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2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Overview
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2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

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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, which necessitated the need for the FJ Cruiser. The 2009 FJ Cruiser is 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.

You'll Like This Car If...

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 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser does it all.

You May Not Like This Car If...

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), big blind spots at the sides and a cargo area that's not as accommodating as those of some other SUVs.

What's New for 2009

The 2009 FJ Cruiser adds two new safety features: A standard roll-sensing side airbag curtain and whiplash-preventing front seat active headrest. A revised Convenience Package adds a rear backup camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Driving the FJ Cruiser

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 rolls exceptionally well. Except for its limited...

side 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.

Subwoofer Switch
A big, console-mounted subwoofer on/off button makes it easy to optimize the listening experience when switching from talk to rock, for instance.

A-TRAC
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.

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Details
2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser photo Interior

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 2009 Toyota 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Base FJ Cruisers are equipped with two-wheel drive, automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, auxiliary audio jack, electronic stability and traction controls, front seat side-mounted airbags, roll sensing side curtain airbags, two front airbags and 17-inch black steel wheels. Four-wheel-drive FJs come standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Optional Equipment

FJ Cruiser upgrades include keyless entry, cruise control, rear sonar parking assist, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, 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 the new Off-Road Package, an automatic transmission (4WD models), a rear differential lock, A-TRAC active traction control and an inclinometer.

Under the Hood

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.

4.0-liter V6
239 horsepower @ 5200 rpm
278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 (2WD, automatic), 14/19(4WD, manual) 16/20 (4WD, automatic)

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2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 440 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.8/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

FJ Cruiser exceeds Land Cruiser Family expectation

By on Wednesday, July 09, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 108,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "High Quality and excellent reliability"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Eight years and 108K miles later this vehicle continues to deliver high quality daily commuting reliability and off road capability."

Hard to get in and out of with doors.Fun to drive.

By on Monday, June 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Suicide doors are bad in parking lots"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Fun to drive. Love the roominess inside! Hard to get in and out of vehicle in parking lots because of the suicide doors. Passengers complain about climbing in and out of vehicle. For the 2 of us, it's a great vehicle! Handled the icy/snowy mountain roads with ease."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Superb off road

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Look at the videos of FJ's on Youtube"

Cons: "Blind spots."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"The FJ is second only to a military HumVee for off road driving. If off roading is your reason to purchase a FJ you will not be disappointed. Downside: Blind spots!! and not the greatest gas mileage. Recommendations: If you buy one, put in the second gas tank. It makes a huge difference for long road trips or boon docking in the wilds of nowhere."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Off-road/ on road very very capable

By on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Manual shift to four-wheel-drive, simple and straightforward interior"

Cons: "Cheap front and rear plastic bumpers. I had to make my own front bumper"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I've had this FJ for 6 years now. I love it. I do go off-road; however not serious off-road. Don't get me wrong, I have had to go thru some really bad stuff once or twice now and then and she did awesome. Mostly I take it off road(dirt/rock road), cross deep washouts (had to add a snorkel), pull a 5,000lb trailer with atvs for weekend camping and pulled plenty of people out of jams."

Not for everyone but just right for me!!!!!!

By on Sunday, June 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "4x4great , comfort ride, toyota reliabilit!!!!"

Cons: "gas mileage, stereo,blindspots"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this vehicle very 4x4 capable. Snow proplem at all very reliable .would not recommend if you have kids that ride in back seat alot the side doors are a little odd and frequent use would become annoying. If you want a ultra reliable and capable 4x4 that is also pretty comfortable for road driving check this one out you may love it too."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Most awesome vehicle ever! Besides Taco.

By on Sunday, June 01, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun, stylish, reliable, capable 4x4, fun to drive."

Cons: "Blind spot"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have to say I was skeptical at first about its looks and abilities. But, now I love this SUV. If your looking for a SUV for an active family FJ is your answer. My family loves the outdoors. We do everything outside. We got the team trails in Army green my wife loves it. And so do I it's comfortable, stylish, capable and it's got rings on it which means reliable. This truck is a blunt instrument and will dominate any off road terrain. It's not for the none adventurous city lover. Now I don't know if it can follow Tacoma yet but, I'm sure it will do better than JEEP. Absolutely love this vehicle. Toyota or nothing."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

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