Five-Point Inspection: 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Five-Point Inspection: 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser
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4. Sure-footed, surely capable

In testing through forest trails and sandy beaches, the FJ proved more than capable. The truck’s 4WD system is more than prepared for any low traction situation, and the suspension glides over dips and bumps without complaint.

We didn’t tackle any snow or rock-climbing, but in every test we did perform the chassis, suspension and drive-train were unfazed. Of note, our tester did come equipped with the optional off-roading package, which included trail rated shock absorbers, a locking rear differential and advanced traction control.

  • Suzuki-310

    I have owned an Fj for a year. I love it! It rides like a Cadillac and is super quite. It is also great on gas for a 4wd SUV. I easily average 20mpg if not more. It tows great and will go anywhere. I have no complaints about it. It seems that the people who wrote this obviously drive a prius, and not a truck or suv.

  • Darren

    Wind noise…what wind noise?  For an SUV this is super quiet.  Take a ride in a Wrangler and get back to me.   Writer is also incorrect on the auto trans using more gas.  Auto is more fuel efficient than the manual trans in the FJ.  

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1345168270 Jacob Mayer

    The reviewer is clearly not a person who’s every really owned or driven trucks. As true off-roaders go, the FJ is hard to beat, and form definitely follows function. If one actually hits 20mpg, I’d love to see it; my ’07 Tacoma gets 17 at best.

  • BobN

    The FJ is a great vehicle.  It is so much fun to drive, Is it noisy?  Compared to what?  I’ve never had to crank up the stereo in order to hear it over the engine.  You have to climb into it? So it should drag on the ground?  Great ground clearance on a stock vehicle has to come from somewhere.  Is it thirsty?  Well, when you buy one, you should be aware that it drinks more than Prius…of course it can go where a Prius can’t.

  • J Mac

     Still, that 4.0L is not one of Toyota’s more efficient engines.

  • Jimmy_dean

    Y’all are a pack of dumb ones. If you call that quiet and comfortable you haven’t sat in a La-Z-Boy with a beer watching NASCAR on mute with your wife out of the house.

  • Tonka Bob

    Hi
    Just got back from getting the 24k oil change on my 2011 FJ Cruiser. Virtually identical to the vehicle tested. One year in this SUV and still grin every time I get in it. Zero issues over last year. There is more wind noise that a sedan (of course). The engine is a hardy with I find to be a nice sound when accelerating. Used it in heavy snow with winter tires (no problem), tow a race trailer (no problem), use a iPhone with the integrated Bluetooth (no problem). 

    Read the review (problem)!

  • tloufer

    Love my FJ! The ride is very smooth to me – kind of like riding in the clouds.  Fuel efficiency – that’s not what I bought this car for. Bringing that up at all with a vehicle like this is like comparing departure angles with a smart car.  I think it’s important to point out to people shopping around that the suggestion in the article about buying the rock rails to help with entry into the vehicle is misleading.   They aren’t steps and are too far recessed to be used as steps.  But, you can buy after market rails that can double as steps.  There are plenty of things to grab onto when getting into the FJ – and, besides, those who buy it to use for what it was intended have no issue with giving up ease of entry for good ground clearance!  If you bought it for non-off-road use and this bugs you, I guess you could get it lowered? But, that’s just wrong. ;)

    By the way, the 2012 FJ Cruiser earned Best of the Best 5 stars in the JD Powers Power Circle Ratings! http://autos.jdpower.com/research/Toyota/FJ+Cruiser/2012/SUV/ratings.htm And, it was just rated 3rd in it’s segment in the latest JD Power Initial Quality Study for 2012! http://autos.jdpower.com/ratings/quality.htm   :)

    P.S. I love the sound the engine makes.  I’ll turn my radio down so I can listen to it :)

  • dreever

    I bought my FJ in 07, it now has close to 65,000 miles. I’ve kept track of every gallon of gas since it was new and over five years average 19.4 mpg. That includes winter/summer/snow/ice/2wd/4wd. etc
    It has it’s faults, but living in the mountains we ABSOLUTELY need a vehicle that will get us out in an emergency regardless of the weather conditions. The FJ with proper tires fits this bill 100%..

  • Sirsimon

    We bought a 2011 FJ with the manual transmission last year, and have taken it to places we’d never dreamed of driving before.  With proper tires, the FJ is a beast – whether the roads are dry, wet, covered in snow – or non-existent. 

