20 Reasons Why Toyota Discontinued the FJ Cruiser

2014 was the last production year of the FJ Cruiser.  Why?  Well lets talk about that… 

FJ Cruisers at Paragon AP
FJ Cruisers at Paragon AP

  Ask 100 non-FJ owners what they think of the FJ Cruiser and you can bet there will be more “Love it” or “Hate it” than answers of indifference.  Why? Probably because the FJ is so unique.  But narrow your survey group down to FJ owners and previous FJ owners and you’ll get a different kind opinion, one of first hand experience.

That would be me, a previous owner and an avid offroad enthusiast.  Right up to this past winter, I drove a 2010 FJ Cruiser for just over 4 years.  I had plenty of time to become acquainted with my FJ, both on and off-road.  What began as enthusiastic love affair for the FJ evolved into disappointments and dislikes for the vehicle.  Within a year and a half of buying the FJ brand new off the lot, I began logging the mounting complaints that I had with the vehicle.

Now I know a lot of FJ owners absolutely love their FJ.  I’m not writing this to bash Toyota or the FJ just because I have some kind of hatred towards the company or the vehicle.  It’s actually quite the opposite.  The FJ would be the second 4 wheel drive Toyota vehicle I’ve owned and both were very well built, reliable and durable vehicles.  I wanted the FJ to live up to my expectation and the corporate hype and maybe I set the bar too high.  But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

So let me tell you what I did not like in no particular order and why I ultimately sold it.  If you disagree, I invite you to counterpoint anything I had an issue with.

FJ Cruiser IFS - Independent Front Suspension
FJ Cruiser IFS – Independent Front Suspension

IFS limited articulation Here’s the classic on-road and offroad arguments over Independent Front Suspension (IFS) vs. a Solid Front Axle.  I’ve owned both and I can say first hand that when it comes to offroad, the straight axle suspensions offer greater strength and far greater articulation than Independent Front Suspensions.  The problem as I see it is the geometry of the front suspension and steering is not lift friendly.  Combine the IFS front end with a 4 link rear axle with LOTs of suspension travel and you have a recipe for articulation disaster, i.e. a roll over.  A friend of mine rolled his FJ due to minimal suspension travel in the front end.  All that engine weight up front over a limited traveling front suspension and it will get tipsy over very uneven terrain.

Man-A-Fre FJ Cruiser UCA Castor Correction
Man-A-Fre FJ Cruiser UCA with Castor Correction

My on-the-road opinion of the IFS is that if you have any plans to lift the vehicle, expect handling challenges.  I lifted my FJ a total of 2 inches and had serious handling issues as the castor reduced with the lifted control arms. I swapped the upper control arm adding more castor and it got a lot better.  But for the remainder of the time I drove it’s handling on road was never good.  It wandered and darted when I hit bumps in the road.  If you know anything about bump-steer, lifted IFS is bump-steer times 2.  Driving the FJ for anything longer than a short drive was downright fatiguing.  I always had to be aware of the FJ changing directions and actually got good at predicting it.

The problem with Mixing Independent up front with a Solid Axle in the rear is the challenge to balance front to rear.  Spring rate differs from front to rear affecting traction and stability.  IFS can not be lifted through increased spring rate or spring height without creating a condition where any articulation such as a bump in the road changes the toe-in toe-out. This can cause wandering and steering vagueness.

weak UCAs FJ Cruiser
Weak UCAs FJ Cruiser

Weak Ball Joint in the Front Upper Control Arms  – After 15k, the ball joints in my upper control arms (UCA) were shot.  I didn’t even know they were so badly worn out until I replaced the Upper Control Arms with aftermarket UCA’s that corrected the castor that was knocked out of spec due to the 2 inch lift.  The ball joints were so badly worn out that there was considerable play in the shaft of the upper ball joint, and easily wobbled with my fingers.  I had been running 33″ tires that measured 32.5 inch when new for about a year and a half.  That’s about 1/2 inch taller than the stock tires it came with.  15 thousand miles on the FJ and the upper ball joints are dangerously shot.

Body Mount Chop Toyota FJ Cruiser
Body Mount Chop Toyota FJ Cruiser

Body Mount Sticks Out into the Wheel Well – Anyone who has or had an FJ and wanted to put taller tires on it, probably ran into the body mount issue.  Put simply, Toyota designed the FJ frame with a body mount that protruded into the front wheel well by several inches.  If you want to put tires that are only one inch taller and slightly wider than stock on the FJ, there is a good chance your new tires will rub the body mount.  There are many writeups online explaining how to do the Body Mount Chop.  After the 2″ lift I installed 33×12.5 x17 Mickey Thompson Baja MTZ Mud Terrain Tires and  Pro Comp Series 7028 Wheels for adequate backspacing.  My tires rubbed the body mount when I was turning and hitting a small bump.  Like pulling off the street into a parking lot.  This in turn triggered traction control to kick in and beep and do something with the brakes.  My stock tires were one inch shorter and a little narrower.  Seriously, didn’t Toyota expect people to put taller tires on the FJ Cruiser?  Then why did they put this body mount in the wheel well?  It didn’t have to be designed that way.  I don’ t know.  I chopped 3 months into ownership.

Delayed Throttle Response – It’s pretty well known that just about everything in vehicles built these days is computer controlled.  So it’s no surprise that the gas pedal in the FJ doesn’t directly control the throttle but rather sends a throttle position signal to the computer.  That’s fine.  All newer vehicles do that.  But when I step on the gas, I expect it to go.  Not think about it, then go.  There is a noticeable delay between stepping on the gas and computer supplying gas to the engine.  So much so that I have been sitting at an intersection ready to make a left turn in front of traffic, I press down hard on the gas pedal to cut left at a break in oncoming traffic, realize it’s too late to go, let OFF the gas… and the vehicle never moved.  I’d say the delay is between a half second and three quarters of a second.  That’s a long time when you want it to GO!  I hated it.  It’s so apparent that someone made a module that plugs into the gas pedal harness and modified the signal, or compresses it, to get the FJ to start moving sooner.  Whatever, I had to get used to it.

 

Poor Throttle Control –  As if the delayed throttle response wasn’t enough, the computer controls the amount of gas being supplied to the engine, not based on throttle position, but all kinds of other unknown things.  People get used to gas pedal positions to determine how much power the engine will put out.    All my other vehicles have always been predictable.  Not the FJ!  No, the FJ think it knows how much power I need regardless of what I want.  The same throttle position did not produce the same amount of power from one time to next.   So I end up pressing the pedal down further and further as the FJ lets up on the gas though my foot hasn’t moved!  By that time it’s already shifted into a higher gear and now the engine is bogging down.  Extremely annoying.  I’d have to drive it aggressively and shift my automatic manually to feel like I had any control over the thing.  Simply put the throttle was unpredictable.  I never got used to throttle response in 4 years.  I must say I did like the engine itself.  It had plenty of horsepower at higher RPMs but unfortunately I couldn’t enjoy it thanks to the computer control.

FJ Cruiser Automatic Transmission
FJ Cruiser Automatic Transmission

Shifts into Higher Gears Too Soon – This may have been a byproduct of the poor throttle response and control but the transmission seemed to want to shift into a higher gear way too soon.  The RPM’s would drop and the engine would bog down.  When I knew it was coming I may get harder on the gas to prevent it from up shifting.  But then when it would go into a higher gear anyway.  Then to make it worse it would start to reduce the throttle on its own in the higher gear.  I’d have to press the gas pedal down further to keep accelerating.  But by that time it had already shifted into a higher gear.  To force it to down-shift by increased throttle alone would require a lot of pedal movement, which then resulted in excessive throttle and WAY too much acceleration.  Something I’d even redline the RPMs without intending to do so!  At times the transmission would even up shift when I was applying throttle which definitely felt wrong.  At that moment it should have either held the current gear if the RPM was not too high or it should downshift if the RPM was too low.  Again, I’d have to apply too much throttle to get it to downshift.  Which leads to the next complaint…

Did Not Downshift When a Lower Gear was Obviously Needed – Who designed this power band and and shift points?  So I’m going up a hill.  The RPMs are coming down, I’m loosing speed.  I give it a little more gas.  I’m still loosing speed.  What I need is a lower gear.  Computer doesn’t think so.  If I apply what seems like too much gas, then it will finally downshift.  But it’s working too hard to get it to downshift.  So instead of suffering, I got pretty good at manually downshifting and up-shifting my automatic manually.   The way the automatic was shifting seemed to me to be hard on the engine and transmission.  It was not working with the power band of the engine and it certainly didn’t do what I’d want it to do.

Engine Braking – Engine braking is nice to control speed.  Let off the gas and the vehicle slows down.  But the FJ seemed to engine brake too much.  Knowing gas mileage was not great, sometimes I would want to feather the throttle just enough to keep moving.  I always felt that I had to apply too much throttle so the engine wouldn’t be slowing down my momentum at highway speeds.  I think this played right into the reduced fuel economy.

Overactive A-TRACOveractive TRAction Control (TRAC) system KILLS Forward Movement – I can understand the concept of limiting the throttle to control a wildly spinning rear wheel.  But I am clueless as to why the FJ would limit the throttle so much that I can’t even dig down to some traction with that spinning tire and the vehicle seems nearly disabled!  Here is a perfect example of this over-active TRAC system.  Ironically, it was January and I’m making the final drive to a dealership to trade the FJ in.  I’m at a left turn light.  Ever so slight up hill.  Left tires are on snow and slush in the left gutter.  Right tires are on dry pavement.  Light turns green and I hit the throttle.  Left rear tire starts to spin and immediately the computer kills the throttle.  To a painful crawl.  I’m barely moving and I’m swearing at the damn thing to GO!  I start looking down to find the damn button to disable the TRAC but I got to watch the driver in the Honda Accord behind me who is looking to the right as he considers passing on the right to go around me.  I creep through about 10 feet of snow until I hit blacktop with that wheel and finally go.  By that time the short cycled light was turning yellow.  As I passed the police officer at the intersection on my left, I could swear he was shaking his head like he was thinking “You LOOK offroad capable with the mud tires and steel front winch equipped bumper, but WTF was that??”.  Now think about that same computer controlled throttle offroad.  Yeah, not good at all.  I know A-Trac is disabled in 4-low but my throttle was still limited for some reason.  Especially in the snow and mud.  More than several times while offroad I really thought there was something seriously wrong with the FJ.

Poor Performance, Did I have a lemon?  – I sold the FJ with about 24,000 miles on it.  It was one year past the 3 year power train warranty.  At 24k miles most of the time it felt like it was performing poorly.   At high RPM it felt strong and fast.  At lower RPM power was weak.  Gas mileage was horrible.  If I got 13 MPG, I was doing well that day.  Most of the time I was getting about 12.5 MPG or less.  If I rode with the rear window open, which i did once on a nice day on the back roads, I smelled a horrible rotten egg smell when I applied moderate throttle.  I had a ScanGauge II hooked up, which I bought when the FJ was very new to monitor gas mileage knowing it was not good on gas for some reason.  The ScanGauge II also monitors error codes, which there was none.

