in 2010 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $21,239 - $23,205
Original MSRP: $24,180 - $25,770
MPG: 17 City / 22 Hwy
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2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser Performance

This performance review was created when the car was new. Some links may no longer point to an active page.

The FJ Cruiser does exactly what it's supposed to do: excel as a top-notch off-roading machine. But it's still a decent enough performer on the pavement compared with other truck-based SUVs, even though the non-off-roaders in its class offer smoother rides and quieter engines. For off-roading, the FJ Cruiser has an all-terrain package that comes with a locking rear differential, A-TRAC active traction control and floating ball-type multi-information display (with an inclinometer, compass and temperature).

  • "Cruising along in the low gear, the engine has a high-pitched whine that makes you feel like you're filming a segment of Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom TV show." -- BusinessWeek
  • "Among the pros are a strong V6 engine that does an admirable job of scooting 4,295 pounds from a dead stop, a five-speed automatic transmission characterized by smooth shifts, and rack-and-pinion steering that's dialed in nicely." -- Autoweb
  • "The 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser is in its element off-road. Thanks to its ample suspension articulation, it crawls over boulders, tree roots and most other obstacles with ease. It's also better than most customers would expect on pavement, with precise steering and a smooth ride." -- Edmunds
  • "Like a Hummer, the FJ feels huge but with small windows. It drives like a Tacoma, meaning getting there is less than half the fun." -- Car and Driver

Acceleration and Power

The 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser features an updated 4.0-liter V6 engine that makes 259 horsepower. It is available with a five-speed electronically controlled automatic transmission or a six-speed manual for the full-time 4WD model. Along with the added power, the new engine comes with better fuel economy -- a plus considering that low gas mileage was a major complaint on the 2009 model. Two-wheel drive models are only available with the five-speed automatic transmission, but four-wheel drive FJs can be equipped with a six-speed manual. Test drivers appreciated the V6 engine, saying it's plenty powerful for most situations, though none called the SUV quick. Most reviewers said the automatic transmission is smooth and they liked the manual option.

According to the EPA, the 2010 FJ Cruiser is rated at 17/22 city/highway in two-wheel drive models. The four-wheel drive model achieves 17/21 with the automatic transmission and 15/19 with the manual. These figures are a little better than average for an off-road SUV, but they fall in the bottom half of the class when compared with non-off-roaders.

  • "Only 4WD FJs have been made available for testing. They have adequate pep with either transmission, though with the automatic, the V6 can feel overmatched by vehicle weight in passing maneuvers and on long uphill stretches. An automatic version did 7.2 seconds 0-60 mph in our test. The manual has long throws but light clutch action." -- Consumer Guide
  • "The engine will delight you and drive you nuts. The torque-rich V-6, shared with Toyota's Tacoma and Tundra pickups, moves FJ smoothly at low speed, common in urban traffic as it is off-road, and gives the rugged truck an unexpected, easygoing nature." -- USA Today
  • "I enjoyed driving both transmissions. The manual feels appropriate in a truck of this type, and its six gears are generous. ... The automatic is typical Toyota: responsive, smooth and unobtrusive." -- Cars.com
  • "In terms of power, this year's engine revisions have given the FJ a bit of a boost -- acceleration is brisk. Notably, the FJ no longer requires premium fuel either." -- Edmunds

Handling and Braking

The consensus when it was new was that the FJ Cruiser offers good handling, although it's not as smooth or nimble as crossover SUVs. Reviewers said that compared with other truck-based SUVs, the FJ Cruiser drives fairly comfortably, without much body lean. Minor suspension updates for 2010 reduced the turning radius by more than a foot.

  • "Firm but compliant suspension combines with tall-sidewall mud and snow tires to flatten most road bumps with little jolt or body quiver. FJ's relatively short wheelbase results in bouncy body motions on uneven surfaces." -- Consumer Guide
  • "On-road handling feels slightly better than a similarly outfitted 4Runner, where the FJ Cruiser enjoys a marginally more planted and stable cornering attitude." -- Road and Track

Next Steps: 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser

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