    I find the truck comfortable, fun to drive (used to drive a 450HP sports sedan – the FJ is actually fun in its own way), and capable of handling anything we throw at it.

    Don’t expect it to be a great family vehicle (little kids love it, but as they get bigger the back seat is cramped).  Don’t expect fantastic mileage (it is OK for what it is).  But do expect reliability, fun, and a go-anywhere attitude.

  • Justnoldbiker

    It appears that the writer expects everyone to love and drive a soccer mom SUV.  My daughter has a $55k Chevy Tahoe and trust me…the FJ is far superior in ever way including the ‘cool’ factor.

  • Tjdooly

    I’m a newly FJ owner myself, I love it! had a wrangler and wind noise is no problem for me…. it could use a 4in. lift, had it stuck the first week due to it’s stock clearance, shouldn’t have been in the area I was in anyways. 

  • Coyote

    Where in the world did they find this reviewer?!?  I’ve owned seemingly about every car out there, and have never had one that I fall in love with more each time I drive it!  I bought mine in 2007, almost immediately promoted it to be my daily commuter, just flipped 100K, and STILL leave the bike, roadster & sedan parked sometimes on the sunny weekend days just to enjoy driving the FJ on a fun mountain trip as well.  Good on gas for what it is (I avg 18.5mpg even with a heavy foot), drives like a dream, rides as smooth as silk, and to this day still turns heads and impresses passengers.  If you’re shopping: completely ignore this article – go drive one!

  • 71roadrunner

    My wife and I are in our early 60’s and have owned an FJ for almost 4 years. We have never had any problems entering or exiting the vehicle (I am 6′ tall and my wife is 5″8″). And after 45 years of buying and driving every kind of vehicle conceivable, I do not find the FJ particularly noisy while driving. In addition, I have averaged 21 mpg since day one (it is a 6 speed manual). Did you actually drive this thing or just stand outside looking at it before you wrote the review ???

  • Dele

    I have the 2007FJ cruiser. I shipped it to Africa and only used it on vacation yearly. Every time Ii leave, it’s packed and the tires removed. During my last trip , the Engine light came on and when it was diagnosed, it stated that my braking booster system has a problem. How could this be without driving it?  Before it was packed , this never happened. Can anybody help?

  • Redtailone

    You’d expect the writers at Autoguide.com to be a little more vehicle-savy. As a dual-purpose vehicle, the FJ excels. The writer must be hobbit-like in stature. I’m not a giant at 5’7″. I do have a lifted FJ with 33″ tires and I have no trouble getting in. I’m fairly active at 57 years of age, however, and don’t spend a lot of time getting out of shape by sitting in front of a keyboard writing car reviews with only a cursory understanding of my subjects intended purpose, and probably eating Cheetos. mmmmm…Cheetos!Sosuckit! 

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/QYRYZKASF52NRLQOOGUGMMXCCI Brian

    My family and I have owned four FJ Cruisers.  They are quite smooth, quiet and powerful trucks.  Currently we have a 2008 and 2011 Trail Team Editions.   Absolutely love them.   I too am getting over 20mpg  on the interstate with my 2011 TTSE.   I would rather have the strength of the truck, off-road capability and quality of my FJ over an Econo-box that these auto drivers apparently are used too.  The transmission has always been smooth for me too.   Guess this is what happens when they put car weenies in a purpose built truck.   I doubt your hybrids could tow my boat, drive through streams to my favorite quail hunting spot or climb rocky hills in the mountains like my FJ.

  • Jacob

    i own an FJ2012 , been in love with it since its very introduction to a market , where u hv 4wds  filled with frills and laces or say a dressed up saloon, a hard core 4wd, must be noisy and the driver must get the feel of his engine roaring you are expected to climb mountains and not go mall hunting ona an FJ,i feel the writer is prejudiced

  • Mike

    Brian thanks for the info.Going to start looking for a Pre-owned FJ.Would like the Trail Team version.Any suggestions.Do they take regular gas.

