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  1. #1
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    How do newer 4Runners, FJs, Pilots handle 4 bikes on the hitch?

    My wife's CRV is just a little too squirllly with 4 bikes on the hitch, four chamios in the seats and a full cargo area. We're looking at getting rid of it and upgrading to something slightly larger so that we'll have a 4 bike/4 rider road trip car.

    The short list is FJ, Pilot, or 4Runner, with the 4Runner in the lead.

    We'd probably be looking at a model a year or 3 old with some mileage to avoid the big depreciation hit.

    Can anybody offer any driving impressions of those vehicles when fully loaded with a heavy hitch rack?

  2. #2
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    If you'd pull a boat with it you can haul 4 bikes and some dudes to the trail. I'd say the 4runner and FJ no problem and the pilot probably but being honda the suspension and axle aren't really designed for large loads and may be a bit squirley at speed but thats just my guess having driven a pilot.

  3. #3
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    the FJ and 4 Runner can take you places to bike that the Pilot can't not .. I have an FJ so I'm a bit more bias to that direction. but if you have kids, I would go for the 4R because it's a bit bigger. I have a spare tire mounted rack to. I got it because I wanted one that clamped down on the frame, clamps down tight and tight up against the spare tire to minimize movement and keeps the front tire up high enough that it doesn't hurt my departure angle too much. Also so that I could open the rear door. But I'm in to some off roading where that might be needed. if you aren't I would recommend a hitch mount that swings out of the way of the rear hatch so you can open it regardless if it's an FJ or 4R.. Good luck on your hunt!

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  4. #4
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    If you want to carry more than one other person it is a no brainer to get the 4runner. Way better suited for 4 dudes. I've been driving an '06 4runner since '06 and it has not been back to the dealer since. Great truck.

  5. #5
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    If it were up to me it would be an FJ. I fell in love with them the first time I saw them. But I understand the practically is somewhat compromised by the suicide doors and lack of storage space. My wife will be driving this day-to-day, so I care less about what it is ultimately. Just so long as it gets the job done on the occasional road trip better than the CRV.

  6. #6
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    Why not a pickup they are much better for bike trips then 4-runners. If you are going to drive something that gets 18 MPG you should have the size and capability of a Truck. If you don't need full size truck capability then something like a Subaru will get 30 mpg and handle a bike rack just fine. I don't understand vehicles like 4-runners that have very small capacities and capabilities but still come with high price tags and poor fuel economy
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  7. #7
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    Pilots camber negative ( / \ ) in the rear as you add passengers and weight. Without additional air bladders in springs they aren't as good as the othe choices for carrying things. My friend has one; it does ok, wouldn't do as good as the 4 Runner. We all know which are most capable off road too.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    Why not a pickup they are much better for bike trips then 4-runners. If you are going to drive something that gets 18 MPG you should have the size and capability of a Truck. If you don't need full size truck capability then something like a Subaru will get 30 mpg and handle a bike rack just fine. I don't understand vehicles like 4-runners that have very small capacities and capabilities but still come with high price tags and poor fuel economy
    A pickup handles MUCH worse, is far more uncomfortable and gets worse fuel economy than modern suv's. It also has less covered storage space and short of HUGE trucks, much less comfortable passenger space. Even 4 door full size trucks have pretty skimpy rear seats until you get into behemoth sized stuff.

    Id look into a GX470 over the 4runner. Yes its a lexus, but you might be surprised at the pricing. They also have less upkeep, and anyone who can service a toyota can service a lexus, including the toyota dealership if you choose. Im lexus, infiniti, and mazda certified, and an ASE master tech... the GX is one of the best vehicles on the road, and ultimately pretty cheap to own. Just do oil changes and a timing belt at 100k and it'll just keep going (you might need a few brake jobs in there too..). The 4runners are alright too, they're just pretty expensive for what they are, and they overlap too much with the higher quality lexus truck.

    You wouldnt notice 4 adults and 4 bikes in a GX.

