1999 Toyota 4Runner Review
1999 Toyota 4Runner Review
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Used 4Runner for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Powerful and reliable with more luxury options than ever before.
- These things cost bucks! The new Grand Cherokee is even more rugged and still offers plenty of luxury for less money.
The 4Runner receives a number of upgrades this year, starting with a new and improved four-wheel-drive system equipped with a center differential and featuring a full-time 4WD mode in addition to the current two-high, four-high and four-low modes. New exterior features include a front bumper redesign, multireflector headlamps and an enhanced sport package with fender flares and a hood scoop on the SR5 model. Inside, a new center console/cupholder design will improve beverage-carrying capacity of the 4Runner and an automatic climate control system will be featured on the Limited models.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1999 Toyota 4Runner SR5 4dr SUV and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.35 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
In 1996, Toyota separated this high-volume SUV from its pickup truck roots. Thus, the current 4Runner shares little with the Tacoma pickup. As a result, engineers have created a refined vehicle without sacrificing tough off-road ability. Generous suspension travel and tread width provide capable off-road ability, ride and handling. The interior is quite roomy, thanks to a wheelbase that is two inches longer than the previous version. A low floor and wide doors make getting into and out of the 4Runner less of an exercise in contortionism than those riding in Jeep Cherokees or Nissan Pathfinders are likely to experience.
Two engines are available on the 4Runner: a 2.7-liter inline four cylinder that makes 150 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 177 foot-pounds of torque at 4000 rpm; and a 3.4-liter V6, producing 183 horsepower at 4800 rpm and 217 foot-pounds of torque at 3600 rpm. These figures represent a substantial improvement over the previous anemic four cylinder and wheezy V6. In fact, the 2.7-liter four is more powerful than the 1995 model's 3.0-liter six, and is nearly as powerful as the base engine found in the Ford Explorer XL.
Needless to say, all of this adds up to a competitive sport-ute. Safety isn't ignored in the 4Runner, either, which sports dual airbags and standard antilock brakes on V6 models. (Antilock brakes are optional on four-cylinder models.)
Overall, the 4Runner is a nice truck which provides the sophistication that we have come to expect from Toyota products with the overall ruggedness more often associated with Jeeps. Prices are high, however, running from $21,000 for a 2WD four-cylinder Base model to over $36,000 for a fully-loaded Limited. This lands the 4Runner Limited right smack dab in Mercedes-Benz ML320, Nissan Pathfinder LE and Jeep Grand Cherokee Limited territory. The competition in this segment is getting fierce and there are plenty of good choices for your money, definitely something worth considering when shelling out such a large chunk of change.
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
5 out of 5 stars
SR5 4dr SUV
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.
5 out of 5 stars
191,000 miles and still drive it daily
SR5 4dr SUV 4WD
Have put 120,000 miles on the '99 4Runner. The only repair issues are a small oil leak, replacing the clutch every 8-10 years, and a brake job or two. All relatively minor repairs. Handles and drives great. Wonderful in the Colorado snow. Great visibility. Sturdy design. Relatively quiet inside although newer models are even quieter. It's a V6 so it has decent power but not great, … especially up mountains. If you're thinking of buying a used 99 4Runner and it's got 200k miles on it - Do it! Plan to drive mine another 100k miles at least. Older, reliable vehicles are better for your bank account than losing thousands of dollars in depreciation every year. Repair costs have been minimal in the 9 years I've owned it.
4.63 out of 5 stars
This is my baby
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD
This, in my opinion is one of the greatest all-purpose vehicles ever created. It is an absolutely fantastic, drama-free truck that rolls easily down the road, and is capable of crushing the deep mountain snows that fall in our area. I've got over 145k miles on mine, and she asks only for new brakes every couple of years, and a new battery every 4 or 5 years. The build quality is … incredible. 16 years old and not one rip in the leather interior. Fuel mileage is kind of poor (avereage about 17 mpg), but incredibly low cost maintenance makes up for that and more.
4.38 out of 5 stars
1999 4Runner Limited 4WD
Limited 4dr SUV 4WD
Great vehicle if you like the outdoor lifestyle. I love driving with all the windows and sunroof open. Feels like a Jeep but without the noise and rides much better. The V6 engine is weak once you start to load up the vehicle. Although it does have great off the line torque. The ride is truck-like but I am happy with it. The reliability and build quality is quite good. As long as you … keep a good maintenance, this vehicle will practically run forever. Lots of aftermarket upgrades for the vehicle. I end up adding a TRD supercharger, URD fuel mods, Doug Thorley header, TRD exhaust, IPT valve body upgrade, 32" A/T tires, Bilstein shocks, and offroad armor. Overall, it is a very capable vehicle.
Features & Specs
- Base MSRP
- MPG & Fuel
- 16 City / 21 Hwy / 18 Combined
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 18.5 gal. capacity
- Type: rear wheel drive
- Transmission: 5-speed manual
- Inline 4 cylinder
- Horsepower: 150 hp @ 4800 rpm
- Torque: 177 lb-ft @ 4000 rpm
- Length: 183.3 in. / Height: 67.5 in.
- Overall Width without Mirrors: 66.5 in.
- Curb Weight: 3440 lbs.
- Cargo Capacity, All Seats In Place: 44.6 cu.ft.
