and husband. I truly love the design of both the 330 and 4Runner, I know that these two vehicles are in two completely different markets. However, was just wondering if the extra $10K for the RX330 would be well spent for a "softer" ride. Basically my question is how would you all rate on a scale of 1-10 the ride quality of the 4Runner? 98% of my driving is interstate on old, bumpy VA roads and one of my top priorities is a smooth ride, any comments are appreciated. Also, what about leans going around corners? I don't want to feel as if I'm about to flip over everytime I get off on the very steep off-ramp at my job :-)
  • Is the RX $10,000 more? Wow.

    The independent suspension of the RX is going to give you a smoother ride.

    On the 4Runner, you should get the XREAS option. That flattens out the leaning and really adds to the stability- the faster you go, the more you notice the benefits of XREAS. Freeway off/on ramps would be a good example of higher speeds.

    You should test ride both to see how they compare. The 4Runner was rated as one of the best rides for a mid-size SUV. It beat out the Murano and other 4 wheel independent SUV's. That is totally subjective however.

    I don't think the RX is worth $10,000 more but that's a personal choice. For your purposes (and if cost is not a priority) I would get the RX.
  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    First, you really must test drive each of these vehicles, and the best way to do this would be to request from each dealer a demo or loaner vehicle most closely matching your preferred options, and that you be permitted to take home and drive each vehicle for a full day or two. Do this, and you will be much more likely to answer your own questions.

    Also, if you haven't already done so, visit the manufacturer's web sites for each vehicle, first at And for the 4Runner, visit, where you'll need to click on both the "dimensions" and "capacities" tabs in order to review such things as wheelbase, curb weight, etc. After reviewing this information, keep in mind that within a given size class, those vehicles with more curb weight, wider wheel base (stance), larger tires, lower center-of-gravity, larger cabin, larger seats, and a more robust power/drive train (etc.) may quite often provide a more comfortable, stable, smoother, and safer ride than a smaller vehicle. I found the RX330 to be a rather small, cramped, and vastly overpriced "compact" SUV, but it's YOUR opinion that counts most here! In other words, buy only what YOU like most!
  • Deciding between the RX330 and the 4Runner V6 Ltd. Possibly consider the Toyota Highlander Ltd, it is priced closer to the 4Runner and is a better comparison to the Lexus. My guess is this is a FWD Lexus, not the AWD?

    You do not have a concern with snow. Only need room for you dog, lots of groceries and husband. Dog was listed first, husband last.…just an observation?? Either vehicle will haul your needs just fine.

    You live in VA., depending on where, you occasionally get some ice and snow and lots of rain. Plus you have those bumpy roads. You may want to consider the 4Runner AWD V8 Ltd. You will not spend anywhere near the $10K difference you would for the Lexus over the V6 Ltd. Runner. Realize the 4Runner is a truck and has a good ride for a truck, the RX330 is on a car-based frame and rides like a car.

    My sister owns a RX330 AWD and says it is the best SUV she has ever had. I am picking up my 4Runner V8 Ltd this week and probably will say the same about it after a couple of months.

    I have driven each, these are my subjective 1 – 10 ratings:
    Ride Rating: 4Runner ( 8 ) RX330 ( 9 ) Highlander ( 7 )

    Good luck, you are choosing between the best in each class, you cannot make a bad choice.

    I do agree with terrafirma’s statements:
    “The independent suspension of the RX is going to give you a smoother ride.”
     “For your purposes (and if cost is not a priority) I would get the RX.”
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    The 4Runner is built like a truck -- with a separate frame and a solid rear axle. That makes it great for towing and off-road driving. Neither of which are important to you. The RX330 and Toyota Highlander will drive and ride better than the 4Runner. The 4Runner has a some head-toss and front-to-rear pogoing on bumpy roads that you won't get in a the RX330 or Highlander.

