I drive this car and absolutely loved it for 130,000 miles with NO issues. The brakes and rotors had to be replaced much more frequently than my husbands truck, but I had off road tires. Routine maintenance was inexpensive compared to other car brands. When it hit 130,000 miles though, the major repairs started and at that point it quickly got more expensive than what the car was worth. Now, if you keep maintenance up and invest on the necessary repairs, these cars will last reliably to 350k or more miles! Doing the math though, it was getting too expensive for what we would have been able to sell it for. I was still able to sell it for only $2,000 less than what I bought it for!
I have the 4-cylinder, Manual Transmission model. For those unacquainted, that is the legendary 2.7 Liter, 3RZ-FE, with the superb, W59 manual transmission. Mine is bone stock, and set up for Street. It has a weekly commute of 20 miles both ways, on mostly freeway. I have heard some complaints about the 2.7 lacking power. Well those people must be driving the Automatic version. (The Auto cannot put as much power down as the Manual. Especially on hills, or passing situations, where you can easily downshift with a clutch). This engine is strong in the low and mid-range rpm's, it has much more torque than horsepower. Anyway I bought this car 6 years ago, and it had 130,000 miles. That did not worry me at all. Because it is a Toyota. Moreover, it was built during a time, when Toyota was more hard-nosed. Back when they were more hungry, and had more swagger. There was no rust, the carfax looked reasonable, and my mechanic inspected it for about 30 minutes. He said it looked good, then I bought it later that day. Right now it has 232,000 miles on the odometer, and the car doesn't seem phased at all, by the high mileage. My goal is at least 350,000 with this car. I've seen a youtube videos of people with 400,000 original miles on their 3rd gens, so I know it is capable. My initial reaction upon seeing, and driving the 3rd gen 4runner, was the impressive Build Quality. The car has an aura of excellent construction, in every category. The engine is strong, torquey, and loves to be in the low and mid-range rpm's. (It gets pretty weak around 4.5k+ rpm's, so it is rather useless to push it too high, in the powerband). The transmission is high-quality. It goes through the gears with a fluid, confident feel. While driving, there are no creaks in the body panels, or annoying sounds that emanate from the interior. The 4runner is spectacular on the freeway. Even at 90mph, the car is solid and assured. It eats up miles at high speeds, like a GT car. Yet be careful not to throw off the balance too much at high speeds, because it is an SUV, not a sports car. For example, a sudden, jerky, right-left maneuver at 90+mph. (I highly recommend Kumho Solus KR21 and Kumho Solus TA11 with this car, they are a great match for the stock form, and not too expensive). In stock form, It is still a fun driver's car, and quite nimble for what it is. Rear-Wheel Drive, my favorite. Yet recognize that it is not a sports car. (I have owned a few sports cars in my day, and still think this is a fun car). Onto the interior: My lowly "Base" model, has very comfortable, cloth seats. They are plush and provide just enough adjustment. The steering wheel is good leather with a heavy-ish feel, excellent build quality. The instrument panel is pleasing and logical. Overall the interior is great, I love it. I have taken 6-hour plus road trips, in this car and it is comfortable the whole time. Another thing is, the back seats can fold forward, and then you have a 6-foot truck bed, inside your 4runner. Awesome. This car is the perfect size imho, for a mid-size, all-around, very reliable daily driver. The MPG is pretty good for what it is. I'm no Bean Counter, and drive hard, yet gas money hasn't hurt me. The major repairs, and their approximate costs I have had to deal with during my time of ownership: Power Steering Rack replacement ($1,000), Clutch ($500), Differential U-joints ($500), Brakes and Rotors ($350). Other than that, I do synethic oil changes every 6-7k, changed the tires once, and did a tune up about 10k miles ago. It is a low maintenance car and I am shooting for the long haul, 350,000+ original miles. One final thing I must stress about the 4runner: Every morning when I wake up for work, and get ready to start it, there is no doubt in my mind, that it will start, and run well. That is a priceless feeling. Many people fear their cars. In the hard struggles of life, I know that this car has my back, and will not let me down. As long as I give it minimal love and maintenance. It has NEVER left me stranded, and when it had an issue, you could tell that a problem was developing, over a period of at least 3 weeks, (like the Differential U-Joints). It never simply "gave out", like many other, inferior cars. The car is a soldier. It has gained my trust and admiration. I can see why so many people respect these cars, across the world. And why they are preferred, so often, in brutal, war-like environments in the Middle East and Africa. The 3rd gen 4runner is dependable, trustworthy, fun to drive, comfortable, plus it looks good. Could not ask for a better daily driver.
My 4Runner is a great car. I like the fact you can put it in 4 wheel or take it out of with a lever. I also like the fact that it is high off the ground although that makes it difficult getting in and out if older person. It has stiff suspension so the ride can be a little rough on a rough road. So far it has been very reliable.