Poor MPG 2010 FJ Cruiser
Poor MPG 2010 FJ Cruiser

Poor Range – On top of the poor fuel economy, it had a 19 gallon tank.  Do the math.  at 12.5 MPG (or less) and a 19 gallon tank, I’d be running out of gas at 237 miles.  The light comes on when there is about 2-3 gallons of fuel left in the tank.  Two gallons at 12.5 MPG means I better find fuel within 25 miles.  On the turnpike or in the PA mountains, that could be at little as 20 miles.  More than once I felt that panic that I might not make it to the gas station unless it’s at the bottom of this mountain.  I considered about a 220 miles the range per tank.  That’s really pathetic.  When I towed my 1978 Jeep CJ across the state with my Ford F-150, I got about that in MPG.

Over-Active Panic Braking – The FJ has something called Panic Braking.  Panic Braking is apparently amplified braking of the wheels in what is detected as emergency stopping.  On many occasions this panic braking kicked in at bad times.  Like when I was coming up to a stop light where the road is worn out and buckled from all the heavy traffic at the light.  Over these little bumps the FJ somehow thought I was in an emergency braking situation and applied a ridiculous amount of braking when I was barely hitting the brakes.  This resulted in me seemingly SLAMMING on the brakes at the light, which I’m sure cars behind me really appreciated.  So I let off the brakes to try to end the harsh braking.  But I’m coming up to a light so I have to brake. Tap them again and it’s STILL ACTIVE!  I’m slamming the brakes again!  Panic braking won’t let up once it kicks in until you come to a complete stop. Let me tell you it’s a freaky feeling when lightly pressing the brake pedal SLAMS ON the brakes.   I would most definitely rather not have panic braking at all than deal with that.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Seats Comfort
Toyota FJ Cruiser Seats not comfortable

Poor Comfort – Toyota could have done much better with the comfort of the seats.  Comfort of the front seats was terrible especially on longer drives.  Flat, non-ergonomic, and no lumbar support.  Worst of all there is some kind of metal lever under the foam right at the tailbone that mechanically causes the headrest to raise when pressed in.   What??  WHY???  I wanted to know what that metal square plate was at my lower back.  When I folded the front seat forward, pulled out the cross-pin that stitched up the lower cloth of the seat, and looked under with a flashlight I could believe it when I saw it.  What’s that all about?  Safety feature for rear impacts?  Well it hurts my lower back.  With the seat opened up, I add more padding to both my seat and the lower back area.  It helped a little but not much.  The rear seats were not much better.

Awkward to climb into – Speaking of comfort, I never could figure out how to get in comfortably.  I ended up using my elbow on the seat in an awkward way to lift myself and slide in.  The handle on the front pillar wasn’t in a good spot to leverage myself in.  Not sure what to suggest in that department.

FJ Cruiser Knee Obstruction
FJ Cruiser Knee Obstruction

Nice Big Rib for Passenger to Bang their Knees –  I saw this immediately when I was looking at FJ’s considering a purchase.  On the passenger side in front of the passengers knees, there is a big, decorative rib running across the dash panel.  It serves absolutely no purpose other than looks.  But to a 5′ 9″ passenger, it’s hitting the knees unless you put the rear seat way back and hope the person in the back doesn’t complain too much.  I never understood the reason for that bulging rib.  If you look at any other vehicle, the passenger compartment leg area slopes away from your knees and legs to give you leg room.  Imagine getting onto an accident and smashing your knees against that big bulging rib.  Perhaps the Toyota engineers are considerably shorter than their average American customer.

FJ Cruiser Mirrors Too Tall, can't see over them.
FJ Cruiser Mirrors Too Tall, can’t see cars over them.

Horrible Visibility – Where to begin.  How about backing up.  Good thing they added a rear facing camera to the rear view mirror or I wouldn’t be able to back up without a spotter… even in a parking lot.  Looking forward, the side view mirrors are HUGE and I can’t see over them!  This creates a BIG blind spot especially considering the width of the roof pillars.  How did I deal with that?  I used spacers under the front seat and longer bolts to jack up the front of the seat and raise my visibility so I could just see over them.  Passengers in the rear seat have to deal with tunnel vision thanks to little, non-functional, tinted windows in the half doors.  My kids often complained that they felt sick in the FJ because they couldn’t see anything.  No way to deal with that other than stashing barf bags in the back just in case.

Horrible air flow in the vehicle – When the windows are down I get erratically slammed in the side of the head with wind.  Forget windows down at highway speeds.  That’s a recipe for left ear damage.  This happens when one or both windows are down.  The only way to deal with it is to only put them down a little.  So most of the time I rode around with the windows up.  With all vehicles I’ve ever owned the way to deal with bad air flow in the front window was to lower the back window a little.  Oh, but the rear half door windows in the FJ don’t go down.  That would have been a nice touch.

Power Inverter Way in the Back – Who’s genius idea was it to put the power inverter plug way in the back??  When will I need 110 voltage?  Probably to charge my electronic devices on a long trip like my phone or to run the kids DVD player.  But 110v is way in the back under my cargo.  In fact when I built my rear cargo tool box, I had to make an access door through it to get to the 110v outlet.   Well, that’s what household extension cords are for, running 110v power over my cargo, past the kids and up to the front where I need it.

No stock center console storage – What SUV or 4×4 doesn’t come with a center console?  Good thing the aftermarket came through on that one.

Lack of aftermarket forethought – Any company that has even the smallest understanding of the offroad community should know that people are going to modify the vehicle.  They’re going to lift it, put taller tires on it, aftermarket bumpers, auxiliary lighting,  you name it.  Just open up any off-road catalog and you’ll see enough tempting goodies to spend a year’s salary on.  I think Toyota really dropped the ball when it came to forethought about what the FJ Cruiser could have been.  Way back in 2006, the FJ was being billed as the resurrection of the FJ40 of the 1970’s, which really was an awesome offroad vehicle.   Aside from the explosive Birfield Joints in the front axles, the FJ40 was some serious competition to the Jeep of that era.  Today, the only similarity the FJ Cruiser has to the FJ-40 is the look of the grill and the white roof.  Other than that, it’s basically an SUV on a Tacoma chassis.  If Toyota seriously wanted to compete in the offroad enthusiast market they should have done their research, returned to the roots of the FJ-40 and made an FJ Cruiser that had the potential to compete with the Jeep JK.

Offroad Limitations – These are some other general limitations offroad that I wasn’t happy about.

  • No factory front locker option.  That would have been nice.
  • Wide front fenders.  The original FJ-40 had fenders much like the Jeep.  More than once I was in a tight spot and either narrowly avoided fender damage or sustained fender damage.  I understand they need the room to put all of the components in the engine bay.
  • No ability to unlock front swaybar.  No factory option and I couldn’t think of a way to do it easily.  The suspension sure could have used a disconnect.
  • Bump when letting off the brakes.  Did you ever feel that?  What is that?  The suspension unbinding?  Ok hat has nothing to do with offroad but still weird.
  • Can’t install tires 1″ taller and a little wider without a tall lift and cutting the body mount.  That alone tells me that Toyota did not think about the offroad market who would most definitely want to do that.

 

Where did Toyota go wrong?

When Toyota unveiled the FJ Cruiser, it was introduced as a concept car at the January 2003 North American International Auto Show it was met with very positive consumer feedback.  The FJ Cruiser was billed as a rugged 4×4 with capabilities reminiscent of the FJ40.  Excitement grew as offroad enthusiasts and Toyota fans saw a contender to the popular Jeep Wrangler.  What better contender to the Wrangler than the FJ40 of the 1960’s and 1970’s?  Sadly the FJ Cruiser was nothing like the FJ-40 aside from the grill appearance and the white roof.

Sales of the FJ started off strong in 2006 with over 56,000 FJ Cruisers sold but as initial enthusiasm waned, sales dropped off considerably by 2010 with less than 15,000 FJ Cruisers sold.  In 2013, Toyota announced that the FJ Cruiser’s last year would be 2014.

My opinion is that if Toyota would have brought back the FJ-40 with a solid front axle and body stylings along with all the modern amenities that Toyota is capable of producing in a 4×4 vehicle, this would be a different story all together.

104 Comments

  1. I Like My FJ Period
    at least it doesn’t torchers me nor my wallet over made in china parts vehicles
    yes I mean current US and German and Japanese vehicles
    UK vehicles are out of question …useless

  2. Why was the FJ Cruiser discontinued? Because at release in 2007 it was designated as a limited production vehicle. It was NEVER intended to be a long-term offering. Visibility? If you know the proper way to use the mirrors, there’s not a problem. MPG? It’s a brick. A brick propelled at 70mph will not excel in fuel economy. If the ball joints were gone so early, it’s either abuse, lack of maintenance, or improper equipment/install of lift. Mine is lifted and I have 90,000 miles on the original baljoints. Sounds to me that the author either expected way too much or had mechanical issues that he didn’t recognize. For comfort and performance on and off road, you can’t beat an FJ for the money and I’ve owned multiple 4wd vehicles since the 70’s, including Jeeps.

    • He’s not unaware how to use mirrors properly. He’s talking about forward visibility, like during a lefthand turn. The mirror is in the way of where he’s looking, hiding whole cars. The other problems he listed, like panic breaking are ridiculous.

      • Panic braking is not imaginary. My wife had a 2010 FJ, which we sold 3 years ago for various reasons one of which was this panic braking issue. In our area we have some roads that are in need of repair due to heavy traffic. These roads have ruts from heavy trucks, especially around the lights. My wife’s FJ would detect rolling up to these lights and over the ruts as some kind of emergency situation and would nearly LOCK UP the brakes without warning with just a light press of the brake peddle. The only way to avoid getting rear ended was to completely let off the brakes. But she’s coming up on the red light so the only way to avoid an accident was to pump the brakes. Shortly after buying the FJ she told me about the panic braking. I didn’t believe her that it was as extreme as she was saying so I drove it myself into one of these intersections. It didn’t happen immediately and took a bunch of tests but when it did finally happen, let me tell you, it scared the shit out of me. I thought the car behind was going to slam into me. It was so bad when it randomly happened that she would always drive slowly into that intersection when the light was red. Its been years since I read about Toyota’s reasoning behind the panic braking logic but it was seriously flawed. Our ABS was fine with no codes and it otherwise functioned normally. It may not happen to all FJ’s but it happened to ours. On the other point, the mirrors were a major obstruction to forward visibility. It would seem to me that the huge side-view mirrors were so large to for two reasons. One to compensate for the poor visibility of the vehicle, and two, to make a styling statement. Initially, we liked the FJ but gradually grew to dislike it for various reasons, many of which the author in this article detailed. Our replacement vehicle for the FJ was a Ford Explorer XLT, which we have loved from day one. So much more thought and engineering was put into the Explorer than into the FJ that I began to wonder if Toyota rushed the FJ from concept to market for some reason other than creating a new model.