    Skip the 4Runner. It is not what you are looking for.
  • 2003-04 4Runner scored as top midsize suv in the critical offset frontal crash test and the institute's best pick.
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    On the use of 265/ 70/17 tires see
     The 70 series tires are about 3.4 % larger circumference. than the OEM 17 inch tires. Those tires and more are available in the 16 inch size. The 265 /65/17 and 245/ 70/ 16 are the same.
     I had thought about going to the 16's for the beach. I would think you could run the air at lower than 20 easier with the 16's since they have more sidewall.
  • I've noticed an awfull lot of road debris accunmulating on the lower inside edge of the rear doors on my 2003 Sport. This area is a part of the cladding of the rear doors that wrap around the fender lip in front of the rear tires. It appears that the rubber gasket that seals this area is inadequate to keep the road debris out.

    Also the front fender aprons have holes in them that are not sealed off with body plugs thus allowing road debris in the engine compartment.

    Anybody noticed this on their 4-Runners?
  • pat84pat84 Posts: 817
    I have the same rear door problem. I think the gasket is in too far and not on the outer edge of the door bottom. I haven't noticed any debris in my engine compartment that I haven't gotten in other vehicles - an occasional dead leaf, etc.
     At least the 4Runner has a little character, collecting mementos in the bottom of the rear doors of where you have been.
  • Well as for my comment about the $10K difference between the 4Runner and RX330, I was just refering to the many different internet quotes I have received for the two models I am interested in. As for all your responses I want to thank you and it's amazing how an individual's personal preference shapes their views on these different vehicles. But like many of you stated when it's all said and done I guess I need to get my behind out there and test drive both back to back and see which one will really fit my personal needs. Thanks again for comments and suggestions, it was extremely helpful!!!
  • bryancosbryancos Posts: 282
    Check the accessories board for links and pics... WAAG makes a really nice one, but they run in the $400-500 range.
  • Yes, there is a bigger selection of 16" tires but the selection of 17" tires is good. All the good AT tires come in the correct 17" size for the 4Runner.

    Airing down on sand. You get better flotation with a 16" wheel but then again, 15" with equivalent tire gives even better flotation than 16".
    The real question to ask is that for the given application, does the 17" perform all it is asked to do by the majority of owners? I think it does.

    When you air down, typically 8-15psi is good. 20 is pretty high for sand. The 17" still gives you great flotation and no problems.

    On the 03-04 4Runner, you must carefully select aftermarket wheels. The front brake calipers are big and alot of wheels don't fit.
  • I recently purchased a V8 SR5 AWD after testdrove Siena, Highlander (more comparable to 4Runner than RX330), and Pilot. Hope my experience is any help for you.

    In this forum, you can see riding comfort of 4Runner has been drawing a lot of attention. Some say fine and some say truckish. Even road reviews in magazines are mixed. Some say better than some car-based SUVs while the other say, "you can definitely tell it's truck-based as soon as you start to drive".

    In my opinion, the vice of "truckish" of 4Runner is insignificant in practical situation. It may be a bit firmer than most of cars with soft ride, but it's by no means any level of "uncomfortable". Actually, I found it a very comfortable car for commutation and long-distance driving. Sure, you can feel that it hops more than a car over large bumps but so what? You are not supposed to go fast over the speed reducers. By the way, my Jetta has such a short suspension travel and it easily bottoms out over large bumps unless I go slowly anyway.

    On the other hand, I must admit that Pilot was the most reasonable choice for me who use it mostly for commutation and groceries, like you. I didn't like Siena/Highlander (and possibly RX330 because they are all Camri-based) at all. Their handling was so numb and rubbery at the center and the new 3.3L engine had quite coase feeling. As I said, Pilot had everything and was a very good car indeed. However, 4Runner had several important things that won me over. First, the V8 was soooo smooth, quiet, and powerful (sorry I didn't try V6). The 4Runner was the quietest of the bunch and accelaration was by far the best. Second, Pilot seems to me a minivan and 90% of men can't stand driving a minivan (I don't know why). Third, Pilot asked me $1,200 makeup and 4Runner carried $2,500 discount. So, V8 4Runner was less expensive than V6 Pilot!