    Im not an FJ fan. They're not too big, but they feel enormous and have pretty poor visibility.

  9. #9
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    I have 2010 4Runner, maximum I carried 3 bikes and you don't notice them on the road except when you look as the rear mirror. 4Runner is frame based SUV and it designed to handle loads well. If I remember correctly stock hitch is rated to 200 kg (tongue weigth), so 4 bikes should be fine.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by scanny View Post
    I have 2010 4Runner, maximum I carried 3 bikes and you don't notice them on the road except when you look as the rear mirror. 4Runner is frame based SUV and it designed to handle loads well. If I remember correctly stock hitch is rated to 200 kg (tongue weigth), so 4 bikes should be fine.
    Good info. Thanks.

    My wife's CRV with 4 bikes and cargo starts to sit low in the rear, and when you're going down the highway you start to get a lot of perpetuating body roll with small steering inputs. WOULD NOT want to have to do one of those avoidance s-turns.

  11. #11
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    I'll add to GS 470 to the list. I tend to overlook those less popular models. I guess you assume because you dont see many they're not good for some reason.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pedalfaraway View Post
    Why not a pickup they are much better for bike trips then 4-runners. If you are going to drive something that gets 18 MPG you should have the size and capability of a Truck. If you don't need full size truck capability then something like a Subaru will get 30 mpg and handle a bike rack just fine. I don't understand vehicles like 4-runners that have very small capacities and capabilities but still come with high price tags and poor fuel economy
    If it were going to be my car. An F150 Crew would definitely be on the list. But the wife does not want that kind of rig. She might go for a Subaru, but I'm vetoing that as in these parts that's pretty much a menopause mobile (except the WRX which is a "pull your damm pants up I dont want to see your underwear" mobile).

  13. #13
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    A 4 runner and Silverado are both rated at 21 MPG. The Silverado has about 100 more HP.

    A 4-runner has far less storage space then any pickup with a shell. A shell can also be removed to haul large things. I have rental properties, and I just can't see taking a dirty broken toilet still dripping with disgusting liquid and throwing it into the back of my Lexus GX whatever. A pick-up is far more versatile then any SUV.

    The OP might not be interested in a truck because the vehicle is to be his wife's daily driver, and big pickups are hard to park at the mall. As a bike hauler/road trip rig nothing beats a pick-up. If I 4-Runner or GX got 25-27 MPG I could see them having a place. They would have economy that's better then a truck, and capability that's better then a crossover (IE Outback Escape)
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  14. #14
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    If your looking at a 3 year old 4runner you might as well take a look at the toyota sequoia. You still have 4x4 with a locking center diff, more room and about the same mileage.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Metamorphic View Post
    I'll add to GS 470 to the list. I tend to overlook those less popular models. I guess you assume because you dont see many they're not good for some reason.
    GX The GS is a sedan. Its hugely popular here and has been a big seller for lexus... they were very expensive new but surprisingly affordable used.

    Its not for everyone, but if you're considering spending what a new 4runner costs, you can afford a GX. Its the same class of vehicle, just literally better in every way. They're also more reliable and end up cheaper to own. I think the luxury badge on them makes people assume higher ownership costs. Dead true with anything german, but lexus is really just a higher quality toyota.

    They also sense height and sag, and adjust the suspension accordingly. You wont sag out a GX.

  16. #16
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    We just got back from looking. They didnt have a used GX on the lot. I drove a newer highlander. Very impressed. I'd only had experience with the older smaller body style and had figured it too light. But this new one has definite possibilities. It drives like a 7/8ths size suburban. Toy is offering 0% on them this month with is nice as well.

  17. #17
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    Had an FJC for 4 years. Loved it... mostly. The suicide doors did kinda suck - especially when I tried to stuff four full-size guys back there. And, then there are the times I'd park between cars... and get trapped in the < letting the kids out.

