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The old-school (proven) attributes of a brand-new Toyota 4Runner

Introduced in 2010, the fifth generation of the Toyota 4Runner is entering its 10th year of production with rather minimal changes. Shockingly, it is now selling better than ever. Despite those sales, many so-called professional automotive journalists tend to passively mock it. They point out the ignition key, manual HVAC controls, underpowered engine, and a transmission with only five gears. The really picky ones mock its ladder frame. Yet, the buying public speaks loudly with the thing that really counts: their money.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2019/11/01/old-school-attributes-of-a-brand-new-toyota-4runner
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You touch upon some great points in the article. Some of what it got me thinking:

-automotive testers are super biased to “new is better” (even though new is seldom innovative or an actual change of substance that consumers will even really notice in the majority of automotive decisions. It is just different parts that replace the old parts)

-if a platform is selling why reboot it? (aside from that intentional obsolescence and feeding the media angles)

-some of the new standard gadgets aren’t really that great. We have had some models with not so user friendly controls.

-most new models look the same which is slightly-melted cough drop bulbous SUV with angry front faces, big grills and bodyline details that look like stick-on kits to make your own transformer (see Civic…). That 4-runner is from a slightly better looking era to some eyes.

AWESOME vehicle. Unfortunately they discontinued the manual tranny. Owning a manual FJ Cruiser and having driven an automatic version of the FJ, I can attest that there is still room for a better transmission on the 4Runner, and no need to update it, it’s perfect otherwise.

I traded in my 2012 4Runner for a 2018 4Runner because I was sure Toyota was working on a redo and I wanted at least another 6-10 years with this generation. I’ve never considered either 4Runner to be underpowered, I think people, especially testers aren’t used to the longer travel accelerator pedal and don’t get their boot in it. I can pull it with plenty of pep if I don’t feel like luxuriating in the tank like feel. I moved from a 2005 XTerra Offroad with 6spd into my 4Runner, and it was that solid feel that got to me. And my new 2018 TRD Sport handles better than the old SR5 and still goes through snow magnificently. My 4Runners are the first vehicles I’ve owned without three pedals, and I am ok with it. The APC I occasionaly drove in the Army didn’t have three pedals either.

Have a 2011 4Runner and one of the best vehicles we have owned.Now 165K KM’s on it and not a single fix.The only bone I have to pick is the brutal location of the trailer wiring plug in.Have to get down on knees to find it and plug in.

I’ve known all about 4Runners reliability and durability! For over 33 years I’ve been a Toyota Sales Professional and even remember when 4Runners had only two doors and the roof could be removed (not easily, but it could!). I have customers on their 4th and 5th one, and none of them are really concerned with “When is Toyota gonna change the 4Runner?” Most are impressed with how well it rides, even as a truck-based vehicle. My only suggestion would be for the editor to get his hands on a 2020 (maybe a TRD PRO in Army Green!) because there are several improvements!

2011 here with 118,000 trouble free miles. My cousin has a Tahoe same year and miles and he’s into I think over $6,500 in recent repairs including a major tranny overhaul and it’s still not right. The 4runner is definitely long in the tooth, but like the article states it’s selling like hotcakes so why would they reboot it. I hope when they do reboot it they bring in all the folks who put the Lexus GX470 into production to engineer and design it. Oh and since we all love photos, here’s my 2011 with my (sold) 2002 Isuzu Trooper 4x4 in the background. LOVED that Trooper!
4runner%20with%20Trooper

I traded my 2008 SR5 for low-mile (69k) 2010 SR5 a month ago. The '08 needed nothing during the 5 years I owned it so a newer model seemed like a safe bet. It doesn’t really do anything well but it does everything well enough. With 3 other cars and 3 motorcycles in the household I wanted something as reliable as a wood-burning stove. It doesn’t have all the modern safety nannies, but it also doesn’t have a distracting infotainment system to make necessary.