    This was my first truck and its sturdiness was very impressive, which adds extra sense of secureness. All the gadgets like full-time AWD (not on-demand like Pilot), low-range transmission, hill-assist, descending assist, valvestems that transmit air pressure to the car (including the spare tire!), and the full-size spare tire that comes down like an elevator from the bottom of the car, (even though many of them are overquality for me) are simply impressive and make me wonder how they can offer this car at this price. At this point, snow and beach (fishing) are the only activities that may require 4WD and I'm sure that Pilot can deal with most of the situations. Pilot has more space, better mileage, and maybe better ride, but, hey, I fell in love with my 4Runner and love is irrational thing isn't it?
  • Your post was very helpful. I, like you, was at first drawn to the Honda Pilot and began antagonizing between the Pilot and 4Runner, however, I just cannot fathom being in a minivan like automobile (many woman can't stand minivan's as well). Not to mention I found the Pilot's ride to be a bit sluggish. Otherwise it did seem like a very capable vehicle. However, in the end the 4Runner's looks and loooooong list of standard safety features won out.
    Then came the RX330, and this was because I LOVE the styling of the RX, not to mention the luxury of a Lexus and like you pointed out I was concerned with the ride quality in a truck-based SUV. HOWEVER, if I can get that same luxury and just as good ride quality for THOUSANDS less in a 4Runner then WHY THE HELL NOT!!!!!
    So, what I'm basically saying is I'm 75/25 split between 4Runner and RX330 respectively, and I guess the deciding factor will really be once I take them for a test drive. I will keep you all posted!!

    P.S. Haven't seen much posts on the V6 2WD, any comments on this? I am thinking of a V6 2WD Lmtd with the X-REAS, 6 disc/10 spkr JBL, sunroof and driver/passenger airbags.
  • If you have money to consider RX330, why don't you consider V8? With the price difference, you can buy V8 in the limited trim. In my opinion, engine is the most important thing because you use it 100% of the driving!

    I bought 3rd raw because once or twice a month I need to do car pool for kids in my neighbor. The emergency 3rd raw was a good thing to have. If you don't need the 3rd raw, you can buy a navigation system with rear view camera.

    By the way, 4Runner has more macho appearance and I look twice (in a positive way) if I find a woman driving it. I'm not sure it's a good thing for you or not....

    Oh, one more thing. I thought the V6, which is a completely new unit for Toyota, seemed to have an initial reliability problem. You'd better check it. There are many posts regarding V6 in this forum.
  • ladyofluxury, the 4Runner drives very well for what it is (a truck at heart), but civility on rough roads is very likely better with a car-based vehicle. This includes "head toss" and kicks from the suspension over bumps and rough roads. I think the only way you can know the truth for you is to do a significant amount of test driving.

    Same goes for the V6/V8 decision. I drove both versions multiple times and liked the V6 better overall, regardless of price. The V6 felt more agile, perhaps because it could be operated in 2WD and is 150 lb. lighter in the front end. Acceleration, especially at highway speeds, seemed similar between the two; remember that the V6 has more horsepower and the V8 has more torque. So drive the RX and both of the 4Runners all you want and then decide. For your needs, I don't think you can go wrong.

    BTW, the V6 reliability problem appears to be from a TSB/recall related to defective fuel pulsation dampers from the first 6 months of production. The V6 is a brand new (and more complicated) engine mated to a proven automatic transmission. The V8 is a proven engine mated to a brand new (and more complicated) transmission.
  • adp3adp3 Posts: 446
    Lady: Seems to me that you'd be much better off in a Volvo XC90 or a Cadillac SRX Don't laugh. Drive the base models. Yes, you'll pay more, but you'll be happier. The truckie ride of the 4Runner can get old, though it's way better than it used to be.
  • kheintz1kheintz1 Posts: 213
    For what it's worth, I've received from my various passengers a number of glowing complements concerning the interior comfort and smooth riding characteristics of my V8, AWD 4Runner Ltd. My girlfriend is particularly fond of this vehicle, even after riding in it for nearly 1000 miles over the Thanksgiving holiday, with her two young boys (ages 6 and 8) in the back seat. The boys were quite comfy during this long trip, and the vehicle's 110 volt AC outlet allowed them to more easily enjoy DVD movies on a laptop that we set up in the back seat.

