I stumbled upon this car because I needed an SUV after moving to Chicago (very hasty purchase). We had just purchased a house, had a baby and my wife was not working. I drove Honda ( till it was stolen), and 5 german vehicles prior. This 4runner was 15 years old with 126000 miles and affordable ($4K out the door after trading in my Audi A4). I went straight to my mechanic and Replaced the Timing/drive belts, gasket, fuel filter, plugs, battery, and wires. I also poured sea foam into the gas tank and vacuum lines. I also replaced the rear front rotors, pads, rear drums and cable lines (a year later). All in all, $2500 in preventative/replacement maintenance work and $1000 on Dura-trac tires (5). It has been a very dependable, low maintenance vehicle. The only problem I have is an intermittently working digital clock (and If you have ever owned European vehicles, this is laughable or even "cute" problem...REALLY!) I had very little expectations of they vehicle and Toyota in general as I (honestly) snubbed the brand. This truck/runner has been a true winner and worthy vehicle. The 3rd generation build is simple, and ruggedly handsome per-se and I have truly come around to appreciate it greatly (just like Glocks!). I was so impressed that I purchased a 2011 Toyota Highlander for my wife, which we later traded for a Lexus GX 470 (we preferred the body-on-frame V8 - a superb vehicle based on the 03-08 4runner). Back to the subject. What makes this a superior vehicle is the simple design! It drives like it is new, no squeaks or rattles. I will not hesitate to drive this thing to the ends of the earth (literally because parts are readily available world-wide). The engine is amazing! It is not sluggish like the older 4runners/Land Cruiser 80, nor is it as peppy as its modern V6/8 counterparts but It is ample at best. The best thing about the engine is that it is a "non-interference engine" which means that if the TIMING BELT breaks, your engine will just STOP and NOT BE DAMAGED!! I really love this truck and have decided to have the frame sand blasted and undercoated to extend the service-life (what's the point of a 500,000 mile engine when the frame succumbs to rust right?) My mechanic and I have come to the conclusion that my only future repairs will be the bearings/bushings (whenever it goes), regular maintenance and wear replacements. As the blue book value drops, one be sure that this vehicle can command a higher value given the condition. I will most probably never let go of this gem and simply pass it down/on.
Bought it used in 2007 with 130000 miles at a used car lot. Now has 18xxxx miles. Still runs strong. As long as you do the regular maintenance. This 4runner will run forever. The cloth interior is still great as I put a cushion on driver seat, a dash cover keeps the dash from cracking. The blue paint still shines as it is always garaged. Only used 4WD once in a muddy situation.
The only drawback is the engine is kind of weak in this day and age IMO.
I bought my 4runner in 05 with 130k miles on it and didn't blink, now i have 245k miles and have only put a starter on it(are you kidding me). This is the best toyota yet and i have owned 5 toyota's and currently drive a Echo for the gas mileage and it has 190k on it and still running strong. I think about other vehicals but always stay with ol 4runner because it has always been there for me and i look to break the 300k with this truck.
Bought 7 years ago with 118k from a wholesaler. It now has 172k and still drives almost as good as new. Had to replace air conditioner at about 150k mi. for $1,000. The power antenna stopped working ($150 fix). The paint is very good, cloth interior is very durable, never any leak of any kind, I paid $9,500 for it 7 years ago and it's still worth $6-7k. Are you kidding me? When I detail it - it literally looks brand new. Decent gas mileage for an SUV, 17 hwy. Still got at least another 100k left in it. Best SUV ever built.
Engine power, overall durability, money well spent.
I love my 4runner. It's fun to drive, is very reliable, has had minimal problems and overall has been the best car purchase I've ever made. Mine has almost 165K miles and still runs wonderfully. A great buy, I'd reccomend a 4runner to anyone!
Exterior looks, interior room, and the fact that it's EASY to handle.
I don't like the manual antenna. Mine has gone out and no longer goes up and down and makes an awful noise.