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver4 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRolloverNot RatedDynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestAcceptable
More about the 1999 Toyota 4Runner
More About This Model
When Toyota redesigned the 4Runner in 1996, it created a good-looking and competent, off-road hauler with enough luxury amenities to win over any middle-class suburbanite looking for something to drive to work Monday through Friday and take skiing on the weekends. In 1996, the 4Runner was a new breed of SUV, one that put some distance between itself and its "truck" heritage. That differentiation brought with it a high price tag which made the 4Runner one of the more expensive midsize sport-utility vehicles available. People didn't seem to mind the high prices, though, as we received mail from readers for nearly 18 months after the 4Runner's overhaul indicating that the truck was selling at or near MSRP--a sure sign that consumers were crazy about this truck.
What a difference three years makes. The 4Runner still sells well, but the reasons are less clear. Lately the trend in SUV design has been one toward car-like handling and luxury amenities rather than truck-like character. Since the redesigned 4Runner came to market, most of the entrants have become smoother, quieter and more refined. Toyota, and its upscale counterpart Lexus, offer two car-based SUVs that do well, the Lexus RX300 and Toyota RAV4. Mercedes has introduced the ML320, which is a true truck that has been equipped with a number of "car" parts to improve on-road ride and handling. Even Jeep has gotten into the comfort game, refining the Jeep Grand Cherokee and positioning it against this new breed of sissified SUVs.
The 4Runner we tested was certainly not a sissy. The SR5 V6 four-wheel-drive model we drove comes standard with a 3.4-liter V6 engine that makes 183 horsepower @ 4300 rpm and 217 foot-pounds of torque @ 3600 rpm. These numbers might suggest that the revs must build before the engine has any appreciable grunt or power; that is simply not the case. The 4Runner's DOHC powerplant comes on remarkably strong down low, giving this SUV capable acceleration. Midrange power is impressive too, allowing the 4Runner to make the most of openings in traffic on congested freeways.
All 4Runners are equipped with rack-and-pinion steering, although one of our drivers commented that it felt slower and less communicative than the recirculating-ball steering found on his mother's '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville. This means that 4Runner drivers are apt to wrestle with the truck and its large turning radius when trying to finagle into a parking space at the supermarket. We sure did.
A double-wishbone front suspension and solid-beam rear suspension help keep the 4Runner's tires planted to terra firma when the terra becomes infirma. Yes, the 4Runner is an enthusiastic off-roader made better this year by the addition of a driver-controlled locking differential. This boulder-bashing goodness is augmented by an 11-inch ground clearance that will allow all but the lamest off-roaders to keep the 'Runner's underbelly components safe from jagged outcroppings.
As one might expect, the 4Runner's suspension doesn't provide the most compliant on-road ride, which is unfortunate, since sport-utility vehicles spend most of their time on the road. The 4Runner is smooth enough on suburban boulevards, but becomes uncomfortably choppy on the freeway where expansion joints and pavement irregularities are the norm. The tires don't help either, humming and bouncing along like Lenny in Steinbeck's "Of Mice and Men."
Edmund's staffers have issues with the 4Runner's interior, and it is here that the 4Runner is most obviously outclassed by the new wave of sport-utility contenders. The 4Runner's seats are low and uncomfortable for both front and rear passengers. This was surprising for us, since our truck came equipped with optional sport seats that provided six-way manual adjustments. With all of our fiddling, you would think that we could have found a comfortable driving position. Instead, we ended up frustrated and uncomfortable.
Other interior missteps include a poorly placed stereo faceplate, a flat center console that isn't oriented toward the driver, and slide levers for the climate-control system. No, none of these problems are earth-shattering but they all make the 4Runner feel out-of-date when compared to the likes of the Nissan Pathfinder or Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Our biggest gripe with the 4Runner is not its on-road ride or interior flaws; it's with the truck's high price. Our model topped the $30,000 mark, and didn't include things like running boards or a leather interior. We think that 30 grand is a high price to pay for an SUV, especially one that doesn't offer anything more, content-wise, than a Nissan Xterra or Jeep Cherokee. If Toyota wants to sell the 4Runner as a full-purpose four-wheel-drive vehicle, that's fine with us. They just need to bring the price down to put the 4Runner in line with vehicles that occupy the lower end of the market. If, however, Toyota wants to sell the 4Runner to middle-class families who are looking for solid value, they're going to have to add content without raising the price.
Toyota sells quality vehicles. Sometimes that quality is accessible, as in the case of the Camry or Corolla. Sometimes it is out of reach but worth the stretch, as in the case of the awe-inspiring Land Cruiser. Three years ago Toyota might have been able to get away with commanding a premium for the 4Runner simply based on the truck's bulletproof reputation. In the intervening years, however, the competition has answered with vigor. Everyone is selling trucks now, and everyone has improved their quality. Nissan, Jeep and Ford have compelling reasons for you to visit their showrooms when you are thinking about buying an SUV. It's time for Toyota to take off the gloves and get serious in this segment.
Used 1999 Toyota 4Runner Overview
The Used 1999 Toyota 4Runner is offered in the following submodels: 4Runner SUV. Available styles include SR5 4dr SUV, Limited 4dr SUV, 4dr SUV, SR5 4dr SUV 4WD, 4dr SUV 4WD, and Limited 4dr SUV 4WD. Pre-owned Toyota 4Runner models are available with a 3.4 L-liter gas engine or a 2.7 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 183 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1999 Toyota 4Runner comes with rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic, 5-speed manual.
What's a good price on a Used 1999 Toyota 4Runner?
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Should I lease or buy a 1999 Toyota 4Runner?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.