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2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

4dr SR5 3.4L Auto 4WD (Natl)

Starting at | Starting at 16 MPG City - 19 MPG Highway

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  • $28,875 original MSRP
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Printable Version

2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

Printable Version

2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

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2001 Toyota 4Runner

Source: New Car Test Drive

Not afraid to go off road.

by Mitch McCullough

Base Price (MSRP) $26,335
As Tested (MSRP) $36,704

The Toyota 4Runner represents one of the tougher trucks in Toyota's lineup. While the newly redesigned RAV4 and the all-new Highlander are car-based SUVs, the 4Runner, like the Land Cruiser, provides the two-speed transfer case and suspension travel needed for serious off-road driving. The 4Runner has all of the sturdy stuff you need to venture beyond civilized roads.

It can also be fitted with leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and other luxury features.

Overall, the 4Runner is easy to drive, gives a comfortable highway ride, secure handling, and provides lots of storage room. The standard V6 engine and four-speed automatic transmission delivers snappy acceleration performance.

Traction control for rear-wheel drive models, anti-lock brakes, and stability control are all standard features for 2001.

Model Lineup

All 4Runners come in a four-door body style. They are available with two- or four-wheel drive, in two trim levels: SR5 and Limited.

The four-cylinder engine was dropped for 2001, leaving the excellent 183-horsepower V6 as the standard powerplant. The five-speed manual transmission was also discontinued; a four-speed electronically controlled automatic is standard.

Prices range from the $26,335 SR5 two-wheel-drive 4Runner to the $36,105 Limited with V6, four-wheel drive, leather and power everything.

Walkaround

The 4Runner shares strong family ties and many components with the nearly unbreakable Toyota pickup trucks. Look at any Toyota and you'll find that everything about it is well done and logical. Thoughtful features abound. The last complete redesign was in 1996. The 2001 models receive a redesigned front grille and new taillights.

The 3.4-liter twin-cam V6 is a sweetheart, delivering 183 horsepower and 217 pound-feet of torque, which allows towing trailers up to 5000 pounds. Expect fuel economy to be around 16/19 mpg city/highway for four-wheel drive models; rear-wheel drive versions achieve about 1 more mpg overall.

For 2001, a center differential lock switch has been provided on the instrument panel so that the locking and unlocking of the center differential can be controlled by the push of a button. This allows the driver to make the choice of positively locking both rear wheels and one of the fronts together, meaning at least three tires will be clawing their way through muck or slush.

Interior Features

As with all Toyotas, the 4Runner accommodates its passengers well. (The previous-generation, pre-1996, 4Runners required the passengers to make allowances for the vehicle.) Although not the roomiest in its class, the 4Runner offers enough space for five adults with comfortable room behind the front seats. The rear seat is split 50/50. This was useful when three of us drove to a restaurant with all of my fishing gear, including some two-piece nine-foot fly rods.

As a result of the ground clearance necessary to deal with serious off-road use, the 4Runner sits somewhat higher than some of the competition. This means that shorter people may find it less convenient to get in and out. But most of us find getting in and out of the 4Runner easy.

All controls are where you expect and need them and operate logically and easily, from your first grab of the door handle to turning on the wipers or using a cup holder. There's nothing goofy here, no awkward result of some stylist's whim. Just simple, appreciated correctness, which adds up to a high degree of operating ease. The instrument panel is arranged for sensible visibility and operation of all control functions. Map pockets, glove boxes, cubbyholes and cup holders add to happiness during long trips. New for 2001 is a modified air conditioner control panel; power door locks are also standard throughout the model line.

The bottoms of the rear seats flip up and the seat backs fold down, presenting a large, flat cargo area. (The rear seat headrests are conveniently stored by sticking them into a pair of holes on the seat bottom.) There was plenty of room for fishing rods and a couple of duffel bags of gear. I stopped at dawn on a long drive from North Carolina to Washington, D.C., and slept comfortably for an hour on the flat cargo floor.

All owners will appreciate a couple of features in the rear. First, the spare tire is mounted underneath, so it doesn't interfere with cargo access, and doesn't intrude on cargo space. Second, access to the rear is through a hatch with a separate opening window. A hatch is superior to a door-style tailgate because it opens up and allows you to stand closer to the cargo area when you're loading stuff. And, if you want to toss small items in the back, just lower the window--it's power-operated in all models. The 4Runner comes with well-designed big side mirrors, which provide excellent rearward visibility. For all-around convenience, the 4Runner is one of the best of the mid-size (so-called compact) sport-utilities.

