2003 Toyota 4Runner Overview Completely new from the ground up, the 2003 Toyota 4Runner shares almost nothing with last year's model. In spite of that, its basic mission has not changed. The new 4Runner offers serious off-road capability. While other SUVs are becoming more and more like cars, the 4Runner is, as Toyota says, the "real deal." It's loaded with the latest off-road electronic technology. Electronic traction control and Downhill Assist Control improve capability off road, while other features improve comfort and handling on the highway. Yet the new 4Runner is built on a rugged ladder frame and uses a live rear axle, a design considered dated as many SUVs move toward unit-body construction and independent rear suspensions. Toyota felt this design offered better off-road capability. The new 4Runner is much larger and roomier than last year's model and ride quality has been greatly improved. Order the base 4Runner and you have a comfortable, well-equipped, highly capable SUV that can get things done. Order a 4Runner Limited model loaded with leather and it feels like a poor man's Range Rover. Actually, it's more like a poor person's Land Cruiser. A new Toyota V6 delivers more power than last year's engine for exceptionally good acceleration performance. And a V8 is also available for the 4Runner for the first time. The V8, an option for all models, delivers better acceleration than the V6 when fully loaded, but you won't need it unless you plan to do a lot of towing. While the new 4Runner may seem old school to people who want an "on-road" sport-utility, it's the hot ticket for drivers who want genuine off-road capability, but don't want to be punished for it on the way to work every day.
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