  3. I have owned my 2007 FJC since new. It is a manual transmission model. I tow my Casita travel trailer everywhere and usually average 13 miles to the gallon. I have 175k miles on it now and only unusual maintenance issue was replacing front wheel bearings due to corrosion. While not a hardcore off roader I do get back in the woods sometimes while hunting or fly fishing. I am 64 now and have had it for 10 years and it is probably last car I will ever buy. I have to admit though the darn windshield is a rock magnet. PS I am not unhappy about the discontinuation of FJ as it means everytime I get oil changed the dealer emails me about buying my FJ back. Also the 2014 model has the highest resale value of any car manufactured in that year. Sorry you did not enjoy your FJ but I love mine Thanks for article.

    • I have a 2014 FJ and I can hit on a few of his complaints like the comfortableness of the seats. OMG. I am constantly tossing and turning while driving-hurts the lower back. Nothing after market stuff can’t fix. The overreaction on the braking-have it happen to me a few times, a little scary but hey, it stopped me. The gas mileage is HORRIBLE and I’m being nice. My fuel bill for my FJ comes in a close second behind my mortgage-easy. But then again-it’s my everyday vehicle. With all of that being said, I LOVE my FJ still!! New, fatter thread tires, 3 ” lift to make her pretty and next on my list, the snorkel. Almost 5 years later, 75k miles on it (no problems), I love it more and more everyday. It’s bad ass and I’m proud to drive her around. Best truck I have owned by far and she’s getting compared to some big, expensive ones I have had. She maneuvers excellent. She off-roads like a queen. And when using the CRAWL-well, she had me at hello. I have one year until she’s paid off and I plan on keeping her. First car in my 40 years I have EVER paid off and wanted to keep. What does that tell ya?

  4. reading from the top ==> down (most recent first), i only went through about 20 – 30 comments, and noticed none mentioning a pretty obvious issue with your fj: you had a significant mechanical malfunction in your fuel/exhaust system, most likely a broken catalytic converter. low power (how many comments express some shock at this part of the review?) coupled with poor throttle response, shifting issues, poor mileage, and the tell-tale rotten egg smell… i don’t fault the writer for not knowing this, but a quick google search of just that last symptom would have quickly pointed him to this issue, and he might have had a LOT more fun in his truck.

    wish he’d sold it privately instead of trading her in to the dealership, and maybe i could have been the beneficiary of his frustration. easy fix, bud.

    that said, the visibility is a real issue. not a good towing vehicle, either, for visibility, power band, or stability. but find a better marriage of off-road competency and on-road manners (always major compromises between those two), and expect to pay twice as much.

    • love it , true – mine just went (110,000) 2007 – All my warning lights are on but the car still runs great – oh well I will just go fix it because I love this car .I’m 6’3 1/2 inches tall and 285 pounds and I fit perfectly. gas is 17 mpg and have been since I bought the car. I drive on the beach all the time (Florida) so far almost ZERO corrosion – just amazing. I will never sell this car and will just keep fixing it and using it ,even if I buy another car. Thanks for your comment I will fix mine this week and get a free windshield — (Florida insurance) two stone hits I have been living with for to long LOL.

  5. The only bias I see is anti-Jeep…I’ve owned a 2007 FJ and now a 2008 JK Wrangler. Can’t beat the topless / doorless ability of the JK. The FJ is considerably more comfortable, a JK with a hardtop is also considerably more comfortable. The FJ was too nice a vehicle for me to offroad the way I do my JK. I got in the 20mpg range in my FJ – the JK get 15mpg and worse….its is lifted, armored and basically a box on wheels. They are completely different vehicles, although I think toyota thought it would be a wrangler competitor as they were constantly running comparisons between them. I think it comes down to what you want, I decided i wanted topless / doorless and wanted to do mods myself, the FJ isn’t as mod friendly and is a much nicer vehicle (well, the 4 door jks are right up there now I guess) that i struggled with beating on it / cutting it etc….

  6. This story about Toyota FJ is dead-on correct.
    I still like my FJ, I just wish I could purchase an updated new one. Something with four full sized doors, slightly stretched and with the spare tire not blocking the drivers view in the rear-view mirror. And, importantly still the ability to tow a 5,000 pound trailer.

  7. Yeah, that jerk after breaking is my only complaint. It is though like driving a tank, total blind spot. My 2008 was purchased new in 2009, powered through several Denver snowstorms, pulled a trailer cross country 1800 miles. It now resides in a roomy garage, living out it’s remaining life in Florida. Best car I’ve ever had. And considering return on investment, it’s worth more than a stinking jeep.

  8. I love my FJ and still have it ( 2007 with 150k on it ) This guy is spot on about the issues it has. Also add the hard time to fill up at the pump. If I don’t pump super slow, it kicks off the pump like its full, takes me 5x longer to fill up than all my other cars.

  9. this article is complete crap. My FJ is the best vehicle I have ever owned. After 228000 miles and no significant repair. I would buy another today if I could.

    • I totally love my 2007 FJ I purchased used a few years ago from a Toyota dealer. I have owned many different 4×4 vehicles the last 40 years. To me, the FJ is the best all-around 4×4 I have ever owned.
      It if factory DOT rated to tow 5,000 lbs (yea I can tow my boat to the lake).
      I kinda also like the looks of the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, but the limited DOT rating of 3,800 lbs means I would have to give up my boat and that aint gonna happen!
      I live in North Idaho out in the country where we have serious winters with all kinds of deep snow, ice, slush and lots of dirt roads. The FJ on-board computer keeps me going and keeps me going straight. To get into a sideways skid on ice, you pretty much have to be doing something really totally stupid in the first place.
      If Toyota comes back out with an updated TJ for 2018, yea I would be at the dealership in 24 hours looking at it and test driving it.

    • It appears modifying the FJ compromised its design. Though it is also possible he bought a lemon, this piece reeks of a biased hit job (need a spotter to back up without a camera…really???)
      Why did the FJ fail commercially? IMO, atrocious marketing (Toyota really dropped the ball by not making a stronger connection to the land cruiser heritage) and inaccurate reviews (i.e. Consumer Reports).
      I have 142k on my FJ and it has run like a champ on and off the road (even without a reverse camera).

  10. And for more recent models such as the outgoing FJ, Toyota has a policy that guarantees its genuine parts are available for both superseded and discontinued models for at least 10 years.  

  11. I owned a Jeep Cherokee sport for 10 years, then a Toyota HI lux 4 litre auto twin cab for 10 years. Bought my FJ in 2015 and have certainly not had any issues with it. My wife thinks it is the most comfortable 4 X 4 we have ever owned, having done numerous trips to Mozambique, Botswana and Namibia in all 3.

  12. I was just looking online for objective reason to/not to buy another FJ, but where much of this article’s complaints are result of an aftermarket lift job -which even I understand one would reeeally need to know what they’re doing regardless of make, for this not to destroy a vehicle- I find the heading to be grossly misleading.
    Being a single mom to 10 & 13yr olds, I bought my ’07 FJ to ensure that nothing would stop me from reaching/protecting them. The FJ did this, even up to being totalled by a drunk driver whom sped straight on at us -hurrah, for the curtain airbags.
    Much of the year here is snow/ice, and despite 160K km’s of driving mountain highway, occasional unlevelled farmland/back country and shuttling kids around town, never had road contact/suspension issue at all (original components, smooth & quiet ride as I with lumbar issues & hyperacusis need). No TRAC, throttle, nor shifting issues either..
    I think you had a lemon.
    Also, I had no concern for visibility after maybe the first week of owning, and I’m 5’3″ with heels. Crazy huge side mirrors allowed clear view of even rear tires if needed. Sorry, but people would tell me I drive backwards like Mater, so surely, visibility should not be an issue for anyone who doesn’t want one.
    At this rate, I’ll probably get another FJ just because I honestly can’t think of an equivalently reliable, tall body framed (safety, to me), highly visible fun-V like it.

  13. 2007 FJ Cruiser manual shift / Full time FWD, no mechanical issues at 250 k miles , the front door don’t auto lock anymore with the remote but dang this thing is indestructable, I just can’t kill it….

  14. On my 2nd FJ. First was 2007 model. Sold it with 228K miles. Mechanical issues? None. 2nd is a 2013 model. 90K miles and it feels new. Maybe it is because I buy the manual (6 speed stick) with full time 4WD but I have experienced none of the issues (other than poor visibility, but I am 6′ 1″ so I can compensate) that the author complains of. I have owned Jeeps (Wrangler unlimited and Grand Cherokee) and Nissans (Pathfinders and Xterras) and none have demonstrated the off-road capabilities that my FJs have… and I truly need off-road for my work. Whatever the author is driving now, I will be there in my FJ to pick him up when he is stuck.

  15. Howdy. 2008 fj cruiser here, just turned 135k on the odometer. Mechanical issues to date? 0. Electrical issues to date? 0.
    Drive train issues? 0.
    Transmission leaks/oil burning? None.

    These are the reasons why I got the fj over the wrangler, and will never sell it.

    Wrangler’s Top comes off? Awesome. It will give you better cell phone reception for when you need to call AAA to come and tow your jeep back to the mechanic.

    • I had a 2007 FJ – I liked it, never took it offroad – I did end up trading it in for a JK Wrangler – I offroad the hell out of it! The FJ has better tow capacity which I used to need – although the JK tows the same trailer but not as well. I really like the topless ability and being in NC I can run topless most of the time. The FJ was much more comfortable, the “beating” when you have the windows down in the FJ is spot on! The visibility and space issues I experienced but I was used to a 4 door Yukon…..so I let that slide! I would buy another FJ but I consider it a replacement for my MINI (220K no issues) and not my JK.

  16. Hey! I just want to offer you a huge thumbs up for your opinion on the FJ. I almost got caught up in the FJ craze when it came out but held off until I saw it offroad. Can’t say I was impressed once I did. It’s nothing more than another SUV with a weak front end. Yea, it’s Toyota and yes it’ll probably last forever. But I hardly ever see them on the trail and at the offroad events and now I see why. You’re absolutely right abotu Toyota missing out on a great idea bringing back the FJ-40. I had one about 20 years ago and that thing was a beast offraod. Asside form those front axle joints, it was BETTER than the CJ’s of the time. But the original FJ-40 was more than a grill. Sorry Toyota. Not a fan.

    • Hardly see them at off road events?
      Where do you live, they outnumber everything but jeeps. Considering how few are out there, they are one of the most used on the trails

  17. I’ll be honest with you but no offense I feel like I agree with some of the readers that said you wanted sports performance on the FJA which is not what it’s designed for. I’ve had one (2007) from almost 10 years and have about 129,000 miles on it and the only work I have ever done on it was maintenance, a couple batteries, and wipers. In fact it had its first brakejob at only 108,000 miles. And I’ve had it in the smoky mountains, sand in Florida and Texas And highways with no issues. It is the 4 x 2 and I’ve always gotten really good gas mileage somewhere around 350-400 miles to the tank . I also had a tundra with the 5.7 v8 for 7 years and currently own one with the 4.6 v8 and I personally find the FJ pretty zippy. Maybe there was an issue with yours. However I do agree with you on the seats like and comfort on long trips and limited visibility on the driver side. It’s been a great cehicle and we done tons of road trips and really have enjoyed it.

