Commute, Toy or Destroy – Ford Raptor vs. Jeep Wrangler vs. Toyota FJ Cruiser

Commute, Toy or Destroy – Ford Raptor vs. Jeep Wrangler vs. Toyota FJ Cruiser

We are back with this week’s installment of AutoGuide’s newest, interactive weekly feature “Commute, Toy or Destroy.”

Once again, we present to you a choice of three vehicles. We are asking you to decide which one you would make your daily driver, which one would become your Saturday afternoon show ‘n shine winner and which one you would send to the scrap yard.

Remember, the commuter car you must live with every day. The toy would be only available to you for occasional use on weekends and the final car would be the one you’d drive over an IED with.

This week we are switching it up a bit and leaving sports cars behind for rugged, off-road trucks. We present three modern day vehicles all design to travel off the beaten path. So, now it is up to you to decide which one you would commute in, which one would be your off-road toy, and which one you will destroy.

Ford F-150 SVT Raptor


One look at this monster confirms this ain’t no ordinary Ford F-150. Designed to be abused, the SVT Raptor upgrades all the important mechanical bits to ensure you don’t get stranded in the middle of nowhere when out trail riding. A 411 hp 6.2 L V8 gives this aggressive truck the proper amount of power to back up its mean looks.

Jeep Wrangler Rubicon


The American icon of off-roading, the Wrangler still sports solid axles front and back, three lockable differentials, and a two-speed transfer case.  If that isn’t enough, step up to the Rubicon model which also enables the front sway-bar to be disconnected electronically. Of course Wranglers are still convertibles and last year a 285 hp 3.6 L V6 helped give this Jeep some much needed oomph.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams


The FJ Cruiser harkens back to Toyota’s original Land Cruiser; a wholly capable off-road machine. Using a proper body-on-frame SUV chassis, the FJ Cruiser is powered by a 260 hp 4.0 L V6 engine. Select the Trail Teams Edition and a plethora of TRD parts are added to the FJ to make it even more capable off-road.

  • I’ll start it off. Commute the F-150 since it can tow and has a bed to haul stuff.
    Toy the Wrangler. I’ll remove the doors and roof and lift it into an off-road monster.
    Destroy the FJ

  • Batwagon

    Ohh… So no opinion from the author. I kept looking for another page but there was none… um i guess Toyota’s are great for commuting…. and the SVT can be a great toy, with and do your best to destroy the wrangler. That is my response to a terrible article

  • Colum Wood

    I think I’ll drive the FJ daily, destroy the Wrangler and use the Raptor as my Toy. I figure going fast off-road is more my speed than rock-crawling.

  • MistyGreen

    Yea. There’s only one obvious choice really, unless you want to show off your Jeep daily. There are actually redeeming qualities of the FJ…

  • I’m going to have to Commute in the FJ.

    Unfortunately, and with a heavy heart I would crush the Jeep.

    And the Raptor is my toy.

  • Space

    Raptor would be by far the best daily driver, the Wrangler is the perfect toy for the weekend, and the ‘Yota is somewhat of a dud.

  • Luke Vandezande

    Commute: Raptor – you can see over everything in traffic, haul a load and everyone loves it.

    Destroy: FJ Cruiser. Just cause.

    Toy: Wrangler – because in my mind there’s really nothing cooler in the off-road world than a jacked up jeep covered in mud.

  • Commute the raptor. You can see over stuff and its utility as a truck can’t be overlooked.

    Toy the fj. Owned one before and it was awesome. Went places my friends yj couldn’t and it was mostly stock.

    Destroy the wrangler. Reliability doesn’t seem to be much of a strong point in Chrysler vehicles anyway, so might as well not delay the inevitable.

  • Brew8

    Raptor? 55K too much cash for a commuter, The Wrangler, drive it fix it all week long, FJ best of the bunch 28K reliable, off road capable. Destroy the Hot rod truck.

  • Ron4x4

    Commuter FJ, Weekend Jeep, Scrap the POS Rapter

  • I would destroy the FJ and the Raptor, as an owner of a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited JK8 the new engine freakin Rocks.

