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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Overview
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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.0

The 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV is the modern take on the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser sold round the world from 1960 until the early 1980s. Whereas most original rugged off-road SUVs have morphed into luxury chariots capable of going – but rarely taken – off road, Toyota's FJ Cruiser off-road SUV is built for one thing and one thing only: to take you places no car-based crossover dare shine its headlights. Of course, unlike the Jeep Wrangler, you can't remove the FJ's top, and its awkward dimensions and styling create some serious blind spots, but FJ loyalists dismiss this as nitpicking and perhaps they are correct. Based on the Toyota 4Runner SUV platform, the FJ Cruiser is a unique package unlike anything on the road. Its closest rivals are clearly the Jeep Wrangler, Nissan Xterra and to some extent, the 4Runner itself. Offering a wide variation of options that do more than just look rugged, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV can be equipped to tackle all manner of off-road obstacle courses.

You'll Like This Car If...

It doesn't matter if you're looking for a vehicle to take serious off-roading or just on weekend camping trips, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV covers all the bases. It even makes a very livable daily driver, something that can't always be said of the Jeep Wrangler soft-top.

You May Not Like This Car If...

No one will argue that the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV isn't fun, but it does have a number of practical drawbacks including poor fuel economy, some wicked blind spots and a not-so-roomy cargo hold.

What's New for 2012

This year's Trail Teams Special Edition Package comes in monotone Radiant Red paint.

Driving the FJ Cruiser

Driving Impressions Surprisingly, we found the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV to be as equally welcome on road as it was off. With the exception of the poor side visibility and rather...

annoying 41.8-foot-wide turning circle, the FJ Cruiser is as enjoyable to drive as any Toyota crossover or pickup. Venturing off road gave us a chance to really fall in love with the FJ, and fall we did. The 32-inch tires, 9.6 inches of ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles and electronically controlled traction control permit the FJ to go over just about anything it can clear, although the wide body does pose some challenges the Jeep Wrangler never worries about. Then again, the FJ Cruiser corners better than the Jeep in daily driving, but not as well as the Nissan Xterra. However, on the highway we think the FJ has the best ride of the three.

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.

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Details
Interior

Knowing what the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV's intended target audience is going to do with their trucks, Toyota engineers designed an interior that is functional and rugged while at the same time comfortable and modern. The FJ's supportive seats are covered in water-resistant fabric, while underfoot the traditional carpet is replaced with rubber flooring. The purpose-built interior also features removable rear-seat bottoms and large rotary control knobs specifically designed to be operated when wearing gloves. Yet, for all its rough-and-tumble preparedness, the 2012 FJ Cruiser SUV is a very comfortable place to spend time, even if you have to squeeze through the small rear-hinged door to gain access. Behind the seats is a small but useful cargo area that includes tie-downs for securing equipment. One cool option is the dash-mounted inclinometer, or as one of our editors affectionately called it, a "tip-overometer."

Exterior

It's easy to pick out the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV in a lineup; just look for the hulking big truck with the two smallish inset round headlights flanking a low-profile, rectangular grille. The design is a tribute to the original FJ, as are the white roof, wraparound rear glass and tubular-style roof rack. Noteworthy features on the 2012 Toyota FJ include big 32-inch tires, available floodlights mounted to the side mirrors and three wiper arms to quickly clear mud from the windshield. But the fun doesn't stop there. Toyota provides a boatload of factory and accessory equipment including paint-protection film, auxiliary driving lights and a number of TRD performance enhancements. Backing up the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser's menacing look is some serious hardware, including available Bilstein heavy-duty shocks, available 4-wheel drive (4WD) with 2-speed transfer case and locking rear differential, and skid-plate protection for the engine, fuel tank and transfer case.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The most basic 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV is equipped with 2-wheel drive (2WD), a 5-speed automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a 6-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, auxiliary audio jack, a USB port, Bluetooth connectivity for phone and streaming audio, XM Satellite Radio, steering-wheel 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 6-speed manual transmission, 2-speed transfer case and a locking rear differential (standard on manually equipped cars and optional with the automatic).

