Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview
With a design offering tribute to the 1960s-era Toyota Land Cruiser FJ40, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is unique among modern SUVs. True to its word, Toyota promised a one-generation model, ending North American distribution after the 2014 model year.
Otherwise thoroughly modern, the Toyota FJ Cruiser features a narrow front grille with traditional “TOYOTA” lettering centered across it. A pair of round, 5-inch headlights give this model a look much like the earlier FJ40. Other heritage cues include a similarly styled hood and fenders, as well as a rear-mounted full-size spare tire.
The FJ Cruiser’s boxy design is marked by sharp edges, raised roof pillars and angular wheel wells. This model has powerful shoulders, a broad and nearly upright windshield, two regular doors, a pair of rear-pivoting half doors and oversized side mirrors. All models are equipped with steel or aluminum-alloy wheels.
The rear side windows wrap around to the rear door, which is hinged on its left side. The rear combination lamps feature oval stop lights along with turn signal and backup lights. All models come with front and rear skid plates.
Inside, heritage styling cues abound. The FJ Cruiser offers room for five with sport bucket seats up front and a split-folding bench seat in the rear.
The FJ Cruiser’s dashboard is flat with a distinct broad face. The instrument panel offers a traditional three-analog display. In the center is the speedometer. To the left is the tachometer and to the right is a unique display with partial dials for the battery, fuel and oil pressure.
The center stack features a three-gauge display on top of the dashboard. Beneath that is a boxed-in section featuring the audio system. Round knobs and dials controlling the audio, heating and cooling systems are also found.
The FJ Cruiser came with a fairly basic list of standard features when it was introduced. Available option packages brought in features like keyless entry, cruise control and rear parking sensors. Satellite radio, Bluetooth and a USB port became standard starting with the 2011 model year, while a rearview camera was added to the options list.
To mark the FJ Cruiser’s last year, Toyota offered a Trail Teams Ultimate Edition equipped with a new suspension system featuring Bilstein race shocks, a Toyota Racing Development (TRD) skid plate, special tires, rock rails and a roof rack. Other features include a unique white-painted grille and a Heritage Blue design. Only 2,500 copies were made.
Throughout the FJ Cruiser’s eight-year model run a 4.0-liter V6 engine was standard, initially producing 239 horsepower. Starting with the 2010 model year, engine output increased to 259 horsepower.
Full- and part-time of four-wheel drive systems were offered, which both come with a two-speed transfer case. Models with rear-wheel drive or part-time four-wheel drive come with a five-speed automatic transmission, while the six-speed manual is offered exclusively with full-time four-wheel drive.
Direct competitors to the Toyota FJ Cruiser are few in number. If you want a traditional body-on-frame SUV, you might want to check out the Jeep Wrangler and Nissan Xterra. The Dodge Durango, Ford Explorer, Jeep Cherokee and Grand Cherokee are also worth your consideration.