Tacoma or 4Runner?

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Contributor I

60
Franklin, TN, USA
First Name
Kyle
Last Name
Pruzina
Hey Overlanders,

Simple but debated. Toyota people, would you choose a new 4Runner or Tacoma for your primary rig and why?

New to this and like both options, leaning towards a Taco for its manual transmission option but a lot of the guys I work with at the dealership use 4Runners for their rigs and swear by them.

Thanks!

-Kyle
 

BCNP4runner

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Off-Road Ranger I

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FWIW, I looked hard at both and test drove a few of each through an arroyo with steep walls and a soft bottom at the west end of town when I was deciding - put both A-TRAC and CrawlControl through their paces. I eventually picked the 4runner and I'm very happy with it - the 4Runner's payload capacity can be up to 400lbs greater than the Tacoma (depending on trim levels) and that's a **LOT** of gear. With the 4Runner's exceptionally mellow accelerator pedal and A-TRAC I've never missed a manual transmission (I also have the rear locker, but with A-TRAC, it's rarely necessary for what I do).

Either way, I'm pretty sure you won't hate your choice.
 
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Boort

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Advocate II

2,522
Colorado
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Hey Overlanders,
Simple but debated. Toyota people, would you choose a new 4Runner or Tacoma for your primary rig and why?
@KyleTheToyotaGuy

It's gonna depens on your needs. Since you did not give much in the way of specifics I'll tell ya a story... :D

I have both because neither fully fit the bill for me.

I've had the 97 Tacoma since 99, It's a rare bird being short cab, long bed, v6, 3 pedals, and otherwise stripped of electrical doodads. For 20 years this basically stock truck took me back and forth to work and went anywhere I pointed her all over Colorado, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Utah, Montana, Alberta Ca and where ever else I can't remember. She also has nearly 350k miles on the clock and just got her first replacement clutch!
Well my needs and situation shifted a bit:
1) I was looking at going out in the backcountry with more than one person more often than in the past
2) Picked up a popup A-frame trailer (previous owners towed this trailer all around the western US with a 2nd Gen Tacoma with the 4.0L and an auto with trans cooler.)

The 97 with the 3.4L v6 could not fit more than 1 person and while she can tow the trailer... I live and play in Colorado so she was not gonna be happy pulling 3k Lbs around the mountians with over 300k on the clock.

So 3 years ago when I started looking for a new overlanding rig I was looking for another Tacoma.
Well base models are no longer available (gotta have them doo dads!), Manuals were harder to find than 99, the 3.5l v6 was getting blasted for being gutless on forums, and the wheelbase was now a stupid long 127"-140". The ext cab back "seat" was not comfortable for anyone over the age of 5 and Dbl Cabs wheelbase was longer than a fullsize Ford Econoline van.

So new Tacomas were out. Started looking used to get the older 4.0L v6 but they were very hard to find with a stick and around here often higher mileage. Then learned that the new 4Runners had the shorter 110" wheelbase seating for 5, and still had the 4.0L Took a new one off the lot and really liked it. when we got to talking numbers I found they wanted nearly $50k and started looking used. After a while of looking I found a 2006 v8 with under 70k miles on the clock, literally driven by an old couple, still had the protective film on some of the interior badges, and priced right! So I brought her home that afternoon. I don't regret it, the v8 tows the trailer through the mountains like it's not even back there, Got her lifted and installed some rock sliders and a home made drawer / sleeping platform setup. I put 20k miles on her in the 18 months between when I got her and the virus hit, planning another 20k this year if things return to some semblance of the old ways.

I still have the 97 since it's nice to have a pickup some times and she is still my daily driver since my left foot and right hand don't have anything to do in the 4Runner.

Those are my reasons. Let me know if you have any questions.
Boort
 
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LostWoods

Rank III
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Enthusiast III

646
Phoenix, AZ, USA
First Name
Andrew
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.
Member #

12360

4Runner every time for me because a pickup with only an 1155# payload capacity is criminal. I also like a cap which means I'd be working with less than 700lbs by the time you figure cap and people.

But you are dealing with a 5sp automatic which is equally criminal in 2021. It limits you on gearing unless you want to be screaming on the freeway vs something like the super deep 6AT Tacoma where even 4.56s feel good on stock tires.

The 6MT is good but not great. I never really liked the clutch feel compared to my second gen. Only downside is that the double OD is pretty useless and I never used 5th.
 
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smritte

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Off-Road Ranger I

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Ontario California
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.
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Easy, I needed a pickup bed and already have an SUV. My son needed an SUV and didn't need a pickup.
If I ever build out my Tacoma, the last thing I will worry about is the load rating. Toyota way over kills the brakes and the diff is nicely sized. The suspension will be changed to match my build. In stock (ish) form, loaded with gear, pulling my 2k trailer, it out drives my Cruiser. My sons 4Runner is about the same.
 
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DMS1

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Enthusiast I

231
San Dimas
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Dave
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Schmitz
4Runner, you can sleep in the back (especially in fowl weather) and your gear stays secure.
 
