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Old 08-14-2019, 06:19 PM #1
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Need advice about purchasing 4Runner

I hope to soon join all the other happy 4Runner owners. I've had a Chevy Tracker ZR2 4wd since 2002, loved it, but even w/a new engine 3 years ago it's starting to fade and parts are increasingly impossible to get. What I've loved about it are the combination of good highway/off-road capability/small size. My local shop says stop putting $$$ into it; get a 4Runner, which is a considerable step up from the Tracker. I'm convinced.

What I want most in my "new" vehicle (I doubt I can afford a 2019 model), is just what I've enjoyed so far: a good ride on the highway, and good off-road capability. I should stress that I only do LIGHT off-roading; no serious stuff, no rock crawling. I want to be able to manage the occasional very steep ascent/descent, get over minor rocky patches, etc., without injuring my vehicle. So I need the 4wd, skid plates, high clearance, etc. The basic stuff.

I'm prepared to spend ~$30K, though I'd love to get away with a little less if possible. I'd like to find the sweet spot between a newer late-model, and one from 2014-2018 with less than 40,000 miles or so. I HATE haggling/negotiating w/dealers, but I'm not very knowledgeable about mechanical issues.....so not real confident about buying privately.....I would insist on having my shop look the vehicle over before purchase. I've been advised that buying a CPO vehicle is a really good way to go.

I see LOADS of used 4Runners within 100 miles (Santa Barbara Ca. area) but I get confused with all the different models....I am actively trying to educate myself. I would appreciate any advice, guidance, etc. very much. Thank you!
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:47 PM #2
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$30k spending limit you can find tons.

I'm guessing 4x4 is needed. So SR5 or Trail/Off Road. Probably would want to decide is KDSS is worth it to you. To me it was.

I don't think there is much to worry about in your price range honestly.
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Old 08-14-2019, 07:59 PM #3
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Iíve thoroughly enjoyed my 4Runners over the years. But if youíre coming from a Tracker and want to stay at $30k or less, with light off-roading, have you thought about a new RAV4 AWD? Just a thought. As mentioned earlier, youíll have little trouble finding a suitable Runner. Just tossing out another option.
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:23 PM #4
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Old 08-14-2019, 09:34 PM #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjnick View Post
I hope to soon join all the other happy 4Runner owners. I've had a Chevy Tracker ZR2 4wd since 2002, loved it, but even w/a new engine 3 years ago it's starting to fade and parts are increasingly impossible to get. What I've loved about it are the combination of good highway/off-road capability/small size. My local shop says stop putting $$$ into it; get a 4Runner, which is a considerable step up from the Tracker. I'm convinced.

What I want most in my "new" vehicle (I doubt I can afford a 2019 model), is just what I've enjoyed so far: a good ride on the highway, and good off-road capability. I should stress that I only do LIGHT off-roading; no serious stuff, no rock crawling. I want to be able to manage the occasional very steep ascent/descent, get over minor rocky patches, etc., without injuring my vehicle. So I need the 4wd, skid plates, high clearance, etc. The basic stuff.

I'm prepared to spend ~$30K, though I'd love to get away with a little less if possible. I'd like to find the sweet spot between a newer late-model, and one from 2014-2018 with less than 40,000 miles or so. I HATE haggling/negotiating w/dealers, but I'm not very knowledgeable about mechanical issues.....so not real confident about buying privately.....I would insist on having my shop look the vehicle over before purchase. I've been advised that buying a CPO vehicle is a really good way to go.

I see LOADS of used 4Runners within 100 miles (Santa Barbara Ca. area) but I get confused with all the different models....I am actively trying to educate myself. I would appreciate any advice, guidance, etc. very much. Thank you!
Sounds like what you need is the most off-road capable trim of the RAV4. Or a Subaru. Or a Honda Pilot if you need the cargo area.
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Old 08-14-2019, 10:15 PM #6
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I should have explained myself better: I really want to be able to tow a small boat or trailer! So the 4Runner 5,000 towing capacity is huge for me. Also, I've been in some "interesting" situations off-road where more capability would have been really convenient.......And, the cargo space would be terrific. My brother-in-law has driven nothing but runners for 30 years, and I just drove his 2018 trd pro.....it was fantastic. Rav4's and the others are just too lightweight....I'd like an upgrade off-road.

Last edited by bjnick; 08-14-2019 at 10:37 PM.
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Old 08-15-2019, 07:56 AM #7
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A bit surprised to see people recommending a rav4 or a Subaru. Both are great, but not anywhere in the same category.
Have you considered looking for a clean third gen? For less than $10k you could find one already decked out.
Otherwise look for a trail edition or an fj cruiser.
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Old 08-15-2019, 09:07 AM #8
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I like my 4Runner but I canít help thinking that a Subaru Forester would get me everywhere I need to go for less money and a more comfortable ride. You can buy a new forester or whatever model you want for less than a 4Runner and it would be new.
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Old 08-15-2019, 12:50 PM #9
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Well, I've considered Foresters.....no question it is fairly capable, and the obvious advantages of an overall more comfortable ride on highway, far better gas mileage, and a great rep for snow/ice. Maybe an upgrade from my Tracker w/off-road/or at least a wash (ground clearance 8.7" compared to the 8.0" on the Tracker, but on the other hand, the Tracker has 4wd.) What is seductive to me about the runners are that it would be such a major upgrade w/off-road capability....it would make a lot of trails accessible to me that I might otherwise avoid....and, the tow capacity means I could pull a small trailer, something I really want to do. A forester is useless in that regard. So yeah, lots of trade-offs to consider.....
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:27 PM #10
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@bjnick