  18. I own an’89 Wrangler that I converted into TBI (as you know carb floats and steep angles don’t mix well)I and a mid ’07 FJ Cruiser. The Wrangler has a 2.5″ lift while the FJ is stock except for Bilstein shocks, K/N and TRD filters. Whenever my wife and I camp and off-road, we tow the Jeep using the FJ. Fatigue from driving the Jeep on the freeway is a major factor but off-road she’s like a mountain goat. Hence we tow. The article came off to me as it seems like you seek drag racing specs more than off-roading. What is your take on Toyota’s FT-4x?

  19. 20 Reasons Why Toyota Discontinued the FJ Cruiser? Well there is one reason, the FJ was a limited edition.. and that is why Toyota discontinued the model..

    • Actually Toyota didnt discontinue the FJ, They just discontinued selling it in the US. I live in Dubai and I can go down and buy a brand new 2017 FJ….but I already have a 2009 and a 2012. The 09 has 450,000 KMs and trouble free. Im replacing the Front Lower control arms because the bushings began were worn, but other than normal maint its has never given me any troubles….

  20. I have owned my 2007 FJ since 2009. I work and drive on unimproved roads and off road courses daily. It has 269,000 miles. Long trips. Kids took it to Bonnaroo. 21 mpg. No rust. Love it.

  21. These comments have a lot of comparative bias against jeeps. I find it quite annoying. They are two completely different vehicles. Its called the FJ CRUISER. Its not a hardcore offroader. Its a stylistic homage to the original fj40. The same thing as what they did when they brought back the vw beetle. Looks similar, but updated. Underneath irs completely different. Its meant to do some offroading, but is not at all like a jeep. A jeep is only good in the dirt. Its not very good looking, but it doesn’t try to be. A jeep will get you farther in rougher terrain than an FJ CRUISER will because that is its only purpose.

    I really liked FJ CRUISER until I drove it. I couldnt see out of it. That was the deal breaker for me. Visibility should be a no brainer in a real offroad vehicle. It was like driving a submarine.

  22. You had an issue somewhere. I bought my FJ when they first came out and it still runs and functions perfectly fine. I did the body mount chop and have 35s on with a leveling kit and go into into the mountains all the time with no problem. I have also provides charged it (super charged but using a turbo compressor). I’ve beaten it to holy he’ll and it keeps coming back. I’m pushing almost 440hp and 590lbs of torque and done it for 10 years with zero problems. I also get roughly 17 to 29mpg for economy based on where I’m driving. Then again most of my travels are around 35 to 50mph with no stopping for up to 80 miles one way every day.

    The only thing I have had an issue with it for the entire decade I’ve had it, is the CV boot on the driver side. Of which was caused by a roll over on Mount Eleanor in Washington during a heavy rain. I went 70 feet before a tree caught me. The only damage was a broken mirror, my EMS light bar broken and a ripped boot. After 2 days of sitting, once pulled from the cliff side, I literally turned the key and drove it home is it hl nightmarish looking condition. That being said, I will NEVER let mine go.

    72 feet off a clay pack down a 53 degree grade and 22 miles away from any help and my hand broken in 7 places during a search and rescue call.This truck is bound to me as I am to it.

  23. I used to own an FJ. Sold it a few years ago. My biggest issue was rust. The whole underside looked like crap, just rusted all over. Why don’t they paint the underside especially when the vehicle sits up tall and you can see everything under there?? I also didn’t like the visibility. Got clipped once pulling out at a stop sign because of those big freaking mirrors blocked my view. Seats were uncomfortable too. I don’t miss it.

  24. Hey there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with rust on your FJ while you owned it? My 2007, 3 yrs older than yours, rusted out horribly underneither. It looked horrible, so much so that I had it undercoated but that soon started rusting through the underocoating. I sold it soon after but I never was happy with the rusting I experienced.

    By the way, I agree with a lot of what you say in this article. I had some of the same complaints, like the visibility, the wind in my ear, the lack seat comfort, why they put that inverter all the way in the back, and a lot more. Toyota obviously didn’t think the FJ all the way though. it’s nothing but an interesting looking, minimalized SUV.

  25. Has anyone had major rust problems with their FJ? We bought one in 2006 when they first came out. It has been good to us, but the rust is so bad that we can no longer drive it. I am devistated, I hoped to have this vehicle for much longer. It has 100k miles. I have never had a vehicle with this problem!!! My husband said the undercarriage of our 07 Honda Odyssey look brand new compared to the FJ!

    • I also have a 2007
      I live in SLC, Utah where DOT uses salt on the roads in the winter months!
      I have heard of this issue in the Cruiser forums, but fortunately enough I have not had any major rusting issue’s. I do have a small amount of rust, but I plan on combating it with FARM FLUID.

  26. I can certainly understand that the FJ Cruiser is not perfect, but what 4×4 is??
    I really feel that you are exaggerating on most of your gripes!
    Some warranted, but not enough to be of any major concern!!
    I’ve owned Jeep’s and Hummer’s and can tell you that the FJ is far superior!
    Yes, the engineers could have payed a bit more attention to some features, but all in all the FJ is dependable, very capable, fuel efficient(for a 4×4), good looking and a hell of a lot of fun to drive!!
    I absolutely love my FJ!!! 😉

    • I agree JP. You can’t please everyone. The ones that complain the most are typically the ones that aren’t happy in life as a whole and with what they have. Heck, be a pioneer and turn an old Yugo into something you can pride yourself with. This article is more of an attack rather than a side by side criticism.

  27. I had long loved both my FJ40 and CJ-5. When the FJ Cruiser was still available, I was able to do a side-by side 3-day comparison to the Jeep Wrangler in Sahara trim. Hands down the Jeep was better in every way on and off-road.

    And the bonus was the dual top option to ride in the open-air.

    • I don’t think they have ever made a Jeep Wrangler that was remotely good on-road hahahahaha..good one buddy! The ONLY place a jeep is actually better than an FJ is on the rocks..that’s it. And that’s assuming it doesn’t break down. But being a Jeep, it will likely break. My FJ is superior to my old Wrangler on 98% of the terrain I drive it on with huge boulders being the 2% that the Jeep was better on.
      Also, why are the seats in a Wrangler so close to the doors( which may as well have been built from thin cardboard ). It’s annoying driving when half of your body is hanging outside the vehicle..maybe this design worked in the 70s, but seeing as how it’s the future now, a little elbow room would be nice. Also, you fail to mention safety..crash a Wrangler and see how you fair vs the same crash in an FJ. In a Jeep, you will be fused to the paper thin door.

      • Hey Billy, you should go test drive a new Jeep JK. I own a 2014 Rubicon up on 35’s that handles great both on and offroad. My buddy had a FJ for 3 years then sold it, traded it in for a Rubicon because he was tired of Jeeps making trails look so easy. We lifted it and he put 35’s on it and says it handles far better than the FJ ever did on the road. No the Jeep isn’t perfect. Not it’s not as safe. But the JK is not your fathers Jeep either.

        • This is not a Jeep bash, but rather, a JK issue. You are right: it is not your father’s jeep. It is big, wide, unreliable, and not very utilitarian. One could say that about the FJ, also. I have no problem saying that. I would own a TJ if a deal came to me. It had the 4 liter, wasn’t Mack truck wide, and wasn’t marketed to the 22″ wheel crowd. I do think the FJ is very capable in comparison to most stuff out there. I have the Lexus GX which is built on the same 120 platform. It is used worldwide in highly demanding conditions. I got made fun of by a group of Jeeps on the trail. “You lost?” “The Starbucks is back the other way.” Ha Ha. They didn’t laugh when I followed them up the heavily rutted, rocky trail. They did lose me at a rock ledge. Stock Michelins, limited front suspension travel, and the fact it is my wife’s work vehicle didn’t allow it. I do agree, however, that the FJ is not meant to compete with the Jeep. I wouldn’t want to drive either on close-in, wooded trails. I won’t wheel a Toyota past 2004, anyway. They are now all midsize, fat, plastic, whatever. BUT, I know guys who have wheeled their FJ all over Hell and back and enjoyed it. I saw a guy tow 3 Jeeps back to the parking lot in one day. They were busted bad. Jeeps have the articulation and suspension, but nothing else, for me.

  28. I had a FJ40 in the Navy and it got stolen. I wanted the FJ Cruiser to be a great variant of that FJ40. I looked at them and drove one. They just didn’t match what the FJ40 was about. The 3 windshield wipers and some touches made me think it could be great, but no. Now I have a Jeep Wrangler. It’s closer to the FJ40. I think if Toyota built a 4×4 closer to the FJ40 with the new improvements in safety and reliability it would’ve been a home run.

  29. I agree with some of the article comments, but every time I try and think about trading/selling my 07′ FJ I just can’t! Bought it new and now has 145k miles on it lifted. Done the pinion bearing in the rear axle, a cv and idler pulleys. I feel that the MT6 was a good choice to avoid some of the shifting issues etc mentioned. I also love the AWD in Colorado. Now that they no longer sell FJ’s in the US low mileage FJ prices are sky rocketing. The FJ offload can handle itself pretty well against most jeeps unless you’re extreme rock crawling. It’s still my daily commuter and loud and fun. I likely will never sell this thing as it puts a smile on my face every time I drive it which is hard for any car/truck these days…

  30. I regularly get 19.99 miles per gallon. I’ve even got 23 mpg via Las Vegas to Seattle. I’ll have to admit though that I was barely getting 16 mpg from Twin Falls, Idaho to Moab Utah but I’m going to fault the fuel & the 80 mph speed limits. On the other hand I’m getting well into 300+ miles per tankful putting in roughly 16 gallons after about a 320 mile run. But your article felt like you were looking for a bone to pick with your FJ Cruiser rather than enjoying the ownership of a beautiful riding vehicle. I’ve yet to take my FJ into more serious off-roading but that day will come.

  31. I recently purchased a 2008 Trail Team edition FJ cruiser. Before purchasing I researched the heck out of this vehicle and I knew all the so-called ‘cons’ before buying. Visibility is a common one, door placement and suicide doors is another. You listed a lot of petty remarks, like the IFS. IFS makes sense for most all buyers because even if you 4×4 you still need to travel in the vehicle, unless you tow your 4×4 (good for you). the 4.0 is plenty responsive, even compared to my previous V8 VW Touareg. Want to talk about throttle-lag cause by computers, drive a German vehicle. This FJ cruiser does just that – cruises. Even on normal acceleration I rarely get beat at a light and I rarely go over 3,000 rpm (almost never unless getting to free way speeds). If you want to hardcore off road in your vehicle then of course detachable sway bar, front locker, etc are ideal. But from the factory i believe there’s not any other vehicle that comes with a better stock package (especially TT edition) and has the reliability known from Toyota. Jeeps have lots of parts because they break a lot of parts. Also, aftermarket parts for the FJ are out there in vast amounts of modifications so don’t listen to someone who is Jeep biased. If you have a problem with anything he mentioned then drive it or do your research. I accepted everything and the visibility is one I feel is exaggerated (likely by unskilled operators).

