Used Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007-2014 review

Overall rating:5 Star Rating: Recommended
Updated: July, 2016
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota FJ Cruiser

Nothing on the road looks like the FJ, especially in Magma red, Sun Fusion yellow or Army Green colors. Just looking at this truck makes you want to pack it up with camping gear and drive somewhere far.
Styled after the legendary Land Cruiser FJ40 from the 60s and 70s, the 2007-2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a truck-based SUV with a short wheelbase and wide track. Inside the FJ Cruiser offers rugged styling, washable floors and easy to clean waterproof seats. The instruments are simple and easy to read. You won't have troubles using the heater controls even wearing thick gloves - the control knobs are really large. The FJ has an advanced 4WD system with the low-range gearing, and is a capable off-roader. Is it a good choice to buy used? Will it hold its value? Is it reliable? Read our review to find out.

Toyota FJ Cruiser clam shell doors
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Click for larger image
Toyota FJ Cruiser interior
Toyota FJ Cruiser interior

Fuel Economy: The 2008-2009 4WD automatic FJ Cruiser is rated at 16/20 mpg (14.7/11.8 L/100 km) city/highway on premium gasoline. The 2010-2011 FJ 4WD auto gets 17/21 mpg (13.8/11.2 L/100 km) on regular gasoline. The 2012-2013 4WD automatic model returns 17/20 mpg (13.8/11.8 L/100 km) on regular gasoline.

Interior: The driver's seat is comfortable, even on long trips. An elevated seating position provides good visibility in the front, however, side and rear view is obstructed by wide pillars and the spare tire. Having large side-mirrors helps, but changing lanes and backing up is a bit of challenge. The optional backup camera built within the rearview mirror was very helpful during our test-drive.

Mechanical: Toyota FJ Cruiser is based on the Land Cruiser Prado body-on-frame platform with the independent front suspension and solid axle with coil springs in the back. The FJ Cruiser is available as 2WD or 4WD (only 4WD in Canada). The 2WD models were only available with a 5-speed automatic transmission. The 4WD FJ Cruiser comes with a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Disc brakes are on all four wheels.
The only engine choice is the 239-hp 4.0L DOHC V6 (upgraded to 259 hp for 2010). This engine has a timing chain instead of a belt. A timing chain doesn't need to be replaced unless there is a problem with it. Overall, this is a strong solid engine.

4WD System: In manual-transmission models, the transfer case uses a Torsen (Torque-Sensing) limited-slip center differential with a locking feature and distributes the engine power 40:60 under most driving conditions. The Torsen differential varies power distribution between the front and rear axles as needed for better traction. The automatic 4x4 FJ Cruiser employs a part-time four-wheel drive system. A locking rear differential is available.

Handling and ride: On the road, the FJ Cruiser drives better than you'd expect from such a tall truck. The ride is soft. We test drove the FJ during a snow storm, so we had a good chance to test some of the features. We found that the ABS and Stability Control were very helpful to keep the truck from sliding. We took the FJ Cruiser on some snowy back roads and the truck glided easily through two feet deep snow. The FJ Cruiser's suspension absorbs bumps well; it's fairly quiet inside the cabin except for a nice-sounding exhaust tone.

Toyota FJ Cruiser
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Liftgate glass opens separately
Toyota FJ Cruiser
2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser cargo area

Safety: Available safety features include Antilock Brake System (ABS), Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) and Traction Control (TRAC). Side airbags and side curtain airbags were optional on early models; standard from 2008. The 2007-2010 FJ Cruiser received five stars for the driver and four stars for the front passenger in the NHTSA frontal crash tests. In the side-impact crash tests, the 2007-2010 FJ Cruiser scored five stars for the front seat and five stars for the rear seat passenger protection.

Pros: Off-road capability, original design and colors, comfortable ride, easy to clean interior, strong resale value, available sturdy roof rack, optional 115V power outlet, rear gate glass opens separately.

Cons: Rear visibility, rear seat access and comfort, rear seats don't fold flat, early models require premium gasoline.

Overall: The FJ Cruiser is a very unique truck. It's rated high in owner satisfaction, according to Consumer Reports. It is also very reliable and holds its value much better than many other SUVs. Overall, it's an excellent choice for a rugged off-roader that is also comfortable in daily driving. Read about common problems and what to look for on the next page.