My 4runner is great. It handles well, has comfortable seating in the front. The back seat is pretty tight for taller people, and the floor is high. Its pretty good offroad, but that's not where it usually is.
For day to day driving, it sucks gas and has horrible power. It gets decent fuel economy on the highway, but not at all good in the city. THat being said, it preforms similar to other SUVs of its era and size. 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. It easily has the most dismal performance (power wise) from any vehicle I have ever driven. At low speeds though, it works pretty good. -Its roomier than a jeep, more fuel efficient than a bronco, more reliable than a ford/GM SUV, and has a better style than a nissan (this is said about competitors of the same era).
Offroad, it does well. I have a 2wd version, not 4wd. That being said, the ground clearance is phenomenal stock. The suspension does well off road. With 2wd I am limited, but it still does very well. The positives are the clearance and the low first gear.
Perhaps the most interesting thing on this car that sets itself a part a bit is the tailgate. The back door is a tailgate, like a pickup truck. Provided the back window works, its a fantastic thing! Its a chair, table, part of a bed. It makes loading long or large items nice, and its great at the drive in.
Outside of the poor power and city MPGs, its a pretty good little SUV. I have owned two of these. My current one, at 23 years old, has drove over 4500 miles this summer on roadtrips.
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.