We Wrap Up Our Time With The FJ
A year has passed and our FJ Cruiser has returned to Toyota, but not before we put nearly 15,000 miles on it. We learned a lot about Toyota's smallest Cruiser during its stay with us, but one of the most intriguing things we discovered was how well received the FJ has been by our readers, becoming one of the most popular single models in recent memory.
With a year of experience behind us, we can share your enthusiasm for the FJ. It is a vehicle that is as adept on the road as it is on the trail. We trusted it enough to take on a solo trip to prerun our FWOTY competitions and to enjoy it in the snow, and on our regular backcountry trips to the California desert
The FJ obviously makes an excellent platform for aftermarket modifications, but our sharp-looking TRD Special Edition addressed many of our needs and wants that we would normally address in the aftermarket, while keeping the vehicle stock. We felt the inclusive and exclusive TRD package was our FJ's best feature, and the unique monochromatic look (with the black body-color top) drew attention wherever FJ fans were in attendance.
The chassis of the FJ also proved to be playful, capable, and fun. It is truly a driver's machine in the right environment, no doubt helped by the 4.0L V-6 and six-speed manual transmission of our tester. The Bilstein shocks and BFGoodrich All-Terrain tires, remain one of our favorite combinations and didn't disappoint in this go around.
While we regularly heaped praise on our FJ, there are a few areas we would improve, such as visibility, a highway range of more than 300 miles, and more comfortable seats. We also were less than thrilled with the typical beeping of the electronics warning or alerting at seemingly regular intervals-a malady we have come to expect from Toyota vehicles these days.
The FJ was much more agreeable when it came to its simple and inexpensive maintenance schedule, which required servicing every 5,000 miles. The FJ was also as reliable as expected with the sole hiccup being a malfunctioning windshield washer system that was replaced under warranty.
After earning our respect over the course of the year, we can, without reservation, recommend the FJ Cruiser to anyone who has it underconsideration. We are also planning more FJ stories in future issues of Four Wheeler thanks to all of the interest our long-termer has received from our readers.
Report: 4 of 4
Previous reports: June '08, Nov. '08, Feb. '09
Base price: $23,090
Price as tested: $31,953
Four-wheel-drive system: Full-time with Torsen center differential and low range
Miles to date: 14,837
Miles since last report: 2,311
Average mpg (this report): 15.80
Test best tank (mpg): 18.06
Test worst tank (mpg): 12.64
15,000-mile Service: $205.72
Problem areas: Windshield washer
What's Hot, What's Not
HOT: Amazing drivetrain, TRD package, high fun factor
NOT: Short fuel range, visibility, seats, beeping
* "Excellent drivetrain."
* "Slight booming road noise can resonate in the cabin."
* "Why don't the rear windows roll down?"
* "Great sound system makes long trips enjoyable."
* "Amazing that this full-time 4WD system exhibits no bind in tight maneuvers, such as parking."