Bought this truck to replace a very rusty Mercury Sable (a Ford Taurus). The Sable had done very well, but was becoming a high mileage eyesore. Since we live in the Rockies we needed a FWD for the snow and ice.
The truck was bought second hand from a farmer who had left it in his field, untouched, from November to March with a for sale sign on it. Truck started immediately despite -10C weather and blowing snow.
The 4 cylinder engine is barely powerful enough for cut and thrust driving, but benefits from being a lot less sophisticated than the six.
Easy to work on, lots of access in engine bay. I do all my own oil changes in engine, transmission, and cases, plus lubricating various drive shafts.
Engine simple and built incredibly tough. With some mechanical sympathy and a little home mechanicing I cannot see how you would ever wear one of these trucks out.
Altenator died about 250,000 km, replaced a battery and some brake pads. Timing chain started rattling at 230,000 km and was replaced. This was fairly expensive, (1100 CD$) but doesn't seem to be a regular issue. You have to lift the head to do this and the mechanic said that he could still see the honing marks in all the bores.
Clutch replaced at roughly the same time (600 CD$). The price of a Toyota clutch was roughly the same as an after market item so had Toyota do the work.
No rattles, leaks or weeps. Now with 310,000 km on it and getting ready to pass it on to my son for his first vehicle.
Interior showing signs of wear now. Drivers seat fabric has worn through. After 15 years some interior trim pieces are becoming brittle and need care when removing or they will break. Rear seat leg room limited with low squab height in seat making it a bit cramped for tall adults. Front driver entry and exit a bit tight for bigger guys. Lack of storage space in interior, and a heavy tail gate are only gripes.
The truck gets plugged in during the winter and despite bone numbing cold (-25C (-5 F) still starts every day.
No problems with FWD system, although the truck is pretty light for a FWD. I am convinced that a front wheel drive car with good snow tires is just as good in snow and ice.
Exterior now suffering from rust in the usual 4Runner places (wheel arches and tail gate). All cosmetic though the chassis still looks fine.
Now looking at a '93 Camry as a replacement. Will keep the 4Runner as a winter car until my son takes it away.
Looking at second hand 4Runners they still seem to command good money, despite hefty mileages.
A great vehicle that has given us 5 years of dependable service. The car make numerous short trips to town, lives outside all year, and returns 30 mpg (11ltrs/100km).
All in all a great value vehicle, if you can live without the power, thirst and complexity of the 6 cylinder.