I drove my first car - a Buick Regal I named Lola - for seven years. It got me to high school track meets and to friends’ houses and the mall on weekends. While in college, it got me to the beach for Spring Break and home for the holidays. And then the transmission dropped. RIP, Lola. 

And so started my adult life of buying cars. I had a two-door Honda Accord, VW Jetta and a Honda Civic before landing in my current ride - a 2014Toyota 4Runner SR5 I named Riri. I made the leap from car to midsize SUV. And, honestly, there’s no turning back

The 2014 4Runner SR5 features include:

  • 4.0L V-6 Engine

  • 5-spd auto w/OD Transmission

  • 270 @ 5,600 rpm Horsepower

  • 278 @ 4,400 rpm Torque

  • Rear-wheel Drive type

  • ABS and driveline Traction control

  • 17" silver aluminum Wheels

  • Front air conditioning, manual

  • AM/FM stereo, seek-scan Radio

  • 1st row LCD monitor

  • Keyfob (all doors) Remote keyless entry

  • Front Fog/driving lights

  • Heated mirrors

  • Cloth Seat trim

  • Driver Lumbar support

My 4Runner takes me to and from work, and it hauls me to running races and triathlons packed with all my gear and bicycle. I drive it to grab groceries and out to dinner downtown. And she’s been a reliable companion on long road trips. My 4Runner has endured one rear-end accident and a palm tree falling on the tailgate (leaving the only visible scar on her to this day). After all these years, I still love my Toyota 4Runner for a number of reasons. Here are five of them.

1. Margaritas

When you live in Florida, going to a Jimmy Buffett concert is like a rite of passage. And when you’re at a Jimmy Buffett concert, well, you drink margaritas. Thanks to the Toyota 4Runner's 120-volt power outlets, my margarita game is on. 

Power outlets in the Toyota 4Runner

2. The towing capacity

I’m not a car person really. I can’t tell you about torque or suspension. But I can tell you that my 4Runner is no wimp; she has a 5,000-lb. towing capacity. For that reason, we haven’t had any issues towing our 21-foot boat. It’s a little piece of mind while out on the water knowing we have a safe ride home. 

3. Greyhound rides

No, not the bus line Greyhound. I have an actual 80-lb. greyhound. I didn’t realize how big he was until I went to pick him up from the rescue agency in my four-door Honda Civic. Have you seen an 80-lb. greyhound in the backseat of a Honda Civic? I can assure you he’s much happier in the back of my Toyota 4Runner, especially when the destination is Dairy Queen.

Toyota_Shark.jpg

4. Cruising along

Of all the features on the 4Runner (bluetooth, back-up camera, touch screen), the cruising range feature might be the most helpful one. I admit, I am a procrastinator - particularly when it comes to filling up my gas tank. I average 19 mpg and can get in over 350 miles on a full tank. And there are certainly times when I eek out every mile I possibly can. Can I make it home without stopping at a gas station? Yes, yes I can.   

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5. It’s paid off

My 4Runner is 100% mine - free and clear! Having no more monthly car payment has given me an opportunity to really boost my savings. I also let my car insurance provider know, and I took a moment to review my insurance coverage limits. Though paying off your car doesn’t mean an automatic lower insurance rate, I now have the option to adjust my coverage and limits.

Are you ready for a new car? Here’s how to switch car insurance.