Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP), also known as "sticker" price, is a recommended selling price that automakers give a new car that is above the invoice price paid by the dealer. It is a price that does not include any options that can be added to a particular car style. When shown as a range, the prices are starting MSRPs, without options, for multiple styles for that model.
This price range reflects the Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value for all trim levels, but not necessarily all available options.
The Kelley Blue Book Suggested Retail value represents the amount an auto dealer might ask for a specific vehicle; the actual sale price will vary. A vehicle's popularity, condition, warranty, color and local market conditions are factors involved in determining a final price. The retail value is not a trade-in or private party value.
The Suggested Retail value assumes that the vehicle has been fully reconditioned and has a clean title history. The Suggested Retail value also allows for advertising, sales commissions, insurance and other costs of doing business as a dealer. Most vehicles offered at this price have passed an inspection, and some may carry a warranty. Vehicle mileage is assumed to be normal or below normal.
Best Bets get average or better mpg, have average or better reliability, good crash-test ratings, and our experts' recommendations.
By Jim Mateja
January 30, 1994
A phrenologist is one who reads the bumps on your noggin to determine whether your future holds wealth, fame, fortune or more lumps on the head. Owners of the Toyota 4Runner are the phrenologist's best customer, or at least they should be based
on the weak . . . er, week we spent banging the dome on the Japanese-built sport-utility vehicle. In just seven days with the machine, we have enough dents and assorted bumps on the noggin to keep a dozen phrenologists employed. The
dimpled dome is a result of the 4Runner standing rather high off the pavement to allow ample clearance for those two or three times in any owner's lifetime when he or she navigates the machine off the road. Step on the running board, grab the
steering wheel, lift your torso into the air and-"Bong!"-one more point of interest for the phrenologist. Stars appear. Birds start to chatter. Tough way to start your drive to work. Once seated and the medication takes effect, there are a few
other problems with the 4Runner. For one, though most Japanese have adopted the strategy that if you are going to sell here, you should design and build here, 4Runner obviously is the exception to the rule. It's traditionally narrow to
accommodate the smaller Japanese frame as well as the smaller roadways in the home country. So you suffer a shortage of leg and hip room. Worse, when your vision clears and you peer at the steering wheel hub there's no "SRS" advisory staring
back at you to inform the driver that a supplemental restraint system, or air bag, is housed there. One is needed. 4Runner has one other annoyance that can prove costly in terms of cleaning bills. It's easy to rub your legs against the door lip
and running board when leaving the front seat. In back you sit over the axle and the door opening exposes the wheel well, which you can rub against when making an exit. You have to wash the vehicle often in the winter when salt and scum cakes up on
the body, or wash your clothes a lot if you don't. But 4Runner does have its good points, such as a responsive 3-liter, 150-horsepower, V-6 engine that comes alive without too much pedal pressure. The price you pay for above-average performance
is a 14 mile-per-gallon city/16 m.p.g. highway fuel economy rating. If only our test vehicle got that good mileage. Anti-lock brakes as standard, although it is rear-wheel ABS only. But two wheels with ABS are better than none. Think the
phrenologist said that. No qualms with the suspension system, which minimized road harshness. Ride and handling were decent despite having oversized W/31-by-10.5 tires, which on many vehicles only serve to provide a gyroscope ride as you lean and
sway in each turn or when stepping out to pass. Though the vehicle had oversized tires and a high center of gravity, it had more than respectable road manners. 4Runner prov
ed especially functional when Ma Nature left many inches of the white stuff on the roadway. While those around us were slipping and sliding and using the ditch for valet parking, 4Runner cruised unimpeded. The only drawback is that when
four-wheel-drive is engaged using the floor-mounted transfer case, the ride gets a bit bumpy-especially in the back seat. That's the price you pay for the added security. And speaking of price, when you see other cars skating into the ditch
ahead of you, you find that the 14/16 mileage rating is a bit more tolerable. You can buy a lot of gas for what it costs to be extracted from a culvert-even if you have to buy it more often. Our test vehicle was the four-door, four-wheel-drive
4Runner LE, which has a base price of $22,988. Standard equipment included a four-speed automatic, power steering, power brakes, rear window defogger and wiper (a slightly larger and faster sweeping wiper would be nice for a vehicle tha
will spend a great deal of time on the road in bad weather), power rear window, AM-FM stereo radio, side door impact beams and cupholders. Options included a radio upgrade to include cassette, six speakers and power antenna for $675, rear seat
heater at $160, power glass moonroof at $810, cloth seats with seven-way driver's adjustment at $290, bronze privacy glass at $160, chrome running boards at $435, roof rack/towing hitch, cargo mat and rear wind deflector at $625, security system at
$695, and a value package consisting of air conditioning, cruise control, power windows/door locks/outside mirrors, carpeted floor mats, chrome wheels and the oversized tires at $3,281. With a $1,000 option package discount, the vehicle stickered
at just about $30,000. Add $385 for freight. Changes we'd like to see on future 4Runners would be more cabin width, lower vehicle stance, redesign of the door lips and openings to keep clothes clean, push-button four-wheel-drive rather than the
space-robbing transfer case, and an engine that gets 4 more miles per gallon city and highway. Oh, and if the engineers and designers can't come up with a more manageable way to enter the 4Runner as well as making the door opening bigger and/or
the roof line taller if not softer, we'd like to see one more standard feature-a helmet.