I have owned four 4-Runner’s, three Tacoma’s , three “compact” truck’s and one T100 over the years all starting back in 1984. I like the Toyota’s for all the reasons mentioned in the sense it is a true old school vehicle. Nothing beats it body on frame construction and manual shift 4X4 system (on certain sub models). My latest was a 2018 TRD Off Road, My hands down favorite 4Runner was my 1985 SR5 version with a solid front axle and those excellent SR5 sport seats. The current seats are nothing more than padded park benches and I have had both the leather and cloth versions. Toyota has for the longest time floated on their reliability and rejected changing their truck line in any other aspect to make it more competitive in the marketplace. So, whenever Toyota finally changes these trucks I hope they do the following: Keep the body on frame design, DO NOT come up with a hybrid version, Bring back the SR5 Sport seat design in cloth, Keep the current 4WD shift option instead of resorting to the play skool button on most versions. Add a 8 speed transmission that will properly communicate with the 4.0 engine (drive a turbo 6 F-150 if you want to know what it is like to drive a vehicle where the engine speaks English and the transmission speaks some other language). Do not offer the gut-less 3.5 motor they put in the Tacoma that struggles to tow a bucket of water. and finally get rid of the pissed off storm trooper front end and bring back a truck looking front end.

I’ve owned a 2wheel drive 2003 Toyota 4runner from new(370000 miles now) it has been a very good vehicle overall. I think it looks so much nicer than the 5th generation which has for some reason bulges and lumps like tumors on all 4 corners and they really screwed up in my opinion the the look of the whole front grill and don’t get me started on the ugly boxy rear end (didn’t do this to the Lexus model though). No aerodynamic look here. The only really bad problem I think these 4runners and to my understanding all Toyotas have is that if your computer detects a minor problem with anything including a loose gas cap the computers shut off your traction control and stability controls increasing the chance of rollover or uncontrollable skids, especially if it happens after you filled up your car, are driving in a mountainous road, your gas cap comes loose, your traction control disengages, you hit a icy patch and you and your family go flying off the side of a mountain to die in a fiery crash. All because of a loose gas cap and a psychopathic programmer at Toyota. When I called Toyota to find out why this is set up like this they said it’s to get you to come in and have the repair done as soon as possible. I don’t know, is it better to have a major safety feature on your vehicle turn off so that you will be forced to go spend money at their dealership? Or perhaps this is just putting monetary concerns over the concerns for the safety of your customers (sociopathic?). Mine is off because it says my catalytic converter is bad which I had replaced not at Toyota but at a high end custom exhaust place but since it’s not a Toyota catalytic converter it will not recognize it (they did a zero point and pitch and yaw calibration to no avail) and re-establish my traction controls which are in otherwise in perfectly good working condition. From what I understand this problem is still happening with the new Toyotas. You can check the forums and see or just Google it. But because my Toyota was made before it was a mandatory safety feature to have traction and stability control there is nothing I can do about it except maybe spend $2,000 to have Toyota put one on for me, but since the car is only worth about $5,000, I just decided for the last 10 years to enjoy all the extra torque I’m getting from just one tire producing all the power. It does great burnouts. I would love to hear from anybody else who has the same problem.

If you are getting O2 sensor codes because of your exhaust, URD makes a circuit that corrects voltage to the computer and removes these codes so long as it is a working O2 sensor. The moment I put headers on my 4th gen, I immediately got O2 sensor codes, both sides. This corrected it and I have been using it now for a couple of years.

Welcome to the world of 4Runners Kamil. A Toyota technician once told me that the biggest problem with them is that they are so reliable that people forget to maintain them and then when something wears out, you find more than one thing has worn out. I am on my 2nd 4Runner. First was a limited 3rd gen that I drove for 435,000 kms. I now have a 4th gen V8 limited that I will milk to its grave. I love the extra power and with a few other performance mods, it is even more powerful. So far, I have 295,000 kms on it. The one thing I do not like is the extra gadgets Toyota has put on the 4Runner in new generations. The 3rd gen was perfect with luxury and only the necessary gadgets. Reliability was fantastic. But it was a bit too small and a little under powered. They should bring back the V8.

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Thanks my frustration runs deep with this. Anything specific I need to know to make sure I don’t order the wrong thing?

I have Doug Thornley Headers on mine. This is what I bought for mine:

It looks like they have them for many vehicles now. It was really easy to install. I tucked it up above the transmission. Just unplug your O2 sensors and feed it into this and then feed this unit back to where the O2 sensors were. 20 minutes and a few zip ties is all you need. If you read the description, it talks about using them with headers and high flow cats. They have a waiver saying for off-road use probably because it doesn’t do anything to emissions performance, just tricks the computer into thinking everything is alright. As I said, the O2 sensors have to be functioning for this to work or else it will still throw codes. I had to replace lower bank 2 O2 sensor today unfortunately. P0037 code.

Here is the main page for these: https://www.urdusa.com/rear-sensor-simulator/

Thanks, Is your 4runner an 03 all of these are for 09s and newer?