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I have a 2007 FJ with a billion miles on it and I'm looking to upgrade. I love the FJ so I'm considering replacing with another one, but I also started looking at 4Runners. I've read many threads comparing the two, with many (from what I've seen) coming out with the 4Runner as the better option overall - more space, smoother ride, more creature comforts, and still a capable off-roader. Well, I test drove my first 4Runner this afternoon. It was a 2018 TRD, and I'm not sure if it was the specific vehicle I tested, but I was underwhelmed. It seemed sluggish, had super squishy breaks, and in general felt like a soccer mom SUV. In contrast, the FJs I've driven feel more nimble and just punchier. I'm not trying to make a statement about 4Runner vs FJ, I'm just surprised by my experience given what I've heard and read about them. It could be the specific 4Runner that I test drove, or maybe I need to reset my expectations about this rig. Curious if anyone else has had a similar experience going from the FJ to a 4Runner.
 

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I have a 2007 FJ with a billion miles on it and I'm looking to upgrade. I love the FJ so I'm considering replacing with another one, but I also started looking at 4Runners. I've read many threads comparing the two, with many (from what I've seen) coming out with the 4Runner as the better option overall - more space, smoother ride, more creature comforts, and still a capable off-roader. Well, I test drove my first 4Runner this afternoon. It was a 2018 TRD, and I'm not sure if it was the specific vehicle I tested, but I was underwhelmed. It seemed sluggish, had super squishy breaks, and in general felt like a soccer mom SUV. In contrast, the FJs I've driven feel more nimble and just punchier. I'm not trying to make a statement about 4Runner vs FJ, I'm just surprised by my experience given what I've heard and read about them. It could be the specific 4Runner that I test drove, or maybe I need to reset my expectations about this rig. Curious if anyone else has had a similar experience going from the FJ to a 4Runner.
@kenzo I had been debating about FJ vs 4Runner. Had really been wanted the FJ for years, but now with two kids and a dog, was wondering if the FJ was the wrong decision. We checked out the 4Runner…but stuck with the FJ.

I too felt similar to what you mentioned. The FJ, for me, felt more responsive, stout and ready to tackle anything. Yes a bit more bouncy and maybe a little fewer amenities, but ultimately, I wanted a go anywhere vehicle…get the kids out of suburbia and adventure.

Oh, and my wife the soccer mom has been caught driving the FJ to my sons practice. I am adding a back up camera, but that was the only request.
 

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I bought an FJ when they first came out (March of 2006). It was my daily driver as well as my dedicated offroad vehicle until 2013. It was heavily modified and I did most of the extreme trails in Moab in it (as well as driving there to do so). I decided in 2013 to either buy a used Tacoma and have it converted into a very serious offroad vehicle (Truggy) that would need to be trailored to places like Moab or get the FJ SAS'd. I ultimately chose to have the FJ SAS'd so that I could actually drive it to the places I wanted to go wheeling. I then decided to get a 4-Runner as my daily driver so I got a dark grey 2013 Trail Edition. It's been pretty seriously modified and I do light to moderate wheeling in it but save the serious stuff for the FJ. I've been extremely happy with it as my daily driver and it's very capable offroad as well. The gas milage is light years better than the FJ prior to being SAS'd and I've been very pleased with the way it handles in city driving as well. As far as I'm concerned it has plenty of power, not to mention there's considerably more room inside for passengers, etc. So........I've been quite pleased with my decision to get the 4-Runner as my daily driver (although I am much more cautious when taking it offroad than I was with the FJ prior to having it SAS'd).
 

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I've driven 4x4 trucks for over 35 years- an '86 Toyota pickup (bought new Nov.'85), I lifted with heavier torsion bars/add a leaf and 31x10.50/15's (hey, those were a big deal back then!), put a winch on it and a Gleason Torsen diff in the back (that was a neat piece of equipment!), then a '94 4Runner (bought Oct. '98- needed a back seat for our about to be 1st newborn) which I eventually put 33x10.50/15's on and both were reasonably capable vehicles offroad. The '08 FJ (bought June 2019), though, with it's slightly shorter wheelbase, less overhang front and rear, e-locker, ATRAC and 31 1/2" tires (all season Michelins- boy, we tore those up in short order! :LOL: ) just seemed more responsive and has been so much more fun to drive (on and off the road) and that was before the OME lift and 285/70-17 KO2's! I'm in love with my FJ- wouldn't go back to pickup or 4Runner, even newer with all the conveniences. I'm not crazy about the size or style of either.

I've found my forever vehicle- I turn 65 here in a few days so the FJ could literally be the last car I ever buy (and my eldest is somewhat keen on helping keep it up so there's something cool to inherit) and (besides the fact that it's been over 2 years and I still haven't grown to love the color Sandstorm) I'm ok with that. I guess it all depends on what you want. Al
 

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I offroaded my '11 FJ extensively from '11-'18, then switched to a '18 TRD Off Road 4Runner.

