What is the best 5 yr old 4wd SUV out there.Good handling, dependable and inexpensive to repair and maintain?

We have had a really good experience with a 2003 Toyota 4Runner V-6. I don’t think that the maintenance has been any higher than any other vehicle and I have had no repairs done.

I do not know that that vehicle exists. Given better interest rates and longer term loans for new vehicles that include a warranty for a monthly out of pocket expense might be your best bet. Something 5 years old may need radiator flush, trans flush, brakes, tires tuneup etc. Factor those expenses in new could be cheaper in a 5 year term.

Agree; a 5 year old AWD SUV and low cost maintenance do not go together. Even a good unit requires that you budget about twice what you would spend to maintain a good compact 2WD car.

Depends what size you want. Forget Japanese if you want full-size, domestics rule this field especially in repair costs/maintenance.

Mid-size I would try what appeals. Domestic can be purchased at bottom dollar due to higher depreciation. Japanese make some quality ones but you pay for it.

Small suv’s IMHO were awful in the 2005 year compared to the designs.

If you are a cash buyer, 5 year old vehicles are great buys in terms of depreciation curve due to typical mileage, higher interest rates and expired warranties. Just get it checked out by a decent mechanic and know what you are facing when you make the “final offer”.

I’m with “Triedaq”.
What was mid size yesterday, is full size today. We also have an 04 4Runner. Yes we paid a bit more than for a Blazer or Explorer but not much. But guess what ? it’s worth that and much more come trade in (check KKB) and has given us zero problems while handling off road exceptionally well. It rides as well as most cars, has awd/4wd/low range and tows 5k plus lbs.
Scan utube for 4 Runner off road and imagine a stock Blazer/Explorer as nothing but crusher meat after doing the same.
Just a little prejudicial expose’ and my recommendation.

I rarely see 2003 and later 4Ruuners on the market. When we bought the 4Runner in 2003 as a new vehicle, nothing else came close. We find it comfortable on long trips (350-400 miles) and the seating position is more comfortable than any car we have ever owned. I’ve never been stuck with the 4Runner. If the going gets hard, it can be shifted into full time 4 wheel drive. If that isn’t enough, it has a 4 wheel drive low range. Still stuck? The differentials can be locked to pull it through. Finally, for the extreme conditions, Toyota pack a bottle of brandy in the glove compartment. I used the extreme measure first.

Best? I suggest a RAV4…have an '05 manual trans - nothing but maintenance/24 mpg, had a 97 for over ten years, again nothing but routine maintenance.

Funny, I emptied the brandy first. We could swap 4Runner preferences all day. All I can add for doubters is; check the satisfaction ratings for all SUVs in CR. They are equal or better than any suitable for off road. Anything else is a “girlyman” car SUV wanna be. The only thing better for really hard going have been my Kubotas. My 4Runner really struggles keeping up digging out ditches and blowing snow.
How many vehicles for this kind of money, could you drive comfortably cross country to the Baja, race it, then drive back ?

My wife has an 05 too …an excellent, solid, dependable woosey car,

Depends what size you want. Forget Japanese if you want full-size, domestics rule this field especially in repair costs/maintenance.

I wouldn’t say that. I’ll put the Nissan Armada or the Toyota Sequoia against any full-size domestic SUV made. Both are very very reliable.

“Anything else is a ‘girlyman’ car SUV wanna be”. In our case, it was my wife that picked out the 4Runner. When she was making recruiting trips for our institution to recruit graduate students, she would often take our 4Runner and get the mileage allowance rather than use a university vehicle. The 4Runner was much more comfortable. We do have an argument about whether or not we should buy a snowblade for the 4Runner. I think we should have on so she could make extra money on her way to work plowing driveways. She doesn’t like the idea.

If you are OK with a full sized SUV, consider a Toyota Sequoia. I bought an '01 with 90K miles 15 months ago. Now at 106K and no issues. They are very solid SUV’s and every mechanic I’ve talked to has good things to say about the Sequoia. I needed to do the timing belt job and replaced all fluids and plugs etc. which is all part of the 90K service. The '04 and '05 models are very similar to mine, just a bit more power. In '07 or '08 they came out with the latest version.

Funny, originally the 4Runner was my wife’s car too and I had a Tacoma. We decided to get her a RAV with my truck trade in and I would take the 4Runner with a utility trailer as it towed more (pontoon/sailboats) than Tacoma. After the trade she informed me that it was still her 4Runner to be used also for girl friend trips. She owned both and I was not to leave any gear in it like the truck and my vehicle was my tractor…the one that plows her out in the morning and grades our 1.5 mile “driveway”.
Women’s Rights…the tractor is deadly for long trips. :slight_smile:

My wife will let me buy a Mazda Miata if I leave her 4Runner alone. Unfortunately, I need my minivan as I manage a chamber orchesta and am always transporting musicians and their instruments as we give free concerts for underseved areas. They don’t make string basses and tympani small enough to fit in the trunk of a Miata. When I retire in a year or so, I intend to add a second hand compact pick-up truck to our “fleet”. We have an organization in my community that does volunteer home maintenance so that older people and people with disabilities on fixed incomes can stay in their homes. I know my wife won’t let me use the 4Runner as a truck, and I really don’t want to tow a utility trailer around with it.