    While I can certainly understand your interest in the V6, 2WD version of the Limited, I would urge you to take your time. Before you make your final decision, you ought to consider test driving the V8/5-speed version for a couple of days. I've previously lived for a year in the Virginia Tidewater area, and during that time I can recall plenty of snow and icy road conditions, especially in the late winter and early spring. I'm originally from NE Ohio (the Lake Erie snow belt) and I found that one winter in Virginia to be far from "mild". After all, we're talking about Virginia here, and not a Gulf Coast state. And as you know, at certain other times of the year Virginia certainly sees its share of torrential rains, including hurricanes. Therefore, I would urge you to carefully consider the added versatility, capabilities, and safety afforded by a high quality all-wheel-drive (AWD) SUV.

    If you've not previously and extensively driven an SUV, there a few things you should never forget. First, even the best of these vehicles will have a higher center-of-gravity than a car, and probably the most common reason for roll-over accidents is a driver's lack of familiarity, "retraining", and EXPERIENCE with safely handling these vehicles. For example, those of us who grew up driving CARS may instinctively try to steer out of the way of a sudden obstacle in our path by abruptly and sharply steering or jerking the wheel. This maneuver may save one's butt in a low-slung car, but in an SUV it may have catastrophic results. You must learn how to drive these vehicles defensively, safely, and non-aggressively, and this often involves being willing to quickly learn a completely NEW set of driving skills that are unique to SUVs. Also, compared with cars, SUVs are not only more top-heavy, but the more massive models are also quite HEAVY in general. Thus, even if a given SUV has an outstanding brake system and other safety features, it is still a helluva lot of mass moving down the road, and therefore it will take a much LONGER time to slow down or stop than a car would require. Those who would tailgait or drive carelessly with a massive SUV are especially inviting disaster! With these vehicles, one must be constantly and ever more aware of what's always unfolding on the road AHEAD, as well as what's going on behind and around the vehicle from moment to moment. In other words, defensive driving skills are often especially crucial when driving an SUV, and you will need to pay even more "quick" attention to side mirrors and SPOT mirrors, while always checking and re-checking blind spots, even with spot mirrors installed.

    It is also wise to keep in mind that while many of the abilities of a high quality SUV can be quite thrilling and impressive (especially during more hazardous conditions) these same attributes can also inspire over-confidence and many of the pitfalls there in. As for the new 4Runner, this vehicle weighs in at nearly 4500 lbs. (depending on options and configurations) and in my opinion this amount of mass requires more than adequate engine power and tractional abilities in order to better "get out of the way of itself" in a pinch. This is only one reason why I personally feel that the V8/5-speed version is preferrable, but this is just my opinion. If you're going to spend this much money for a 4Runner, why not buy a bit more options than you think you will need, since those options may come in handy sooner than you might anticipate? On the other hand, if you "under-specify" the vehicle, you'll be truly stuck and out of luck if you later realize you made some big errors. "Buy in haste, repent at leisure..."
  • likalarlikalar Posts: 108
    Both of your choices are great vehicles. Now, I know you're married (and so am I) so the following doesn't matter 2 cents worth, but here I go anyway: A woman driving that Lexus is rather predictable (in Northern CA, they ALWAYS seem to have a woman at the wheel). However, a woman driving the 4Runner is kind of cooler, sexier even, IMO. :-)
    P.S...Of course that's not why you're buying this truck. -Just having a little fun, that's all. Good luck.
  • I agree with Larry.
    The cool factor of a woman behind the wheel of a 4Runner is definitely there while the woman behind the wheel of a RX is expected.

    There is no cool factor in a Honda Pilot! :)
  • kjack100kjack100 Posts: 133
    Thank goodness for new blood on here. :--)

    Get a white with taupe interior V-8 4x4 Limited with Nav and x-reas for less than the price of an RX330. You will love your wheels. Pilot = minivan. End of story.
  • "If you have money to consider RX330, why don't you consider V8? With the price difference, you can buy V8 in the limited trim."