    • great write-up Dave!
      I couldn’t agree with you more!
      I absolutely love my 07 FJ!
      I’ve owned just about every capable, out of the box 4by
      on the market and I can’t imagine having anything other than my FJ!
      I’m running a 3″ lift with 33″ tires, perfect for everyday use and off road fun!
      I’m not sure why every Jeep owner on and off road seems to have a chip on their shoulder!
      Jealousy perhaps??

  32. Thanks for the articles with the detailed feedback on FJ; well done. Get a PERFECT VEHICLE , though I doubt you could. Good luck!

  33. I have owned my 2007 FJC for 2 years and I love the thing more each day that I drive it. Seems like you are looking for an unattainable vehicle – a Escalade that can off-road, lol. Just my opinion, but I do think you got yourself a lemon. I get 18+ mpg with almost 80k on the dash, I get what your saying with a SLIGHT delay on the throttle, but what did you expect when you bought a semi-offroad capable stock SUV? A race truck? Cause that sure as hell isn’t what it is haha. Every time you put your windows down is just about any vehicle on the highway you will go deaf, that’s just called air hitting your eardrums at highway speeds. Close ’em up and turn the AC on if it bothers you. I don’t find the seats to be uncomfortable whatsoever. I drive about 20 miles to work and back everyday, and take the truck on some longer trips on weekends, and I find the seats to be pretty comfortable. I do agree with you on the gas situation though, too small of a tank, and you do have to fill it pretty slow or else it shuts off. As for the ball joints, well, you probably shouldn’t have been running bigger tires on stock front suspension – that’s just a no brainer. You can get away with it sometimes, but you should always beef up your suspension when lifting/changing tire size/off roading, etc. (I learned this the hard way – just put a 3″ pro comp lift on mine and after 1 day of driving blew out my axels and ball joints because of the angle of the stock UCA’s… practically rebuilding the front end now, but atleast it’ll be done right!) As for the visibility…. if you need a backup camera to back it… I don’t really know what to say. I am a girl (yeah, I went there), and I have no problems with the visibility. Got used to it after about a week, and have no problems. Don’t blame the vehicle because you don’t know how to back up… 😉

    All and all, I’m sorry that you feel that the FJ isn’t a good vehicle – I have put about 22k on mine and honestly I don’t ever want to get rid of it.

  34. Sorry you had such a bad experience with your fj. Reliability, style, aftermarket support, and the ability to get my 3 kids into a short wheel base wrangler like vehicle comfortably is what sold me. Blind spots? Jeeps have them to, use your mirrors. Lift kit alignment issues? Put a better lift on. As for BMC? it so minor on a fj compared to chopping cutting and beating on most jeep suvs just to fit bigger tires. Almost bought a jk before my fj but they were so underpowered it made the fj feel like a sports car. Love my fj!

    • Fj and JK aren’t even close – Jeeps are designed to be modified – Jeeps you can run 35’s with no lift – just have to cut the flares…..you can runn 33’s without doing anything. The only time I have a blind spot in my 2008 JK is when I load up the back with stuff….

  35. Owned my 2007 since, well, 2007 (actually bought it used, with 1200 miles on it). I am running the Rough Country 6″ lift, and Toyo 35X12.5-20 MT/s.

    Addressing your observations 1 by 1:

    IFS vs. Solid axle – for hard core off-roading, the solid is better. The IFS is usually better on-road (I’ve never heard of a FJ Cruiser death wobble for instance). Got to pick the right one for your intended purpose, for me (mostly on-road use) the IFS is great.

    Ball Joints. Mine have held up, even with the 35’s.

    Body mounts – took a *tiny* bit of trimming to clear my 35’s with the lift. no rub.

    I have never experienced the throttle delay problem, or throttle control issues. Ditto for engine braking and poor low RPM performance.

    With a V6 (turning 35’s), the down-shift seems to happen about when it should for me.

    Agree that traction control is a bit too aggressive. In the snow, it’s a whole lot more fun to drive with the 4×4 engaged (disabling traction control). Sideways power drifts forever.

    Poor range. Got better, once I realized that when the fuel light came on, I still have a lot of fuel (~5 gallons) in the tank.

    Never seen the panic brake issue.

    Comfort – meh, never expected it to be a Cadillac. It’s not my long-road-trip car. Rock sliders made mine a lot easier to get into. You’re right, the big rib on the dash is dumb.

    Visibility is poor. Fisheye mirror stick-ons are a must.

    Never noticed the air flow issue.

    Have never needed to use my power inverter, so it’s location has never been an issue.

    Center console – mine’s got a “bucket”, it’s just not covered.

    Hard to blame Toyota for lack of aftermarket support.

    You missed my biggest pet peeve of all – takes forever to fill up; poor fill-neck design. Have to put fuel in so slowly, that on some pumps you’ll have to hold the lever by hand.

    And, steering rack mount bushings fail, and are not designed to be serviceable. You have to change the rack… and there are some really dumb things associated with that job (why! are the big bolts put in from the top?).

  36. I have to disagree. I have zero of those issues and the whole IFS solid axle “argument” is merely personal preference. You want hardcore bashing abilities get you a solid axle, but if you like having agility and speed stick with IFS. I have a 2012 and I put 285’s on there without any modifications to the vehicle and it has had zero issues there. You either bought a lemon or you are a very picky human. Now the only one I cannot really account for is the speed thing. I drive a TRD and it is really fast. I spank Hondas all day in it WITH mud tires so speed is obviously not an issue for me.

  37. Great comments and overall a good article. I don’t have an FJ but I have a Bronco ( I have had many) and have had several off road vehicles including a new wrangler in 2001. I also rented a 2010 FJ to take my Dad, son, and pulled my boat 1000 miles one way. I was very impressed with it. So many of the complaints in the article are so similar to many complaints on the Xterra, Jeep, Bronco forums. The IFS is a great invention and I would take it over a SA every time unless I am heavy in the rock crawling scene. IFS when built correctly is far superior IMHO. None are perfect from factory if you will be adding larger tires but on the SA jeep you will break the axles without upgrading them as well. I always chuckle when I read these types of reviews, not because they a written poorly, but because comparing SA vs IFS is impossible. I explain it like this, is carburetor better than EFI? I don’t think so but I have also learned to embrace EFI and find it far superior much like IFS. There are very specific applications where I would choose a carb or SA but for the ideal of great on road and off road use, EFI and IFS every time for me. I appreciate this article and the comments, i got sent this article from a friend that is wanting to buy an FJ. He was ready to go look at Xterra just based on this (I also have an Xterra). Please anyone that wants an FJ (after all they are cool as they come in looks and capability)go drive one and know there is plenty of aftermarket options just google it. To me the only two modern vehicles available that can go off road from factory and have decent on road manners, FJ and Xterra. The wrangler is a very capable and great vehicle but its road manners and noise in the cabin just don’t work for me personally. If you are young and absolutely want the best off road vehicle from factory get a Rubicon jeep. The FJ and Xterra have the 4.0 engine (yes they are different but same in many ways) they are great fun to drive stop light to stop light for a factory setup, try having that fun in a stock 70s model, ha. My last point is get a programmer anytime you add bigger tires, light to wild performance modifications, or if you just want to have more fun. It seems like a good programmer would have fixed most of the issues mentioned. I have never responded to one of these but feel extra opinionated today:), and I have benefited from reading others thoughts, so thank you all. For me Ill stick with my broncos, adding EFI, IFS, great suspension lifts with long travel in mind. Might get me an FJ someday because I am a fan and would love to make it my dream off road/on road fun truck. If my broncos and Xterra would just stop working so well. Have a great day and if you respond to this I will do my best to address. Please don’t yell at me as I say all of the above is just my opinion:)

  38. I have a 2010 FJ and I experience all the items listed in this post. I still love my FJ, but some issues can be irritating at times.

  39. I would say you got a lemon or you are just a very very hard person to please. I have had my 2008 FJ since new and I can’t seem to let it go. I did get the supercharger installed as well as an old man emu lift before driving off the dealer lot. I have a heavy foot so I also see the gas mileage issue. I seem to avg 15mpg no matter city or highway, towing or not towing…very odd. Never had offload issues and I offroad plenty here in Utah. The biggest issue I have is the airflow. Whoever made those suicide door windows unable to open should have been fired. Other than that it’s been typical bombproof toyota product. I bought my wife a new cayenne and I swear my fj feels as solid behind the wheel even after 110,000 hard miles. I do think the old man emu suspension has a lot to do with it though.

    • I’ve owned two FJs, my first 2007 and my second a 2010, I’ve experienced one of the issues listed in article, poor visibility and when I first bought my FJ I drove it for 324 miles on my first tank full, then, alcohol enhanced fuel, the biggest bunch of crap this country EVER got involved in became practically the standard at which point my mileage DID drop to an unacceptable 235-239 miles per tank full. TOTAL ENVIRONMENTAL BS and NONSENSE! Yes, so, burn crap, get crap mileage, fill up more often and on top of it, screw your motor and internals with tree hugging stupidity. I can buy numerous accessory products for my FJ so, that has never been an issue but since I do have to bitch about more than alcohol fuel, if I could do one thing it would be to put the imbecilic ignorant retarded Toyota Engineer in an octagon and beat him senseless for deciding to move the wonderfully accessible oil filter from a right in your effing face deal to UNDER the front skid plate. Give me 30 seconds with that or those SOBs and I’ll be giddy for life, the stupid mindless a**holes. BTW, I sold my first FJ after a redneck from AR decided he thought driving his ’74 F150 35 MPH in a school zone and rear ending my FJ while I was pulling into a parallel parking spot with my 2 children was a neighborly introduction. Otherwise, I really like mine, it has a the poor visibility and now poor gas mileage but regardless, I’m keeping it until it croaks which will more than likely occur long after I do, jus’ sayin’.

    • Amen. My thoughts almost exactly except I gathered the writer was just a crap driver (in particularly the panic break issue) and an incredibly unique human form to find the cabin so uncomfortable and unaccommodating to his form. Isn’t that the purpose of a test drive? It’s a high end rugged vehicle. No an Infiniti Q X80.

