The 4Runner is among the best off-road-ready SUVs in this price range. Despite retaining a body-on-frame construction, the 4Runner rides better than some car-based SUVs. While its cabin is very roomy and quiet, the 4Runner doesn't provide the nimble, carlike handling of car-based models. Still, it is sound and secure. Side- and curtain-airbags are standard.
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"Acceleration smooth and fast. Vehicle quiet. Performs very well in off-road driving, in snow and ice, and in bad weather."

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Good exceleration, plenty of power for the mountainous environment in which I live. Handles well, feels strong and secure."

Gary P., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Good acceleration and satisfactory handling."

David G., NJ (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"This is a V8 model Limited 4Runner. The engine is super smooth and very powerful feeling. The ride is reasonable and the size of the 4Runner makes is very easy to park."

Mark B., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Exceptional power and comfort"

Mark M., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Very stable but comfortable ride."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 2003 4Runner handles like a truck. It’s comfortable enough but it’s not a smooth ride."

Anonymous, VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Good power great brakes being 2 wheel drive gets good MPG."

Mary T., MO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Acceleration is consistent, handling remains reliable, maintenance is not excessive....normal wear and tear maintenance."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"V8 engine has plenty of power. Normal Toyota play in steering wheel."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Acceleration and handling are excellent."

Anonymous, ID (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"V6 has plenty of pep, short turning radius and very little body lean."

Doug D., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 4Runner is a sturdy and reliable vehicle with a smooth ride and power to spare. It works well both on and off road and has ample power for towing."

Gary F., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"good performance when pulling heavy trailer"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It is a beast in the snow. I have driven through 20-30 inch drifts on back roads. I live on a poorly-maintained road that gets last priority in the winter. My 4Runner's 4WD and aggressive capability in bad weather is critical to me."

David S., MI (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"This truck can pass a sport car in corners."

Warren L., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It's underpowered when pulling my trailer. It has a electrical leak that can not be found and requires me to unhook the batter cable every time I leave the car sit for awhile."

Anonymous, NE (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It still drives like it's brand new."

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Moderate acceleration when towing a trailer, handles excellent"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Built like a tank and smooth ride."

Anonymous, MO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The handling of the vehicle is very good and the acceleration is also very god"

STEPHEN S., NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Has a long turning radius and a rough ride."

Anonymous, KS (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"All good except for road noise"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"V6 has plenty of power, and the ride is amazingly smooth, even 14 years after it was new."

EUGENE H., NJ (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Toyota XREAS suspension system provides emergency handling that is on a par with a sport sedan. FAR superior to the handling on any other SUV that I have owned or driven."

Anonymous, MA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"A great 4 wheel off road vehicle. It has taken me places I never would have suspected it could."

MICHAEL B., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It is wonderful when we are driving to the mountains and it is snowing!!"

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 4Runner is a large car with a high center of gravity. While it is a good off-road vehicle, it handles like the Queen Mary. It is too big for many parking spaces, and it has blind spots and needs extra care when changing lanes in traffic."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Very powerful, great torque. Pulls well."

Anonymous, KY (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"V6 is more than capable in both power and acceleration. 4WD is awesome and performs very well in needed conditions."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Love the V8 with the Full time 4WD system. Much preferred over the part time system that comes with the V6. This systems acts like an AWD system W/O the benefit of fuel savings, meaning, I don't have to think about when I should switch over to 4WD from 2WD."

Anonymous, ND (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The power of the V8 engine makes it very responsive and reliable in all driving situations."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The engine has been rock solid, with excellent performance, durability, ease of service, and power. The 4WD system is unstoppable."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"This auto has a V-8 engine. We get excellent acceleration and handling, but not so great mileage."

Marian W., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"This model is the last of the V8s. It has plenty of power and torque especially when loaded full. I don't plan on ever selling it."

Michael K., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It accelerates very well and for a fairly large vehicle turns very tightly. It can also pull well. I am disappointed that Toyota discontinued the V8, but do not plan to get rid of this one for another 5 to 10 years anyway."

