My 4runner is great. It handles well, has comfortable seating. Its pretty good offroad, but thats not where it usually is.
For day to day driving, it sucks gas and has horrible power. It handles great on the highway, assuming you do not have hills or anything to pass. A bigger engine is needed, but then again this car has been redesigned with that in mind. No way in hell should I get a 15 combined city/highway in a v6 with such dismal performance. At low speeds though, it works pretty good. If I had know that I might have chose a Bronco of the same year and had the same MPGs with more power.
Its comfortable, and while not spacious, its not too cramped to me at 6'3. Same with friends too in the back, and there is space for cargo. Heaven forbid I pull a trailer though, I might get rear ended by a lady with a walker while getting on the highway.
Outside of the poor power and MPGs, its a pretty good little SUV.
Bought our very first 1995 4Runner v6 manual. I had always wanted one but had NO IDEA about the head gasket problems. I had a feeling not to buy it but I didn't and now I wish I hadn't. I mean I love this car but I wish it had more horse power, and with 150 hp it's not nearly powerfull enough for a v6. It's extremely slow going up hills and it sucks down the gas at incredible rates. I really don't think this thing could pull anything and get up a hill properly. So last week it didn't pass smog and to our horror it was a blown head gasket. We bought it at 174,000 miles and it's at 209,900 right now. Going to get another better, more powerful vehicle. The engine is shot now. Crappy engine!!
It does have absolutely awesome 4wd. Personally it's not a good daily driver, but a SUV you can use for snow or going to the high country. It's not suitable for lugging kids around in or long trips and not much anything else. Mostly it's an offroad, pleasure vehicle and not a daily family driver. I speak from experience because I have tried both.
The whole engine is crap and needs to go. The head gasket flaw which is from the exhaust pipe being too close to the engine block and it wears the gasket down prematuraly..or something like that. The gasket is not long term repairable no matter how many times you have it re done. It has been known to go out very frequently(every 40k-80k miles) and it's very costly. Avoid this 3vze engine and get the 3.2L version or anything else but the v6 3.0L, it's crap.
don't get me wrong, I love this car. but stomp on the gas, and don't expect much to happen except a lot more noise. that being said, this is simply the most reliable, capable vehicle i've ever driven. i've had mine for 5 years, it has 300,000 miles, and it runs just fine. off road, it's absolutely unstoppable. the storage and versatility is awesome.
UPDATE: head gasket blew, which is common for this engine. the recall had already been done to mine, so it was up to me. A word of advice: unless you have a backup vehicle or motorcycle, get in good with a shop and hopefully they will give you a discount, because it is mega expensive. I did it myself, and the way this engine is put together is ridiculous. You basically need 12 foot long arms as big around as toothpicks to get to some stuff. And take pictures. And if you do it, absolutely change the knock sensor AND wiring harness. It is in the cylinder valley under the intake plenum, and is just as much a pain to get to as the head gaskets. Mine went bad IMMEDIATELY after I put it back together, which apparently is also common. I now drive a Jeep Cherokee, which I have always been a fan of, and the engine is a little simpler to work on if you're a do it yourselfer.
I just my '95 4Runner this year, and I love it. I got it with 100,000 miles on it and I've put about 10,000 in it. I get around 14 mpg in the city, and 20 on highway driving. Doesn't have amazing power on the highway, but goes off-road like a champ. I gotten through some pretty crazy stuff, and it's still all stock. Handles the snow like a boss. The rear springs were sagging a litle when I got it, but some new coils and she rides just like new! Has on not started once, and that was when the battery fried on me. But shes got a new battery now, and starts up every time. I love this truck and plan to keep it for a long time.
My Tacoma saved my life during a collision that totalled her. I was so depressed. I knew the only thing I could do was get another Toyota. When I got my 4Runner she was a real lemon. She had an overheating issue that I didn't discover until I took a small road trip. After I replaced the radiator and thermostat and maintainenced fluids and whatnot...she was the most dependable car I could ever ask for. The funny thing is...they made 2WD 4Runners! And I bought one! Didn't know until servicing her at Jiffy Lube. They were baffled too. She has 168k miles and still runs strong. The gas mileage sucks tho. I have to sell my baby because of it. I will be sad to see her go.
Confortable drive. Handles well. Heater heats up quickly :) Lots of room. Tows wonderfully. Wonderful for in town driving.
Make sure you call up the dealer and run your vin to see if your car was serviced for the recalled head gasket. If not, get it replaced! Other than that, after 2 years of ownership, I haven't had any other problems besides the radiator.