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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 439 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

Hard to get in and out of with doors.Fun to drive.

By on Monday, June 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 28,000

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
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Suicide doors are bad in parking lots"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"Fun to drive. Love the roominess inside! Hard to get in and out of vehicle in parking lots because of the suicide doors. Passengers complain about climbing in and out of vehicle. For the 2 of us, it's a great vehicle! Handled the icy/snowy mountain roads with ease."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Superb off road

By on Sunday, June 22, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 118,000

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
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Look at the videos of FJ's on Youtube"

Cons: "Blind spots."

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

"The FJ is second only to a military HumVee for off road driving. If off roading is your reason to purchase a FJ you will not be disappointed. Downside: Blind spots!! and not the greatest gas mileage. Recommendations: If you buy one, put in the second gas tank. It makes a huge difference for long road trips or boon docking in the wilds of nowhere."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Off-road/ on road very very capable

By on Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Manual shift to four-wheel-drive, simple and straightforward interior"

Cons: "Cheap front and rear plastic bumpers. I had to make my own front bumper"

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

"I've had this FJ for 6 years now. I love it. I do go off-road; however not serious off-road. Don't get me wrong, I have had to go thru some really bad stuff once or twice now and then and she did awesome. Mostly I take it off road(dirt/rock road), cross deep washouts (had to add a snorkel), pull a 5,000lb trailer with atvs for weekend camping and pulled plenty of people out of jams."

Not for everyone but just right for me!!!!!!

By on Sunday, June 08, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 76,000

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
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "4x4great , comfort ride, toyota reliabilit!!!!"

Cons: "gas mileage, stereo,blindspots"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I love this vehicle very 4x4 capable. Snow proplem at all very reliable .would not recommend if you have kids that ride in back seat alot the side doors are a little odd and frequent use would become annoying. If you want a ultra reliable and capable 4x4 that is also pretty comfortable for road driving check this one out you may love it too."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Most awesome vehicle ever! Besides Taco.

By on Sunday, June 01, 2014

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

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun, stylish, reliable, capable 4x4, fun to drive."

Cons: "Blind spot"

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

"I have to say I was skeptical at first about its looks and abilities. But, now I love this SUV. If your looking for a SUV for an active family FJ is your answer. My family loves the outdoors. We do everything outside. We got the team trails in Army green my wife loves it. And so do I it's comfortable, stylish, capable and it's got rings on it which means reliable. This truck is a blunt instrument and will dominate any off road terrain. It's not for the none adventurous city lover. Now I don't know if it can follow Tacoma yet but, I'm sure it will do better than JEEP. Absolutely love this vehicle. Toyota or nothing."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

I love my FJ. new paint 2013, dependable, reliable

By on Saturday, May 31, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,400

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: "great look, perfect Maui auto, fun to drive"

Cons: "it's not free, I love it, will be hard to replace"

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

"I love my 2007 FJ Cruiser. It has great visibility, better than any car I've owned! I get 20 mpg, rarely use 4 wheel drive. The miles are highway and town use. Last year, I got a new paint job for cosmetic reasons only and it looks brand new. Great storage and hauling capacity. It comfortably seats at least 5 people. It has roof racks, running boards, skid plates, and tow package. I planned on keeping it forever, but I must sell it now."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

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