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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

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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 486 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

I cannot express in words!

By on Saturday, August 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 65,000

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: "Build quality, Reliability, Off/On road manners."

Cons: "Not best for large families. fuel econ(expected)."

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

"I truly cannot express how it feels to own the FJ Cruiser, you must drive/own one to know how well built it is and also how you feel when driving this SUV. Try one, buy one and you might find yourself in the same position as myself, which is to say that I love this SUV and I cannot find anything else I would rather drive. Even after owning mine for 4 years!"

Would buy again!

By on Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 22,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Styling, fun to drive , off road prowess,"

Cons: "paint could be better.Windshield is rock magnet"

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

"Love my FJ. Awesome off road . Very comfortable on road. Very unique vehicle with the best resale market of any vehicle"

LOVE MY CAR!!!!

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Size, space, color, fun"

Cons: "some blind spots helped my side mirror adjustments"

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

"Rides well, adjusting the side mirrors helps with blind spots, tons of space, reliable, Toyota made, fun, colorful"

10 people out of 17 found this review helpful

amazing vehicle, solid value and reliability

By on Sunday, June 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

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

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

"After having owned numerous domestic and imported vehicles over the past 38 years I can honestly say that this FJ is absolutely the best one and the only one that will not be sold or traded. There is nothing about this truck that is bad, other than rear seat ingress and egress which is inconvenient at worst. I have seen numerous posts complaining about rearward visibility due to the size of the C-pillar and all I have to say about that after having driven vans for years that didn't have rear windows,let alone side windows is: learn how to set and use your mirrors and stop making inaccurate comments about something which is a non-issue and very easily remedied. If they are having to look over their shoulder to change lanes or back up they don't have their mirrors set correctly. If they simply don't know how to set mirrors please ask someone that does, I'm fairly certain that person would be willing to help them,because the sooner they learn to use their mirrors properly,the safer the road my family and I share with them will be."

12 people out of 21 found this review helpful

Best of the Offroad Good on the paved roads.

By on Tuesday, June 23, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 125,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Will take you anywhere. Great for 2 people and pets! River,creeks mountains ,sand dunes and steep hills. I have had a Jeep and a F150 4x4. Rides better than Jeep Climbs better than jeep just limited cargo capacioty than Pickup duh. If you 4X this is the one!"

7 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great truck- reliable and capable

By on Sunday, June 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 60,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Capable, relaible, and easy to care for"

Cons: "Backseat access and lumbering handling"

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

"I bought my 2008 FJ Cruiser in 2011 with 36K miles on it. It was lifted from the factory and looks like an off-road capable machine. It's been an absolutely great truck- exactly what you'd expect from a Toyota. No issues at all and it handles great in the weather. The traction control on this is amazing and brings the truck back into control even when you're trying to play in the snow. The A-Trac and electronic lockers allow it to go places you probably shouldn't try. I have the fully loaded version and it has been such a great truck, that I'm not going to trade it in. I'll just keep it in storage for a good weekend romper. The ONLY drawback to this rig is getting a car seat in and out of the back.....but that's not what it's for! Great weekend romper and very manageable the other 5 days a week."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

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