The 2014 FJ Cruiser isn't the strongest performer on the highway, but it's totally at home on the trails and crawling over rocks.
Its 4.0-liter V-6 is a real gem, producing 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, and both the five-speed automatic and six-speed manual transmissions make the most of what the engine offers. Relative to other off-road machines, it's quick off the line, and it's adequate at passing at the highway, even if it isn't a rocket.
On the road, it's hard to gush about the FJ's driving dynamics. Its tall tires, tall body, and 4,000-pound-plus curb weight add up to a lot of body roll in the corners. Maneuverability is disappointing, and the FJ is safe in quick lane-change maneuvers but definitely not confidence-inspiring. This is simply a vehicle that drives larger than it looks.
Thanks to its set of sturdy underpinnings that are borrowed from the previous-generation Toyota 4Runner, the FJ Cruiser performs exceptionally well off-road. There's enough wheel articulation to negotiate some challenging situations without making too many on-road sacrifices, and this SUV has no problem traversing through water as high as 27.5 inches. Of all stock vehicles, the FJ has some of the best approach and departure angles.
The rear-wheel-drive model can only be equipped with the automatic, while the all-wheel-drive model allows buyers to choose between the manual or the auto. Another boon of the all-wheel-drive model is its mix of traditional mechanical and more modern electronic means of gaining and maintaining traction; a system called A-TRAC helps reduce wheel spin and redistribute torque, and it's helpful on the road as well as off it.