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2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Photo
7.4
/ 10
TCC Rating
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Reviewed by Bengt Halvorson
Deputy Editor, The Car Connection
BASE INVOICE
$25,138
BASE MSRP
$27,030
Quick Take
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is the real deal, pairing authentic trail toughness with modern conveniences; but families and commuters attracted mainly to its brawny, very stylish look should think twice. Read more »
Decision Guide
Opinions from around the Web
Styling
Performance
Quality
Safety
Features
Mileage

interior design...stays true to the original FJ philosophy by being straightforward and functional rather than overly stylized and littered with gimmicks

Edmunds' Inside Line »

a modern African safari vehicle

MSN Autos »

styling is very retro and the black matte hood sticker adds even more of a throwback look

AutoWeek »

the temperature-control knobs look like they belong on a Lego Duplo play table

Car and Driver »
Pricing and Specifications by Style
$27,030 $28,620
MSRP $27,030
INVOICE $25,138 Browse used listings in your area
RWD 4-Door Automatic
Gas Mileage 16 mpg City/20 mpg Hwy
Engine Gas V6, 4.0L
EPA Class Sport Utility Vehicle
Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity 5
Passenger Doors 4
Body Style Sport Utility
See Detailed Specs »
7.4 out of 10
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The Basics:

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser may have only limited appeal, but it's an all-star at its game. It's ready for rocky trails, yet maintains a quirky stylishness that doesn't seem out of place in town, too. There's no attempt at family practicality here; no masquerading as a plush luxury vehicle; and no nod to go-fast driving enthusiasts.

The FJ Cruiser channels the 1960s-era FJ40, but was updated with a more whimsical, almost cartoonish look that's still really cool years after the new FJ's introduction. HUMMER models came close to matching the FJ's presence, but they're history. And if MINI ever decided to make a macho true-truck off-roader, this might also be what it would look like. Inside, the appointments are intentionally stark, with body-colored panels and simple gauges and sturdy switchgear.

Built from the sturdy underpinnings of the last-generation Toyota 4Runner, the FJ Cruiser impresses off-road, with some sacrifice on the road. Skid plates protect the underbody, and components are tucked into frame rails, while the high ground clearance and short wheelbase are assets, along with good wheel articulation--and the FJ's approach and departure angles and water-fording depth (27.5 inches) are better than most other stock off-roaders.

On the road performance is indeed compromised, but the FJ does handle streets, boulevards, and highways reasonably well. Its 260-horspower, 4.0-liter V-6 provides strong performance from a standing start, whether with the five-speed automatic or six-speed manual, though it's not as quick on the highway. Maneuverability and handling suffer, though--the combination of the tall body, the off-road hardware, and the chubby tires, as well as the 4,300-pound curb weight.

For carrying backseat passengers, or for ride comfort on long trips, there are far better choices. In short, the back seat is just too cramped, and getting in and out is a challenge for some due to the high step up and narrow opening from the rear-hinged back doors. You won't find the settled, sophisticated ride quality or quiet, refined interior here, either. All FJ Cruiser models include a good set of interior comforts, but there's some scruffiness and a hint of military-grade here, and it's intentional.

Considering the very utilitarian, back-to-basics look and feel of the 2013 FJ Cruiser, it comes with a surprisingly good set of interior comfort and convenience items, with many of them standard; and for those who really want to maximize the FJ's off-road potential, there are several pointed packages to do just that--and look good doing so. Serious off-road equipment includes an A-TRAC active-traction system, a special multi-information display (inclinometer, compass, temperature), big BF Goodrich Rugged Trail tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, a Cyclone air precleaner, and 115V/400V power outlets. Step up to the Convenience Package and you get cruise control, daytime running lights, a rear window wiper, and a spare tire cover, plus a rear backup camera--really a necessity if you plan to drive the FJ around town, or parallel-park.

With the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) sport package, you'll get unique alloys and BFG All-Terrain tires, among other upgrades; but those who want the trail ability with fresh styling may want to opt for the Trail Teams Special Edition Package. It includes most of the extras mentioned above but also scores you some off-road lights, an aluminum shift knob and aluminum scuff plates, plus body color-matched interior highlights. And for 2013, the Trail Teams Package is newly offered in Cement Gray.

 

Likes:

  • Rugged retro design
  • Back-to-basics interior
  • No-compromises trail ability
  • Just docile enough for the road

Dislikes:

  • Lack of maneuverability
  • Difficult backseat access
  • Interior noise
  • Choppy ride
  • Poor visibility
Next: Interior / Exterior »
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