Driving Impressions

Toyota's 4Runner showed off its impressive highway performance on a lengthy drive through Virginia and North Carolina. I was headed to Harker's Island near the southernmost tip of North Carolina's Outer Banks to go fishing and quickly found the 4Runner is extremely stable at high speeds.

From a handling standpoint, the 4Runner has one of the best chassis and suspension arrangements in its class. While some mid-size sport-utilities have front suspensions of struts or even live axles, the 4Runner has an independent suspension with upper and lower control arms and coil springs. In the rear, the axle is mounted with a multi-link arrangement and coil springs instead of the more common, and less sophisticated, leaf springs. The 4Runner also has the precise feel of rack-and-pinion steering and a tidy turning circle of 37.4 feet. The result is a combination of ride comfort and handling ease that is exceptionally good for a vehicle of such outstanding off-road and rough-road capabilities.

Living with the 4Runner and driving it on a daily basis is easy and free of hassles. It doesn't drive exactly like a car, of course, but it's no truck either. It rides nice, it handles nice, the engine runs great, it's nimble in tight shopping mall parking lots, and it basically does all the things you'd like it to do in the ways you'd like it to do them. About the only negative I logged was that, like most compact SUVs, the 4Runner does not provide good grip on wet pavement. The rear tires will often spin when trying to take off aggressively in the rain.

We also had the chance to take the 4Runner off-road. With its high ground clearance, aggressive tire pattern and Toyota's on-demand shift-on-the-fly four-wheel drive system, the 4Runner was practically unstoppable. All four-wheel drive models come with a two-speed transfer case that provides low gearing to slowly creep down steep declines. Toyota builds the RAV4 and Highlander for light-duty non-pavement trekking, but also offers the 4Runner, Land Cruiser and Sequoia for those seeking more serious off-road adventures.

Aside from the expected Toyota attention to detail, which is faultless and comprehensive, one of the nicest features is the 3.4-liter V6 engine. Though it lacks the stump-pulling grunt of the V8s available in some of the competition, it's exceptionally high in smoothness and driving pleasure, with excellent throttle response and a silky feel throughout its wide rev range. And there's more than enough power to deal with a full load of passengers, luggage and a medium-sized trailer.

Final Word

If you don't require the brute towing power of a V8, you'll have trouble finding a better mid-size sport-utility vehicle than the 4Runner. It's a textbook example of insightful, thoughtful, comprehensive care in design and engineering. Everything about it is correctly done. On the critical issues of reliability and durability, the 4Runner and Toyota's reputation are a tough combination to beat. Plus, it's an extremely capable off-roader.

© New Car Test Drive, Inc.

Printable Version

2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

Safety Ratings help

What do the Safety Ratings mean?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performs independent crash testing of new vehicles and then assigns them a score based on their performance. The overall crash test rating is based on how a vehicle performs in the following tests:

Driver Crash Grade:

Measures the chance of a serious injury to a crash test dummy that is placed in a driver's seat and driven into a fixed barrier at 35 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less chance of injury.

Passenger Crash Grade:

Similar to the driver crash grade, only now the focus is on the passenger.

Rollover Resistance:

Simulates an emergency lane change to measure the likelihood of a vehicle rolling over. A five-star rating means there is 10 percent or less risk of rollover.

Side Impact Crash Test - Front:

Focuses on the front side of a vehicle. It simulates crashes that can occur in intersections by striking a 3,015-pound weight against the side of a vehicle at 38.5 MPH. A five-star rating means there is 5 percent or less chance of injury.

Side Impact Crash Test - Rear:

Similar to the front side impact test only now the focus is on the rear passenger.

