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Toyota 4-Runner vs Dodge Durango

Discussion in 'After Hours Lounge (Off Topic)' started by Shane Martin, May 6, 2004.

  1. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    I'm doing some research on these 2 vehicles as I've come to the realization that I need and will use an SUV so I've started to decide what I can afford and what I want.

    The 2 vehicles that have caught my eye are the Toyota 4-Runner and the Dodge Durango. The 4-Runner I have not yet driven and the Durango I have not driven yet either although my wife has while on a business trip and LOVED it.

    My only main concern is Dodge reliability otherwise it has some advantages.

    First let me say that either of these 2 will not be brand new as they will be preowned in some sort of fashion. They will both be 2003/2004 models(their newest body style).

    The Durango is much nicer inside and the one we will get will be the Hemi version. The 4-Runner will be either the v6 or the v8. I haven't seen a preowned v8 4 Runner yet but its a matter of time.

    Now before I completely say that the 4-Runner is the more reliable vehicle I don't know how the new models are holding up yet since they changed body styles. Does anyone know?

    Anyone own either of these 2 vehicles and would like to help me out here?

    FWIW, I drive about 2-3 miles a day to work and back so gas mileage isn't a big deal to me so much. Most of the places I go are pretty close by so I'm not too worried about how much I spend on gas.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. Matt Stryker

    Matt Stryker Well-Known Member

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    I looked with my coworker about a year ago at the new-body 4Runners, and the V6 was actually a little bit more powerful than the V8. We test drove a V6 new-body, and it rode well, although it felt pretty big compared to other SUVs I've been in (i think they pushed the wheels way out, so it has that nice fat look).

    You probably won't get solid reliability numbers on either car for 4 years or so, but going by history, the Dodge is going to be maintenance-hungry.

    Check out edmunds.com for the depreciation on each/cost per mile. My '98 Tacoma was in terrible shape and way over mileage norms when I wrecked it, and I got a huge amount for it just because it was a Toyota and they hold their value. That may work against you buying used though, since the Dodge may have a steep drop at the beginning of its life, and then level out a bit in years 2-5.
     
  3. Ron-P

    Ron-P Well-Known Member

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    I've owned several Toyota trucks in my day and I also (recently) had a company Dodge Durango which I drove for two years. Never a single problem with any of my Toyota's. The Dodge ran great for a year and then went to crap fast.

    Our company had 5 Durango's. After so many problems with all of them they sold them off and bought all new Chevy Tahoe Z1's.

    I'd avoid the Dodge if I were you.
     
  4. Gene Severn

    Gene Severn Well-Known Member

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    I cannot talk about the quality of all Chrysler products, but...I own a '93 Jeep Cherokee Sport, and have close to 200,000 miles on it without any problems..I'd buy another tomorrow.
     
  5. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    My wife has a Jeep and she loves it and its not caused us any problems at all. I wonder if Jeeps are made under different conditions are stricter guidelines??

    Then again my Chrysler LeBaron was a pyle.

    I've got mixed reviews of Chrysler/Dodge so I'm not sure on that.

    Then again the new 4-Runner is a new style/engine etc so I'm unsure of how that will work out either.
     
  6. Malcolm R

    Malcolm R Well-Known Member

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    Don't think so. My mother just bought a Jeep Grand Cherokee last summer and has had several problems, including a mis-aligned heating system in the dash. The dealership indicated they'd had many similar problems with their Jeep products. They had to tear the whole dash apart and realign the venting system to get the heating/air conditioning to work correctly.
     
  7. Alf S

    Alf S Premium
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    The new Durango already has a recall or two I see in Consumer Reports latest issue.

    If I'm not mistaken, in 93, Dodge/Chrysler didn't own Jeep yet??

    I know my 93 intrepid had to have a new tranny after just 26,000 miles. They (Dodge) have a bad history of tranny problems.

    Stick to a tried and true reliable brand...Toyota.

    One note..my dad got a new 2003 Mercury Mountaineer loaded with everything for under $30,000 and it is awesome. Well built and has been tops in many reliablity reports. Well worth looking into if you are into mid sized SUV's.

    Alfer
     
  8. Henry Gale

    Henry Gale Well-Known Member

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    Shall I tell a Jeep story now????

    I've had several Toyota pickups. Four years ago, for reasons I don't recall clearly I bought a Dodge Dakota.


    Get the Toyota.
     
  9. Scott Barnhart

    Scott Barnhart Well-Known Member

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    Granted this is only on year of data, but the last Consumer Reports Car issue said that the 03/04 V6 4Runner had average-to-poor reliability, and the V8 had great reliability. I don't know if that is due to differences in the engines, or if they are built in different plants, so take that info for what it is worth.
     
  10. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    Well the models have 2 different engines and transmissions. The V8 has a 5 speed auto and the V6 has a 4 speed auto.

    I'm not sure if that matters though. From what I could tell on the sticker, they are made in Japan completely.
     