Anonymous, LA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 8-cylinder engine provides wonderful acceleration, which is especially noticeable when towing our 4,000 pound camping trailer up mountain passes in Colorado. We are able to maintain highway speeds, even on the steepest sections."

Steven W., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say


Terry B., ON (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The seats and noise level are fine. The shock absorbers were replaced about two years ago. The ride is too soft. It always has been. The car wallows in tight turns."

Anonymous, CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"very stiff seats with no lumbar support, Very little headroom."

Anonymous, NY (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Seats are too low down and do not provide proper leg position. Driver fatigue develops early on long trips."

Edward C., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Seats in Sport edition not very comfortable"

Anonymous, WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Quiet, smooth ride"

Mark M., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"driver's seat adjustment back leg room"

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"I absolutely love this SUV and will replace it when the time comes. It drives like a car and not a truck which is very important to me."

Colleen E., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Significantly more comfortable than a lot of other cars especially a camry"

John B., UT (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Seats very comfortable with good back support. Vehicle surprisingly quiet."

Anonymous, PA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"After all these years, the seats have held up and still provide reasonably good lumbar support, all of the mechanisms in the seats still function as expected and the foam hasn't failed, the ride is as quiet as it was when purchased and in general, the ride is as comfortable as expected. This SUV, which was purchased for its 5000 lb boat towing capacity has been a great all around vehicle from towing, to hauling and carrying reasonably heavy loads or just commuting and has rarely needed a repair beyond brake pads, oil changes and tires."

Anonymous, OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Fun to drive, easy to switch to 4WD and has very adjustable and comfortable driver's seat."

Doug D., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 4Runner is built on a truck module and it rides like a truck not a passenger car. I bought it to have 4wheel drive when out hunting and it is excellent for that purpose. I no longer hunt but I like the 4wheel option in snow or adverse road conditions."

George M., WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Rugged yet well mannered vehicle. Great off-road vehicle. Comfortable interior."

Anonymous, CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Despite being an SUV, this is a very comfortable car to drive and in which to be a passenger. It has great visibility all the way around."

MARK O., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The driver seat has a small movement in it and one side is less supportive. I bought it used so I am not sure if this was always there or not. It has always been there since I had it."

KRISTINA G., OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"It rides like a Caddy. Everyone who is a passenger in my vehicle comments on the smooth ride and comfort!"

Anonymous, MA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Easy Ride"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"They're great. Lack luster in the looks department the cloth seats are as comfortable as in any car ever owned. Only an 80s Pugeot and mid 90s Mercedes S have ever been as comfortable."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Vehicle has been most reliable I have ever owned. Over the past over 50 years of purchasing cars, this is the first vehicle I have chosen to keep more than 3 years. It still looks, drives and operates like a new vehicle. Will be replacing it at end of year due to retirement needs changing main use. I plan to purchase another Toyota/Lexus. Recently replaced my wife's Acura with Lexus due to reoccurring maintenance expensive not needed on this vehicle. Love Toyota/Lexus"

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 4-Runner is on a truck frame and thus rides rougher than a van. Bumps are easier to feel. The heated seats are very comfortable in winter and make cold winters more tolerable. I like sitting high and being able to see the road and what is happening not only directly in front of me but also beyond the first or second car ahead of me."

Donald S., IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Very comfortable seating, as it has gotten older, road noise is louder."

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The driver seat and back seat are very spacious and comfortable. The passenger seat however isn't comfortable due to the angle of the bottom of the seat which is not adjustable. The passenger seat needs to have the same adjustments as the driver seat and this would resolve the problem."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The seats are firm and fit my back. I can make the 400 mile trip to visit our son and the drive doesn't tire me. I like sitting up as opposed to the way one sits in most cars. Before I retired, I made many trips in cars provided by the university where I was a faculty member. I found most of these cars very unpleasant to drive and ride as a passenger."

Anonymous, IN (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Driver seat cushion wore out before 100,000 miles."

Roger S., AR (2003 Toyota 4Runner)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"I’ve owned this car for 15 years and though I’ve had a few major repairs over the years (the most recent being my ABS module), for the most part, she’s been a great car."

