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#4714138 - 04/02/18 01:24 PM 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff?
methusaleh Offline


Registered: 06/09/05
Posts: 443
Loc: Vermont
I've liked the 4Runner on paper and in theory for years. Owning one finally fits the needs I have so the wife and I went looking over the weekend.

Driving a brand new one, we couldn't get over how stiff the ride was. Vehicle had about 120 miles on it so I'm not sure if the "newness" was a factor. The suspension seemed unforgiving of even the slightest bump and was frankly so harsh that it was distracting. Wife agreed. I swear that when I was in the Army I drove some HMMWVs that were beaten on and their ride was superior to a brand new 4Runner.

Climbed into a Certified Pre-Owned 2016 with 20k miles next. The ride seemed only ever so slightly better.

I've owned several 80s and 90s era SUVs with body-on-frame construction and I swear I've never felt a ride as brutal as the 4Runner. I may be able to live with it, but to be honest I'm not even sure that I could.

I'm losing wife approval on this transaction if I can't convince her to try other 4Runners, and I'd love to own one, so I'm wondering what you folks think.


Edited by methusaleh (04/02/18 01:24 PM)

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#4714144 - 04/02/18 01:28 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
Virtus_Probi Offline


Registered: 06/25/15
Posts: 3805
Loc: New England
A 4Runner enthusiast could probably give you some insight based upon experience, but that is a vehicle that is reputed to have serious, no foolin' offroad capabilities and it doesn't surprise me to hear that it doesn't have a great ride.
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#4714145 - 04/02/18 01:34 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 2877
Loc: NJ
Buy a Highlander. They have a smoother ride.
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#4714146 - 04/02/18 01:34 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
gathermewool Offline


Registered: 01/09/09
Posts: 5884
Loc: New England
Itís pretty much as much of an old school truck as you can find these days. Itís not and likely never will be more refined.
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#4714154 - 04/02/18 01:47 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
02SE Offline


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 2565
Loc: The Canyons
It's a body on frame SUV with a live rear axle, with a suspension designed for durability over rough terrain. They do come from the factory with softer riding P-rated tires (except for the TRD PRO edition), but the tires could also be overinflated, making for a rougher ride.

They never will ride like the Camry based Highlander. So if ride is the most important factor, the Highlander is probably a better choice for you.

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#4714159 - 04/02/18 01:52 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
dlundblad Offline


Registered: 09/30/13
Posts: 9673
Loc: Indiana
I think they are smooth. laugh
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#4714162 - 04/02/18 01:54 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: 02SE]
Miller88 Offline


Registered: 04/09/08
Posts: 12633
Loc: Onondaga County
Originally Posted By: 02SE
It's a body on frame SUV with a live rear axle, with a suspension designed for durability over rough terrain. They do come from the factory with softer riding P-rated tires (except for the TRD PRO edition), but the tires could also be overinflated, making for a rougher ride.

They never will ride like the Camry based Highlander. So if ride is the most important factor, the Highlander is probably a better choice for you.


Exactly this!
I wouldn't recommend Ford's solution to make it ride like a car shocked
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#4714164 - 04/02/18 01:55 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
Cujet Offline


Registered: 02/15/03
Posts: 6981
Loc: Jupiter, Florida
I'm really not a 4runner fanboi. While I typically applaud Toyota for their world leading reliability, the cost/performance ratio is seriously skewed with them. They ride just like they did 25 years ago. The current model 4runner is largely a 15 year old design and it shows. It's not unusual for owners of the 4wd versions to get 15mpg in mixed driving.

I much prefer to drive a late model Ford Explorer AWD with the Turbo V6. Now that's fun.


Edited by Cujet (04/02/18 01:55 PM)
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#4714183 - 04/02/18 02:18 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
john_pifer Offline


Registered: 07/08/12
Posts: 1807
Loc: Nashville, TN via Memphis
I think OP is being a bit dramatic about the 4Runner's ride. Surely it's better than my 10-year-old Tacoma with original dampers!

If you're concerned about the ride, and you'll be driving 99% of the time on the road (as most do), buy some Michelin LTX M/S-2 (this is an excellent highway-biased tire for light trucks and SUVs) tires in the P-version (the LT version has extra plies that would make for a rougher ride) that are 1 size taller sidewall than stock, so that you can safely drop tire pressure a few lbs. from what's suggested by Toyota.

Actually the LTX M/S-2 is what I've been running for years on my Taco. I think they have an updated version now. Can't remember the name.