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Mojavewanderer

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Traveler III

3,115
Hemet, CA, USA
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Brent
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Caldon
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I have older versions of both, 1985 4Runner, and 1980 pickup, and prefer the 4Runner. More room, and much more comfortable. I sleep inside both, but it’s nicer being able to access the driver’s controls from the sleeping area, or being able to go from the bed to the driver’s seat without having to get out of the vehicle.
 
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AggieOE

Rank 0

Contributor II

98
Houston, Texas, USA
First Name
Nathan
Last Name
Krohn
Do you need a bed?
....Yes: Taco
.... No: 4Runner

4Runner gives you 10 airbags, tried and true drivetrain, an international platform, more "clean" and secure space for storage, this list could go on for just the basic pros.
Both can be turned into whatever you need but the above fundamentals can't change.
 
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Wolfy

Rank V

Advocate I

1,723
Reno
I have a 1999 4Runner and for years that worked well for our Family of 4. Last year I got a 2017 Tacoma and the increase in cargo space has been a big benefit to us.

-M
 

Brock Samson

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Contributor III

327
Virginia
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Brock
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I chose the 4Runner over the Tacoma. I bought it right before I knew I was going on a road trip for a few months and wanted keep gear inside the vehicle, rather than outside. It still hauls lumber and does whatever i need with the rear window down. I'm also going to end up sleeping inside of it when I go camping and travelling by myself to make it easy. I don't think there's a huge gap in disparity between the two. They both have a plethora of options and aftermarket support out there and pretty capable out of the gate.

Drive them both. Pick one. :) Good luck!
 

MidOH

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Off-Road Ranger I

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I'd have to test drive the Taco, new Frontier, and Ranger together before deciding.

Then drive a Rubi Hemi Gladiator and see if it's not too quirky for me.
 

RoarinRow

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Influencer I

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I'd go 4Runner as I think it would be more comfortable for me and my family. The Tacomas I've riden in have been too bumpy.
 
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WAYAWAY

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Enthusiast III

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San Diego, CA
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P
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I love my 4Runner. I would say "It depends".

From what I have seen and experienced, both will get you there..

Are you going to have more than 2 people when you head out?
Are you a "sleep in my rig" kinda guy?
Are you needing to haul stuff that requires a pickup?



Hey Overlanders,

Simple but debated. Toyota people, would you choose a new 4Runner or Tacoma for your primary rig and why?

New to this and like both options, leaning towards a Taco for its manual transmission option but a lot of the guys I work with at the dealership use 4Runners for their rigs and swear by them.

Thanks!

-Kyle
 

Lindenwood

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Advocate II

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I've owned both trucks and SUVs. Especially if you are willing to get it a little dirty, there is very little you can't put in the back of a 4Runner when you really need to. In my 4Runner(s) I've carried dirty lawnmowers, a half-pallet of mulch (about 700lb), WAY over the weight limit of lumber, and even carried >2000lb of construction debris from my house to the dump over 3 trips.

I know lots of people who have various types of bed covers on their pickups to get it to act somewhat like an SUV. Almost none of them "need" a truck more than maybe once a year.

Unless we decide to try again on another large travel trailer (that exceeds towing capacity of available SUVs), I'll definitely never get a pickup again.
 

MidOH

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Off-Road Ranger I

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I like my interior clean. Someone could literally, safely, eat off of my center console. At least until I stab them with a winch bumper.

Bed covers are the debil. I'll never use one. I use my truck for a different hobby at least every other weekend. Almost always with 55g Stanley totes to carry all of the gear. I have a tote for each hobby. Today, it's mulch and flowers day.

And SUV's really suck at carrying motorcycles or campers. Camper > RTT, for me.

CC trucks have nearly made all of the SUV's obsolete up here. There's still people that prefer them though.

You might want to consider a Tundra or gas F250 as well.
 

kwill

Rank I

Enthusiast I

193
TX
First Name
Kevin
Last Name
Williams
I've owned two of each and, unless you need the pickup bed, the T4R is a much more comfortable vehicle.
 

BCNP4runner

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Off-Road Ranger I

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I've owned both trucks and SUVs. Especially if you are willing to get it a little dirty, there is very little you can't put in the back of a 4Runner when you really need to. In my 4Runner(s) I've carried dirty lawnmowers, a half-pallet of mulch (about 700lb), WAY over the weight limit of lumber, and even carried >2000lb of construction debris from my house to the dump over 3 trips.

I know lots of people who have various types of bed covers on their pickups to get it to act somewhat like an SUV. Almost none of them "need" a truck more than maybe once a year.

Unless we decide to try again on another large travel trailer (that exceeds towing capacity of available SUVs), I'll definitely never get a pickup again.
Renting a U-Haul truck or trailer or a Home Depot truck or van for the occasional day I need cargo space or payload exceeding the 4Runner's space/payload, has turned out to be an extremely cost effective option.
 

Lindenwood

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Applies to Tacoma builds too. And Wrangler...and Gladiator...and Ram. Everybody wants the exposexual look.
I don't think I'll ever unhear "exposexual," especially knowing my Rav4 is getting pretty far up there in its Exposexuality :P . These are some glamour shots before I added the jerry can :P .

Rav4.jpg
 
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