Optional Equipment

The 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV upgrades include keyless entry, cruise control, rear sonar parking assist, rearview 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 2012 is the Trail Teams Special Edition Package that brings with it the Off-Road Package, Radiant Red exterior paint with matching roof and black bumpers, front grille and door handles, mirror-mounted illumination markers, red seat inserts, cyclone pre-air cleaner, trail-rated Bilstein shocks, rearview camera, JBL audio system, BFG All-Terrain tires on TRD alloy wheels and a set of 12V/100W and 115V/400W outlets.

Under the Hood

A sophisticated aluminum V6 anchors three powertrain combinations that include a 5-speed automatic transmission coupled with either a 2-wheel-drive or a part-time 4-wheel-drive system, or a 6-speed manual transmission teamed with a full-time 4-wheel-drive system. The 4-wheel-drive models include a 2-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 2-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
260 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
271 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/20 (2WD, automatic), 15/18(4WD, manual) 17/20 (4WD, automatic)

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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 464 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

Best decision ever

By on Wednesday, December 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 109,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Off road capacities"

Cons: "Doors in the back make it a little hard to get in."

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

Beach off road. 4x4 (4L)

"I went to get a jeep and I end up getting my yellow toy. So far it doesn't matter how fast I drive it or where I ride it. It hasn't let me down. Most likely this car will stay with me until I'm capable of climbing on it."

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Beach off road. 4x4 (4L)

great vehicle

By on Friday, December 12, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 16,000

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: "Price, looks & drives great."

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

great beach 4x4

"Love my FJ - no longer made so need to keep it in great condition ! Had on Outer Banks beach - 4x4 this is a beast & unstoppable."

2 people out of 6 found this review helpful

great beach 4x4

Very happy with my FJ

By on Thursday, December 04, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 31,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Capable, solid build, comfortable, hauls a lot"

Cons: "Poor fuel economy, useless factory roof rack"

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

"It's not a very good soccer mom car, gets poor gas mileage, and the back seat is tight and hard to climb into when parked in tight spaces. Everything else is outstanding. We bought it for weekend excursions for two and week long camping trips. It's not my idea of a good commuter. I've owned two trucks and a Jeep before but never bonded so well with a vehicle until now. In stock form it is outstanding off road and with a few ($3k-$4k) mods it is exceptional. Just be sure to get one with the locking rear diff as a base to start. I don't baby it off road and it's taken us to some incredible places in all day comfort. I could never say that with my Jeep. I could not be happier and plan to keep it forever!"

4 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Great SUV!! Had it since new and no problems!!

By on Thursday, November 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,000

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: "Reliability, styling, versatility.....fun to drive"

Cons: "2007 doesn't have all the latest blue tooth, audio"

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

"Bullet proof. Comfortable, versatile, and reliable. I have owned many SUV's. This one has been the best so far. I plan to keep it for years!"

7 people out of 12 found this review helpful

Good looking, made for fun

By on Wednesday, November 19, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 7,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "good looking, fun to drive"

Cons: "gas milage, back seat"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4

"I really like my FJ Cruiser. It rides GREAT for an off road suv. It is quiet for the most part, the all terrain tires are kinda loud. Good space in rear, with drop down seats, however, the backseat area is non-existant. Back seat can suffice in a pinch, but bad if you need to carry more than two people. Disappointed in gas milage, 16mpg around town. I owned a Tacoma before this with the same engine and got 20mpg at least."

4 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Like a tank on snow

By on Monday, November 17, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Look forward to driving it. Even to work!"

Cons: "Back seat entry, sun visor, blind spot"

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

"It is great to drive a vehicle that is sure-footed on all road conditions. Quite controllable in winter conditions. A very practical interior. You could almost take a hose to the whole thing so pets, moisture and mud are no problem. The sight lines take some getting used to as it has a sizable blind spot. The only other design issue I have is that the visors are insufficient to cover the width of the windshield. You can, however, add an optional visor that adds to the side coverage. Actual gas mileage is 19 highway, reasonable for a real 4wd setup. Surprisingly comfortable for distance driving but don't buy it if you have kids. Getting in and out of the backseat is a pain, though a great piece of engineering. And of course, the Toyota quality I have come to expect is evident throughout. Great fit and finish."

10 people out of 14 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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