  • Commuter: Raptor, because it’s got a bed for totin’ stuff.
    Toy: Wrangler, because it’s still got straight axles and it has lockers.
    Destroy: FJ. Yea, they look pretty cool, but it’s offroad prowess isn’t that great and the blind spots are AWFUL for daily driving.

  • JCH

    Wrangler for Daily driver and for the weekend Toy! Destroy the rest! Maybe your lifestyle is much different than mine and I get it…. You want to drive paved roads to wine country on the weekend. But me…. I’m gonna crack a cold one and see nothing but dirt roads all day long! Keep the Wrangler as the daily driver as well cause even getting groceries is fun with the top and doors off!!!

  • Z123

    DD the Fj. Jeep as weekend toy. And at 9.5mpg and sucky off road abilities I’d destroy the Raptor.

  • junked

    DD the Jeep at first, and leave the Ford gas hog at home. Use the Ford to haul tools & jeep arts home. Once the jeep’s so built it can’t pass inspection, DD the Ford, and use it to tow the Jeep to the trails 🙂

    oh, and that FJ Maytag? Spare me. Toyota stopped making fun vehicles back in the 90’s.

    …AND! if you’re gonna bother to two-tone the top (FJ), make sure it comes off first….

  • I live in VERY rural far west Texas Ranch Country, so the Raptor is the “Driver”, (I own an F-350 super cab Dualie), the Jeep is the GO ANYWHERE vehicle, (I own two YJ’s and an XJ), and use the Toyota for TARGET PRACTISE!!

  • Stan

    3 locking diff’s huh?

  • mebigkahuna

    Since I already own an 84 Yota LC, I’d DD the fj, and destroy the other 2 posers!

  • Well since I’ve basically owned two of the three on this list, I can give a much more detailed explanation. Had a Wrangler Rubicon, now I own an F150 with huge wheels/tires like a Raptor

    Commuter: Raptor, Not only does it have a bed, but the soft suspension makes it comfy as a Cadillac. The room inside makes trips to the grocery store or out with friends a fleasure. Finally, in response to those saying the Raptor is a gas hog, the real world MPG is just about the same as or better than the Wrangler Rubicon. Especially once you start putting larger tires on the Rubicon to match the stock Ford ones.

    Toy: Wrangler, because it fits into much smaller spaces than the Raptor. Lots of skinny Jeep trails in the mountains that just barely fit my Rubicon over, the Raptor would never fit. The straight axles and lockers help too. I would never daily drive this. My Rubicon sucked down a tank of gas a week

    Destroy: FJ. The Blind Spots are ridiculous, enough to hinder it off and on road. And the styling is hideous. Finally, Toyota’s ergonomics always suck for me, and I’ve had several really unreliable Toyota products. I think they are over-hyped nowadays.

  • I’ve owned a bit of everything, from mild to wild, but out of the box I’ve never owned an offroad vehicle that is as capable as the FJ without mods. I continue to be amazed at where this thing will go and after adding 2″ of lift and still running on my street friendly BFG Rugged Trails I feel no need to do anything else. Oh, and compared to the Ford (which I like) you can fit the FJ in much tighter spots. Love the Jeep too but I like my 19MPG which you won’t see in the Jeep or Ford.

    I drive my FJ every day, wheel it hard on a regular basis and use it to tow my M101A2 trailer on a regular basis as well. It’s Toy and Commuter all wrapped in to one with the dependability and MPG to go with it.

  • Guest

    How does a Jeep have 3 differentials? Did I miss something?

  • Sheepdog5615

    Way to go biased authors of Auto Guide.
    Obviously your choice is the wrangler, but jeep lost something when they turned into a 4-door mall crawler.
    The Ford, how I love the looks and lines, would be destroied.
    The Jeep, chopped, engine, tranny, transfer case and axle swap would have to be the toy.
    The Yoda, my daily driver. No question. My “commute” is rather interesting one. Out into the back woods of Texas.