  40. I understand all the complaints and when you stated pulling your old Jeep explained a lot. Just like the older vehicles they use to make, give it 10 or more years and you will see these FJ Cruisers with options put on them that will be crazy. They have compared the FJ Cruiser with the Jeep and they came out equal head to head, I’m sure you can jump in a Jeep the same year and have other complaints. But you can look this up….the FJ Cruiser completed the BAJA 1000 and they used a stock FJ Cruiser off the showroom floor in 2007. That is not to shabby for a 4X4 off the showroom floor. bottom line it is operator. I have a 2010 6 speed manual, I totaled my 2007 6 speed manual on the interstate after getting hit from behind in a 5 car wreck, I flipped it and hit the cable in the center on the interstate at 60+ MPH. When it landed, it was still running and I didn’t feel a thing. The other vehicles where not so lucky. Yes it does have a blind spot, but like a a person stated earlier, it is on the operator, I never had a problem with that. Also I don’t look over the seat out the back window to look back either….bad habit anyway. now what the FJ and the Jeep suffer from in the current state I live in is the windshield. We have so much sand in this state and bugs that these windshields find every bug on the HWY. Probably why the reservoir holds like 3 gallons of windshield fluid. But I have a few friends that have put a 6 inch lift, and the lockers on the front, and they go anywhere. I work on Jeeps and FJ’s. I take Toyota over Jeep(Dodge now) any day of the week when it comes to workmanship and reliability. Yes I give you the straight front axle, but that is it, You ever go down the interstate on a long trip with a jeep, if the rag top don’t make enough noise to drive you crazy, the shifting and ride will kill you. I take the IFS due to I’m on the HWY more than off-road. But one day after I wear this FJ out(which might take 20 years), I will lift it 6 inchs and make it a MadMax kind of vehicle. But until then I have an old Toyota pickup that has been fixed to do my serious off-road fun. My FJ also pulls my Ranger bass boat better than my friends 2011 Jeep Wrangler. I believe that both can go either way, just depends on what you are use too. I got all TRD parts on my FJ, and it moves. I don’t understand your fuel mileage, I got the manual Tranny and I get 17 to 19, depending on my heavy foot. I have ran from SC to FL and never went under 85 MPH and got better fuel mileage than you said.

  41. WOW! I have had my 2007 FJ Cruiser since I bought it new in 2006 and am a very happy 9 year owner. I have to say I can be an aggressive driver and I have never experienced any of these problems about the delayed throttle. My FJ is very responsive and I have driven all kinds of vehicles from a Lincoln Navigator, GMC Sierra, Mitsubishi Eclipse, Honda Element, Audi Q3, BMW 3 and 1 Series and I have to say my FJ is just as responsive as any of those. Maybe yours was defective from the factory? I do have to admit it is not the most stable at highway speeds and yes visibility is not good at all but I knew that when I bought it so I don’t complain, I have learned to reverse with the sonar and side view mirrors and knock on wood I have not had any accidents going forward or in reverse. I love my FJ and don’t plan on ever replacing it, I will keep mine and hopefully pass it on to the best suitor. Has never given me any trouble at all. I <3 my FJ!

  42. It is what it is.. I was happy 3 years ago when we bought this vehicle. Since I am a fan of Tonka looking trucks and stuff. I was younger back then so I didn’t really check thoroughly it’s ins and outs. But after using it for a month or so… Now I realized why I think our family made a bad choice. It’s just sooo awkward to use sometimes. I also hit several no parking signs (and the likes) because of those damn blind spots. Those rear seats? Damn too small. Trunk?? It’s disappointing as well. :/ What I like is its performance and looks… but all the other from fuel consumption etc.? All fail.

    And guess what, after almost 2 years our family have decided to let it go. You will be missed Voodoo blue.

  43. I have owned An FJ45SB, five fj40s and still own my first fj40 . When they announced the new FJ I was all over it. Until I heard the top didn’t come off. That was the biggest fault. I didn’t buy one. Now the Ford Bronco in 2019 better have a removable top!

    • I own a 2007 FJ. Bought it two years ago from a dealer who got it as a trade by an older Orange County woman. Had 34k on it and looked like new. I had the driveshaft issue fixed under warranty by Toyota. I’ve still got a few recall issues to get resolved.
      The FJ is quirky. It’s not a Lexus – and that’s why I love it. It looks like nothing else out there. The interior is not as comfy as it could be. OK, so what. the visibility sucks – due to that my wife has pounded the corners on all four ends.
      Mileage? Sure, it sucks – it’s a truck.
      AC inverter – crappy location, but where would you put it? I use it for things that are fairly physically large so the back is the best place for it.
      What does suck ass is replacing tail lights. I have large hands, and honestly, I ended up replacing them all when one went out as I never want to do that again.
      Spark plugs – another bitch (not hard, just a PITA) to replace.
      4×4 works great.
      Tranny to me doesn’t shift into HI soon enough. I feel like going into Neutral on some slight down hills is good for milage. As is 35PSI in the tires.
      Dunno, seems like the OP was the wrong guy with the wrong vehicle. Sure, it could be more refined, but I like that it’s not. It’s a Tonka truck for big kids, and it’s one of my favorite vehicles ever. I’m 54 and have owned a lot of them.

  44. Really I think this article is off base even a little biased . I’ve have had my 2007 FJ Cruiser since May of 2006 it is one of my truly favorite daily drives of all time .

    • I owned a 2007 Voodoo Blue. I am only 5 feet tall and yes I agree that there are issues will ALL vehicles. I had a hard time getting in.. I could slide out with out a problem. That FJ was a really a fun vehicle to drive. I think I’m grateful for that big ole bar in the front of the vehicle, during a snowstorm I didn’t see the YELLOW CONCRETE light holder at Walgreen’s and slammed right into it. I was sure I had smashed my front end. I pulled into a parking spot, got out and there was a small yellow dot on the grill guard! I was surprised and very grateful.
      But, several years later (2012) I was in a terrible accident where I rolled my FJ and flipped a few times before it landed on the drivers side looking down at the pavement. I had rolled it head over heals not sideways. My most favorite vehicle was totaled. I didn’t have a scratch on me. My FJ saved my life (no airbags deployed because it was a low speed crash. I was very upset when I found out Toyota isn’t making them anymore. I am now without a vehicle. I never bought it to off road. And it wasn’t uncomfortable on my frequent drives from Denver to Chicago and Michigan.

  45. My thoughts exactly. We all have things we don’t like about our vehicles. That doesn’t mean those are the reasons the manufacturer stops making them. Do more research before you buy to lessen your chances of getting something you don’t like. I like my 2010 FJ. Bought it used in 2014. Is it perfect? No. Am I looking to get rid of it. Definitely not.

  46. I have a 2012 FJ cruiser with the off road package and it has 26,000 miles. My husband and son won’t drive it. They said it’s a death trap. They want me to trade it in, but I love the looks of it. It just crawls all over the road. So can’t decide what to do.

  47. Well written article. However I do disagree with some of the points. I think that the FJ itself is a great 4wd vehicle. But if you do want to do some serious offroading you need to upgrade many of the components.

    Now I have always wondered about the visibility issue, and why this complaint is so prevelant. I have never found visiblity an issue at all. I use my mirrors and windows. That formula seems to work for me. I believe that this complaint sufaced because the people that bought the vehicle and complained are use to driving the equivelant of a bathtub with a bubble on top. Anyone that has driven a panel van, camper, pickup work truck, pickup with a camper shell, pickup with a camper, a bontail, etc….have never complained about visiblity…theyy just adapt. So I feel it’s an invalid argument.

    I will also agree with one of the other commentors. If you set out to buy a dog and cane home with a cat…how is this the cats parents fault? The FJ was discontinued do to it never took off on sales as expected in the states, though it was widely popular other places in the world. But the bulk of the dollars come from the states..so they had to make the decision. If you look at whats going here it is obvious. You can buy a 4WD vehicle with a luxury package. Pickups with all the creature comforts of home. Hell, they are making Jeeps into high output lixury SUV’s!A friend that has a beautiful Highlander is always goofing on my FJ. But when it rains and we are coming out to get in our rigs..he is taking his shoes off so as not to get his carpet dirty or muddy. I laugh and ask him if they gave him a lollipop after he signed the papers. It is a sad day, because I believe the FJ Cruiser was the last of the dying breed of utilitarian vehicles.

    The majority of the US doesn’t want a vehicle like an FJ…in any format..that includes the previous makes and designes. They want $70,0000 dollar pickups. They want an SUV that can go offroad. They want a Dodge in Jeeps Clothing like the Cherokee SR8. When they look at any 4WD the first question is where is
    the DVD player?!?!

    The FJ didn’t go the way of the dodo through any faults of it’s own. Toyota has to make money, sell vehicles and appease the public. They have to make vehicles that have heat and massage the ever softening rumps of the public.

  48. All I read was: “I wanted a J70 Land Cruiser, but I bought the new FJ instead and it wasn’t a J70! Why isn’t the new FJ a J70?”
    And so I have to ask;
    If you wanted a solid front axle
    If you wanted to lift it
    If you wanted to put big muddies on it
    If you wanted a throttle cable
    If you wanted the gearbox to change when you want it to (why not get a manual duh)
    If you didn’t want TRAC
    If you want high visibility

    Why not buy a J70?
    (There’s a reason Toyota still makes them)

    • Because Toyota doesn’t sell the J70 in the U.S. And also because I didn’t want a J70 Land Cruiser.

      I knew I wasn’t getting a solid axle but Toyota could have designed the IFS better especially considering they wanted it to compete with the Wrangler.

      I really should have gone with the Rough Country 6″ lift that raised the entire IFS, not just arched the upper and lower control arm but 6″ is a lot of lift and I wasn’t trying to fit 35’s under there. I only wanted a tire 1″ taller than stock.

      I wasn’t looking for a throttle cable, just better response. It’s a software delay not a mechanical delay. Toyota didn’t have to program it that way.

      I’ve owned multiple manual transmissions in the past, I didn’t want a manual. Again, it’s programming. Toyota didn’t have to program it that way. It’s not rocket science to match the shifting with the torque demand.

      TRAC is again … software. Toyota didn’t have to program it that way. I think it was programmed like that because the FJ is simply unstable without lots of traction control.

      • Toyota never intended the FJ to compete with the Wrangler. It was meant to compete with the Xterra (which sells really well but isn’t a competitor for the 4runner which has become an expensive family vehicle). What really upsets me is that Tacomas do not have any proper skid plates or off road tools in the base model. Only in the TRD model.

      • I have a 08 FJ with 262k on it. I use 4wd daily and travel on roads meant for dozers. A coworker, with the same needs, drives a 09 Rubicon. His breaks down every 4 months, and mine hasn’t broke yet. My FJ is the toughest vehicle i have driven, and I drove the Rubicon for months.

  49. The mileage for my 2007 FJ has never dropped below 13.4, and only then when this last weekend I drove it at highway speeds across 3 mountainous states hauling a heavy load of over 2500 pounds.

    For the first leg of that trip, traveling with only about 500 pounds, I hit 22.7 mpg.

    My everyday mileage ranges between 18.5 and 19.7 with mingled highway and city driving.

  50. Hi! This article could not be written any better! Reading this reminds me of my old FJ! I had a lot of similar complains. Mileage, visibility, comfort, handling, etc. I also enjoy the comments. Fairly certain who are the FJ fans and who are not so sold on the FJ concept. Thanks for sharing!

