Last post on Jul 06, 2013 at 3:20 AM
You are in the Toyota 4Runner
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Toyota 4Runner, SUV
#11118 of 11429 choices, choices, choices....
Dec 31, 2005 (3:53 pm)
My wife and I have two children and haven't ruled out a third. My wife currently drives a 1999 Mitsubishi Montero Sport--it has been an excellent maintenance free vehicle for almost 100,000 miles now. Alas we are looking for a new vehicle of about the same size with newer/better safety features etc. Probably will end up getting something similar in size to the Montero Sport but with V8 and a 3rd row seat. We have test driven several vehicles including Nissan Pathfinder, Honda Pilot, Dodge Durango, Toyota 4runner, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. Our favorite three were the Toyota 4runner, Dodge Durango, and Jeep Grand Cherokee. However my wife really likes the looks of the Jeep Commander and it would probably afford our family a little more room and give us a third row seat if we were to need one—so it would replace the Jeep GC in the rotation. The Toyota 4runner Limited V8 we drove was silky smooth and would be fine for our offroad adventures. My only concern is that I am pushing 6' 3" and the roof seems very low in the 4Runner. Not the end of the world as my wife will mostly be driving the new SUV. The Toyota heating and cooling controls seem a little funky and could learn something from Jeep in this regard--Both the GC and Commander seem to have much simpler controls which seem better to me. Of course the 4runners are said to be very reliable which has been a virtue of our current SUV. Nothing but routine maintenance for 100,000 miles. I'm going to assume that gas mileage will be similar in either the Commander or 4runner and isn't a huge deal to me to begin with. We crossed the Durango off the list because the interior fit and finish in the test vehicles we looked at were somewhat poor and the overall size might be a tad large for our needs—it did drive very nicely though—perhaps a little too much wind noise but nice nevertheless. The Jeep Commanders that we have looked at have been nice and tight inside by comparison. So I guess it comes down to the Commander and 4runner. Any one else drive both of these vehicles and have some advice or other information for me? Which one did you buy and why? As of right now I'm on the fence. Who knows, might need to throw the new Explorer into the fray as well. Thanks in advance for your input!
#11119 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sthomps81]
Jan 01, 2006 (8:58 am)
sthomps81, I just purchased a 2006 SR5 4Runner 4x4 and went through a vehicle comparison analysis similar to yours. I ruled out V-8's because it's mostly hype (0-60 in xx seconds..who cares when your hauling a family, dog etc). So I ended up with the 6 cyl SR5 vs the Volvo XC90 2.5T AWD. The difference between these two cars is about $10K, with the options that I wanted, and the Volvo has more safety features that come standard. I'm in the northeast where the weather can be crazy. A lot of this comes down to personal taste and I find the Jeeps (Commander, etc) to be a little to plastic / cheap for my liking. I'm 6'2" and I have enough head room in the 4runner, but since your taller you might be squeezed for space. The 4runner I have has the 3rd row option, but it's for kids 10 and under as there isn't too much room back there. If you do your homework and work the Internet sales managers (which ever way you decide to go) then you should arrive at a good price and relatively hassle free purchase. Good luck.
#11120 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sthomps81]
Jan 01, 2006 (12:37 pm)
My advice would be to avoid the 4Runner if it's for you. If your wife will be the primary driver then I'd say go for it. This is because sunroof equipped 4Runners leave little if any clearance between your head & the sunroof. My head rested on the sunroof, and I'm 5'11'', but long in the torso. For this reason, I had to go with the SR5 instead of the Sport or Limited.
As for the 3rd row, I wouldn't want or need it, and if I did need it, I'd probably consider another vehicle, like an AWD Sienna or Sequoia, or even a Suburban. Prior posters say it's useless for anyone but small children.
Yes, the HVAC controls are horrible, especially when they wash out in sunlight. An Avalon I rented also had similar controls that washed out.
I gotta admit, Toyota has earned its reputation, but if you got in an Explorer you'd like it too. My 4Runner makes lots of road noise, too much IMO.
I have no comment on Dodge or Jeep since no one I know owns the latest models. Good luck.
#11121 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [neprop]
Jan 01, 2006 (1:16 pm)
Thanks for the thoughtful response and your points are well made. I certainly agree that a stout V6 like the one found in the 4runner provides more than enough power in most situations. Although I should add that I live in Colorado at 7,000+ feet and we also have some crazy weather at times as you can imagine. Many vehicles that provide more than adequate performance at lower elevations really start to feel pressed at our elevation, especially when loaded with family, pets, luggage, trailer, skis, bikes and the like:)
The joy of SUVs are for the combination of things that they are good at. We definitely use ours. In addition to traditional domestic duties, I use it to haul gear to our cabin in NM --ladder, tools, power washer, chain saw etc not too mention the family and pets....suffice to say that the extra power is useful during the mountain climbs that we often encounter. With all of that said we have been getting by with the woefully under-powered v6 in our Montero Sport. Definitely if we go the v6 route the 4Runner would have to be the choice. I don't think the Jeep's v6 would be very accommodating.
