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    1. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 02:50 PM #1
      TCL, I needs your help!

      So my wife's Elantra has 181k miles and it's starting to show it's age. The engine is perfect, underpowered and slow, but extremely reliable. Everything else is getting so old that it's uncomfortable and shaky in highway and every day driving; even with changing out old/worn parts and routine maintenance, it's still just old. Transmission is very laggy... hopefully it doesn't crap out yet.

      At last my wife wants a new car.

      A little bit about us; we do everything outdoors. Hiking, backpacking, canoeing, photography, skiing, MTBing, etc.

      Since we have that type of lifestyle, my first thought was a 4Runner. 4Runners are almost as capable as Wranglers, but have that bulletproof drivetrain and construction so they'll last forever. Plus the rear locking diff in the TRD Off-Road is something I'd definitely like to have. There have been many times where we've encountered some rough off-roads and we can't keep going since our current cars can't do it. We don't want to do hardcore rock-crawling and such, just off-roading through forests like some of the ones in Pennsylvania or even upstate NY. We also want something that's comfortable for weekend road trips... again the 4Runner is the best imo.

      I've looked at other alternatives such as a Crosstrek. I've heard some horror stories about Subaru engines... idk what to think about their reliability, but they are cheap enough where we can most likely buy it cash. The 4Runner we would have to finance some of it.

      My wife isn't a very confident driver. She wants a 4Runner, but is intimidated by daily driving it since it's a taller and bigger SUV. This why she told me to look at other alternatives.

      What alternatives would you guys recommend?

      I'm open to capable XUVs, SUVs, mid-size pickup trucks and also open to pre-owned.

      Thanks in advanced dudes!

      Last edited by Engineer90; 10-04-2019 at 02:53 PM.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

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    3. Senior Member
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      10-04-2019 02:54 PM #2
      Last-gen Outback 3.6 with the EyeSight system and new Starlink.

      Reasonably priced used, the 3.6 motor is bulletproof, much easier to manage than a 4R and on-road manners are vastly better. Also things like the seating position are much better than the compromises imposed by a BOF SUV.

      Just add the rear diff guard and (if needed) a front sump guard. If you really want, you can get a suspension lift for it.

    4. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 02:57 PM #3
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      Last-gen Outback 3.6 with the EyeSight system and new Starlink.

      Reasonably priced used, the 3.6 motor is bulletproof, much easier to manage than a 4R and on-road manners are vastly better. Also things like the seating position are much better than the compromises imposed by a BOF SUV.

      Just add the rear diff guard and (if needed) a front sump guard. If you really want, you can get a suspension lift for it.
      I can agree with this. The Outbacks are nice.

      One of my co-workers just got one and it's ground clearance is taller than I thought. Although the approach angles seem a bit shallow.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    5. Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:12 PM #4
      There are a few good options. I'm loving my 4Runner Trail. For daily driving, the KDSS option is awesome. Having driven one with now for 10k miles, I don't know that I can do without as far as daily driving goes. I put TRD Pro wheels on, along with K02s (C load, in stock size), and the ride is even better than it was with the Duelers. It could use a little better damping, which some 5100s will take care of. Driving at 75 mph, it gets around 18 mpg, and takes 87 octane. It can do 20 mpg if driven at 65 mph. Very smooth and quiet for a daily. Also has great space inside, with a very roomy cargo compartment and good rear seat legroom and comfort. It's well insulated from noise as well.

      The downside is a wide turning radius, and difficulty of ingress for shorter folks, and you'll see yourself coming and going quite often.

      Best of all is it retains its value extremely well. I paid more than I would have liked for my used example, but it was super clean and well maintained, and California, rust -free Trail models were hard to come by.

    6. Member KALEMAN's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:12 PM #5
      Quote Originally Posted by Engineer90 View Post

      My wife isn't a very confident driver. She wants a 4Runner, but is intimidated by daily driving it since it's a taller and bigger SUV. This why she told me to look at other alternatives.
      This would be my major concern. I 100% love my 18 4Runner OR, but it drives absolutely ridiculous compared to modern SUV's and crossovers. While this is charmingly amusing to me, my gf has no interest in driving it unless forced to because it lumbers on road, but conversely she loves that we take it everywhere and we can literally go anywhere with tons of outdoor gear.

    7. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:21 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by KALEMAN View Post
      This would be my major concern. I 100% love my 18 4Runner OR, but it drives absolutely ridiculous compared to modern SUV's and crossovers. While this is charmingly amusing to me, my gf has no interest in driving it unless forced to because it lumbers on road, but conversely she loves that we take it everywhere and we can literally go anywhere with tons of outdoor gear.
      See that's exactly how my wife is!

