Why we miss the Toyota FJ Cruiser.
John Goreham's picture

Vehicles We Miss: Toyota FJ Cruiser

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a vehicle we miss. Here's why.
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Toyota has built many great off-road vehicles over the past century. The Land Cruiser remains as does the 4Runner and Tacoma. The RAV4 is arguably an off-roader in certain trims. However, for some reason, Toyota killed off one of its most iconic off-roaders, the FJ Cruiser.

FJ Cruiser History
The FJ Cruiser first appeared as an homage to prior FJ Toyota models in 2003. The production version was launched in 2005. The FJ Cruiser ran for 11 years in America and resulted in sales of approximately a quarter of a million units sold. The sales began high. Above 50K units per year. However, after the first couple of years, the sales dropped by about half, then by about half again settling in at about 14K units per year from 2009 to 2014. Sales were the main reason the FJ was dropped, but it should be noted that in 2019, Toyota/Lexus had eight models still for sale that didn't top 14K units.

Toyota FJ Cruiser shifter

FJ Cruiser - What Was It?
The FJ Cruiser was a body-on-frame sport utility vehicle designed with serious off-road capability. With its A-TRAC traction control and locking center differential, the FJ Cruiser was at home where the road ended. Power from the 4-liter V6 engine ranged from 239 hp to about 259 depending on the year (there was a bump in 2010). Both manual and automatic transmissions were available.

The FJ Cruiser didn't get great fuel economy by modern metrics. About 18 MPG combined was the average over its span of production, but it did at least use regular unleaded fuel.

Toyota FJ Cruiser interior

The body was unusual. It had no B-Pillar. Instead, the doors could swing open to reveal the interior. The rear doors hinged from the back. Inside, the FJ was also uniquely styled. "Chunky" might be one word to describe the FJ Cruiser's dash.

Toyota FJ cargo area

The cargo area was generous and square. Great for outdoor activity packing.

FJ Cruiser Retained Value
Fans loved the FJ Cruiser. One proof of this is that the vehicle sold used for nearly the same price as it did new during its production and shortly after it ended. The FJ Cruiser topped many industry lists as the vehicle with the best-retained value. On the lists it was not number one, the Tacoma often was.

If you own and love your FJ Cruiser, please tell us in the comments below what makes it special to you and how you use it.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career and dedicated himself to chasing his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and connect with him at Linkedin.