  • bc_indiana

    Bunch of …great… responses here. (That was a joke.)
    FJ (wish they had pictured the Trail Teams) is best thing stock.
    The Raptor is for rich folks who have no idea how to modifiy their own vehicle and will most likely never use it “off road” other than a damn deer lease.
    Jeep Wrangler… yes it has styling, yes solid axles, yes removable top….
    NO to reliability. Actual offroad stock prowess is debatable. Rubicon stock is pretty good… but no better than a stock locked FJ with A-Trac (which the TTSE version has stock). But jeeps of the 1980-2005 looked like a mail delivery jeep stock with tiny tires and not much more ground clearance than a mini truck. The newer JKs look to come with normal size tires stock which is a great improvement over the donuts they used to have.
    Daily driver Commuter AND Toy = FJ hands down! That is the beauty of the vehicle.
    Jeep Wranglers = Death Wobble and Louder and Louder wind noise every day. Destroy it.
    The Raptor… Destroy it as well, or Commute in it. As for a toy, sure if you want a toy that the frame bends at the bedline/cab when you try to use it as a ‘Toy’.

  • bc_indiana

    and ‘someone’ offers a hella cool winch mount for the stock FJ bumper Too!
    FJ wins. Always.

  • BFG Rugged Trails? I had these on my Toy Taco TRD 4 Dr 4×4 and they are crap off road and wore out in 42000 miles.

  • We DO need Ram Runner, Rubicon, FJ and Raptor here in Bogotá, Colombia, just search this words on google, please, then u will understand: “hueco bogota”.

  • James Buff

    Commute the Raptor, with the bed it’s functional but a terrible offroader because of the wheelbase and width. You can jump it from an up-slope to a down-slope at the right speed/angles? That’s true of all three. The Raptor goes nowhere that a normal pickup with decent tires and a lift can’t go.

    Toy the FJ. The blind spots suck (I own an ’11 all-green), but on 35’s with a lift it’s just as capable as any similarly-spec’d Jeep. Would it be nice if the roof came off? Yep, but it’s not necessary. If the main goal of a non-towed toy vehicle is to get you there at 70 MPH, to take you over everything that nature throws in your way and then to get you home at 70 MPH, the FJ is the most capable of these three to do that.

    Destroy the Wrangler. I had a ’99 TJ, that vehicle had 4 times more problems at 60K miles than the vehicle it replaced, a ’94 Toyota pickup with 213K miles. An idle tensioner pulley went out on Mt. Antero in Colorado at 12,000 feet, stranding me. Jeep vehicle quality/durability is crap, and has been for the last 30 years. If the Jeep isn’t as comfortable to drive to the trail (the other two have independent front suspensions and less wind noise), and it isn’t as reliable on the trail as the Toyota, how can it be anything else but destroy?

  • bc_indiana

    Well, for folks who know how to adjust and use mirrors, blinds spots are a non issue. You can argue that any car has blind spots…its all dependent on the mirror set up.
    FJ’s as I have seen at many offroad events and owning an 08 now since 2009… I can attest they are indeed reliable. Very reliable. I also have a Wrangler in the family (the other half drives) that is the definition of un reliable. Not to mention the stories I’ve heard of offroad failures with jeeps.
    People can have opinions all day… but until someone owns and uses all three of these vehicles the same way… its just an opinion. I have seen all three of these in action with the FJ (obviously) the most. I have to be honest, the FJ does things people don’t expect it to do. The Jeep doesn’t do things people expect it to. The Raptor well… just a desert runner set up.

  • bc_indiana

    I believe that is His point. That even with crappy tires for offroad use, the FJ is still amazing. yes, no one likes the BFG Rugged Trails for offroad.

  • Yup… but I gotta say that I’ve never stuck my FJ and I’ve been up to to the doors in water, mud and rocks. It defies all tire logic.

  • Why yes I do! And you too can have a winch mount for your FJ.

  • My point is kinda like that. I love the capabilities of my Toy Taco ( And I the FJ is too ugly) but the BFG Rugged Trail tires suck. And I will say my Taco never got stuck with those tires (even in thick river mud) but with BFG AT’s I run a helluva lot more comfortable.

  • JamestheFin

    Work: Raptor-even though I’ve never driven one it seems to be more of a practical work truck.
    Toy: FJ. I just find it to be a very good out of the box all around off-roader and without the reliability problems of the one below. There are a few things I’d change-visibility problems being one of them but that’s one of the few problems I have with it. Plus, it looks so different than anything else out there.
    Destroy: Wrangler. Some people swear they’ve never had any problems with Jeeps. I’m not one of them. Serious quality control issues IMO. Mine was a money pit that spent more time in the auto shop being repaired than out on the trails with most of it being related to the awful electrical systems mine had.

