By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.8
For those old enough to remember, the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV is vaguely reminiscent of the original FJ40 Land Cruisers that help build the company's reputation for rugged durability roughly a half-century ago. While it certainly looks newer, it has kept the original's straightforward feel, with no excess luxury trimmings or frills – just the capability to go nearly anywhere. Some might line it up against the Jeep Wrangler, but there are significant differences. The FJ's roof is not removable and the FJ is obviously finished to a higher level than the decidedly more utilitarian Jeep.
For a fairly hard-core weekend off-road warrior, the FJ makes an entirely reasonable daily driver, and you really can live with it day-in, day-out. Few others will match that blend as well.
Maybe you think it's fun, and it can be. But the fuel economy is not wonderful, the styling results in some pretty bad blind spots in dealing with traffic, and surprising for an SUV, there's not much space for cargo.
The 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser has no significant changes from the previous model.
Driving Impressions It's an SUV, yes, but the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser really is a vehicle for all seven days of the week, with noteworthy capabilities off-road and accommodating manners on the...... highway. Perhaps our biggest complaint is that the narrow windows and big pillars result in limited outward visibility with really annoying blind spots that make maneuvering in traffic or changing lanes awkward and difficult. Otherwise, it's like driving any Toyota pickup. Go where the pavement ends, however, and it's in its element. The big tires, ample ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles and helpful traction control give the FJ outstanding capabilities in dealing with the wilderness primeval. It's wider than the Jeep Wrangler, but it's far better in everyday life. Overall, the FJ has a lot to offer in comparison to the Wrangler or the Nissan Xterra, and we think that for daily driving it would be the best of the three.
Vehicles that are good off-road tend to be awkward, uncomfortable or annoying in daily use but, except for the limited visibility, the FJ Cruiser is just fine as a daily driver, and that's a plus.
By automatically applying the brakes to a spinning wheel, Toyota's active traction-control system sends torque to the opposing wheel and enhances the FJ Cruiser's off-road capability.
Toyota engineers and designers gave the 2014 FJ Cruiser an interior that's very well-suited to a combination of off-road rigors and daily driving commutes. It's functional, durable, modern and accommodatingly comfortable. Seats are upholstered in water-resistant fabric and rubber is used on the floor. Rear-seat bottoms are removable for extra storage space and large rotary knobs can be operated while wearing gloves. Keeping watch over the proceedings is the inclinometer, which measures tilt of the body and might help prevent the embarrassment of tipping the SUV over and into the bottom of some canyon.Exterior
You won't lose the Toyota FJ Cruiser in the mall parking lot. With its height, distinctive round headlights, rectangular grille, 2-tone color treatment and roof rack, the FJ is not only an obvious SUV descendant of the original FJ, it's unlike anything else on the road. Add in the big tires, the rear-mounted spare, optional floodlights on the mirrors and three wiper arms to deal with the narrow windshield, and the FJ is definitely making a statement of rugged readiness.
For 2014, the well-equipped base 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 with the manual transmission and optional with the automatic).
Optional equipment for the Toyota FJ Cruiser includes keyless entry, cruise control, rear parking assist, rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror, 10-speaker JBL audio system with powered subwoofer and a 115V/400W power outlet. Off-road options include the Off-Road Package, automatic transmission (4WD models) with a rear differential lock, A-TRAC active traction control and an inclinometer. The Trail Teams Special Edition Package includes the Off-Road Package, Cement Gray exterior paint with matching roof and black bumpers, front grille and door handles, mirror-mounted illumination markers, cyclone pre-air cleaner, trail-rated Bilstein shocks, rearview camera, JBL audio system, BFG All-Terrain tires, TRD alloy wheels and 12V/100W and 115V/400W outlets.
