Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000
  • 12 Best Family Cars of 2014
  • 10 Best Midsize SUVs
  • 10 Best AWD Cars & SUVs Under $25,000
Go

2012 Best
Resale Value
Award Winner
Learn more

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Overview
Share this page
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

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

By

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)

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

Buying this car?

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
9.4
Out of 10

Based on 446 Ratings for the 2007 - 2014 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.4/10
    Quality
    9.5/10
  • Reliability
    9.7/10
    Performance
    9.4/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.4/10

Unbelievable Vehicle

By on Thursday, July 24, 2014

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "Off road performance, value, durability, fun"

Cons: "Rear access, comfort, visibility;windsheild damage"

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

"I’m the original owner of the original model year. I have owned LOTS of Toyotas, including a few Tacomas, but this is the best for the purposes it's made for. Not a SINGLE interior or exterior mechanical with it (only wear and tear items). Probably the biggest grip is the ease at which the windshield is damaged by stones (due to its vertical orientation), and the paint chips just a little too easily. I’ve made just a few modifications to it (lift kit, full roof rack, towing kit, etc), and couldn’t be happier. This thing is most comfortable off road (in fact, it's a beast), but does fine on road, while not being particularly agile (of course). It has good power when not loaded up or towing, and is pretty quick. I tow a 4300# camper (loaded), and it generally does fine. It certainly lacks power in a pinch, and the short wheelbase doesn’t help stability when towing. Comfort up front is reasonable, but not so much in back. Visibility is just OK, but again, not if you are in back. Great for a single person or couple, and while not horrible, it is a bit rough if you are always using the rear seat. Overall, if you think you can put this to good use in the wilderness and don’t have kids, this is the truck for you. Oh, and it has retained close to 80% of its value over the 7 ½ years. Amazing."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

I love my FJ

By on Monday, July 21, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 91,500

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "poor visibilty"

Cons: "fun to drive, looks cool in store windows..."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"I traded in my Sequoia for this 2007 FJ Cruiser it is the best vehicle I have had yet. Its perfect size, and great in the snow for me. NEG - The transmission had to be replaced at 70,000 miles and also the rear axle...this FJ doesn't go off road so its hard to say why the failure or at least I haven't been told the real reason why and had to replace the rear axle via my out of pocket costs...As as a family vehicle it is not comfortable, not roomy enough and the windows in the back seat should be able to roll down I do not get many backseat passengers...The driving visibility is poor due to the frame on the outside of the windows and positioning of the mirrors. Anyway I drive it mostly and enjoy it I just make sure I am careful regarding seeing other drivers or pedestrians...it is probably my last Toyota."

Best vehicle ever!! Very durable!

By on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Grat stability. FUn drive!!!"

Cons: "Poor reverse visibility, that's it."

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

"This truck never breaks down. Haven't even changed a bulb since 2006. I work on farms and it can take a beating. Just normal wear and tear. Great truck to buy."

Love a This Car....

By on Wednesday, July 16, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 140,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great value and fun to drive"

Cons: "Plastics scratch easily."

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

"Have owned my Toyota FJ since December 2008. It's been a awesome car, super fun to drive and very reliable. The cars exterior still looks great. I've purchased almost all the accessories available. The car runs best on 91 octane. Use the car a lot to move business materials, which the seats drop down. Only downside is the cars plastics scratch easily. I replace the tires with a more high end luxury tire, and the result was a smoother, more luxury ride. Other than that, it will be super tough to say good bye to my car."

Best vehicle I have ever owned

By on Sunday, July 13, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 90,000

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
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "drives like a dream and tough as nails"

Cons: "limited rear visability"

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

"The FJ is a fantastic vehicle, very solid and very reliable. It drives like a car but is a great off road truck, extremely comfortable. I usually don't purchase the same vehicle, always get something different, but I will buy another FJ."

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."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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

Buying this car?