Marilyn S., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"15 year-old vehicle - have had virtually no problems. Been extremely reliable"

Gary P., CO (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"We bought this car new, and it has been very reliable. Couldn’t ask for more after 190,000 miles"

Ryan A., SC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"AWESOME reliability...will buy again"

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Our previous comment pretty much encompasses it: this SUV has been a workhorse and still drives like a top after 284,000 miles. Now that we have another working vehicle, we are eyeing a Camry Hybrid for when this vehicle finally stops working, but there's no sign of that yet so we're hoping for 400,000 miles before that occurs. We stick to the regular oil change and maintenance schedule through our local mechanic and it has served ;us well with this and our prior Highlander that lasted us to 274000 miles."

Anonymous, OH (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Quality, dependability, sturdiness, reliability....all excel and are driven by simply keeping the maintenance schedule."

Anonymous, FL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Despite it's already been run for 15 years, every thing is running perfectly including the original battery. Tires were only replaced once."

Warren L., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Lasts forever."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"bogs down on accerlation."

Anonymous, TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"I drive to Whitehorse, Yukon each year and we completely trust the vehicle to get us there and back"

Anonymous, BC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"clearly 15 years later the 4-runner has held up very well. a great value for the money spent in 2003."

Anonymous, AZ (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Toyota is the best value if you plan to keep the car for many years"

REINY J., WA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)


Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The vehicle cost over $40,000 in 2003. It was expensive."

STEPHEN S., NM (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"This is my wife's car. She loves it. Great car. We actually believe Toyota is better than Honda"

PAUL M., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Bought new in 2003 and have had absolutely no problems or expense other than normal maintenance. Has held it's resale value extremely well."

Tom F., NC (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Had since it was new, never had to have any major repairs. The brakes were costly at first and did not last very long, but I think that was due to the mechanic. The one bad area is the frame, New England weather and salt on the roads in winter has deteriorated it. If it was on a Toyota truck, they would have fixed or bought it back, but not so with the 4runner even though it uses the same basic frame as the trucks."

Anonymous, ME (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"I bought it brand new in 2003. 14 years and 360,000 miles later, I would take that result EVERY time. Had no trouble with it at all, save for the nomal stuff like battery, serpentine belt and other items that will always wear out."

Darrell N., MS (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Classic Toyota reliability....15 years old, only issue is 2 burnt out bulbs and one CV boot.....other than that NO issues in almost 15 years, including 10 years in Northern Canada exposed to bad roads and harsh winter."

Anonymous, AB (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"The 4 Runner is going to be 15 years old and it still runs and drives like a new vehicle. It's in excellent condition and I know if I would have purchased a domestic SUV we would have had to replace it by now due to the inferior quality. Can't beat that for value, we're going on 10 plus years of no car payment."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Great value. Very little has gone wrong, have not had to put much of any money in car."

Anonymous, OR (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"At 200K and still performing strong"

Anonymous, TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"For an SUV of that model year, 20 mpg is good, maintenance has be reasonable"

Felix B., MD (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"4-Runner gets 65,000 plus on standard non-expensive tires. Gets 22 MPG constantly. Has never needed water pump or any other expensive power train part. Overall, best and most reliable vehicle I have ever owned in 60 plus years of driving."

Anonymous, GA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Well, it has 95,000 miles on it and still runs great! What else can you say? Sure, we've had some maintenance on it, but nothing you wouldn't expect to have over the years."

Marian W., VA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"After 200,000 miles it still runs really well and has been paid for since 2006"

Kenneth M., TN (2003 Toyota 4Runner)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"Professional. A real SUV"

WARREN L., CA (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"Finnish on wheels flaked off, looks very bad."

Anonymous, IL (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

"We have been in the queue for a new dashboard (a recall item) since October 2015. We have contacted our Toyota dealer every few months for a status on the replacement but are told they still do not have them. This is unacceptable as we may want to sell or trade in this car for a newer model. At this point, it very well may NOT be a Toyota product!"

COLLEEN E., TX (2003 Toyota 4Runner)

Would you buy this car again?

2003 vehicles
Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Ford Explorer
Honda Pilot
Toyota 4Runner
Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
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