By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 8/26/2011
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 2011 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 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 2011 Toyota 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), big blind spots at the sides, and a cargo area that's not as accommodating as those of some other SUVs.
New features for the 2011 FJ Cruiser include a standard locking rear differential on manual transmission models, a new audio system with MP3/WMA playback capability, USB port, Bluetooth for phone and streaming music, and XM Satellite Radio. New options include a 10-speaker JBL audio system and a new Trail Teams Special Edition model in Army Green.
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 trendiest 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.