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#15

in Affordable Midsize SUVs

MSRP: $27,680 - $29,270
Invoice: $25,743 - $27,221
MPG: 16 City / 20 Hwy
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Toyota FJ Cruiser Performance

Reviewers say that the 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is an off-road SUV that’s fairly easy to live with on a daily basis, especially when compared with rivals like the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Still, if you’re not planning to venture off the pavement, there are crossover alternatives that offer a more comfortable ride and get better fuel economy.

  • "Compared to the 4-door Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, however, the 2013 FJ Cruiser is downright civilized, and therein lies its unique value. It certainly isn't carlike, but if you're looking for supreme off-road chops in a somewhat pavement-friendly package, this Toyota is at the top of a very short list." -- AutoTrader
  • "It's wider than the Jeep Wrangler, but it's far better in everyday life. Overall, the FJ has a lot to offer in comparison to the Wrangler or the Nissan Xterra, and we think that for daily driving it would be the best of the three." -- Kelley Blue Book

Acceleration and Power

The 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0-liter V6 engine that produces 260 horsepower. An automatic transmission is standard, and is offered with either rear- or part-time four-wheel drive. A six-speed manual is available exclusively with full-time four-wheel drive. According to the EPA, a rear-wheel drive FJ Cruiser gets 16/20 mpg city/highway, which is unimpressive for a midsize SUV, but competitive with direct rivals like the Jeep Wrangler and Nissan Xterra.

Test drivers say the FJ Cruiser has adequate power for most driving situations, though they admit that it isn't particularly fast, and that automatic models can struggle on hills or when trying to pass slower-moving traffic. One reviewer says the manual transmission's clutch has a light action, though the shifter requires long throws.

See full 2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser specs »

  • "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

While it isn't as comfortable and refined on pavement as most affordable midsize SUVs, test drivers say the FJ Cruiser has a fairly comfortable ride for an off-road SUV, and that it can serve as a daily driver just fine. One reviewer notes that the brakes offer plenty of stopping power and the FJ Cruiser is fairly easy to maneuver.

  • "The FJ Cruiser rides surprisingly well for a truck-based SUV. Still, there's no disguising its primary purpose in life, which is to pound off-road terrain into submission. As such, the FJ has a tendency to bounce and jiggle over imperfect pavement. Refined isn't an adjective that comes to mind when you're behind the wheel." -- AutoTrader
  • "For a fairly hard-core weekend off-road warrior, the FJ makes an entirely reasonable daily driver, and you really can live with it day-in, day-out. Few others will match that blend as well." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Close-quarters maneuverability is good, and stopping control feels more than adequate." -- Consumer Guide (2012)

Off-Roading

The FJ Cruiser comes standard with rear-wheel drive, while part- and full-time four-wheel drive systems are available. Toyota offers an off-road upgrade package on the FJ Cruiser, which includes active traction control, an electronic locking rear differential, Bilstein shocks and more aggressive tires. Test drivers are impressed with the FJ Cruiser's off-road capability, noting that it has generous ground clearance and good approach and departure angles, which enable the FJ Cruiser to easily crawl over rough, uneven terrain.

  • "In the dirt, of course, the FJ is a revelation, using its ample ground clearance and generous approach and departure angles to tame nearly any trail." -- AutoTrader
  • "Go where the pavement ends, however, and it's in its element. The big tires, ample ground clearance, steep approach and departure angles and helpful traction control give the FJ outstanding capabilities in dealing with the wilderness primeval." -- Kelley Blue Book
Review Last Updated: 5/13/14

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