2004 Toyota 4Runner V8 RWD - 115k miles - 1 owner - $7,995 - Davis, CA


I love these 4Runner V8s (view it here: https://www.autotrader.com/cars-for-sale/vehicledetails.xhtml?listingId=497648715). When this generation ended in 2009, the V8 was retired as well, so 4Runners have been V6-only ever since. This same engine powered the Land Cruiser back then, not to mention the Sequoia and Tundra. It simply doesn’t break, and it sounds and feels a lot more special than the Tacoma-grade V6.

4Runner geeks will tell you that 2005 brought some notable engine updates for the V8, resulting in a substantial 35-hp boost, but I’ve read that the difference isn’t that noticeable on the road. I’d prefer the extra power, of course, but I wouldn’t sweat it too much.

I’d also prefer 4WD, but it’s hard to find a rust-free California specimen that’s not RWD. And this rig checks all the other boxes. The clean Carfax says it’s a one-owner vehicle with consistent dealer service. It’s got the third-row seat, which might come in handy. I see a possible blemish in the paint on the driver-side C-pillar, but otherwise it looks pretty sharp. And as a lifelong California car, it should be exempt from the rust issues that haunt 4Runners of this vintage.

Okay, here’s one more thing I found. The dash covering shows some wrinkly degradation that I’ve never seen before. I’m guessing too much sun? Hopefully it could be sorted by an interior expert for a reasonable sum.

Overall, this is so much truck for the money (look at what these guys are charging for 4Runner V8s). Three rows, one owner, zero accidents, and 115k miles on an engine that could do 500k miles with just normal maintenance, based on what I’ve read. There’s a timing belt that needs replacing at preset intervals, so that would be one thing to check on before buying. But what if you could grab the keys for $7k or something? Feels like a no-brainer to me. Unless you hate the idea of a fully functional, stone cold reliable, debt-free SUV that you could drive for the rest of time.


My brother put 500,000 miles on his 2001 Sequoia that he had purchased new. That 4.7-liter “iForce” V8 was unstoppable. In addition to normal daily driver duties, the tough Toyota occasionally towed his horse trailer as well. He maintained it fastidiously, not just mechanically but also in terms of the interior and body.

It was still going strong at that mega milestone when some idiot in a new F-150 crossed over the double yellow and hit the Sequoia head-on, totaling it. His wife was driving it at the time and was seriously injured but eventually fully recovered. Here’s what it looked like at somewhere north of 450k miles…