Originally Posted by glennco
I didn't think the 4 runner was available with a V8. I believe you'd need a sequoia for that
4th generation (2003-2009) 4Runner had the V8 option and it was a popular one (2UZ-FE).
5th generation (2010-?) 4Runner only has the V6 motor; it's the same engine & transmission as in the FJ Cruiser and Tacoma. You must pay the Lexus tax if you want a V8 4Runner nowadays, with the Lexus GX 460 being the same platform as the current 4Runner, but having the 4.6L V8 available (1UR-FE).
As far as towing a Scamp
, the V6 would do fine. Most folks don't notice much difference in fuel economy when towing lighter loads (comparing the 4th gen 4Runner V6 vs V8), and any of these Toyota drivetrains are top notch (IMO).
I'd consider the following factors as well
-The V8 will struggle a bit less when stressed (ie heavy loads through mountain passes), the V6 will make it just fine however. If you want the extra torque on tap, keep searching for the V8.
-The V8 will allow for heavier towing capacity should you ever want to step up from the Scamp.
-Do you place value in having the V8 power and acceleration in general? (are you still a teenager at heart, with pulses of testosterone resulting from a cool V8 rumble? Do you want to race some guys from stoplights?) If yes, keep searching for the V8.
I'm not trying to steer you in a direction at all, the V6 is a fine motor. In general, I've seen more people on the forums (toyota-4runner.org) that seem to regret a V6 purchase than regretting the V8 purchase.
Also, you mentioned weight
on the transmission - 2005-2009 V6 models have the same 5 speed automatic transmissions as the V8. Either of them will do well if taken care of (trans cooler, keeping an eye on temperature, regular flushes). The 4 speed automatic in earlier models is by no means a bad transmission (either are fantastic as far as durability go), but if you are searching, the later 5 speed automatic models are definitely worth having for towing purposes.
Also, some other options (just to muddy the water if you are a Toyota fan like myself), are Toyota Land Cruisers, Lexus GX 470, Lexus LX 470. All of these (in the 2003-2007 [?] era) share very similar drivetrains with great reliability, but at the peril of higher prices and lower fuel economy. I liked the 4Runner size, safety record, power, and towing ability.