2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review
Not only does the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser shine on unpaved roads, but it has good on-road manners that make it a livable daily driver.
The FJ Cruiser’s rugged, retro personality is reflected in both its looks and its utilitarian, basic interior. While that’s fairly common in off-road SUVs, car reviewers note that other off-roaders have more high-tech options and nicer cabin materials. The FJ doesn’t even offer an optional navigation system.
Although it has impressive trail-rated performance that reviewers love, the FJ Cruiser doesn’t make a big compromise with its manners on the pavement like other dedicated off-road SUVs do. It has a fairly comfortable ride, and is more nimble than most of its rivals.
No matter how the FJ Cruiser compares with other hardcore SUVs, it’s nowhere near as agile, comfortable or upscale as a car-based crossover. If you’re looking for a family vehicle with a bit of off-road capability, the FJ Cruiser isn’t the best choice. However, shoppers looking for a dedicated boulder-bashing sport-ute that’s a bit civilized for the 9-to-5 commute, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is one of the best options on the market.
Other Off-Road SUVs to Consider
The Jeep Wrangler should be on the shopping list of anyone who’s considering an off-road SUV. An iconic vehicle with a long history of off-road performance, the Wrangler is available in many more configurations than the FJ Cruiser. You can get it with two or four doors, a hard or soft top, and it can even be outfitted with leather seats. That’s a far cry from the FJ Cruiser’s basic setup. The two-door Jeep Wrangler starts at a lower price than the FJ, while the four-door Wrangler Unlimited costs about the same. Plus, the Wrangler gets a new engine this year, which makes it better both on and off-road than previous models.
The Nissan Xterra is another off-road option, though it’s smaller than the Toyota FJ Cruiser. It also offers higher-end features like leather upholstery, but in general, its cabin has a similarly utilitarian layout to the FJ. Since the Xterra is smaller and narrower than the FJ, it can go places where the wide-body Toyota can’t, and it provides nearly as much cargo space. Opting for the Nissan will save you some cash as well, though it’s not as inexpensive as the Wrangler.
Details: Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is available in only one trim. For 2012, the Trail Teams Special Edition Package adds one new exterior paint color, but the FJ doesn’t see any other changes. Keep in mind that the FJ Cruiser is one of few SUVs on that market that’s available with a manual transmission.
See the full list of 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser specs.
- "This dedicated off-roader is anything but straightforward and ultra-sensible. But what it lacks in sensibility, it makes up for with gobs of character; it's fun to drive and even more fun to look at. Plus, it maintains one of those well-known Toyota family traits: It's dependable.” -- Edmunds
- "The FJ Cruiser is more than just funky, chunky looks – it’s a capable off-roader, too. And the trails are where it feels most at home, as on-road noise, poor rearward visibility, and a rough ride compromise everyday livability.” -- Car and Driver
- "FJ pays a price for its exaggerated styling and off-road-biased engineering. On-road performance and daily practicality don't match those of less-radical rivals. It is solidly built, extremely capable off-road, and looks like no other SUV.” -- Consumer Guide
- "No one will argue that the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV isn't fun, but it does have a number of practical drawbacks including poor fuel economy, some wicked blind spots and a not-so-roomy cargo hold.” -- Kelley Blue Book