I've been a mechanic for almost a decade and my opinion of the 4th Generation 4runner is ..IF YOU HAVE ONE, KEEP IT. These things are incredibly well built. Toyota is know as the all-around most reliable brand amongst cars worldwide but little did I know that buying a used 4runner with 230,000 miles would of taught me a lesson in how a true SUV should be. It's rock solid body-on-frame design is top notch. I also average an awesome 19 mpg/city which is really good for a heavy SUV. It's got all the power you want and delivers a great package of both handling, style, and comfort. I'm currently at 367,000 miles worry-free.
As others have opined as well, this is the best car I have ever owned as well. At over 203,000 miles, it still runs better than some other SUVs I've owned have at 50,000. Have had no mechanical issues, and have only performed routine maintenance. The Edmunds reviewer who placed the lack of a third row seat as a con is a fool. An SUV isn't a mini-van/people mover first. It is a utility vehicle first, and cargo capacity is a higher priority than carrying over 5 people! With the rear seats folded down, which they do completely, there is a ton of storage capacity in the 4Runner. Not sure what compact SUV he was comparing to, but I've never seen one that has half as much capacity.
Our 4Runner was purchased with 25,000 miles in 2004. It now has 171,000 miles and has required no repairs, other then tires, belts, and brakes. It is a monster in the snow, on the beach, and is very capable off road. With the factory installed towing package it tows my lifted Jeep Cherokee with ease. The 4.7L and an amazing transmission seem to give the car more power the it needs. I enjoy the way this thing drives more then most new SUVs. It still receives many compliments and comes across as a luxury SUV. The front seats could be more comfortable, and the seating position in the front is awkward. These things hold their value extremely well, and are well worth the money.
I was a long time BMW owner. I've had at least 4 over the past two decades, but I really liked my friend's 4Runner. I couldn't afford a new one, so I looked for a used one. Not an easy task. There are just not that many for sale. I can see why. ...My 03 V8 4runner is faster than my BMW. It's still very sharp inside and out. The extra utility was such a bonus. 4 guys and our golf clubs..? No problem. It's a whole different dynamic. I love it. Even with a lot more miles than I was originally comfortable with purchasing, after taking to my mechanic. I have total confidence in it. It's just a quality SUV. I recommend one to anybody. Paddleboard next? why not
I bought this car new in 2003 to be our family truckster. While it had a rattle here and there, it was always reliable and well-mannered on the road through 125,000 miles. Pretty early on in had an ABS problem, which was quickly fixed under warranty. No problems since. Good cargo space and lots of room for rear-passengers. I could just fit 2 kids in boosters and a grandmother in the backseat. I moved up to a BMW 5-series, and less than a month later I am considering moving back to a 4runner.