  51. I had a 2010 trail teams and loved it. the vehicle was great off road, great on road. solid 19mpg, I drove 30-50k a year. traded it on a 14 4runner with almost 200 on the clock and it was still fine. only thing I hated the 4runner still has, and that’s the overactive breaking. other than that it was a great experience, excellent vehicle and I’d have another.

  52. I have an FJ Cruiser I bought about 2 years ago. It’s a 2012 with 26,000 miles on it. I drive it mostly to work and back and around town. Mostly short distances. I bought it because it looks neat and had the fun off road package with 32 inch tires, brush guard, hunter green with white top etc. My son turned 21 and will be graduating college soon so I figured, HEY, it’s moms turn. Well my son and husband want me to trade It in. It’s not 4 wheel drive. I love it for short distances but OMGosh does it crawl all over the road!! Is there anything I can do to help with this? Neither one of them will even drive it. They say it’s a death trap. Like when I hit a small pot hole its all over the place. Of course I’m use to it now so it doesn’t really bother me. Any suggestions?

  53. I HAVE ONE QUESTION REGARDING MY 201 FJ CRUISER. I AS REAR ENDED THAT MESSES UP MY BAC BUMPER. AFTER FIXING, I NOTICED THAT MY REAR FACING CAMERA IS NOT WORING . I M STILL WAITING FOR THE APRAISAL GUY TO FIGURE OUT HOW THE IMPACT COULD HAVE MESSED UP MY CAMERA SINCE THE HIT SEEMED LOWERED THAT WHERE THE CAMERA IS LOCATED. CAN ANYONE EXPLAIN THIS TO ME, HOW THE IMPACK COULD EFFECT THE CAMERA. THANKS, ANY RESPONSE WOULD BE APPRECIATED.

  54. I NOW OWNED MY FIRST 2011 TOYOTA FJ CRUISER AND ABSOLUTLY LOVES IT. I WAS FACINATED BECAUSE OF THE STYLE AND RUGGEDNESS. ONCE I GOT INTO ONE, I WAS SOLD. MY PROBLEM SO FAR EXISTED WITH THE HORRIBLE BLIND SPOT. I ALMOST GOT MYSELF INFO AN ACCIDENT A FEW TIMES . THAT FOR NOW IS MY ONLY COMPLAINT. STILL HAPPY WITH MIN AND WOULD DEFINALTY INVEST IN ANOTHER.

  55. Exactly! Why didn’t Toyota build a modernized but true to original FJ-40?? There is no doubt in my mind that if they had built a solid front axle FJ-40 with a Toyota drive train and Toyota reliablility we would be looking at a whole different scenario. Toyota wouldn’t have had to cancel production of the FJ because it would be wildly popular! It would have become a status symbol. It would have competed directly with the JK market! It would have been a commuter vehicle during the week, a top down recreational vehicle on the weekends! I would have bought one!

    All you have to do is look at this vehicle, the Icon FJ40.

    If this wasn’t so damn expensive, I’d own one! Toyota could have built this and built it much cheaper than the Icon. If Chrysler (Fiat) can do it, Toyota can do it. They put all this effort into a newly designed FJ to compete with the JK and this is what they think people wanted??

    5 yrs ago I looked at the FJ Cruiser and decided it wasn’t for me mainly because of the odd modernized look and poor visibility. The only thing reminiscent of the original FJ was the plastic grill. That’s it. Otherwise its an SUV. If I wanted an SUV it wouldn’t be this one especially with the options available on all the models of SUVs out there. Toyota really miss an opportunity on this one. No doubt about it.

    • When I bought my FJ I wasn’t looking for reasons to convince me not to buy it. I was looking for reasons to buy it. 4×4? Check. Beautiful body? Check. Roof rack? Check. Beautiful back? Absolutely. Beautiful interior? Yup. Backup camera? Right. Visibility? 2 mirrors, small back window, yeah I can manage that. GPS? No GPS? WTF? I guess I’ll put one in. Comfortable seats? Nice trim? Lots of room in the back? Fold-down back seats? JBL Woofer? Yup. Test Drive? WOW! I Love this vehicle!
      OKAY I’LL TAKE IT!

    • I do wish also that Toyota would build a truly utilitarian vehicle for the states. It simply isn’t going to happen. I actually do believe the FJ Cruiser is utilitarian for today’s standards, but no the world’s standards… In almost EVERY other market there are very modern Toyotas being sold with front solid axles, select-able F&R locking differentials, gas and diesel, all the modern goodies such as airbags, ABS, TRAC, etc. Very modern, very off-roadable, very robust vehicles are available for purchase new, just not here. A poster above is correct. The $70000 truck craze is the reality. I know a guy that sold his JK because it was ‘too hard to step into, they should have built it lower’, and I know many JK owners who sold theirs to get an older model. They didn’t want a wide car. They wanted a wheel able Jeep. I also know somebody who got rid of their 4Runner because they wanted the new Explorer with park assist and automatic rear hatch. THESE ARE THE PEOPLE DICTATING WHAT IS SOLD HERE! This is the majority. It sucks.

  56. Haha, your review falls squarely into the inexperienced and uninformed user category based on your lack of basic concepts, pour analogies and 6,000 mile per year use.

    Yes, it would seem your lightly used FJ had warranty issues left uncorrected.

    Even my last 6mt FJ on 35s averaged 15 mpg, factory stock 6mt estimate is 16…

    The FJ was canceled because of it’s unusually long model age, eight years without refresh, and likely poor sales.

    • On the contrary it would seem that he is quite experienced and very perceptive to his vehicle. He said the scan gauge threw no error codes. I guarantee you the dealership isn’t going to troubleshoot without error codes to back up the claim that there’s a problem. 6k a year means nothing except that there may have been more short trips than long trips. That in turn may have caused the engine to run lean more often than the average 12k / yr driver. But still those numbers just plain suck for any vehicle.

      The FJ was canceled because it’s a poorly thought out, odd looking vehicle with few creature comforts. It went 8 years because Toyota didn’t want to put money into a vehicle with a declining market.

  57. My dad had a FJ-40 and I thought this was a neat tribute to the FJ40. I don’t use mine for offroad just a daily driver and down to the beach on weekends. It’s been fine. I agree with some of your points with gas mileage and the poor air flow in through the windows. The poor visibility too. I like the FJ but would I buy another? No, can’t say I would.

  58. I also sold my 2010 FJ last year. I put a few more miles on mine than you (45k) but I also got poor gas mileage even on the stock tires. A good deal of my driving was around town. The shifting, odd computerized throttle control, poor visiblility, lack of comfort, crazy panic braking, even the power inverter in the back were things I complained about. I also didn’t like the issue with the wind in my ear with the window down. I also had issues with one rear wheel spinning trying to pull out somewhere and the computer killing my throttle! What’s with that?? I needed POWER! I grew tired of the FJ. It was neat and interesting at first but Toyota could have done better.

  59. I realluy enjoyed reading all the crazy and scary times you had on board that tonka. I m a happy owner of a 2014 FJ which has 28K barely withing year and a half. BUT i disagree in few comments since the previous years were changed until the 2014 models.

    I dont get how i had a 2001 Xterra back in 2009 and its MPG was slightly better than a 2014 new technology truck?! my MPG is about 17/22 and i drive it rough. Although, the main problems that i don’t understand the 15 y/o band of designers at toyota did with the MPG`s, seems like the US government threaten them to produce a such a beauty unique reproduction with wors gas millage in order to keep feeding the oil industry. I had to alter/add the throttle gas chip by spring booster in order to feel im not stepping into a virtual gas cable , the computerized throttle control is pathetic! It’s complete WRONG! Then looking around i found a bit of information how to possibly get better MPG by adding a gimmick like men-a-fe throttle body adapter into the throttle intake and i felt a bit of difference besides the funky whistle sound when i step on the gas. Then added 1.5″ rear coil spacer in the rear suspension to level the 2.5″ front 5100 Billsteins. so far im running a 17″ KO`s 2 and im very pleased with the overall results. As you say perfectly how the heck in this world TEF didn`t make the front end with a solid axle? i think they even don`t have a clue but the 15 y/o band of kids who designed this truck had no clue at all!

    my apologies for my pathetic grammar. 😉

    long life to the FL 40!

  60. Sorry to hear you disliked your FJC so much, my question would be then why did you keep it so long if you hated the ride and wanted something else?

    As far as a number of things you listed, I would say that a number of the issues have merit, but a few are off-road specific and there is no off the lot suv/truck/Jeep in OEM condition, right off of the lot would be ready for some of the wheeling it looks like you enjoy. When wheeling / testing the durability of any 4×4, I can guarantee that all 4×4 suffer to some degree more than the average mall crawler that we hope to find on the used car lot in 3-4 years.

    MPG? should be getting 18-21 on STOCK parts, we all know that by lifting, adding weight, and increasing tire size that the MPG WILL go DOWN and that is common in all 4x4s – not something that just affects the FJC.

    Comfort – the front seats I believe are much better than any Jeeps and these are for an off-road vehicle correct, if you wanted totally adjustable seats with leather, heating etc you are probably looking for a comfort SUV vs the FJC…these seats adjust all over the place! NOW the back seats, I have to agree with you on…

    -Visibility with the mirrors has always been an issue, but if adjusted correctly, they work great, not sure why you had so many problems seeing out windows, I’m 6’2″ and see perfectly everywhere…except the rear corners, which if you take a good sampling of many cars, and some SUVs, and any work vans – they have issues too…I bought mine knowing this, adjust the mirrors and the blind spot goes away! Back seat visibility for kids, get into a Mustang, Camaro or any number of other vehicles and it is worse – for an SUV it might not be perfect, but it could be worse!

    -Storage console?? Numerous places to put things in the FJC, dash, glove, rear…and the mods are out there to do so much more…

    -Drive shaft issue was addressed by Toyota for a TSB over a year ago, all vehicles have issues, just ask Chevrolet right now;)

    -BMC – so Toyota did not think of the aftermarket for the BMC, did any 4×4 manufacturer truly investigate every modification that the general public would do to their vehicle once it was to be sold to ensure they had answered all of the maybe 10% who might modify their vehicle someday? No… in this case Toyota built a very capable, off the showroom floor 4×4 that could go right from the auto lot to 4 wheeling territory and handle much more than any other 4×4 on day 1 after purchase with no modifications…

    -Lastly, I bet when you traded it in you got a nice price for it, try that with any other SUV or 4×4 – KBB had as the best resale value for the last 2 years, something that says a lot compared to all of the other SUVs and trucks out there!!

    Hope you find what you are looking for in another vehicle…

      • Finally, someone who knows Toyota isn’t stopping production on the FJ Cruiser, they’re just not “importing” them in the USA anymore. The Toyotas here in the US are designed, engineered and assembled in the USA, the FJ’s VIN started with a “J” and were produced in Japan. In fact, the FJ is part of the Land Cruiser Division that is still sold worldwide, it’s just no longer imported in the US. Too bad, we’re missing out on some pretty neat vehicles here at home.