    There isn't any reason why I wouldn't consider the V8, my intentions are to test drive the V6 and the V8 to compare the difference in ride quality in each. Since I do not forsee myself towing anything I figured the V6 should be sufficient for my needs. However, once I drive both I will let you all know what I thought of each.
  • "BTW, the V6 reliability problem appears to be from a TSB/recall related to defective fuel pulsation dampers from the first 6 months of production. The V6 is a brand new (and more complicated) engine mated to a proven automatic transmission. The V8 is a proven engine mated to a brand new (and more complicated) transmission."

    Thanks for the info on this, I had heard of some problems in both the V6 and the V8 and never heard mention of the source or if it was rectified. Also thank you for your input on the V6/V8 difference, and just for clarification am i correct in saying that the 4WD/AWD differs between the V6 and the V8? In the V8 doesn't the vehicle stay in AWD mode at all times? Maybe I need to go to the 4WD/AWD message board to see what folks are saying about that b/c I know that I would want mainly 2WD mode IF I do get the 4WD model.
  • "Lady: Seems to me that you'd be much better off in a Volvo XC90 or a Cadillac SRX Don't laugh"

    I'm not laughing, I actually was seriously considering the Cadillac SRX, however I've known too many people who paid premium price for a Cadillac, only to get much less than premium reliability in return. And the XC90 is just an ugly vehicle to me :-) No offense! After all my research if I go with car based it has to be RX330, the Pilot WAS in the running before I got to test drive it and seriously thought about paying over $30K for such a plain, minivan looking vehicle, so as for right now it's still 4Runner vs. RX330
  • "While I can certainly understand your interest in the V6, 2WD version of the Limited, I would urge you to take your time. Before you make your final decision, you ought to consider test driving the V8/5-speed version for a couple of days. I've previously lived for a year in the Virginia Tidewater area, and during that time I can recall plenty of snow and icy road conditions, especially in the late winter and early spring"

    I am carefully considering ALL my options. I have been in "research" mode since 2002 and now going into 2004. I am not one to buy a new vehicle every 2 years (as you may be able to tell from the fact that I'm still driving my 94 Accord that I bought brand new), and so it's extremely important to me that I make a decision I can live with for many years to come. Hence the reason why I've automatically discluded certain models for their proven tracks of unreliability.

    As for VA weather, I've been living in VA Beach for only 7 months now and this is my first winter here. We had a good amount of rain during the spring/summer but the rain was 10 times worse in Florida where I previously lived for 11 years. Many of my co-workers, friends etc. who are native to this area has told me that they MIGHT get snow maybe for a day or two during the season and during these days work/schools/bases are shut down because this area is not equipped for snow since they don't receive it often. So from their experiences I decided I MAY NOT need a 4WD/AWD, however only time will tell these things and I certainly have not exclusively ruled out the 4WD/AWD option. I do know however this is the farthest north we will live and I would hate to pay extra for something that I may never use or use only one or two days a year. But I thank you for offering your experience/opinion and if I do go with the 4Runner I will consider ALL my options.

    As for driving an SUV, I learned to drive on my father's old Bronco and I don't think anything could be worse than I am well aware of the difference in driving an SUV over a sedan and trust me I am not the one to try and zip around a steep corner going 85. Actually, I am not even a left hand lane driver lol j/k But seriously, thank you for your comments, I read all of them and take them all into consideration.
  • I never really thought of the "cool factor" in owning a 4Runner lol However, I have noticed that ALL the RX's I've seen were driven by women, and all but one 2003-04 4Runner driven by men. Surprisingly thought the Pilots I've seen seem to have a very good mix of men/women drivers, I wonder why that is?

    Anyway, I will test drive and let you all know what I finally decide. I'm very picky though so it may take quite a few test drives to make a final decision.

    P.S. Why no DVD player in the 4Runner? Anyone had this installed aftermarket?
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