The solution I have arrived at (at least for now): the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) +75 Supercharger designed for the 2002 4 Runner V6. I have my work cut out (must research this TRD supercharger more), but this seems to be a possible solution if the 2003 looks the same as what we're seeing in these photos. I could buy the 2002 I visually love but I get the HP of the 2003 that I have waited three years for (of course, I would rather have the higher HP from a redesigned engine than a supercharger, but that desire is trumped by the need to drive something that does not look like a Technicolor yawn of all the other SUVs on the market).
TRD has a website explaining the supercharger option; how it complements your Toyota factory warranty; etc. Check out: http://www.trdusa.com/homepage.asp. I have never been a fan of modifying stock engines, but it appears that Toyota has been using this for years on the 4Runner with much success. Pricing it out, I am looking at $3-4K to have Toyota buy and install. I would probably drive the 2002 for 6 months to break in the engine and then have the dealer install. Gets the same warranty as the original factory warranty on the Runner and Toyota has test results showing no deleterious effects on engine life. I think with the pricing breaks on 2002s, you could get this option added and still come out several thousand less than the MSRP+ 2003s. Off-road websites have given this supercharger good feedback (very little maintenance involved), but I am still researching any serious negatives. This supercharger is in its second generation, and the couple kinks with the earlier version (that people used on the 1996, 1997, 1998, etc. 4Runners) have apparently been worked out. Went through the 2500 posts here and none of us have really posted in detail on this option. Curious if any of you have had it installed on your 3rd Gen. Runner and what your experience has been?
In sum, my solution is to wait until I can view a 2003 in person, get a handle on where it will be priced for the SR5 4WD Sport model. If it lives up to its photos, I will be buying a 2002 with supercharger. If all the 2002s are really sold by say November 1 (as one dealer tries to claim), then I will buy a used 2002 or I will look elsewhere (e.g., as the H2 is a little extreme for my use and costs $50K, I will probably have to consider something like an Explorer, etc. - are you listening Toyota? You really rained on my parade.) I apologize for the long diatribe but it helped me air out my thoughts - and I hope it provides a basis for discussion for how others are sorting through this dilemma.
And for anyone out there who loves the new look of the 2003, I AM JEALOUS! That is how I wanted to feel.
Good luck to All.
Now, why couldn't the 4Runner look like this?! It's a perfect blend of the GX 470 and a more rugged Toyota style. I would buy this baby in a heartbeat, without worrying about how it's going to look in reality, because it already looks kick-ss in this photo! Come on Toyota! What are you thinking?! Give us the Prado!!! I know it'll never happen, but now I'm disappointed...
I really don't understand what those indentations on the fender flares of the Auto World 4Runner are either. They seem like a design flaw or after-thought. I hope this IS a photo of a pre-production vehicle, and some of the oddities like that have changed, but I doubt it. I think this is the real deal that we'll be seeing in a month. I guess I'm going to have to rely on the old "I'll have to see it in person" statement still...