Research

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

The Car Connection Expert Rating Breakdown?

7.4
on a scale of 1 to 10
Styling
9.0
Expert Rating
Performance
7.0
Expert Rating
Comfort & Quality
5.0
Expert Rating
Safety
7.0
Expert Rating
Features
9.0
Expert Rating
Fuel Economy
5.0
Expert Rating
2017
The Car Connection
See the nominees and vote »
2017
The Car Connection
Best Car to Buy
Coming Soon

The Car Connection Expert Review

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.

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.

The Car Connection Consumer Review

Rate and Review your car for The Car Connection! Tell us your own ratings for a vehicle you own. Rate your car on Performance, Safety, Features and more.
Write a Review
Thursday, January 22, 2015
For 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

good car and good interior and exterior. but noisy car

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
There is no dought that fj is good on highways and offroading and the interior and the exterior are good. But the main problem is the engine sound. I own a 2012 fj but the engine makes too much sound even if... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
Thursday, March 10, 2016
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD 4-Door Automatic (Natl)

I am very pleased

  • Overall Rating
  • Interior/Exterior
  • Performance
  • Comfort and Quality
  • Safety
  • Features
  • Fuel Economy / MPG
  • Reliability
I bought this used vehicle a few weeks ago and am very pleased so far. I bought it with a little less than110,000 miles on it. It handles much better than I thought it would. gas mileage is not good. If buying... + More »
people found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Yes
See all user reviews »
Looking for other models of the Toyota FJ Cruiser?
Read reviews & get prices
Compare the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser against the competition
Compare All Cars
Related Used Listings
Browse used listings in your area
See More Used