good luck with the hunt. before we bought our 19' we looked at CPO and pretty much every one we looked at (within 50 mi or so) was $34-$36k, around 30-40k miles, but... all were former rental cars. that last part was a big no for me. with a bit of effort, for $30k~ you should be able to find a very nice used 5th gen, but it will probably have higher miles than you want, i'd guess at least 50k+, unless you'd be willing to buy out of state like the below for example:

https://www.toyota-4runner.org/for-sale-vehicles/275793-sold-2016-5th-gen-t4r-trail-edition-premium-32-5k-miles-$32-500-san-antonio-tx.html

https://www.toyota-4runner.org/for-sale-vehicles/266755-fs;-nice-2010-4runner-sr5-4x4-v6-40k-miles-$22k-naperville-il.html

so just something to consider. in terms of trim, you'd be just fine with a base SR5... yeah the upper trims have more features, but they are gonna cost you more.

another thing to consider is getting a cherry 4th Gen for $15k-20k and save $10k for unplanned repairs/maintenance
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:37 PM #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLincolnGreen View Post
A bit surprised to see people recommending a rav4 or a Subaru. Both are great, but not anywhere in the same category.
Have you considered looking for a clean third gen? For less than $10k you could find one already decked out.
Otherwise look for a trail edition or an fj cruiser.
Is it necessary to get one that is "decked out?" I guess this is my question: Wouldn't a "normal" 4runner w/4wd still be highly capable off-road? Assuming of course, we're not talking serious rock-crawling and the like?
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:49 PM #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjnick View Post
Well, I've considered Foresters.....no question it is fairly capable, and the obvious advantages of an overall more comfortable ride on highway, far better gas mileage, and a great rep for snow/ice. Maybe an upgrade from my Tracker w/off-road/or at least a wash (ground clearance 8.7" compared to the 8.0" on the Tracker, but on the other hand, the Tracker has 4wd.) What is seductive to me about the runners are that it would be such a major upgrade w/off-road capability....it would make a lot of trails accessible to me that I might otherwise avoid....and, the tow capacity means I could pull a small trailer, something I really want to do. A forester is useless in that regard. So yeah, lots of trade-offs to consider.....
As others have stated, finding a 4Runner you LOVE for $30k or under should be pretty simple...

Based on your stated needs, really any trim level will serve you well.

Get the best trim that attracts you, in the color you like, and as you indicated, have your shop, guys you trust, check it out for you... They'll know what to look for, and most 4Runner owners I've known can be fanatical about maintenance, so you could get lucky there... However, always trust, but verify... The shop will tell you if it's a keeper.

Certified Pre-Owned is an option, you're just basically paying for the check-out and generally some warranty period up front. You'll pay a little more, but it sounds like you know that.

4Runners are awesome... You'll love owning one.

Keep the updates coming.
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Old 08-15-2019, 01:53 PM #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bjnick View Post
Is it necessary to get one that is "decked out?" I guess this is my question: Wouldn't a "normal" 4runner w/4wd still be highly capable off-road? Assuming of course, we're not talking serious rock-crawling and the like?
In short, yes.

I believe it's just being stated that you can generally find a higher mileage, older gen with some upgrades...

Based on what you've stated though, sounds like you may not need that.

A bone-stock SR5 will take you nearly anywhere, and definitely the places you've mentioned...

Perhaps leave some $$ aside for some good tires if they're not on the 4Runner you get... Good tires are critical.
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Old 08-15-2019, 02:02 PM #14
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Check reputable new car dealerships online or in town. I bought my 2018 SR5 locally in a small town Ford dealer in north central Nevada for just under $37k out the door. A 2016 or even a 2017 will probably come in around your price range.

My 4Runner replaces my well used 2002 Tacoma TRD. That truck was very capable, ultra reliable and still going strong. Iím older, beat up; but still needed the towing capacity to haul a ton of heating pellets and other stuff with my utility trailer. Plus I like going exploring and picnicking in the surrounding mountains with my wife and our two small dogs and still need a capable rig. Iím very happy with my 4Runner.
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Old 08-21-2019, 10:03 PM #15
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For $30K you can get a really nice 4runner, but you are darn close to a new one. I kept looking at 4x4 SR5 CPO's with 20K miles or so and every single one of them were over $32K (Texas) and half of them were previous rentals that the dealer had bought at auction. I started emailing dealers about quotes and one offered me a new 2019 SR5 4x4 for $32,700 and I ended up getting it for $32,400. I then started shopping this price around to dealers I hadn't contacted and one of them literally laughed at me when I asked if they could beat $32,700. My original goal was to get an SR5 4x4 with 20K miles or so for $31k but quickly realized that it was going to be hard to pull off and not buy a former rental. I did dip into my accessory budget to buy a new one, but ultimately got a better deal.
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