By KBB.com Editors
Sold in the U.S. from 1960 to 1983, the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser remains one of the most respected off-road vehicles of all time. The Land Cruiser nameplate survives to this day, in fact, but affixed to a much bigger, much more expensive vehicle. Toyota's 4Runner has also grown, both in size and in price, to a starting sticker near $30K. Enter the FJ Cruiser, Toyota's answer to the popular Nissan Xterra and the venerable Jeep Wrangler. The FJ Cruiser backs up its distinctive, retro-esque styling with serious off-road capability, thanks to features like body-on-frame construction, big tires, available four-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case and available locking rear differential.
Whether you're drawn to it as a comfortable and versatile daily driver, a weekend off-roader or just an expressive way to get from Point A to Point B, you're sure to appreciate how well the FJ Cruiser does it all.
Depending on what other vehicles you might be considering, the FJ Cruiser's potential faults include marginal fuel economy (although it's slightly more fuel-friendly than the Xterra), poor rearward visibility and a cargo area that's not as accommodating as those of some other SUVs.
By offering an exceptional combination of off-road capability, on-road comfort, cargo versatility and standout stylingall backed up by world-class qualitythere isn't much you could ask from a midsize SUV that the FJ Cruiser doesn't deliver.
Driving Impressions Whether you're hoping the FJ Cruiser shines brightest as an off-roader or a daily driver, you'll be happy to hear it fills both roles exceptionally well. Except for its limited...rearward visibility and a wide 41.8-foot turning circle, Toyota's newest SUV is as pleasant to drive as many sedans. Off-road, the FJ Cruiser's 32-inch tires, steep approach and departure angles and sophisticated traction aids combine to deliver world-class off-road capability. Compared with its most closely matched competitor, the Nissan Xterra, the FJ doesn't corner as eagerly around town but does deliver a marginally softer highway ride. As for the off-road comparison, we'll give the nod to the Toyota, although the Nissan remains impressive.
A big, console-mounted subwoofer on/off button makes it easy to optimize the listening experience when switching from talk to rock, for instance.
By automatically applying the brakes to a spinning wheel, Toyota's active traction control system forces torque to the opposing wheel and boosts the FJ Cruiser's off-road capability.
Equipped with water-resistant seat fabric, rubber flooring, removable rear seat bottoms and big control knobs designed for easy operation when wearing gloves, the FJ Cruiser's interior is decidedly purpose-built. Still, it's a very comfortable cabin for front and rear passengers alike, even if entering or leaving the rear seat through the small rear-hinged doors is tough to do elegantly. The rear cargo area isn't huge, but convenient hooks and tie-downs add functionality. A color-keyed center cluster adds a touch of whimsy.Exterior
With two smallish round headlamps flanking a low-profile, rectangular grille, the FJ Cruiser's face provides the strongest link to its FJ40 ancestry. The contrasting white roof, wraparound rear glass and available roof rack are also familiar. In total, though, the FJ Cruiser isn't as stylistically true to the original as the modern MINI or VW New Beetle are to their ancestors. Exterior features worth noting are the FJ Cruiser's big 32-inch tires, three windshield wipers and available side mirror-mounted lamps. Toyota also offers plenty of add-ons geared toward off-road duty.
Base FJ Cruisers are equipped with two-wheel drive, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, auxiliary audio jack, electronic stability and traction controls, two front airbags and 17-inch black steel wheels.
FJ Cruiser upgrades include front-side and two-row side-curtain airbags, keyless entry, cruise control, rear sonar parking assist, eight-speaker audio system with six-disc CD changer, subwoofer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a 115V/400W power outlet. Options for off-roaders include a rear differential lock, A-TRAC active traction control and an inclinometer.
A sophisticated aluminum V6 anchors three powertrain combinations that include a five-speed automatic transmission coupled with either two-wheel-drive or a part-time four-wheel-drive system, or a six-speed manual transmission teamed with a full-time four-wheel-drive system. Four-wheel-drive models include a two-speed transfer case. Off-road capability is enhanced with locking differentials and electronic traction controls. Rock-crawling specs include approach and departure angles of 34 and 30 degrees, respectively (32 and 29 degrees for two-wheel drive models). The FJ Cruiser has an independent front suspension and solid rear axle, and its maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.