It's a 70,000 mile tire, also, and it actually does last 70,000 miles (at least, on my Tacoma they do).
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#4714211 - 04/02/18 02:41 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
NormanBuntz Offline


Registered: 07/27/13
Posts: 2020
Loc: Outer Banks, NC
I know what you mean about the ride. In 1993 I chose a new Jeep Grand Cherokee V-8 over a new Forerunner V-6 for that same reason. The ride was not much better than that of my '88 Land Cruiser.
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#4714214 - 04/02/18 02:44 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
zfasts03 Offline


Registered: 07/21/08
Posts: 237
Loc: Bucks, PA
Love my `18, but can understand why others would dislike the ride.

Not for everyone.
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#4714215 - 04/02/18 02:45 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
methusaleh Offline


Registered: 06/09/05
Posts: 443
Loc: Vermont
Thank you for all of the insight.

While the 4Runner would be used as a commuter probably half the time, I was looking at it due to its off road capabilities as well. The reputation is there, old design or not. I've only known a couple people who have owned 4Runners and they were all satisfied.

My wife will indeed likely end up with a Highlander when her MDX dies; personally I'm considering the 4Runner for my leisure time needs. Heck, I'd love and Land Cruiser to satisfy what we both want in a vehicle, but I can't justify the price and don't want to borrow much on my vehicle purchase.

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#4714223 - 04/02/18 02:58 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: zfasts03]
cpayne5 Offline


Registered: 12/28/05
Posts: 583
Loc: Virginia
Originally Posted By: zfasts03
Love my `18, but can understand why others would dislike the ride.

Not for everyone.


Same here. We have two 4Runners (05 & 17). They both ride fine as far as we're concerned, but it's been a long time since I've ridden in anything truly plush like an S class or similar.

We love our 4Rs.

We test drove a Limited before buying our new SR5 and the salesman was raving over how much better of a ride it had compared to the other models. If I'm honest, I couldn't tell a difference. But, maybe the OP can. May be worth a test drive if you really want a 4R.

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#4714233 - 04/02/18 03:07 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
02SE Offline


Registered: 12/30/05
Posts: 2565
Loc: The Canyons
I am a 4Runner fan. The oldest vehicle I own is a 21 year old 4Runner. I bought it new, and despite having long since been relegated to winter driver and off-road exploration vehicle status, it still looks and drives pretty much like it did when it was new. It rides a bit firmer than stock on it's oversized and heavier duty construction A/T tires, and aftermarket firmer damping shocks. To me it's not intolerable at all, although it may be to some people. I've considered a new one, but for the limited amount of use it would get, the old 4Runner is just fine.

My Sister has an '18 4Runner that rides smoother, but you can tell it's a body on frame SUV, and not a unibody car-based CUV.

The 4Runner is still built solely in Japan, which to most owners is a positive aspect.

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#4714238 - 04/02/18 03:17 PM Re: 4Runner Ride Quality/Experience - always so stiff? [Re: methusaleh]
Oey12 Offline


Registered: 12/23/15
Posts: 24
Loc: NY
Honestly as a simple commuting vehicle the 4Runner isn't the best of choices. But with that said I have commuted many miles with with multiple generations of both the Tacomas and 4Runners. My current ride is a 2017 4Runner and the ride is okay but definitely not supple by any means. However I purchased the truck because it is reliable, tough as nails, can tow, and can offroad. In my opinion SUV's used to be built around these ideals now the are just large cars with factory lift kits. The 4Runner is the only SUV to stay true to the "SUV" roots in its mid size class. I do realize the auto market has changed drastically since the introduction of SUV's and the manufactures must cater to the largest segment of buyers who want a sedan ride in a truck to stay in business. The 4Runner is a very old school niche product and because of that I love it!! Here in New York state the cost of insuring and maintaining a commuter car is insane so I needed a jack of all trades master of none truck. I average 20 mpg's commuting (very conservative on the skinny pedal), I tow my trailer every other month for long periods, and I go offroad to go hunting and atving. As a owner I think toyota did a good job of designing the tuck to handle those scenarios even though the ride isn't the best on city streets. And the Tacoma is even worse especially the TRD models. If you don't tow or take your vehicle in the dirt then the competition offers much better riding vehicles (Explorer/Grand Cherokee/GM whatever). Like one of the posters said earlier I can understand how some would dislike the ride but I am also a Toyota truck Fanboy so I am willing to live with all the Toyota truck characteristics..

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