Looking for all the world like an ancient piece of SUV history and driving like a modern-day Toyota, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser is not just this year's best midsize utility vehicle in terms of resale value, it's one of the best resale performers in any category. The blocky retro-styling is sure to grab you or alienate you at first glance, but after you've driven a few miles - on road or off - you'll be happily surprised to learn that the FJ Cruiser is an absolute pleasure to drive.
The fact that the rear-drive 2012 FJ Cruiser can also take on many crunchier non-city landscapes is an added bonus made possible by the available 4-wheel drive system. One engine is all you need: a 260-horsepower 4.0-liter V6 that delivers a meaty 5,000 lb. of towing capacity. That V6 engine comes connected to a 6-speed manual or optional 5-speed automatic transmission. It ain't quick - about 7.3 seconds from 0 to freeway speeds - but it ain't slow for an SUV either. Be aware, however, that it is a touch on the fuel-thirsty side.
The FJ seats five comfortably, and in true-to-trudging SUV fashion, the interior is prepped for adventure with water-resistant seat fabric, rubber floors and an instrument panel that you could still adjust while the Cruiser is bouncing playfully through the trenches, woods and rutted netherlands.
For the typical 95/5 on-road/off-road driver, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser is one of the cleanest, best SUV buys you can make for under $30,000.