      I keep telling her that the 4Runner fits us well and it has tons of space for all of the outdoor stuff we do and our dog too, but she won't budge she's just so intimidated by it

      I am drooling all over the TRD Off-Road
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    8. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:23 PM #7
      Cherokee or Grand Cherokee?


      I mean, you really want a Wrangler, but your wife will be more comfortable with one of the Cherokees.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

    9. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:24 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      There are a few good options. I'm loving my 4Runner Trail. For daily driving, the KDSS option is awesome. Having driven one with now for 10k miles, I don't know that I can do without as far as daily driving goes. I put TRD Pro wheels on, along with K02s (C load, in stock size), and the ride is even better than it was with the Duelers. It could use a little better damping, which some 5100s will take care of. Driving at 75 mph, it gets around 18 mpg, and takes 87 octane. It can do 20 mpg if driven at 65 mph. Very smooth and quiet for a daily. Also has great space inside, with a very roomy cargo compartment and good rear seat legroom and comfort. It's well insulated from noise as well.

      The downside is a wide turning radius, and difficulty of ingress for shorter folks, and you'll see yourself coming and going quite often.

      Best of all is it retains its value extremely well. I paid more than I would have liked for my used example, but it was super clean and well maintained, and California, rust -free Trail models were hard to come by.
      Thanks! I will tell her that it's a nice quiet smooth ride for highway.

      And yes, they retain their value real well. I've seen on average used ones with 30k miles and they go for about $33k... might as well get a new TRD Off-Road for $37k.
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    10. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:27 PM #9
      Why not look into the GX470? Same basic platform but in a softer package that might not be so intimidating to drive. My MIL has one and she is similar to your wife in driving bigger vehicles but she daily drives one.

    11. Member Engineer90's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:28 PM #10
      Quote Originally Posted by G0to60 View Post
      Why not look into the GX470? Same basic platform but in a softer package that might not be so intimidating to drive. My MIL has one and she is similar to your wife in driving bigger vehicles but she daily drives one.
      The GX470s run on the same 4Runner frame and engine and transmission right?
      2016 GTI S 6MT 2door

    12. Member titleist1976's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:28 PM #11
      I don't think you mentioned anything that a Passport can't handle. It'll be more comfortable on the road than a 4Runner.

    13. Member KALEMAN's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:30 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      For daily driving, the KDSS option is awesome.
      Quote Originally Posted by Engineer90 View Post
      See that's exactly how my wife is!

      I keep telling her that the 4Runner fits us well and it has tons of space for all of the outdoor stuff we do and our dog too, but she won't budge she's just so intimidated by it

      I am drooling all over the TRD Off-Road
      This doesn't solve the driveability entirely obviously, but I totally forgot about KDSS and it does improve things quite a bit. My TRD OR doesn't have it, but this is probably going to be a significant option for you to consider.

      I won't try to convince you anymore, it already sounds like you're smitten enough!

    14. Member G0to60's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:31 PM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by Engineer90 View Post
      The GX470s run on the same 4Runner frame and engine and transmission right?
      I believe they do.

    15. Member Form Ocean's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:39 PM #14
      Honda Passport is worth a look. You are exactly their target market.


    16. Member Dirty Hatch's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:49 PM #15
      Rav4 Adventure or wait till the TRD Off-Road model comes out next year.

    17. Senior Member danny_16v's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 03:49 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by Engineer90 View Post
      The GX470s run on the same 4Runner frame and engine and transmission right?
      I assume he mans the GX460, which is on the same 4Runner platform, but doesn't have the same engine. It has a silky smooth V8 (or so I hear) and a 6-speed AT. Technically the drive-train is superior and being a Lexus just has that extra fit and finish. Negative to me is the air suspension, which I don't care for. But yeah, it's basically a more luxury 4Runner.

      We did get the GX470, but that's older. Not necessarily bad though. If you find a clean one that fits the budget, I'd also go for that too. Test drive it though, they're both heavier than 4Runners (GX460 and GX470)
      Last edited by danny_16v; 10-04-2019 at 03:54 PM.
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    18. Member
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      10-04-2019 04:11 PM #17
      You sound like a perfect Outback candidate. The Outback 2.5 is a second or two slower than the 4Runner to 60 so you could get into an Outback XT if you want. If you wanted to go used a 3.6 equipped Outback would be great as well.

      My wife and I love our 2017 Outback 2.5 Premium and we came from a 2014 4Runner SR5 Premium. We throw our bikes and roof box on top, two kids in car seats in the back, and the dogs in the cargo area at times and have no issues.