I've read many threads comparing the two, with many (from what I've seen) coming out with the 4Runner as the better option overall - more space, smoother ride, more creature comforts, and still a capable off-roader.
First, the specs: same 4.0L V6 engine, same 5-speed automatic transmission (FJ can get a manual), the off-road versions of the 4Runner have the same transfer case (2H/4H/4L) but the Limited trim has a full-time AWD case. The 4Runner's wheelbase is 4 inches longer (109 vs 105 inches) and the curb weight is about 400 pounds heavier.

The 4Runner can get leather heated seats, a sunroof, factory navigation, has better back doors if you have kid seats / kids in the back. That's why most people switch to the 4Runner, for the 2nd row doors.

Well, I test drove my first 4Runner this afternoon. It was a 2018 TRD, and I'm not sure if it was the specific vehicle I tested, but I was underwhelmed. It seemed sluggish, had super squishy breaks, and in general felt like a soccer mom SUV. In contrast, the FJs I've driven feel more nimble and just punchier.
It's ~10% heavier for the same engine, so it will seem a little more sluggish. For brakes, drive 2-3 to see if the feel is consistent, I don't remember them being any different (and mechanically, I doubt that they are).

For differences offroad, the main thing I notice is in tight trees that I have to watch the back corners tilting into trees more than I did on the FJ. Not much more though. Multi-Terrain Select (MTS) on the 4Runner is helpful, it's basically terrain-specific ATRAC (some terrain needs less/more wheel slip before ATRAC kicks in). I've never had a need for crawl control.

If you want something less sluggish than the 4Runner but with the same frame/dimensions, look at the Lexus GX. It is basically a luxury V8 4Runner. I guarantee you that I can find you one used, somewhere in the USA, with the same or less miles, for the same or less money than the 4Runner you test drove. Example: 2017 Lexus GX460, 26K miles, $37K. There are tons of affordable GX's out there. There are so many Lexus GX's being built for overlanding now that Lexus built a GX-OR concept and brought it to FJ Summit in 2019.

Do I miss my FJ? Not really. It was a great truck, the 4Runner has been a great truck too. I built them both essentially the same way -- Expedition One front bumper, OME BP-51 suspension, BudBuilt armor -- so they feel a lot like the same truck. The creature comfort upgrades on the 4Runner are nice, the easier / more usable 2nd row is nice. If I had it to do over again, I'd probably get a Lexus GX. At some point I'm going to be doing a lot less wheeling and will just need a any-weather-any-time vehicle, which will likely be a Land Cruiser 200 with Duratracs and some rock sliders.
 

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Heated, leather seats and goes anywhere I need it to (anywhere an FJ will) without a crazy markup because of its boxy shape and fun colors. Easy to access doors. Low key in the neighborhood and less flashy.

Plus it’s a car, which is a rapidly depreciating asset (I know I’ll get some disagreements in today’s CRAZY INFLATIONARY market, but it’s true) so sensibility and practically important to me.
 

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I have a 2007 FJ with a billion miles on it and I'm looking to upgrade. I love the FJ so I'm considering replacing with another one, but I also started looking at 4Runners. I've read many threads comparing the two, with many (from what I've seen) coming out with the 4Runner as the better option overall - more space, smoother ride, more creature comforts, and still a capable off-roader. Well, I test drove my first 4Runner this afternoon. It was a 2018 TRD, and I'm not sure if it was the specific vehicle I tested, but I was underwhelmed. It seemed sluggish, had super squishy breaks, and in general felt like a soccer mom SUV. In contrast, the FJs I've driven feel more nimble and just punchier. I'm not trying to make a statement about 4Runner vs FJ, I'm just surprised by my experience given what I've heard and read about them. It could be the specific 4Runner that I test drove, or maybe I need to reset my expectations about this rig. Curious if anyone else has had a similar experience going from the FJ to a 4Runner.
I was in the same boat as you in 2017; I have a 2007 FJ 6MT that hit every string for me, thoroughly enjoyed the manual and the get up and go! However, I discovered by then that it was not ideal for many reasons, that are just part of the game with an FJ, and needed a 4 door vehicle with better 360 degree visibility. So I bought a 2017 T4R ORP. Its definitely a more evolved and civilized vehicle, that my wife definitely appreciated instantly. Lots more electronics like Crawl, MTS etc. They are both quite different vehicles, and I don't know why they get compared so much. So much so, that I kept the FJ for weekends and the T4R for long trips. As far as sheer off road capability, they are both so close that it comes down to two questions, what is your skill level and second, how much damage or punishment you are willing to accept/dish out.