    As far as power is concerned - the FJ has TONS. Even with a winch bumper, winch (with steel line), 33s, 3" lift, full-length roof rack, loaded, with four guys... it never felt underpowered.

    I 'wheeled it, towed with it, hauled with it, it was a support truck in adventure races... NEVER lacked power.






    I have a Land Cruiser now. Twice the price and only slightly worse gas mileage
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  18. #18
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    Re: How do newer 4Runners, FJs, Pilots handle 4 bikes on the hitch?

    Vanagon with a subaru EJ 22 engine should do great.

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  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by OldZaskar View Post
    Had an FJC for 4 years. Loved it... mostly. The suicide doors did kinda suck - especially when I tried to stuff four full-size guys back there. And, then there are the times I'd park between cars... and get trapped in the < letting the kids out.

    As far as power is concerned - the FJ has TONS. Even with a winch bumper, winch (with steel line), 33s, 3" lift, full-length roof rack, loaded, with four guys... it never felt underpowered.

    I 'wheeled it, towed with it, hauled with it, it was a support truck in adventure races... NEVER lacked power.


    I have a Land Cruiser now. Twice the price and only slightly worse gas mileage

    How the hell do you get your bikes up there? I've got the same suspension/tire setup, , I'm 6'6" and I still couldn't get my bike on the roof without fearing I'd drop it or scratch the truck. I bought a Thule T2 hitch mounted rack the other day because of this.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by YJGUY View Post
    How the hell do you get your bikes up there? I've got the same suspension/tire setup, , I'm 6'6" and I still couldn't get my bike on the roof without fearing I'd drop it or scratch the truck. I bought a Thule T2 hitch mounted rack the other day because of this.
    My mountain bike weighs 22.8 pounds. My road bike is around 16 pounds. And, I lift weights two days/week. Okay, the real reason I could get the bikes on the FJC and can get them on the Land Cruiser is the rock rails. The make great steps. On the FJC, I even wrapped them in mtb tires for grip.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  21. #21
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    LOL, I'm not a weakling, I can lift my bike. Itís more of the angle to get it in the bike holder while hugging the side of the truck. I could do it, but its a pain in the ass and if I slipped off the side steps I'd mess up my roof. My cross bars aren't as wide as yours so they bikes were inside the OEM rack. I also have OEM tube side steps but they doní t stick out as wide as yours seem to. Oh well, I also figured that if I got hurt on a ride Iíd never be able to get my bike up there. My wife certainly couldn't lift them up there.

  22. #22
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    Looks like what will happen is the CRV will go away and the wife will get a Highlander. In a couple years when my youngest starts driving my work car will get passed down and hopefully I'll move to an FJ at that point. [fingers crossed].

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by YJGUY View Post
    LOL, I'm not a weakling, I can lift my bike. Itís more of the angle to get it in the bike holder while hugging the side of the truck. I could do it, but its a pain in the ass and if I slipped off the side steps I'd mess up my roof. My cross bars aren't as wide as yours so they bikes were inside the OEM rack. I also have OEM tube side steps but they doní t stick out as wide as yours seem to. Oh well, I also figured that if I got hurt on a ride Iíd never be able to get my bike up there. My wife certainly couldn't lift them up there.
    That wide rack was only used for adventure races. I used the factory rack for a while then switched to a BajaRack - both setup to hold 4 bikes.

    I do think it helps to have light bikes. I hefted a buddy's cheap FS 29er up there once and about dislocated my shoulder.
    Mountain bikers who don't road ride are usually slow.
    Roadies who don't mountain bike are usually d***s.

  24. #24
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    I was looking at the highlander as well but the tow rating is only 1500 pounds. I am now questioning if the hitch is up to the weight of four bikes on a platform rack.

  25. #25
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    I have an FJ....and the truck is great. A 4 Runner is fine and more functional for communting, but the only truck you will absolutely love to drive when you get in it is the FJ. I have two kids and it is functional enough, and I carry bikes on top sometimes, and bikes on the hitch rack sometimes and either is fine.

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