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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 503 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

One word "Awesome"

By on Friday, June 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 100,000

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
8/10

Pros: "Great looks, fun to drive, resale value, etc."

Cons: "Storage space but can make it work."

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

"After wanting an FJ Cruiser ever since they first came in production I finally bought a 2007 well cared for pre-owned with 100k on it. I have not owned it long enough to speak of "reliability" but based on my research and reviews I am not worried about that. I have owned many Lexus cars/suv's over the years so I am familiar with Toyota reliability. I have owned many nice cars including Porsche over the years and I must say in the short time I have owned this FJ it is my favorite vehicle I have owned. It is just fun to drive, it looks great,etc, etc. Lets look at a few things that people bring up about the FJ. First is the "blind spot". If you adjust your mirrors correctly and buy some $2.00 blind spot mirrors for both side mirrors and pay attention to what you are doing it is not a factor at all. The simplicity of the interior design is what I LOVE about the vehicle. Mine has the basics I want/need AC, cruise, am/fm/cd, power windows, power locks, keyless entry, 4x4. If you want a luxury SUV look at Lexus or something else. This SUV is utilitarian by design and function. I have a 7yo son and love the ability to wash the inside out after a trip to the beach, park, etc. My biggest complaint is the lack of storage by means of an enclosed arm rest compartment. Their are some aftermarket companies that have options be even they are not what I would like or used to. I will be looking at some workarounds to fix the storage situation. With a vehicle their are usually trades off no matter what. Love the Lexus RX series (I owned one) but they are not designed for "off road" even with the AWD version. The Dodge Durango (owned one) has great storage and space front and rear but the over all look is not that appealing. I don't consider myself a gear head but I do like nice cars. I am 45 years old and my FJ gets compliments from young and old. Plan on being part of the FJ "fraternity" because as you pass other people in an FJ they will wave or stop and talk. Strangers will either look at you, nod, or simply start asking questions. In the end the FJ is AWESOME if you understand what you are buying and what it is. It has been a long time since I have owned a vehicle I was excited about driving and finding myself looking for reasons to drive somewhere. I feel like a 16 year old that just got his licenses and wants to drive everywhere all the time for no reason at all. My plan is keeping this SUV for a lifetime and letting my son in 9 years drive it when he turns 16. It is a SUV me and him can enjoy together tinkering,doing small repairs, and doing modifications. I think this is the type vehicle that becomes part of a family for generations. P"

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best car ever

By on Wednesday, June 1, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

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: "Fun to drive! Powerful. Not too bad on gas."

Cons: "blind spots"

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

"I bought this car because I loved it's look and had always been a fan of the Land Cruiser. I have owned this vehicle for 8 years of Awesome! Best car ever! It drives great. It is dependable and rides great in the city or rural. I have a two wheel drive and that is fine for me. If someone is looking for speed this is not the right vehicle. But, boy is it fun to ride in The only negative is the blind spots but I knew that going in and there are things you can do to correct that issue. If I had to purchase another car today it would be the FJ Cruiser. Would I recommend it to a friend? Absolutely!!!"

Best all around SUV I have ever owned!!!

By on Saturday, March 5, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,000

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
7/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive looks good !!!"

Cons: "If you have to get in back set a little hard ."

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

"This is the best SUV the drive is fun the sound system is great.I like that it goes from road to off road with no problem.The paint is tough even though it is 4 years old it looks new.Plenty of room to put sets down and cary anything needed dogs,hay, bicycle ect."

4 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Best car ever!

By on Monday, February 22, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 62,000

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
9/10

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

"I've had my FJ for about 6 months and it is a phenomenal vehicle! I'd been eyeing it for about two years and the day finally came to get my own. I have zero complaints about this car and am constantly surprised by how well it handles in any weather or terrain."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Will get you through just about anything!

By on Thursday, February 4, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

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
9/10

Pros: "Great all around adventure SUV to drive!"

Cons: "Have to have premium gas"

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

"I bought my FJ the first year it came out in 2006. Had to find a Voodoo Blue manual 4x4 that was top of the line at that time. Had to hunt around calling a number of Toyota dealers to find the FJ that was like the one on the brochure. Ended up paying sticker since it was just out and had to have it, but loved my FJ from the first test drive. I've taken into snow, the desert, trails in Death Valley going into some interesting places from Tea Kettle Junction into the mountains during snow. The engine still purrs like it was new, the gas mileage at least back then for a SUV was actually good, the 4 wheel drive in low will get you through just about anything that most people will come across, and it is just a fun tank looking thing to drive around in when I feel like it. Luckily it isn't my daily driver so only have 55k miles of vacation/fun travels. Still drives like new and looks it!"

5 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Smooth, reliable and Toyota quality

By on Thursday, January 14, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 122,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Good power and performance, on demand 4WD"

Cons: "Spartan interior, mediocre gas mileage"

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

"Owner for seven years with virtually no mechanical problems. Motor runs better than the day I bought it and just keeps getting better. Interior is somewhat sparse but this is intended for serious off-roading. Would certainly buy another one if they had not dropped this model."

5 people out of 8 found this review helpful

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