Driver Crash Grade
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Passenger Crash Grade
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Rollover Resistance
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Side Impact Crash Test - Front
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Side Impact Crash Test - Rear
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Safety Features & Equipment

Braking & Traction

4-Wheel ABS Std
Traction/Stability Control Std

Passenger Restraint

Driver Air Bag Std
Passenger Air Bag Std
Child Safety Locks Std

Road Visibility

Daytime Running Lights Std
Fog Lamps Opt
Intermittent Wipers Std
Variable Inter. Wipers Std

Security

Alarm Opt
Printable Version

2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

Toyota Certified Pre-Owned Warranty  help
Certified Pre-Owned Warranty
To be eligible for Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) status, vehicles generally must be recent models with relatively low mileage. CPO vehicles must also pass a detailed inspection, outlined by the manufacturer, which is measured by the number of inspected points.
Warranty coverage can vary from one manufacturer to the next. While most certified pre-owned programs transfer and extend the existing new car warranty terms, others offer a warranty that simply represents an additional year and mileage value. Always check with the manufacturer for the specific warranties they offer.
Common features and benefits of Certified Pre-Owned warranties include:
Age/Mileage Eligibility
To even be considered for certification, a car must be a recent model year and have limited mileage. The exact requirements are established by individual manufacturers.
Lease Term Certified
Some manufacturers offer certified pre-owned cars for lease. The length of the lease is often shorter than a new car lease, but it will cost you less.
Point Inspection
These inspections entail a comprehensive vehicle test to ensure that all parts are in excellent working order. The point inspection list is simply a numbered list of exactly what parts of the car are examined. While many inspections range from a 70- to 150-point checklist, most are very similar and are performed using strict guidelines. Ask your local dealer about specific details.
Return/Exchange Program
Some manufacturers offer a very limited return or exchange period. Find out if you will get the sales tax and licensing/registration fees back should you return or exchange the car.
Roadside Assistance
Most certified pre-owned programs offer free roadside service in case your car breaks down while still under warranty.
Special Financing
Reduced-rate loans are available through many certified pre-owned programs. Manufacturer-backed inspections and warranties help eliminate the risks involved with buying pre-owned, so buyers who qualify can take advantage of the great offers.
Transferable Warranty
When a new car warranty transfers with the certification of the car and remains eligible for the next owner, it is known as a transferable warranty. Once the original transferable warranty expires, an extended warranty takes effect.
Warranty Deductible
This is the amount for which you are responsible when repair work is performed under the warranty. Some manufacturers require a deductible while others don't, so always ask.

12-month/12,000-mile Comprehensive Warranty*
7-year/100,000-mile Limited Powertrain Warranty**
1-year of Roadside Assistance***
160-Point Quality Assurance Inspection
CARFAX® Vehicle History Report"****

Certified customers are eligible for standard new car financing rates*****

*Whichever comes first from date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. The Comprehensive Warranty covers any repair or replacement of components which fail under normal use due to defect in materials or workmanship. (Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii.)

**Whichever comes first from original date of first use when sold as new. See your Toyota Certified Used Vehicles dealer for warranty details. Program not available in Puerto Rico and Hawaii. For AL, FL, GA, NC & SC, warranty coverage differs in the following ways: 7-year or 100,000-mile Toyota Certified Limited Powertrain Warranty coverage begins on January 1st of the vehicle's model year and zero (0) odometer miles and expires at the earlier of seven years or 100,000 odometer miles.

***From date of Toyota Certified Used Vehicle purchase. Covers most services, including flat tires, lockout service, jump starts, fuel delivery up to 3 gallons and towing for mechanical breakdown or collision recovery to the nearest Toyota dealership. Services provided exclude any parts required. Coverage not available in Mexico. See Certified Warranty Supplement for warranty details.

****Beginning December 1, 2005 CARFAX® Vehicle History Reports" are a required part of every Toyota Certified Used Vehicle. See your local dealer for details.

*****Rates mentioned are for standard new car rates, and do not include new car specials or subvented rates. Not all buyers will qualify. Financing available through Toyota Financial Services for qualified buyers only.
Age/Mileage Eligibility 7 years / 85,000
Lease Term Certified Yes
Point Inspection All TCUV vehicles must pass a comprehensive checklist that includes a 160-point inspection. This way you can rest assured that your pre-owned Toyota is in perfect condition. To see full inspection list visit http://www.toyotacertified.com/inspection.html
Return/Exchange Program No
Roadside Assistance 1-year of Roadside Assistance from date of TCUV purchase.
Transferrable Warranty Yes
Warranty Deductible $50

Learn more about certified pre-owned vehicles

Printable Version

2001 Toyota 4Runner Sport Utility

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