From an automotive point of view, the last 10 years of the American 20th century are likely to be remembered as the decade of the sport-utility vehicle. Even though the entries are coming from almost every automaker on the planet, this is a uniquely U.S. phenomenon, thanks to our low fuel prices, and as we count down to the millennium each year brings more and more choices, few of them--if any--outright losers. Nevertheless, some still stand out from the growing crowd, and Toyota's newly up-dated 4Runner falls into that select group. And for very good reasons. Maybe first among those, most sport-ute buyers are looking for reliability and rugged durability that will keep them going no matter what the weather or conditions. Few--if any--makes have a better dependability reputation than Toyota. The 4Runner shares strong family ties and many components with the nearly unbreakable Toyota pickup trucks, and the ruggedness ruboff is bankable. Beyond that, Toyota does a very good job of building in thoughtful features that mainstream buyers find attractive. Look at any Toyota and you'll find that everything about it is well-done and logical, and the vehicle doesn't ask you to make any awkward compromises.