2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review
It’s not a refined family cruiser, but the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a great choice for those looking for an off-road-ready SUV that’s not punishing on pavement.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser’s off-road capabilities nearly match those of the venerable Jeep Wrangler, according to critics. They’re pleased with its ability both off and on road, and impressed with its V6 engine, although not quite as enamored with its available manual and automatic transmissions. Its fuel economy, at 17/20 mpg city/highway, isn’t great among midsize SUVs, but it tops other off-road rivals like the Wrangler and Nissan Xterra. The FJ Cruiser is available with both rear- and four-wheel drive. Overall, reviewers note that the FJ Cruiser is about as comfortable to drive on road as it is off, with well-weighted steering that makes it fairly maneuverable. The FJ Cruiser also stands out with an above-average reliability score for the class.
Reviewers say the FJ Cruiser’s cabin is very utilitarian. It features hard plastics and cloth seats that are easy to clean. It doesn’t offer a lot of standard or optional equipment. It does have a standard six-speaker stereo with a USB port and Bluetooth, while an 11-speaker JBL stereo is optional. Critics say its five seats are comfortable. It trails key rivals in terms of cargo space, but reviewers find the interior tie-down hooks helpful. Some note that its rear cargo door, which opens to the side, is heavy because the spare tire is mounted on it.
- "If you're looking for a daily driver that can double as an off-road weekend warrior, the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is sure to please." -- Kelley Blue Book
- "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 (2012)
- "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 (2012)
Other SUVs to Consider
The Jeep Wrangler is considered one of the top off-road SUVs by most auto reviewers. It has recently received some major mechanical upgrades that reviewers say pay big dividends in terms of on-road refinement and overall power. It is only available with four-wheel drive, and comes as a two-door or four-door Unlimited model.
If you want a vehicle that can hold its own off-road but offers more interior and passenger space than the FJ Cruiser, the Toyota 4Runner may be worth a look. It can seat up to seven with its optional third row, and also offers more overall cargo space than the FJ Cruiser. It does cost a bit more than the FJ Cruiser, but critics evaluate its overall level of refinement to be better than that of the rugged FJ Cruiser.
Details: 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is available in only one trim. It comes with a V6 engine, either a manual or automatic transmission and two- or four-wheel drive. It can seat five people. Since the FJ Cruiser sees no major changes for 2013, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from the 2007 to 2013 model years.