in 2013 Affordable Midsize SUVs

Avg. Price Paid: $26,890 - $28,842
Original MSRP: $27,030 - $28,620
MPG: 16 City / 20 Hwy
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2013 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 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is designed as an off-roader, and reviewers say it fares pretty well on paved roads also. They say its V6 engine provides adequate power, although its transmissions aren’t perfect.

  • "Surprisingly, we found the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV to be as equally welcome on road as it was off." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "And just like the old FJ, it is as tough and agile as a mountain goat thanks to a robust engine, a rugged chassis and a nimble off-road nature." -- Edmunds (2011)

Acceleration and Power

The 2013 FJ Cruiser is powered by a 260-horsepower, 4.0-liter V6 engine. Power is routed to the wheels through either a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual, the latter of which is only available with full-time four-wheel drive. According to the EPA, the FJ Cruiser’s fuel economy ranges from 15/18 mpg city/highway for models with the manual transmission and full-time four-wheel drive to 17/20 on models with the five-speed auto and part-time four-wheel drive.

Reviewers have mostly good comments on the FJ Cruiser’s power. One says it feels very peppy, and also comments that the exhaust sounds good. Another says it feels adequately powered, but mentions that the automatic transmission sometimes feels unprepared for highway passing. This critic also gives the manual transmission a mixed review.

  • "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. The manual has long throws but light clutch action." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "Acceleration from the V6 engine is brisk, particularly at low- and midrange speeds, and exudes a nice exhaust bark that increases the ‘sport’ quotient of this utility vehicle." -- Edmunds (2012)

Handling and Braking

Considering its off-roading ability, reviewers are surprisingly pleased with the 2013 FJ Cruiser’s on-road ride. They say it is smooth and fairly refined, though one critic thinks the Nissan Xterra is a bit more comfortable. One also mentions that low-speed maneuvering is good, while another says it steers precisely, and notes that the brakes feel plenty strong. Two- and four-wheel drive are available.

  • "… the FJ Cruiser corners better than the Jeep [Wrangler] in daily driving, but not as well as the Nissan Xterra. However, on the highway we think the FJ has the best ride of the three." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Close-quarters maneuverability is good, and stopping control feels more than adequate." --Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The FJ is also surprisingly good on pavement, offering precise steering and a smooth ride that makes a Jeep Wrangler seem like an ox cart by comparison." -- Edmunds (2012)


Critics say the 2013 FJ Cruiser excels as an off-road vehicle. They say there is plenty of ground clearance with good approach and departure angles. Skid plates are standard, and four-wheel drive systems are available either as part-time or full-time, depending on which transmission the FJ Cruiser is equipped with. Crawl control and active traction control are available in packages on 4x4 models, and a limited slip differential comes on rear-wheel drive models. A Trail Teams package includes crawl and traction control, and also has features like Bilstein shocks, rock rails, a locking rear differential and beadlock wheels.

  • "Venturing off road gave us a chance to really fall in love with the FJ, and fall we did. The 32-inch tires, 9.6 inches of ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles and electronically controlled traction control permit the FJ to go over just about anything it can clear, although the wide body does pose some challenges the Jeep Wrangler never worries about." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The available off-road traction-control system keeps FJ going through very deep ruts and over extra-tall humps." -- Consumer Guide (2012)
  • "The … Toyota FJ Cruiser is in its element when off-road. With ample suspension articulation, it crawls over boulders, ruts and most other obstacles with ease." -- Edmunds (2012)

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