The FJ Cruiser is powered by a strong, durable and well-proven 4.0-liter V6 of 260 horsepower and 271 lb-ft of torque, matched with either a 5-speed automatic transmission with the 2-wheel drive (2WD) or part-time 4-wheel drive (4WD) system, or a 6-speed manual transmission with full-time 4WD. The 4WD models have a 2-speed transfer case. Locking differentials and a sophisticated traction-control system give the FJ extraordinary off-road capabilities, while steep approach and departure angles help with clambering over tough boulders and fording awkward rivers. The power goes to the ground through an independent front and live-axle rear suspension, and the FJ can tow trailers up to 5,000 pounds.
260 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
271 lb-ft of torque @ 4,400 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 16/20 mpg (2WD, automatic), 15/18 mpg (4WD, manual), 17/20 mpg (4WD, automatic)
The 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser's Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts a little over $27,000 for the 2-wheel-drive model and jumps to about $29,000 with 4-wheel drive and a manual transmission; a fully-loaded FJ tops out around $36,000. Our Fair Purchase Price values reflect real-world selling prices, so be sure to check them on kbb.com before you set out to shop. The Toyota FJ Cruiser's competitors include the Nissan Xterra, with prices ranging from around $26,000 to about $35,000; the Jeep Wrangler, ranging from $25,000 to more than $35,000; and, to a lesser extent, the Nissan Pathfinder, which ranges from around $30,000 to well beyond $47,000. In terms of resale value, we expect the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV to perform better than the Xterra and Pathfinder and remain on par with the Wrangler.
By Rick on Sunday, March 22, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 84,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Specially niche."
Cons: "Better vehicles for the price"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Drive train is well proven and reliable. Visibility is poor at best. Rear wheel spare is in the way of sight. Fold down seats have on place for head rests when folded. Need to be stored separately. Towing is difficult due to short wheel base. Truck has been good overall."
1 person out of 1 found this review helpful
By jimilivz on Sunday, March 15, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 8,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Off road skills as stock, styling, solid feel"
Cons: "Plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, plastic, pl..."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Basically happy with it after 8k miles. Wouldn't choose it for a family type car, but for my situation, it's close to perfect. Two main gripes: 1) Way too much plastic. The interior makes me cry it has so much. 2) The engine needs a lot more low end torque. It makes plenty of top end power, but a truck needs low end."
2 people out of 2 found this review helpful
By Fire Girl on Saturday, March 14, 2015
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 115,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Crash rollover ratings, stereo, handling, passing"
Cons: "blind spots, back seat access, rutty ice driving"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I live in Alaska, and have teen and preteen kids. I have the Trail Teams Edition, so it comes with more bells and whistles. I LOVE my Land Cruiser! I get A LOT of complements. So many pluses that the negatives are easy to learn, but with each vehicle, this is what you should expect. I get 17 mpg in town/4 wheel, and 20-21 mpg on the highway. Very low maintenance. With kids and pets, I love that the interior can be sprayed down. The stereo this model came with has a subwoofer and it ROCKS!! Passing with the automatic is pretty good for a V6. The only negatives: with owning 4WD vehicles my whole life, this is one vehicle I HAD to put studs on. The body sits wider than a normal vehicle, so on rutty ice/slushy conditions, this vehicle will fish tail without the studs. Just need to drive with more reactiveness because of it. I have also needed a new windshield almost yearly because of its almost straight up aspect, it doesn't deflect rocks well. There are major blind spots, but being a fire fighter and married to one, we love the crash and rollover ratings on this vehicle and understand that the beams are much beefier than other vehicles. You learn to use extra caution on changing lanes, turns, and merges. Since this has suicide doors on more of a lifted vehicle, this is a car you can put kids, teens, or smaller adults in the back. I have put 6'+ in back, and a friend who is 6'6" was surprised at how well he fit comfortably in the driver seat. Lots of head and leg room in FRONT. Other than that, this vehicle will go ANYwhere you want it to. Absolutely fun to drive. It's not a Cadillac CTS so don't expect it to drive like one. This is definitely a vehicle for someone who wants sporty over luxury. You want more luxury? Get the larger Land Cruiser."