I love them both, and can't give up either. I love the honest simplicity of the early model FJ's and the smooth, capable reliable feeling of the T4R. The only way I'll sell the FJ is I'm not able to shift a manual or something someday.
 

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I went from a 2007 FJ to a custom ordered 2016 4 Runner TRD Pro; I waited 6 months for it. I really really wanted to love my 4 runner since it was the only factory custom I've ever bought. I hated the TURD as I called it, even after spending another 6k in upgrades. Now I'm back to a very low mile cherry 2007 FJ - it was worth every penny going back!
 

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I have an 07 FJ and a 19 TRD off road 4Runner. If I’m going camping or 4 wheeling, I take the FJ. If it’s a long trip I take the 4Runner. The 4Runner has better sight lines, but I don’t mind the scratches on my almost 300k miles old FJ
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I went from a 2007 FJ to a custom ordered 2016 4 Runner TRD Pro; I waited 6 months for it. I really really wanted to love my 4 runner since it was the only factory custom I've ever bought. I hated the TURD as I called it, even after spending another 6k in upgrades. Now I'm back to a very low mile cherry 2007 FJ - it was worth every penny going back!
What was it about the 4Runner that you didn't like?
 

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I've had both for years and years. First, wait for the new 4Runner. The current one hasn't been changed in a thousand years. Everyone considers the engine old and under-powered. The heating/ Ac still uses knobs and no temp control, etc. BUT, it's a truck ladder frame, etc. so still a great off-roader. In the Off-road package you get all the bling for off-roading.

I consider them different animals. For pure off-road, I use the FJ. My FJ is fully-tricked-out (except needs lights now) for off-road. So, the big tires change the ride completely. Remember the "latest" FJ is a 2014 (which I have).

For family off-road, or road-trips, I use the 4Runner. The 4runner is smoother, quieter, more roomy front-to-back, better visibility, etc. . I drive up into the mountains regularly and they both require downshifting. The 4Runner semi-shifter is much easier and smoother to use.

I'm watching the developments of the new 4Runner. I figure the Tacoma (which is current stuff) has a lot of what will go into the nextgen 4Runner.

If you made me choose one for everything, I'd have to go with the 4Runner. Awesome vehicle even if it's 10yo design.

JMHO. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I've had both for years and years. First, wait for the new 4Runner. The current one hasn't been changed in a thousand years. Everyone considers the engine old and under-powered. The heating/ Ac still uses knobs and no temp control, etc. BUT, it's a truck ladder frame, etc. so still a great off-roader. In the Off-road package you get all the bling for off-roading.

I consider them different animals. For pure off-road, I use the FJ. My FJ is fully-tricked-out (except needs lights now) for off-road. So, the big tires change the ride completely. Remember the "latest" FJ is a 2014 (which I have).

For family off-road, or road-trips, I use the 4Runner. The 4runner is smoother, quieter, more roomy front-to-back, better visibility, etc. . I drive up into the mountains regularly and they both require downshifting. The 4Runner semi-shifter is much easier and smoother to use.

I'm watching the developments of the new 4Runner. I figure the Tacoma (which is current stuff) has a lot of what will go into the nextgen 4Runner.

If you made me choose one for everything, I'd have to go with the 4Runner. Awesome vehicle even if it's 10yo design.

JMHO. :)
Good tip. If the 4Runner had a bit more power, I'd prefer it as well. In your opinion, does the FJ feel under powered as well?
 

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Good tip. If the 4Runner had a bit more power, I'd prefer it as well. In your opinion, does the FJ feel under powered as well?
Yeah, the FJ is under-powered FOR the road. They took the 4Runner chassis / engine as the base for the FJ. You'll be cruising along highway or back road and want to go faster. You give it a little gas and it doesn't respond or is sluggish (basically, you're not in the powerband). You have two choices driving these - (1) hit the gas hard to force a downshift which makes for a rough ride / sudden surge acceleration, or (2) don't change your amount of gas pedal and downshift, then ease into more gas to go faster. (2) is more fun and definitely smoother and better for accelerating. With the semi-auto downshifting on the 4Runner, a light tap of the shifter changes gears. Fun and easy. I think I need transmission work on my FJ to make the semi-auto shifter easier. I don't remember it being as hard as it is on my first FJ.

So, when you test drive, play with the shifting!

Good luck!
Bill
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Yeah, the FJ is under-powered FOR the road. They took the 4Runner chassis / engine as the base for the FJ. You'll be cruising along highway or back road and want to go faster. You give it a little gas and it doesn't respond or is sluggish (basically, you're not in the powerband). You have two choices driving these - (1) hit the gas hard to force a downshift which makes for a rough ride / sudden surge acceleration, or (2) don't change your amount of gas pedal and downshift, then ease into more gas to go faster. (2) is more fun and definitely smoother and better for accelerating. With the semi-auto downshifting on the 4Runner, a light tap of the shifter changes gears. Fun and easy. I think I need transmission work on my FJ to make the semi-auto shifter easier. I don't remember it being as hard as it is on my first FJ.