  • Coug77

    Any FJ owner has to wonder how much homework this reviewer actually did.  I have an ’07, and it is one of the best vehicles I have owned.  Wind and engine noise?  Not particularly bad, I’ve heard a lot worse (like my ’95 3000GTVR4).  And after 5 years not a rattle or squeak.  Excellent build quality.  Gas mileage?  At worst 17 in the city, and as good as 23 on the highway if I keep it around 65 mph, which is excellent for an off-roading SUV.  Overall around 20, remember this isn’t supposed to be a econobox.  And the reviewer probably doesn’t really want the 6-speed manual because it only comes with full-time 4-wheel drive (though maybe it does get compable mileage, I can’t say personally).  If you want to complain about something important, note that Toyota requires premium gas (maybe they changed this by 2012).  Ingress and egress?  (My wife and I are both average height and never had a problem.  Seat comfort?  Made a two-day run from Arizona to Seattle (1500 miles), and yeah I was a little stiff after the first 750 mile day, but not bad.  I’ve actually thought the transmission shifting was noteably very smooth.  Maybe the reviewer is confusing shifting with a slight thunk in the drivetrain upon stopping and starting, for which Toyota has recently released a fix requiring a new rear driveshaft (free under warranty, see Toyota technical services bulletin T-SB-46-12, just had mine fixed yesterday). 

    Assuming one is buying an FJ for the right reasons, the downsides to be aware of are 1) need for premium gas, 2) rear and side visibility (mirrors help a lot, but don’t try to parallel park this thing!), 3) back seat room isn’t great, think of this as a two-seater. 

    By the way, unlike many FJ owners, I didn’t buy mine for off-roading so it rarely sees a dirt road.  Mine is strictly for getting to the ski slopes, and it does so fabulously.  I’ve gone up a 20% grade of sheet ice with this thing (needed the rear differential lock on). 

  • Jacob

    COUG77, You said it right, for a truck – this one is super quiet, for the gas it takes, nothing whn compared to the wrangler..

  • Bhendrick1957

     Obvious ignorance is present here. Stick to rating Honda CRV, Fit, and Ford Focus or hire an offroader to rate the FJC.

  • Bhendrick1957

    Keyword missing here ‘purpose’. FJC is purpose built. The purpose is not economy! Some vehicles are built for economy, some for speed, some to do a little bit of everything, etc. But some vehicles are built with a very specific purpose. The 4.0L fits the bill for the FJC with some to spare. Try to follow the FJC anywhere with your hybrid and see if you reach your destination or get left behind. If you don’t reach your destination, mpg are irrelevant! If you want Toyota’s efficient engine, get a Prius.

  • Drmmr6984

    For one this guy is an idiot.  I’ve never felt a jerky anything while my truck shifts gear or turns.  It’s actually very smooth going over terrain.  The writer is definetly biased.  My FJ get 20-21 mpg and that’s not bad for a truck this size and with what it’s capable of I’ll take it all day.  Auto guide needs to find a new writer.

  • Drmmr6984

    Oh yeah…. The wind noise isn’t bad at all either.  I still haven’t even been bothered by it even after reading this ridiculous review.

  • HoiPolloiBoy

    Most auto people say you don’t need premium fuel. We don’t use it except when towing or off roading. We bought ours for off roading. I’m an experienced off roader (1st love was a modified 68 Bronco) and the FJ is the most amazing off road vehicle right off the showroom floor. We do a lot of rocky desert (Death Valley, Panamint Valley) and have an extra set of 10 ply truck tires and have added front to fuel tank skid plates (Ricochet Off Road), rock sliders and a winch mounted with ASFIR 4×4 accessories. I wouldn’t trade our 07 FJ for anything.

  • Toysk215

    I happen to be a very mature female. I really enjoy a truck that has a rugged feel. I just dont enjoy that   vehicle that doesnt give a bit of an edge! Manuel transmissions  are alot of fun,and I think Toyota makes a really great product.Im in the market for an FJ Cruiser as we speak. And stick shift.

  • Trommy

    I own an FJ and I love it.  The best 4 wheel drive I have ever had and there have been plenty.  I find the ride smooth and the truck isn’t noisy.  Not sure why they stated that unless they are comparing this to a luxury car, which would not make any sense since this is a purpose built 4 wheeel drive that can be a very comfortable daily driver as well.  I think anyone considering this should look at reviews from people who know trucks and 4 wheel drives because car people wont have a clue.  Obviously

  • Oldtxn

    Well what the hell did you expect? A 4-wheel off-road beast isn’t supposed to sound, drive, be super smooth like a weenie Cadillac!

    I wouldn’t let you take my FJ to a tailgate party much less off road. The only vehicle which may provide the creature comforts you seem to desire would be a Range Rover. Bring lots of $$$ and hope you never need servicing.

    Bad review!

  • An1oneb

    The Fj cruiser is made to turn off people like the person writing the review. The reviewer never even drove the vehicle, he just had to write something quick to make it look like he did his job.