        For example, the Tacoma is a US derived truck, the rest of the world has the HiLux which is virtually bullet proof and completely different. Land Cruisers are still some of the best and most reliable vehicles sold. They’re not a Jeep or Range Rover, they are a retro throw back and I personally wouldn’t part with my VooDoo Blue TRD Supercharged FJ for any other vehicle.

        All American Guy here, I’ve lived in several countries as a civilian with the DOD and really miss the variety of vehicles available overseas.

  61. Yeah, something was wrong with your truck if you were struggling to get 13 MPG. I’m lifted/armored with 600-700 pounds of extra steel on mine and I still get 17-18 on the highway.

    The way I usually explain the FJ to people is this: FJ’s are for people who have an outdoor lifestyle who can’t stand the unreliability of a Jeep. Many (most?) FJ owners are former Jeep owners. Before I had the FJ I had a ’99 Wrangler, and before that I had a ’94 Toyota Pickup. The Wrangler had more problems at 60K than the Pickup had at 215K. I have the FJ because my Wrangler stranded me on Mt. Antero in 2010 (idle tensioner pulley failure), I sure do miss my soft-top and half-doors though.

    Is the FJ the best offroader on the market? Up to the same spec — 6-inch and 35’s — the FJ can do anything the Wrangler can (a 4-door Wrangler has 11 inches longer wheelbase than the FJ, 7 inches longer than the 4Runner). The FJ’s problem is that it tops out pretty quick, above 33’s you’re chopping and above 35’s you gotta go crazy on the lift and wheel backspacing just to fit. Not that putting 37-40 inch tires on a Jeep is a cheap prospect, but it’s easier to do than with the FJ.

    VSC cutting the power too harshly is a valid point, visibility is too. Not having the front locker isn’t, push your ATRAC button in and put tape over it. I moved to Colorado 3 years ago for offroading and bought the FJ to do it, I’ve run many of the hardest trails in the state — Wheeler Lake, Spring Creek, Chinaman Gulch (once in the snow) and I’ve used my rear locker only 4-5 times. ATRAC is just that good, and the funny thing is that it’s just ABS-driven software that every vehicle could use.

    I don’t understand the criticism of Toyota for the lack of aftermarket forethought, there are plenty of bumper/lift/armor companies for this vehicle. Not as many as the Jeep? No big surprise there, Wrangler sales volume is about 10 times higher than the FJ since 2010. There are more than enough choices for the FJ to do what you need to do.

    Why buy an FJ over a Jeep is easy: similar offroading capabilities (to a point), much better reliability, higher resale. Why buy an FJ over a Tacoma / 4Runner is the harder decision, if you need lighter offroading capability both of these vehicles are more functional (bed / 4 doors).

    The margin on resale is significant: http://www.kbb.com/new-cars/best-resale-value-awards/best-resale-top-10-cars/
    70% after 5 years for the FJ (#1 spot) versus 59% after 5 years for the Wrangler (#3), which must confuse dealers because they’re only selling 13-14K FJ’s a year. Not that this nullifies any of your criticisms, but it shows that buyers either don’t have those complaints or don’t care as much.

    You know the truck well, that much is obvious from the article. Some simple searching on the forums would have shown that your MPG problem wasn’t typical. Beyond that, mostly legit criticisms that bother other people less or not at all. Jeeps are quirky too, but I’m willing to put up with a quirky vehicle that is reliable over a quirky vehicle that isn’t. Where I go offroading, cell phones don’t work so well.

  62. If you had so many issues with the truck, don’t know why you kept it so long. Personally, I haven’t had any of the problems you stated about the transmission. I’ve gotten about 17-19mpg. Really sounds like you bought incorrect parts, royalty screwed up the suspension geometry and have been chasing problems ever since. Outside of issues related to styling and design, all of which is very clearly visible at first look, I haven’t heard of most of your complaints from any other drivers. The chassis and engine are directly lifted from the venerable Prado. In stock form, it’s the most capable offroader with great on road manners you could find on the market. The resale value of this truck, highest highest by far over any other vehicle, speaks for itself.

  63. I own an FJ cruiser and a good friend of mine is on his third Jeep, currently he has a nice Rubicon, which I’m very familiar with. Your bias against the FJ is obvious. The FJ is not perfect but it’s not nearly as bad as you imply. Here’s some real, unbiased info.

    1. The FJ’s IFS setup does not make it prone to rollover, and adding aftermarket parts is not tricky. Like any vehicle, you just have to use parts that work together. This is not hard to determine at all and there are plenty of aftermarket choices. Uneven terrain? It has to be radically uneven + poor driving. I’ve seen plenty of Jeeps roll in the same situation. Tracking issues? There are plenty of aftermarket UCAs that will restore the castor or allow more than stock settings – no tracking issues whatsoever on any road surface and any length of drive. You are way off on this one. Weak stock UCAs? This has not been a chronic problem at all, as you imply.

    2. Body mount chop: yes I agree – would have been nice if the frame protrusion was not there to begin with. I trimmed mine, which took 2 hours. It was not hard. Toyota left no stone unturned with regard to safety, which explains the high safety rating of the FJ. Safety rating was a main reason I chose the FJ as I use it on-road 75% of the time. The tow rating is good as well, no death-wobble concerns.

    3. Shifting, engine braking: there are no issues specific to the FJ in this regard – you either got a bad tranny or you are just venting in general, but there are no specific or chronic issues with the FJ.

    4. A-TRAC: your example sounds like you had VSC on in the snow, bad idea in any car, as it will inhibit throttle. Your example has nothing to do with A-TRAC. Having owned and driven plenty of lockers, I can say that without a doubt A-TRAC is awesome in the situations it is intended for. None-the-less, add a locker if you really need one. They have their cons as well of course.

    5. Fuel economy: I get 18, the mpg you describe is by far much worse that normal, so it is not at all an accurate representation of mpg or range. I do agree that better mpg and range would be nice. I haven’t been in any situations where there were no gas stations for >250 miles, but on longer trips I bring a gas can anyways.

    6. Braking: no chronic issues are reported anywhere.

    7. Comfort: yes, could be more comfortable but definitely not particularly uncomfortable at all. Not particularly hard to get in and out of at all, same as any lifted vehicle. Get some auto steps if you want it to be easy. My S2000 is much harder to get in/out of.

    8. Visibility: sit in the FJ one time and you’ll realize you want wide angle mirrors – yet you owned one for 4 years? I added $12 worth of mirrors – problem solved

    9. Airflow: I agree, I added window visors and it makes the airflow perfect, a cheap and easy fix.

    10: Inverter in the back, under cargo?: the plug is on the side, don’t cover it with stuff if you want to use it. If you want an inverter in the front, put one under the passenger seat.

    11: aftermarket: there’s more than enough. There is way more for Jeeps for sure, but there is plenty for the FJ.

    12. Off-road capability: I have gone through truly radical terrain in the FJ, way beyond what I expected or really need to do. If I start doing lots of wheeling I’ll put in a front locker. If I want to abuse it I’ll add RCV axles and All-Pro tie rods. I could even do an SA swap and still be in it for less than a Rubi. I just don’t need it, I’ve already wheeled through more than I expected to, need to, or want to do.

    Plenty of people like my buddy do some serious stuff on a regular basis, that’s cool and I think the Rubi was the way to go for him. Since I use the FJ on-road 75% of the time I opted for the IFS ride and handling, the great safety rating, the high reliability rating, and the tow rating. The high resale value is a bonus. It’s not a perfect vehicle, but it’s been very good, much better than your article implies.

    • I agree with most of what you said in your reply here, except that I don’t understand how folks on here think he is wrong about the ‘roll’ tendency of IFS. It can vary widely with each vehicle, driver, and trail. But, I drove my vehicle for several years with IFS (stock height/open diff, lifted/open diff, lifted/locked) then did the SAS myself with quality Alcan springs, FJ80 steering hardware, Bilstien shocks, etc. Anybody who drove it or rode with me pointed out the great ride right away. I took it through high and curvy mountain passes at 70 MPH (sure steering and little body lean) and wheeled it hard between trees, side hills, and rocky outcroppings with massive travel and soft damping. It was far superior in almost every single conceivable way. I no longer had the front end that stayed quite planted parallel to the ground while the rear maxed out. I instead had a body/frame that was tilted about half as much, much more controlled. I don’t get how people miss that concept. It is simple Statics/Dynamics.

    • Heep? Was that supposed to be Jeep? I’m not sure how you come up with that but I do own a 1978 CJ-7 that I rebuilt. I’m not sure how that makes my personal review of the FJ that I owned for over 4 years biased as you imply. I spent 32 grand on the FJ and added another 5 grand modifications including an Old Man Emu 2 1/2″ lift and Man-a-fre upper control arms that corrected the castor. I had it aligned and it still didn’t handle all that well. Like I said on long trips, it was fatiguing. Other than getting rid of the entire suspension lift and going back to stock or installing a 6 inch Rough Country lift, I’m not sure what else there was to do. In any case, thanks for reading.

      • What’s really annoying -and proves your bias- is that you base the reasons Toyota discontinued the FJ on your own peronal dislikes of the vehicle. That’s the equivalent of me saying Toyota should continue making it simply because I love the vehicle. The FJCruiser was from the beginning targeted at a niche market, and furthermore Toyota from the start hinted that this will be a limited production. There is no other reason they discontinued it. You may have owned the vehicle but for whatever reason you decided to sell it, then hate on it. On top of that you found the discontinuation of it as a chance to list your dislikes, like you thought anybody would really find the article helpful. Please.

  64. I was one of those 56,000 customers that purchase a 2006 FJ Cruiser and still a proud owner. The following are the only issues (if you can call them that) I experience on the last 110,000 miles (and counting):

    1. Driver side hub assembly: replaced under warranty at 34k miles.
    2. Rear Differential: replace under warranty at 59k miles.

    I get 17 to 18 miles per gallon on the city and the best mileage was 21 on the highway. FJ rides on 305/50R20 tires with 20×9 Wheels, they never touch the body of the FJ. So far I only had to replace the front CV Axels and perform regular maintenance. Recent upgrades include 3 inch lift Icon Vehicle Dynamics Coil Overs w/ external reservoir shocks on the front and ICON Spring w/ Bilstein external reservoir shocks on the rear. Replace UCA with TOTAL CHAOS UAC. It rides perfect…. and know that is up, next step is to install Safari Snorkel and 33×12.5R20 mud tires……

    • That’s great. I’m glad to hear an FJ Cruiser success story.

      When you go with the 33×12.50R20’s you may need to do a body mount chop in the front wheel well. That is assuming the 2006’s are the same as the 2010’s were with that body mount.

    • There were no 2006 FJ Cruisers. The first model year is 2007. If you purchased it in 2006 (as I did) then it was a 2007 model.

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