      Lift kits, skid plates, and all kinds of other off road goodies are available as well and are quite popular.

    19. Member adrew's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 04:38 PM #18
      If she feels intimidated by it and doesn't have experience driving soft/tall vehicles, I would honestly be a little careful. A lot of new SUV drivers rolled them in the '80s/'90s when body-on-frame Pathfinders, Rodeos, Monteros and others got really popular.

      LOTS of them flipped after running off the road, overcorrecting to get back on the road and then cranking the wheel on the opposite direction to straighten up (kind of like a moose test).
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    20. ***** (Cat) Lover Pizza Cat!!!!'s Avatar
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      10-04-2019 06:53 PM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by Numbersix View Post
      Last-gen Outback 3.6 with the EyeSight system and new Starlink.

      Reasonably priced used, the 3.6 motor is bulletproof, much easier to manage than a 4R and on-road manners are vastly better. Also things like the seating position are much better than the compromises imposed by a BOF SUV.

      Just add the rear diff guard and (if needed) a front sump guard. If you really want, you can get a suspension lift for it.
      End thread.


      This is exactly what I convinced my MIL to buy a month ago. She was interested in the new model, but is thrilled with getting the old 3.6 after driving it for a little bit.
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    21. Senior Member chucchinchilla's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 07:25 PM #20
      Rav4 Hybrid. If you're just going on dirt roads you'll be fine, if you're doing some sort of rock crawling or driving on some heavily rough roads then I'd look at something more aggressive.
      Last edited by chucchinchilla; 10-04-2019 at 07:47 PM.
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    22. Member
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      10-04-2019 08:02 PM #21
      Buy the 4Runner. My sister who lives in Durango and does a ton of outdoor stuff from kayaking to hiking to tent camping just went from a Rav4 to a new 4R TRD Pro and hasn't looked back. She said the larger size took a little getting used to but after a few days it isn't even a second thought...plus she gets complemented on it all the time. It's a bad ass vehicle and if that's truly what you guys want then get it. I went from a Tacoma to an F150 and got used to that size increase in about a day. It's not a big deal and you shouldn't let the increased size keep you from buying what you really want. Go test drive a Suburban, then go buy a 4Runner...you'll be fine.
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    23. Member Smooremin's Avatar
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      10-04-2019 08:39 PM #22
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Real_Stack View Post
      Cherokee or Grand Cherokee?


      I mean, you really want a Wrangler, but your wife will be more comfortable with one of the Cherokees.
      Cosigned on the jeep love.

      The Grand Cherokee will give you nearly all of the off road prowess with more comfort and luxury items(in some trims). I was all over TRD Pros last year before we got the WK2. I would have gotten the 4runner but the lack of comfort and amenities left me not wanting to go for it. We have had it for 10 months and love it. MPGs leave a little to be desired, but at least it runs on 87.

      They are also a whole lot cheaper than a 4runner. I got my Hemi Overland with 35k miles for sub $25k.

      Untitled by smooremin, on Flickr

      We have not been disappointed with it. My lady took it over from me in the spring, and she really enjoys driving it. It is just big enough to not feel like a massive truck, but still small enough to maneuver around in the city. We have put about 5k on it and have had zero issues. Even if we did, I got an aftermarket warranty, for super cheap(sub 1k), for 4 years, that covers pretty much everything, including the air suspension.

      Untitled by smooremin, on Flickr



      Definitely worth a look
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    24. Member TooOldForThis's Avatar
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      10-05-2019 12:57 PM #23
      Love my 2015 4Runner Trail Premium 93,000 miles and just now needing brakes. Put some Baja designs fogs in it a couple of weeks ago and loving them.

      Sent from my SM-G965U using Tapatalk
      Just like that!

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      REALLY gave up and bought an Outback
      10-05-2019 07:35 PM #24
      I love my 4Runner and have put 60k miles on it in just under 2 years, but I also lust after Crosstreks and Outbacks almost every day. The on-road manners and fuel economy leave a lot to be desired, but the 4Runner is the most solid and capable vehicle I've ever owned. Just depends on your actual priorities vs. daydream priorities.

      untitled-00368 by John Montesi, on Flickr

    26. Member AHTOXA's Avatar
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      10-05-2019 08:08 PM #25
      I have a similar lifestyle as OP. I do MTB, lots of hikes, two dogs. CO trips every year. Lots of outdoor stuff.

      I have a 19 4Runner TRD off-road premium. Perfect vehicle for what I use it for.


      Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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