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fly fisher 'til it's over
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm currently shopping for a new SUV with which to haul my 16' 1979 Alumaweld drift boat. I'm stuck between Toyota 4 Runner or Highlander, 6 cyl.

SWMBO (she who must be obeyed) also has a hand in this, so it's not just a guy perspective. That's why others (Dodge, Ford, Chevy, etc) are not mentioned.

For those of you with one or the other, or have driven and pulled drift boats with each, why would you choose one over the other? They both appear to have similar torque and horsepower. Highlander is 4 mpg more efficient. 4 Runner has more stowage capacity, but less seating (5 compared to 7).

Am I missing anything?
 

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which rig

I have a 2013 4 Runner which I like very much. I think one of the 4 Runners advantages is to cover rough off-road territory. It is one of the best.

My last 4 Runner managed 10 years and 200,000 miles before It gave up the ghost. Not to say the Highlander won't be reliable as well but it won't have the same ruggedness off-road.

Laker
 

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Rig

It sounds like your ok with one or the other as far as towing, how often will you be off road and are you packing 5-7 people around enough that you need those other seats or do you pack a lot when you hit the river for multiple day trips? I usually try and pack light and stealthy but give me room/space and I can fill it with anything. We drive nothing smaller than a half ton pickup so that limits the amount of bodies I can take, my crew cab is about the max as far as people I would like to put up with. Both outfits allow me to load, pull just about anything I need anywhere I can drive.
 

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We just bought the wife a 2015 Toyota Highlander. It is very nice, with a 3rd row of seats that folds down and a 5000 lb towing capacity for her Mastercraft water ski boat. That was an absolute requirement for her. I tow my drift boat and aluminum skiff with my Toyota Tacoma. We love our Toyotas and just retired our 2001 Sequoia with 270K miles and no major repairs.

mark
 

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My last 4 Runner managed 10 years and 200,000 miles before It gave up the ghost. Not to say the Highlander won't be reliable as well but it won't have the same ruggedness off-road.
It only went 200,000?! You must have ridden it hard and put it up wet...my 8 year old Tacoma with 170,000 miles drives and looks like it's still new outside and inside...and it still fetches $14,000+ in the used market. The only problem I've had with it is the failure of a wheel bearing and a universal joint (both typical wear parts that I replaced myself). I fully expect to go at least 300,000 on it without ever worrying about it leaving me high and dry.

If I were you I'd go 4Runner...I suppose the ride and interior of the Highlander might be a bit more refined, but you're going to get a lot more storage space and better off-road ability in the 4Runner. Plus the 4Runner is still packaged with the 4.0L, V6 1GR-FE (unless they changed it recently), which is proving to be a very reliable engine and is easy to work on.
 

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The 4runner is a truck, something with a frame, a highlander is a crossover. Depends on where you're driving. Alot of off road, 4Runner hands down, mostly highway take your pick. Either will tow your boat, it's all about where you're towing and what else you use it for. And of course what she wants.
 

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We just bought the wife a 2015 Toyota Highlander. It is very nice, with a 3rd row of seats that folds down and a 5000 lb towing capacity for her Mastercraft water ski boat. That was an absolute requirement for her.
I think 5,000lbs is very optimistic. My Tacoma has a towing package with the transmission cooler, oil cooler, bigger fan clutch, etc. and Toyota rates it at 6,500 pounds. It's also the 4.0L V6 (the Highlander has a 3.5L V6 as its largest option). I'd never consider running anything over 5,000 pounds total weight on my rig...flat out uncomfortable to have your trailer chasing you around and doing 45 in 3rd gear up hills. The V6 Toyotas are tough buggers, but big time towers they ain't.
 

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Pupil of the river.
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80% of the 4runners manufactured in the last 20 years are still on the road. No other single car or truck can claim this and yes the 4runner is a truck.

Truck on chasis. This thing is a rock crawling, suburb eating machine. As comfortable in the Raley's parking lot as it is dropping into a put-in that's more than questionable. It does it all. I haven't owned a highlander, but my guess is no. I seriously have climbed over some boulders to get my raft trailer in. I laughed, we fished, it was sweet.

By the way, this is my wife's daily driver and she loves it. She drives 3/4 of mile to work with it, the rest of the miles are mine. I only drive it on "business" trips.

Hell yeah,
J
 

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If lanching/retreving your boat on a river bank is a prime objective ...

What ever you get should be a 4x4 and that probably leaves out the Highlander. As a 'street car' the Highlander is a wiz, Wife 2.0 had one for years and save for changing the oil, never a penny in it for maintenance.

But if you're going to be driving on gravel bars, a 4 by is a must. There is nothing slipperier than wet gravel or old concrete launch ramp. The highlander will be a one wheel drive (for power) car and if that 'wheel' digs in you are toast.

Thing to keep in mind is that boat/trailer behind you can easily weigh a thousand pounds! With that kind of weight you do want the electric brakes and a proper hitch.:eek: As an 'option,' till you figure out which machine, just come over and borrow my Jeep Liberty for the day.

Fred
 

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I have a 4runner and it fits most of our needs very well. The youngest will be off to school soon and I'm thinking a t100 with a camper will be my next rig.
 

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fly fisher 'til it's over
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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks amigos! These responses make it an easier decision.
 

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my '00 4runner V6 limited is great
pulled various drift boats no problem at highway speeds on hills
the 4wd on the fly is something I don't ever want to loose
rolling down the rear window is awesome for summer and loading rods/gear

My sister and BIL have newer highlander and 4runner (2weeks off the lot)
a highlander is more of a station wagon... 4runner is more of a truck

I like some the exterior of the new 4runner, but there is too much molded plastic **** around the driver and dash... not as open as the older ones
there is a new 4runner with a slide out table and speakers in the rear cargo area, looked cool if you spend time sitting with the tailgate open
 

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I have 13 4runner and enjoy two features besides all the benefits already mentioned
1. keyless entry makes it easy to get in and out when your key is already tucked in under your waders.
2. length of the 4 runner, I can fit a 11' switch rod setup in it between fishing holes without taking it apart.
3. finally 4runner looks better dirty
 

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fly fisher 'til it's over
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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sat down with the wife and a good fishing friend, and had a realistic view of how this rig will be used.

In truth, I'll be putting in to sketchy launches maybe 3-4 times a year. The other launches are at paved ramps, and offer no obstacles to speak of. In fact, I'll probably not be putting into anything different than my 2003 Honda CRV could pull me out of.

I'll be doing no off-roading to speak of, aside from taking dirt paths and trails into the rivers. Any 4 wheel drive that's needed is not a problem.

So, the gnarly aspect of the 4-runner doesn't hold much water for my situation. Even the store manager said that given where and how I fish, the Highlander is the better choice.

Both rigs have the same engine, identicle engine torque and HP, virtually the same interior cu. ft., the Highlander actually has more space inside (head room, shoulder room, leg room, etc), and it gets better gas mileage. Even though the 4Runner is on a truck chassis, it's not rated to pull any more than the Highlander. Odd........

At this point, it sounds like a Highlander is in my future.

I sure appreciate everyone's thoughts though. I walked into the dealership with the 4Runner in mind (thanks to all your posts), but after REALLY analyzing my situation, I can't honestly justify it.
 

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fly fisher 'til it's over
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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Oh yeah! It's a cushy ride.

Although, to her credit, she said "whatever you want, get it".

So, it's a happy medium. Happy wife, happy life!
 
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