  • Russell Grosser

    When your IFS blows to bits on the trail, you’ll come running back to Jeep.

  • Russell Grosser

    Commuter would be the Ford. Cool looking truck, but I wouldn’t trust it to do the wheelin’ we do up here in BC.
    Jeep is and always will be the winner off road. Strong’ish axles on the Rubi, a 4:1 t-case, swaybar disco’s (that may or may not work all the time), better angles than the other, and nobody is going to ask you if it’s your wife or girlfriend’s vehicle when you go out in it.
    Scrap the Jap. Toyota lost all credability off road long ago. Their differentials are complete junk now and the CV joints can’t handle any tire upgrades without imploding. Working on them is a freakin’ joke where at least you can always piece the Jeep back together to get home if you need to.
    In response to the death wobble comment: If you don’t know how to align your wheels just get someone else to do it. If that’s not the issue, try balancing your tires. I run 37’s on a 2004 TJ that has been beat to S*&t off road and can easily cruise home at 100km/hr (that’s 60mph to most of you guys).

  • 427R

    I don’t know if you saw the obstacle in which the Raptors on the Raptors run bent the frame, but they abused the trucks plain an simple. They failed to do a prerun and where traveling at speed in which full caged trophy trucks run, preloaded the suspension prior hitting a cow path at high speed. That truck did exactly what is supposed to it didn’t fail, or loose control and safely got its occupants to there destination and back.

  • John Varney

    My wife and I own 2 of the three. She’s a Jeep girl for her daily driver and for off road driving. In the northeast (where we live at the moment) the Jeep is the go to off road vehicle. That being said, the Raptor has gone to places that supposedly only Jeeps can go but I get PA pin stripping when it does. For wider areas (West Coast/ Southwest) the Raptor would be the choice. Both work just fine for off road driving. Commutes go to the Raptor because of the ride. MPG is roughly the same. We take both to offroad events so that we can tow the Jeep if it breaks down. I’d just sell off the FJ and put the money into mods for the other 2 vehicles. We have no toys in out household, sorry.

  • dreidel

    i drive a sased 95 toy pickup as my dd and my offroading vehicle and at the last event i went to had several jeep guys tell me that if they didnt have so much money sunk into his jeep that he would buy a toyota because in stock form they were way stronger than a jeep in stock form
    my dad drive a ford and not only has it broke several times its unbelievable how much gas it uses
    based on the comment above i would drive and jeep and from watching my dads truck i wouldnt drive a ford id drive my toy everywhere and then some and its still be driving because toyota is quality over quantity so i would sell the ford and jeep for what they are worth (practically giving them away) and buy another toyota

  • Richard Joash Tan


  • Matt Herrington

    Owned two of the three here.
    Raptor – Destroy – what a joke. Let’s have the factory install half-assed geometry suspension, a wider rear end, and special TA’s and play like I’m a desert rat. All over here in SoCal and every time I look under one they’re CLEAN and UNSCATHED. Find me a college kid with a F-150 with a Fox setup, unpainted fenders, and a self built rear sus. setup and it’ll always run faster than this $55K poser platform.
    Jeep Rubi – Toy – mileage and (engine and accessory) reliability are a pain but unbeatable on the trail solid axle setup. My stock Rubi went places my FJ would never go.
    FJ – Daily Driver – now my mod’d FJ is a great road ride with IFS, handles well. What it does really well that the Jeep didn’t do is run fast (Icon Stage 3 setup, 35 BFG TA’s). While my jeep technically “would” go more places the FJ “does” go more places beacuse it’s so comfortable. The jeep was like getting punched in the back and had to be babied in washes. Great light trail vehicle that get’s lots of miles put on it. MPG sucks though relative to stock at 16.5.
    Guess it depends on where you live. If I had snow travel reg. I’d go back to the Jeep SFA setup so you could run a locker up there. Technically you can with IFS but then you’ll just tear up the CV’s, auto hubs, etc.

