Last post on Jul 06, 2013 at 3:20 AM
You are in the Toyota 4Runner
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Toyota 4Runner, SUV
#8697 of 11429 My 1st real test of 4Rnr's AWD
Nov 29, 2003 (10:16 pm)
Terrafirma: Thank you for your comments and clarifications-- most appreciated.
Last night I drove back to Ohio from a visit to the mountainous area of Boone, NC. That morning, it began raining hard as a winter storm system moved into the Mid-Atlantic region, bringing freezing rain, ice, high winds, intense snow squalls, and low visibility. I got on the road at 10:30 PM, then drove for 8 hours and 400 miles through this treacherous winter storm. The drive down and out of the Blue Ridge mountains was especially challenging, and I'm proud to report that my '03 AWD, V8 4Runner Ltd. (with Michelin Cross Terrains) performed FLAWLESSLY and FANTASTICALLY throughout this trip. Indeed, this truck felt like, and performed like, an integrated extension of my own nervous system, for the following reasons...
1) This SUV's "speed shifting" gear shift has been very wisely and ergonomically located on the CENTER CONSOLE, rather than merely being a sedan-like, awkward shift-stalk located on the steering column. Thus, the speed-shifting design of the 4Runner's gear shift is very "tactile", intuitive, and above all, ERGONOMIC, since it's always so effortlessly and undistractingly within reach without any need to grope among other control stalks located on the righthand side of the steering column during intense driving situations (let alone not having to manipulate and VISUALLY verify that the right gear is about to be selected as one must do with an awkward stalk.)
2) Even when heavily ladened with passengers and cargo, the V8/5-speed combination clearly demonstrated its ability to so EASILY handle the ever-changing demands of the mountainous terrain of West Virginia turnpike. Indeed,
hour-after-hour, this truck's powertrain (fed 93 octane fuel) delivered an impressive amount of torque, with seemingly plenty of torque power to spare. And, the V8's impressive, quiet, and low-vibrational torque power was beautifully and oh-so-smoothly transmitted by the 5-speed transmission. Ah yes, even when this truck was negotiating (eastern) mountainous grades at highway speeds, it's torque power RESERVES, shift points, shift characteristics, and "grade logic" were so smooth and subtle that quite often I scarcely noticed the vehicle's automatic shifts, especially when I was in conversation, or perhaps listening to talk radio. This level of "power" and traction performance is a marked and welcomed departure from that of my previous 2002 V8, 4WD Explorer, which I thought was pretty OK until I bought this 4Runner.)
3) I'm fast appreciating just how many other aspects of the new 4Runner that are simply superb and ingeniously designed and executed. For example, a) After driving in the mountains recently, I'm becoming much more impressed with, and appreciative of, the X-REAS technology, which I believe is not so much noticeable when merely driving around town, as it is when driving under more demanding road conditions. b) The brakes of this vehicle are really quite superb and sophisticated. c) My truck's leather, power-adjustable front seats proved to be VERY comfortable and supportive even after 8+ hours behind the wheel during a technically demanding, stressful, and exhausting drive. d) The headlights and factory fog lights are of a very high quality, and I'm especially impressed with the fact that the factory fog lamps are actually quite useful. But that said, I'm still thinking about adding some PIAA fog lamps and/or bulbs for an added measure of light penetration, as well as because I just love PIAA's #1450 fog lamps. e) The DVD/Nav/surround-sound option is really in a class of it's own, but particularly the GPS-based navigation system. And yes, you could avoid the cost of this combined option by buying, for example, separate aftermarket products, but I think you'd be hard pressed to come up with anything approaching the broad spectrum features, high quality, and unobtrusive/integral installation that Toyota's stock DVD/nav/surround-sound system provides for the same overall price.
In summary, my '03 4Runner is the finest vehicle I've ever had the pleasure to own and drive, and I can't recommend this vehicle too highly.
Nov 30, 2003 (4:42 am)
for the feedback. Im driving myself nuts. I also checked out the New Nissan Armada. Its HUGE. A Loaded LE model with NAV and DVD, huge 3rd row seats........under $48,000.....very impressed with that price. Its an awful lot of truck. Its too big.......yet less than the GX................
Does anyone know why Toyota doesnt offer 3rd row AND NAV together?
#8699 of 11429 swatdir
Nov 30, 2003 (5:20 am)
I have 17 inch wheels and tires on my 03 V-8 Sport. The 16 and17 inch tires and wheels are the same circumference,
I have had it out in loose sand on the Outer Banks of NC. I aired down my tires to 20 #. I would prefer the 16 inch tires for this use as there is more rubber and less wheel for the same circumference., There are many more tires available in the 16 inch size at present. There are even some off road treads in the 16 inch which are not available in the 17 inch.
The one advantage of the 17 inch is on the road. It should give a better ride. (I think the 17 inch look better, too.)
#8700 of 11429 Third Row Seat Purpose
Nov 30, 2003 (6:27 am)
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.
Nov 30, 2003 (10:37 am)
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).
#8702 of 11429 RE: Third Row Seat Purpose by asif1
Nov 30, 2003 (11:08 am)
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.
#8703 of 11429 pat84 - 16 vs. 17 wheels
Nov 30, 2003 (1:00 pm)
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.
Nov 30, 2003 (4:12 pm)
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
Nov 30, 2003 (4:46 pm)
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.
Nov 30, 2003 (6:26 pm)
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 http://www.lexus.com/models/rx/specifications.html. And for the 4Runner, visit http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/2004/4runner/specs.html, 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!