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Comments

I’ve had a 2007 model since they first came to Canada in late spring 2006. It’s awesome, plain and simple. I’ve used it for towing close to its maximum capacity of 5,000 pounds for many years and enjoyed hundreds of off-road expeditions. Although it has never let me down, I toyed briefly with thoughts of trading it in on a Tacoma a year ago when it topped 200,000 kilometres. I also wanted a little more room for gear. Then I read about two photographers who had similar FJ models that had exceeded 700,000 kilometres and realized mine had plenty of good years left and was just broken in. Nothing on the market now has similar capabilities on- and off-road so it will be our go-to adventure vehicle for a good many years to come.
Terrific truck. Thanks for the great story. I would buy another in a heartbeat if i could
I loved my 2014 FJ. I LOOKED FOR OVER A YEAR TI FIND A ONE OWNER WITH ONLY 16,000 miles and certified. After five great years I sold it with 50k miles for the same price as I bought it for. If it had the ability to tow our boat I would never have sold it.
I love mine, its like nothing else on the road, I don't like being like everyone else, so I picked it over a wrangler, i've had a jeep before and the quality in the build far exceeds it, its unique and gets looks and complements everywhere I go, and although the styling was radical in 2007 and some felt it was over the top it meets and sits right with other vehicles in 2020, 5 or 6 years after production ended in the us, people mouths drop when I say mines a 07, I love it and highly recommend it if you don't want to be like everyone and there mom with a wrangler pick up a fj, they hold there value and are very reliable.
I have 1 unit 2016 fj cruiser and i love the performance of this car..and u know what? I will buy onother one...i will preserve it.
I love my FJ because it affords me utility and dependability at the same time. It is a unique vehicle that is desirable because it is no longer made.
We own a 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser, Manual Transmission. We absolutely love it. Best vehicle we have ever owned. Will never part with it.
I own a 2007 Voodoo Blue FJ & I love it as much now as when I bought it. Dependable, goes through anything and I’ve never felt safer in any vehicle. I haven’t had any major problems with it at over 108,000 miles. Still runs like a top. Toyota did everything right when they made this vehicle.
I just bought a 2008 fj cruiser out cd player won't play any of our CDs keep coming up error code 3. Love my fj but could use help with cd player any ideas?
I love my 2007 FJ. However, it requires premium unleaded gas, not regular.
You can burn regular just fine (I do). There is a slight loss of fuel economy and power (very slight) but it will not hurt your engine. Search out the topic on the Inter-webby for more details. Bottom line is that Toyota spec-ed premium to get that little bump in fuel economy to help with sales.
I own a 2013 took it for its first long road trip 2000 miles one way loved every minute of it did not get uncomfortable and it's a very capable four wheel drive and if I had the money I'd buy a whole garage full and no one has not given me any trouble
Bought my FJ new in 07. It is the extra car that gets only car use. Dogs, grocery, lumber store and boat towing. 120k on the odometer. My daughter asked if I’d ‘will’ it it to her when I croak. Just turned 60 and it’s a 12yr old car. That sums it up well.
I own a 2014 and a 2007, both manual. The only vehicle I love more is my 1971 FJ.
I had a '78 FJ40... GREAT vehicle I wish I never sold but at the time it made sense that I did. Bought a 2010 FJ Cruiser about seven years ago and love it almost as much as my iconic '78. Certainly the Cruiser has "creature comforts" the old 40s never had and the Cruisers are now becoming as iconic as the 40s. Great rigs!
Own a 2007 TRD Supercharged FJ...she's a beast. Only changed oil, the brakes and wipers. Use it as a DD and overlanding.
This could be the best truck Toyota ever made. Bring it back? That's up to the big wigs at Toyota. Reliablitly, Dependability, great looks doesn't always mean that the manufacturer will reincarnate the vehicle. I own two FJC's. I love them!
I should have never got rid of my 2014 FJ.. I traded it in for a Didge Challenger R/T Plus. Although I loved the Challenger, looking back, I should’ve never got rid of the FJ. Now they don’t make them anymore. Bad move by me. Worse move by Toyota.
Get rid of the challenger. Dry up the tears and get a used FJC. I'll send you some kleenex.
2011 FJ bought NEW... will NEVER sell it! Best car I’ve owned and often people stop me to comment. Caravan blue, white top, loaded and cared for... dealership offers to buy nearly every time I get a oil change- I just laugh! Snow, mud, sunny days... all fit for this fun TOYota!!
Have a 2014 FJ Cruiser,green with white top. Basically with 48,000 trouble free miles. Smooth running and excellent for long trips. Have driven it on trips continually for 21 hours. Have had offers often for nears new purchase price. It is a keeper. Plan to install TRD exhaust and raise front 2 inches.Like this machine.
I have 3- 2007s. I think that explains how I feel about it- I wouldn't drive anything else. Get the 6 speed manual if you can. Add a Borla exhaust.
Bought our FJ new in 2012. Best vehicle we've ever had. It meets every need we have. We can take it anywhere. It gets acceptable mileage, it's comfortable and aerodynamic for the road because of its shape. The rear seat holds three adults comfortably. Rear cargo area is roomy and configurable. I added rock rails snd running boards after market. Only complaint is that we'd have liked in dash navigation.
I have a 2007 TRD special edition model. 202K miles. I bought it new 13 years ago and absolutely have no plans to get rid of it it does need some cosmetic blemishes fixed but other than that it’s been a great vehicle and completely trouble free. I was rear ended several years ago but got a new tailgate put on that’s been the only issue - I was the only vehicle to drive away from the wreck which involved three vehicles. It’s a very tough truck and I look forward to getting it cosmetically looking brand new again soon
I had wanted an FJ Cruiser ever since the very first time I spotted one on the road years ago. I currently have three: a 2011 (56,282 miles on it) and two 2014 Trail Teams Ultimate Editions (the automatic has 580 miles on it and the 6-speed manual has 150 miles on it -- both were purchased in the last 10 months from collectors). The 2011 is my daily-driver/winter/dog/trailhead vehicle. It's an absolute beast in deep snow. The 2014 TTUEs will be babied. My friends want to stage an intervention before I purchase a fourth FJ. I also have a 2020 4Runner SR5 Premium (purchased in November 2019) with only 969 miles on it. I should probably sell the 4Runner (I like it very much, but I'm driving it infrequently), but I will never sell the FJs.
Had 74 an 76 FJ 40. Bad to the Bone. Own an 81 FJ 60 wagon. Runs like a sewing machine. Tough. Drove across U S. through Rocky Mountains into Canada. Met World Walker Steve Newman in Wyoming fishing below Gideon Falls. Was going to buy new 2007 FJ an found one loaded with only $11,000 miles at great deal. Still going strong at nearly 250,000 miles. Runs like a scalded dog. I tow a custom built dual axle trailer 12'long with side tool boxes over axles. Call it my Chuck wagon. . I haul lumber, ATV's, Lawn tractors,, an my matching yellow Harley. I love my FJ. Would buy a color for every day of the week if I could. My all time favorite. This from a man with 2 Fords with Diesels an 1 Dodge with Cummins.
I love this rig, and want/plan to get one. All these articles are doing is jacking up the price on these things! Hype hype until they are out of reach!
Just do it. It is a Toyota FJ and it will never be worth less than you pay for it if you maintain it. I had a Dodge Cummins 12V and I kept it for 10 years and sold it for (EXACTLY!!) what I paid for it. The FJC will probably be worth more than I paid...but I'll never sell it.
Well I just bought my 2007 (manual six with TRD suspension and 35s installed by previous owner) with 214,000 miles last year. Full maintenance history and I liked the previous owner and did not pay for a prepurchase inspection. Runs like a new truck. I love the thing. I look for two tracks off the highway just to use it for the purpose it was intended. Heck my wife even says it is fun! Only complaint is that it is a bit "stumbly" stepping off from a stand still when burning regular gas. If you are going off road get a tank of premium. Or just keep her in 4Low. Oh, I could use about three or four more gallons in the tank. Buy a FJC and keep it. Your kids will thank you when you are dead and have given it to them. You cannot put a price on eternal gratitude.
I own two FJC's; a 2007 black cherry 2WD with 70k miles and a 2008 4WD brick red with 80k miles. I love both! The 2WD is light on it's feet, a bit better fuel mileage. I like it from standpoint that it's not pulling so much unnecessary weight when driving it around town. In this sense, the 2WD reminds me of International's 2WD Scout. It looks great around town as a ranch wagon. It doesn't try to be too much.

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