  • mbrosch

    I bought an ’07 FJ and after 4 years it had been driven only 9600 miles. The reason was because it was too small for most things and too big for everything else. I got used to it but never like it much. I also had a highly modified CJ7 that I loved to rock crawl with. The FJ, it never struck me a robust enough for the Arizona desert and those goofy rear doors we a pain.

  • randy

    Well owned Jeeps for years now we are 100% Toyota, yup an 07 FJ and 10 RAV4 why? Because I grew tired of recall notices and numerous dealer visits, doubt my comments research the recalls on the Jeep/Dodge/Fiat whatever it is for now. My FJ never lets me down, it pulls a 4000 lb trailer, and provides VERY capable offroading with the family. Until FIAT-Jeep stops putting Caravan engines in Jeeps it will just be a joke. Blindspots in the FJ yup they suck but I just bought concave stick on mirrors and installed a camera amd monitor I would trade that design goof over poor quality any day. The Raptor is a neat vehicle and would be the best for commuting but offroad no way I would be terrified wrecking it. I laugh at the urban Jeep guys who mod them even though ythey drive less than 1% off road, no thanks I like my Toyota comfort and reliability. 🙂

  • Donald

    Misspelled Practice. Ironic. Yep… a Jeep will go anywhere and break down. You can use your 350 to pull it back home to do yet another rebuild.

  • Marcus G

    Center front and back. 1 2 3. It’s true the FJ front diff doesn’t lock, but I’ve never needed it with ATRAC. In fact, I find I’d rather have the ATRAC.

  • Marcus G

    I guess “Scrap the Jap. Toyota lost all credibility off road long ago.” Kind of tells us you made up your mind before even looking at the FJ. “you can always piece the Jeep back together to get home if you need to.” Tells us you do that a lot.

  • HoiPolloiBoy

    I luv my 07 FJ. It can pull 5000 lbs, carry a box of firewood and our 2 dogs. When we get to where we go (lots of Death Valley and surrounds) we can go anywhere we want. We have a 3 inch Pro Comp lift, a winch housed in an ASFIR bumper, rock sliders, and skid plates built by Ricochet Off Road Armor which fit like they grew there. We also have a 2002 Jeep Wrangler which is cool for day trips around the house in AZ where we leave it so we don’t have to take the FJ and put 1600 round trip freeway miles on it. I’m sure a well built Jeep can go places beyond our FJ’s capability, but you can never have the best 4×4 on the block. I do miss my 68 Bronco, but they are what they are. I would recommend the FJ to anyone who wants something a little bigger than a Jeep.

  • kankankee

    DD the mileage of the lot, use the money you save on gas to fill the Raptor’s tank to haul my 22′ Catalina sailboat (my other toy) on the weekends to the lake, just leave the jeep in the driveway…it’ll fall apart all by itself.

  • Blue-Dog-Vet

    I get so tired of idiots who can’t even spell the most basic of words feel they are so enlightened that their opinions are infallible and superior to all other 6.5 billion of the world’s inhabitants. Let’s face it, there are good and bad aspects to all three vehicles. When you consider all the important factors in determining a vehicle, you first have to decide what meets your needs. For those with unlimited time and money your criteria will differ from most of the rest of us who can’t afford multiple vehicles. Here is how I analyze it on a 5 point scale with 5 as best; considering cost, capability, dependability, versatility, and an X-factor based on style and likeability.

    The Ford Raptor looks good, rides good, drinks gas, and is way to expensive for most people, but at least it has the hauling capabilities of a truck with good off-road capabilities. The Jeep Wrangler (in 2 door) is affordable, looks good, rides terrible (worse with off-road mods), drinks gas, and has a much lower reliability track record (based on all reliable sources). The 4 door is overpriced. The Toyota FJ Cruiser looks good (better without the white roof), is most affordable, very good capabilities out the gate but not as good as the jeep. What you save in initial cost you can invest into a few smart aftermarket items and meet or beat basic jeeps, while keeping the vastly superior reliability and longevity. It still rides very comfortably both on and off road. Overall the most versatile of the three.