So, when you test drive, play with the shifting!

Good luck!
Bill
Thanks professor. This is the feedback I was looking for. My experience has been the opposite. My FJ feels like it has power when I hit the gas, but the 4Runner I test drove felt like a wet dog. I'm going to test drive another one today. BTW I'm going auto these days. I used to drive manual, but those days are over.
 

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I've driven 4x4 trucks for over 35 years- an '86 Toyota pickup (bought new Nov.'85), I lifted with heavier torsion bars/add a leaf and 31x10.50/15's (hey, those were a big deal back then!), put a winch on it and a Gleason Torsen diff in the back (that was a neat piece of equipment!), then a '94 4Runner (bought Oct. '98- needed a back seat for our about to be 1st newborn) which I eventually put 33x10.50/15's on and both were reasonably capable vehicles offroad. The '08 FJ (bought June 2019), though, with it's slightly shorter wheelbase, less overhang front and rear, e-locker, ATRAC and 31 1/2" tires (all season Michelins- boy, we tore those up in short order! :LOL: ) just seemed more responsive and has been so much more fun to drive (on and off the road) and that was before the OME lift and 285/70-17 KO2's! I'm in love with my FJ- wouldn't go back to pickup or 4Runner, even newer with all the conveniences. I'm not crazy about the size or style of either.

I've found my forever vehicle- I turn 65 here in a few days so the FJ could literally be the last car I ever buy (and my eldest is somewhat keen on helping keep it up so there's something cool to inherit) and (besides the fact that it's been over 2 years and I still haven't grown to love the color Sandstorm) I'm ok with that. I guess it all depends on what you want. Al
Last FJ standing for me too! I'm 73. When i'm wheeling down the road doing 80 at age 80 and the trooper throws me in the back seat I figure it'll be rockin chair time for me!
 

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Last evening I bought a 2020 4Runner to be my daily driver after 5 years of using my 2014 FJ TTUE. I would not have done this but as I posted last month I totaled the FJ when someone ran a stop sign. I can't find a suitable FJ in a hurry and I need something so I think the 4R will work. I don't do what you would call serious off-roading but my hunting and fishing habits get me to places where a car/van just won't cut it. Time will tell what I think.
 
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Thanks professor. This is the feedback I was looking for. My experience has been the opposite. My FJ feels like it has power when I hit the gas, but the 4Runner I test drove felt like a wet dog. I'm going to test drive another one today. BTW I'm going auto these days. I used to drive manual, but those days are over.
Interesting but not unexpected. We probably drive different and in different conditions. I'm an old super-bike racer, and smoothness was everything for traction! :)

FYI - from your post I can't tell if you know the shifting I'm talking about. The shifting I'm talking about is not with a manual transmission. It's shifting with the automatic. When you test drive the 4Runner, try it. It's a special semi-auto mode made for manual shifting (not just forcing down a gear on an auto tranny). You can also save a lot of wear on your brakes by down-shifting and letting the engine slow you down.

Looking forward to hearing what you settle on!

Bill
 

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My FJ to 4Runner experience is a bit different. I have 2010 FJ Cruiser in automatic. Daughter bought 99 4Runner Limited from her grandparents and offroads in that. I saw others mention it above. The 4Runner Limited comes standard with one very fantastic feature that is better than the FJ. In her 99 model it was called rainslick mode that you can turn on with the press of a button on the side of the trans shifter that puts it into AWD mode (just like the manual FJ has with full time AWD mode) but this is an automatic and you can turn it on/off. It is WAY, WAY better for driving on snowy roads, that go from patches of wet pavement, to snowpacked, to worn down to concrete and asphalt, but snow between the lanes (i.e. exactly how Colorado highways are in real life during winter driving in the mountains).

Her 99 4runner is also narrower than my FJ and just slightly longer in the wheelbase. It does have larger rear overhang, but underneath she has huge clearance (more than my FJ). We are both running 3" ToyTec lifts. I also find that her 4Runner is less tippy feeling than my FJ when you get into those steep downhill sections where one front wheel drops and the opposite rear corner wants to lift...doesnt happen nearly as much with her 4 Runner.

My conclusion....her 4Runner is every bit as good offroad as my FJ and way more comfortable and better performing on winter highways. There is one downside, the 3.4L V6 and 4 speed automatic in these 3rd gen models feels pretty anemic with larger wheels/tires pulling grades at high altitude. The later model 4.0L 4Runners are much better performing (as is the V8 that was available in the 4th gen models available from '03-08?).

And, of course the FJ looks cooler than the 4Runner.
 
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