  11. Michael D. Bunting

    Michael D. Bunting Well-Known Member

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    Nissan Pathfinder (2001-2003) LE
     
  12. Shawn_M

    Shawn_M Member

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    i have a 1990 4-runner and it still is a great vehicle only have had prop. i cased so go with the toyota and it'll last you a long time without too much of a hassle if you get a good one
     
  13. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Well-Known Member

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    shane, see if you can find steve schaeffer (sp?) here. he's a toyota mechanic (i think) and will give you honest opinions on the toy.

    fwiw, i have a 99 4-runner and love it. it's solid, runs great, feels tight, etc. although i bought it used, we knew the previous owner - she never had a single problem with it.

    now american cars? well, all my experience has been somewhat negative. i don't want to generalize, but it just seems every american car i've had (my parents *loved* american cars for some reason) always had problems. it usually wasn't anything major, but just a lot of "little things" that ended up being a hassle. a loose this, a broken that, etc....

    it's very doubtful i'll ever own an american car ... except for a vette. [​IMG]
     
  14. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Well-Known Member

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    Shane,

    reporting in: The V6 4Runner had a recall very early on regarding a problem with a fuel line clip, If you're looking at a used V6 current-generation 4Runner you can give the VIN number to any Toyota dealer and they can find out if the recall has been performed. This recall happenned very early in the production run and most of the ones we did were on vehicles that had not been sold yet. Other than that I can't figure out why they rated poorly for reliability from Consumer Reports as the most frequent single complaint on them (and V8s in this case) has been rattly moonroof trim, easily correctible.

    The V6 has a higher horsepower rating than the V8, but torque is lower, so if you need to do a lot of heavy towing or other "grunt" work you might be wise to go for the V8.

    The V6 engine is a new design with chain-driven overhead cams. It is not a carryover of the 3.4 liter engine in the previous generation 4Runners (still in use on Tacomas).
    Other than the fuel line clip recall we haven't had any problems with them whatsoever.

    The V8 is a 4.7 liter adaptation of the Lexus V8, with cast iron block instead of aluminum as on Lexus cars. It's been in use on Land Cruisers, Tundras and Sequoias for about 4 years now and is just about bulletproof. Unlike the typical domestic V8 this engine will rev it's heart out--keep the throttle buried when merging onto the freeway and you'll find yourself doing 90mph before you know it. It does have belt driven cams, however, and the belt needs to be replaced at around 90k miles--it's an interference engine so if the belt breaks severe damage will occur to the valvetrain and you may even punch holes in pistons. To put this in context, all Honda models have belt driven cams and interference engines. The 4.7 also has fairly short piston skirts so it sometimes rattles a bit when cold, most folks don't even notice it as it's not much louder than the clicking noise from the fuel injectors and can't be heard from inside the vehicle, and it goes away once warmed up.

    The current 4Runner is not an adaptation of the Tacoma pickup as the previous model was. It was engineered and designed from the ground up to be an SUV. In other markets this same vehicle is sold as a sort of Junior Land Cruiser. Lexus sells pretty much the same vehicle, I think they call it the GX-470 (LX-470 being the analog to the Toyota Land Cruiser). All 4Runners are and always have been built in Japan.

    Both the 4 speed and 5 speed automatics are very smooth units, unlike the 5 speed auto in the fwd V6 cars which is a bit lumpy until it "learns" your driving habits.

    I wasn't too fond of the last generation 4Runner, it was a bit tippy feeling and felt too softly sprung to me. The new one is much better in this respect, being about as car-like as you can get in a frame-constructed SUV. The overall driving feel and level of refinement as far as ride, handling, and performance is very impressive--fully competitive imho with some of the more prestigious makes like Land Rover or the Mercedes ML series without the poor reliability.

    The interior layout is very nice and practical, but the Heater/AC controls and some other things are a bit weird and maybe overstyled.

    As a rule I don't like SUVs, but I very much like the new 4Runner. I much prefer it to the larger Sequoia, which while not a bad vehicle is an adaptation of the Tundra and not a "ground-up" design.

    I'm pretty sure the Durango is still an adaptation on the Dakota pickup, though there is a brand new model that appears to be more than a facelift so I could be wrong.
     
  15. Mike Lenthol

    Mike Lenthol Well-Known Member

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    Any links for supporting info? I've heard otherwise.
     
  16. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Well-Known Member

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    i told ya steve would give some good info... [​IMG]
     
  17. brentl

    brentl Well-Known Member

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    "To put this in context, all Honda models have belt driven cams"

    New Accords are chain drive, as told by salesman FWIW.

    Brennt
     
  18. Alf S

    Alf S Premium
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    Shane...

    New big screen this month now a "newer" car?!

    You lucky dog...

    Can you get me a nice big high rollin job over there at TV Guide..I'd be willin to drive from BA across town. [​IMG]

    Alfer
     
  19. Shane Martin

    Shane Martin Well-Known Member

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    Haha. Nothing doing over here. I'm lucky I'm here.

    The car probably won't happen until late this year, maybe early next. Then again my Credit Union is offering a nutso low rate for a car between 1999 and 2005.
     
  20. Steve Schaffer

    Steve Schaffer Well-Known Member

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    Update,

    Toyota just issued an LSC (Limited Service Campaign) on some early '04 V6 4runners. Seems some got thru with a poorly machinned crank pulley which may cause a minor leak from the front crank seal. This is a recall but is limited in that it runs out on '07 or some high mileage figure. The defect is causing leaks fairly early on so they figure if it makes it 'til 07 or 80k (not sure of exact mileage limit, will check again tomorrow) it's not defective. Again, providing a VIN number to a dealer will let them see if you have an affected vehicle.

    Will double check on 4.7 being interference at work tomorrow. Previously almost all Toyota belt driven cam engines were non-interference but we are starting to see this change.
     

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