    Raptor – Very expensive (1), good capabilities (3), medium dependability (2), good versatility (3), X factor based on looks and style (4); Total=13

    Wrangler – 2 door and 4 door average(2.5), great capabilities (5), poor dependability (2), versatility low (2), X factor based on popularity (4); Total=15.5

    FJ Cruiser – Lowest of the three (4), very good capabilities (4), outstanding dependability (5), very good versatility (4), X factor based on popularity with subtraction for white top and blind spot (3); Total=20

    So, when you consider cost, capability, dependability, and versatility the FJ has to win. It’s entry level cost is lower and is more of a jack of all trades. So if you are like most people who can only afford to buy one vehicle, then the FJ is your all-around best choice to meet all of your needs. If you aren’t like me and have unlimited funds, then get the Raptor for daily driving and hauling the parts for the upgraded weekend warrior Jeep.

    Daily Driver – Raptor or FJ Cruiser
    Toy – FJ or Jeep
    Destroy – None, they are all good in their own way.
    In the end, get what you like, choose with either your head or your heart and live with it. Don’t run down someone elses choice just because it doesn’t reflect your own.

    P.S. – for those of you who complain about the blind spot. If you PROPERLY adjust the mirrors the way it’s taught in basic Driver’s Ed (left mirror lean head against driver window, move mirror out until can just barely see driver side of vehicle; right mirror lean your head until halfway between driver and passenger seat, adjust passenger mirror out until you can just barely see passenger side of vehicle). If you do this, you drastically reduce the size of blind spots for any vehicle. Everyone wants to adjust mirrors without proper placement and get used to it that way, thus creating larger blind spots. Use these instructions for ANY vehicle you drive and you greatly reduce the size of blind spots.

  • Someones a Hater

    Maybe some poeple just like to type fast… or we all luv to txt. Electronics are takin over and there is no need 4 anything to be perfect anymore

  • Canda Rules

    u r fat…stupid amarican


    I’d honestly destroy the Ford and the Toyota, let the Jeep be my toy and everyday vehicle.

  • Seriously Kids

    Everyone gets to like what they like about any vehicle and anyone with a truck or car bug is going to be highly influenced by what they like. Consumers need to justify spending the money that vehicles cost, especially these days, and manufacturers try hard to convince buyers that their product provides all the reasons, or more reasons than the competition, to part with money. Specs matter but they are still specs. For example, none of these 3 have a high towing capacity, so if you need that in the vehicle you’re about to buy you’re crossing all of these off your list.

    “Reliability” is not the strong suit of any of these vehicles. Overall the FJ’s record is pedestrian and indicative of Toyota’s steady slide away from the 100,000 mile issue-less reputation they had established by the early ’90’s. No Ford or Jeep model (not talking about individual units) has ever been issue-free.

    The FJ was a cool release in the context of the market at the time and it still has visual appeal. It is more than just a look on wheels but really, in truck terms, it’s not much more than that. Some may like the styling better than the Raptor or Wrangler, but it doesn’t win any other category. Since I caved to age and wanted to drive it more in the Summer months, after adding A/C to my ’78 FJ, the only thing that the modern FJ does better is drive like car. My reaction couldn’t be flatter. A big, sarcastic: Whoop. De. Do.

    The rated mileage on the current FJ is nothing to brag about and the consensus is the real-life mileage is so far from its rating that the gas cost factor among this group of 3 is essentially even. Ymmv, but the real difference for model comparison is slight at best.

    The Wrangler can go convertible and if you’re going slowly over rocks or cruising to the beach it’s the choice, period. The Raptor comes 4 door or 2+ door, has a bed that’s big enough 90% (!) of the time, and has stability and ride quality that puts other pickups as well as Wranglers and FJ’s to shame. Space for drivers of almost every size, including adjustable pedals, and cabin room? FJ? Meh. Wrangler? Laughable, really. Raptor? Acreage.

    The winner for money in your pocket when its time to sell? Raptor. At those times when you want to mash the gas and go like you’re being shot at, two of these trucks look like they are standing still compared to the other one. Hmm, let’s see if we can figure out where this is headed…

    Commute, Toy or Destroy? Of this group, the Raptor has the most toy in it, is equal or better than the others in cost to operate and DD comfort aspects, and beats them with by far the best DD utility factor. I am destroying my Raptor every day, every chance I get, in every way I can find, and loving every damn minute of it.