239 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/22 (2WD automatic), 16/19 (4WD manual) 17/21 (4WD automatic)
By Rick on Sunday, March 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Specially niche."
Cons: "Better vehicles for the price"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Drive train is well proven and reliable. Visibility is poor at best. Rear wheel spare is in the way of sight. Fold down seats have on place for head rests when folded. Need to be stored separately. Towing is difficult due to short wheel base. Truck has been good overall."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By jimilivz on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Off road skills as stock, styling, solid feel"
Cons: "Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, pl..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Basically happy with it after 8k miles. Wouldn't choose it for a family type car, but for my situation, it's close to perfect. Two main gripes: 1) Way too much plastic. The interior makes me cry it has so much. 2) The engine needs a lot more low end torque. It makes plenty of top end power, but a truck needs low end."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Fire Girl on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Crash rollover ratings, stereo, handling, passing"
Cons: "blind spots, back seat access, rutty ice driving"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I live in Alaska, and have teen and preteen kids. I have the Trail Teams Edition, so it comes with more bells and whistles. I LOVE my Land Cruiser! I get A LOT of complements. So many pluses that the negatives are easy to learn, but with each vehicle, this is what you should expect. I get 17 mpg in town/4 wheel, and 20-21 mpg on the highway. Very low maintenance. With kids and pets, I love that the interior can be sprayed down. The stereo this model came with has a subwoofer and it ROCKS!! Passing with the automatic is pretty good for a V6. The only negatives: with owning 4WD vehicles my whole life, this is one vehicle I HAD to put studs on. The body sits wider than a normal vehicle, so on rutty ice/slushy conditions, this vehicle will fish tail without the studs. Just need to drive with more reactiveness because of it. I have also needed a new windshield almost yearly because of its almost straight up aspect, it doesn't deflect rocks well. There are major blind spots, but being a fire fighter and married to one, we love the crash and rollover ratings on this vehicle and understand that the beams are much beefier than other vehicles. You learn to use extra caution on changing lanes, turns, and merges. Since this has suicide doors on more of a lifted vehicle, this is a car you can put kids, teens, or smaller adults in the back. I have put 6'+ in back, and a friend who is 6'6" was surprised at how well he fit comfortably in the driver seat. Lots of head and leg room in FRONT. Other than that, this vehicle will go ANYwhere you want it to. Absolutely fun to drive. It's not a Cadillac CTS so don't expect it to drive like one. This is definitely a vehicle for someone who wants sporty over luxury. You want more luxury? Get the larger Land Cruiser."
By Jen on Wednesday, March 11, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 105,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I ordered this car brand new and have owned it for 8 years. I cannot say enough about how well built it is. In 8 years, I have had one repair, an alternator that went out. Total cost to replace, about $250.00. I simply stated up to date on regular maintenance and this has been a great car. I feel like it could easily go another 100K miles. Only minor issue on the interior with the stereo system. It goes a little wonky in extreme heat or cold but all the controls work off the steering wheel."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Sundance on Friday, February 13, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Everything. Except they stopped making it."
Cons: "They stopped making it."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"My 07 FJ is the best off road vehicle I’ve ever owned. It will go anywhere a Jeep, Hummer, 4x4 Truck (lifted) will go, and then some. I love the look and the ride. Comfortable and stable on the black top, and formidable off road capability. It fits my kids and all our gear for a week or more. And the style and personality can’t be beat. Besides the fact that it’s a Toyota and will run forever, which I intend to see happen."
8 people out of 10 found this review helpful
By Themadtrojan on Wednesday, January 28, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Solid car. 4X4 is great"
Cons: "Back seat space"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I've had this car for a year and a half. The FJ will go ANYWHERE and climb ANYTHING. I have a manual speed transmission which I absolutely love. Fun Rig to drive. No mechanical issues. No issues whatsoever. My only complaint is the rear seat. Not enough room. I have 2 daughters ages 11 and 14. They have no leg room for long drive and for 4X4 its uncomfortable on back seat passengers. Fully recommend the FJ."
10 people out of 14 found this review helpful