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.
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.
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, wrap-around rear glass and available roof rack are also familiar. In total, though, the 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser isn't as stylistically true to the original as the modern MINI or VW 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, an automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and streaming audio, XM Satellite Radio, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, 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 and a locking rear differential.
FJ Cruiser upgrades include keyless entry, cruise control, rear sonar parking assist, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-speaker JBL audio system with powered subwoofer, and a 115V/400W power outlet. Options for off-roaders include the Off-Road Package, an automatic transmission (4WD models) with a rear differential lock, A-TRAC active traction control and an inclinometer. New for 2011 is the Trail Teams Special Edition Package that brings with it the Off-Road Package, Army Green exterior paint with matching roof and black bumpers, front grille and door handles, mirror-mounted illumination markers, green seat inserts, cyclone pre-air cleaner, trail-rated Bilstein shocks, rear backup camera, JBL audio system, BFG All-Terrain tires on TRD alloy wheels and a set of 12V, 100W and 115V, 400W outlets.
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.
260 horsepower @ 5600 rpm
271 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/22 (2WD, automatic), 15/19(4WD, manual) 17/21 (4WD, automatic)
The 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $26,000 for the two-wheel-drive model and jumps to just over $27,000 with four-wheel drive and a manual transmission. A fully-loaded FJ tops out around $35,000. The Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price reflects real-world selling prices, so be sure to check it before you set out to shop. The FJ's competitors include the Nissan Xterra with prices ranging from $24,600 to about $35,000, the Jeep Wrangler which ranges from $23,000 to more than $35,000 and, to a lesser extent, the Nissan Pathfinder, which ranges from $28,600 to well beyond $47,000. In terms of resale value, we expect the 2011 FJ Cruiser to perform better than the Xterra and Pathfinder, and remain on par with the Wrangler.