New Car/Review

Toyota

Toyota 4Runner Limited 4X4 (2000)

SEE ALSO: Toyota Buyer's Guide

By Matt/Bob Hagin

SPECIFICATIONS

     Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price              $ 36,468
     Price As Tested                                    $ 38,213
     Engine Type              DOHC 24-valve 3.4 Liter V6 w/SMFI*
     Engine Size                                 206 cid/3378 cc
     Horsepower                                   183 @ 4800 RPM
     Torque (lb-ft)                               217 @ 3600 RPM
     Wheelbase/Width/Length                  105.3"/70.9"/183.3"
     Transmission                           Four-speed automatic
     Curb Weight                                     4009 pounds
     Fuel Capacity                                  18.5 gallons
     Tires  (F/R)                          P265/70R16 all-season
     Brakes (F/R)                          Disc (ABS)/drum (ABS)
     Drive Train                   Front-engine/four-wheel-drive
     Vehicle Type                       Five-passenger/five-door
     Domestic Content                                 10 percent
     Coefficient of Drag (Cd.)                               N/A

PERFORMANCE

     EPA Economy, miles per gallon
        city/highway/average                            17/19/18          
     0-60 MPH                                       10.0 seconds
     1/4 (E.T.)                                      1275 pounds
     Top speed                                       5000 pounds
                 * Sequential multi-port fuel injection

(Toyota made few changes on the 2000 4Runner and Matt Hagin wonders how long the same version will last. Father Bob says the buying public votes on its staying power each year by buying them in bunches.)

MATT - All the neat things we found on our Toyota 4Runner are the result of engineering trial and error. There were very few changes made this year and none at all the powerplant department. There's still a 2.7-liter inline four-cylinder with 150 horses as the base unit but ours had a 3.4 liter V6. Both engines use cast iron blocks with aluminum heads, and both have double-over-head cams and four valves per cylinder. Also, they're both tuned to run on 87-octane gasoline. Since the price of fuel is skyrocketing in many parts of the country, the money that's saved could make a payment or two on a 4Runner down the line. And it comes in either two-or-four-wheel drive.

BOB - The 4Runner V6 pumps out 183 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque which allowed us to launch to 60 mph in around 10 seconds. Our test rig had an optional four-speed automatic transmission, but a five-speed manual is the standard gearbox. This running gear is mounted on a full-length ladder frame and then drives to a solid rear axle. And although the chassis is typically truck, the rear suspension uses a four-link design with coil springs. This makes it ride less like the truck from which it's based.

MATT - But it's not a softy, Dad, and that's because at heart, it's a rugged 4X4. We tested one of the four-wheel drive versions and it was interesting to find that there are two different systems that drive the front wheels on four-wheel-drive 4Runners. The slicker of the pair is the one used on our Limited model. It can be kept in an all-wheel drive mode all the time. It kicks in power to the front wheels when the computer detects slippage to any of the four corners. With the other two versions, the SR5 and the base 4Runner, a more conventional truck-based unit that locks the front and rear differentials together is used. Both have low range built into the transfer case in the event the driver wants to do some boulder-crawling. And for serious mud-sluggers, there's a locking rear differential available on the Limited. An interesting feature is that when the rear differential is locked in, the anti-lock braking system automatically switches off because the rear wheels can't spin independently anymore. It's a little-used safety feature, but worth the money when the need arises.

BOB - Although you can't prove it by me, I guess that the 4Runner is a good sports rig and family vacation transporter. It has a 5000-pound towing capacity, which is plenty for a vacation trailer or a ski boat. And it can carry 1275 pounds of payload, so it should be no problem stuffing everybody onboard for a trip. Our rig came with an optional power glass sunroof and I guess that the $815 extra isn't exorbitant in today's market considering they cost over $1000 on many new cars. The two front windows had power up-and-down with the one-touch feature. The windows and sunroof both have an "Anti-Jam" system that reverses the closure if they're blocked.

BOB - The rear tonneau cover proved to be useful in day-to-day travels. It hides cargo and other stuff from the people who don't need to know what's back there and keeps the sun from baking bags of groceries before we can get them home. Our Limited came with the "Engine Immobilizer" option that keeps the vehicle from being started without the key that has the right electronic code. But the 4Runner was kind of big for my tastes. The Toyota RAV4 mini-SUV is more my style. I never wanted to drive around in something I couldn't push off to the side of the road if needed. But at least the 4Runner isn't as big as some of the huge land-barges that we've had recently. I have a tough time seeing the corners of those behemoths.

MATT- Over the years, surveys have found that very few SUV buyers are using their vehicles to go off-road and into remote camping areas. They say they prefer to "rough it" in fancy resorts and vacation spas.

BOB - It sounds like they have been talking to your mother.

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