My wife was more impressed with the v8 than the v6 in the 4Runner. We haven't even bothered to drive the v6 in the Jeep.
I also agree with you that the 4Runner seems to have a slightly higher grade of materials used in the interior but I think the Jeep incorporates better design in the interior and this extends to the seats. Would you happen to know if you can get three car seats to fit in the second row?
Both the Jeep and Toyota dealers seem to be very willing to deal. My guess is that as 2006 progresses their willingness to deal will increase with the new vehicles coming to market--even more competition with a focus on fuel economy. I tend to drive a hard bargain as I pay cash, don't trade a vehicle, and I take my time.
If you don't mind letting me know, what has been your city/hwy MPGs with the V6 4Runner?
#11122 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [canddmeyer]
Jan 01, 2006 (2:21 pm)
My wife is a sunroof fan. She uses it often and it is a really big deal to her. Although I should add that all of our vehicles have had sunroofs in them--I guess due to equipment level they are ordered with. Yes the vehicle is primarily for her but we do use it for our various trips to the cabin etc. 4 hour trips are routine for our family. We have two children in car seats and are considering a third. So the third seat isn't immediately needed and would only be used for children in any event. We don't really want to move to a full size vehicle because for the most part I have been unimpressed with the space utilization of the big utes and for everyday domestic use they are overkill for our family. We require the durability and ground clearance of an SUV so mini-vans are not on the list. Ultimately you might be right regarding the head clearance in the 4Runner. As nice as it is this will probably be the deciding factor.
#11123 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sthomps81]
Jan 01, 2006 (7:32 pm)
My wife and I just purchased an 06 Limited 4Runner with a V8 and 4x4. Like some of the other members of this forum, we researched a lot of SUV's before deciding on the 4Runner.
Some of the front runners were the Jeep Commander, 4Runner, and Pathfinder. In addition, we took a close look at the Durango and Explorer.
To make a long story short, and of some value to you, here is the run down.
Our 6 mos old rendered my wifes G35 obsolete. It effectively became a two seater with him and all his gear. We decided to replace the car with an SUV that had some luxury and power in addition to the necessary space. And hey, if it was sporty, all the better.
The Commanders passenger front seat is useless with a rear facing baby seat installed behind it. The Pathfinders second row didn't accomodate me, I'm 6'3". We didn't drive the dodge or ford. I am sure they would be comfortable, but, quality is an issue.
So, the 4Runner won out. I don't bump my head on the sun roof, an adult can sit in the front passenger seat without wearing the dashboard, and two people will fit in the second row with the baby seat installed.
We did a lot of research. All SUV's have one problem or another. The 4Runner had fewer issues than the others. This factor was key in our decision.
If you have a child in a rear facing baby seat, I highly recommend installing the seat when test driving.
Good luck with your selection
#11124 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sthomps81]
Jan 01, 2006 (10:23 pm)
I am 6'4" and have a 05 SR5 4 Runner and fit fine. While looking at several on the lot I found that models with the sun roof seemed to have less headroom. Did you try adjusting the seat? If the seat is manual there are 3 adjustments that will compensate for height. When my wife & I are switching off the passenger seat fit is good also. We have the 7 seat model and although we hardly have need of them (I put them in when needed and found a cargo cover on ebay to cover the back). We'll have the seats in later this month for a trip to visit relatives but it seems like the seats are only usable for children. Not much leg room there. Unless you are really lugging some weight around the V6 should work well for you.
#11125 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sthomps81]
Jan 02, 2006 (2:00 am)
In addition, due to where you live I'd recommend the V8. At sea level where I'm at, the V6 suits me fine, but climbing the Sierra's I find the less powerful V6 downshifts too often. You might as well enjoy that sunroof, because I've never seen heated outside mirrors unless there was also a sunroof, and you'll definitely want those heated mirrors at 7000'. Also, I recommend going with a 2006 model and passing up any leftover 2005's.
Last but not least, I'd recommend the Platinum extended warranty. Enjoy.
#11126 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [sgware]
Jan 02, 2006 (6:35 am)
Very interesting point about the car seat. We do have one child in a rear facing car seat and another in a front facing. We haven't tried the car seats in the Commander but certainly will before making our final choice. Thanks for the input!
#11127 of 11429 Re: choices, choices, choices.... [canddmeyer]
Jan 02, 2006 (8:15 am)
We definitely are leaning toward a V8 in the 4Runner. 99% of our driving happens over 5,000 feet in elevation and as I mentioned earlier we live at 7,000 feet plus. When loaded the extra power is very appreciated. Heated mirrors are nice--I have them on my Audi (also has a V8).
We have ruled out the 2005 model in favor of the 2006. I'm usually not an extended warranty buyer but I will keep it in mind.