The FJ Cruiser is a tribute to the Toyota FJ 40 LandCruiser. That original Cruiser was
rugged old-style 4WD, whereas the new one that was introduced in March 2011 is much
easier to live with. So, it’s the one we are covering in the Used Car Checkout.

Unlike the old FJ 40 LandCruisers, the Toyota FJ Cruiser has four doors. But the rear
doors are tiny and have their handles on the inside. To get to the rear seats you have to
open the front door, then squeeze though a rather small slot.

Underneath that fascinating retro body there’s plenty of Toyota Prado, but it’s built on a
shorter chassis to keep the price of the FJ way down.

Like most fad cars sales of the FJ Cruiser tailed off and eventually it was withdrawn from
the Australian market midway through 2016. There are plenty of other Toyota 4WDs on
offer – but none have the flair of the FJ Cruiser.

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is powered by the 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine as used in Prado and
HiLux. It is linked to a five-speed automatic transmission that sends power to all four
wheels by way of a dual-range transfer case.

It’s a thirsty beast, particularly off-road due to having a petrol engine rather than a diesel.
A major update in March 2013 saw an additional petrol tank introduced which doubled its

At the same time electronics were added to the traction control to further improved off-road
ability and on-road safety.

The FJ is fine on the open road, cruising easily at more than 110km/h and has good road
feel for its class. That’s because the suspension is tuned for Australian conditions. On fast
gravel roads the Toyota points well and corners well with not too much body roll.

Toyota FJ Cruiser’s off-road ability is underlined by the clearance necessities: 224 mm of
ground clearance under the vital components, the differential housings. There’s a
departure angle of 31 degrees, ramp-over of 29 degrees and the all-important approach
angle of 36 degrees. As we said, this Toyota is no toy.

Infotainment includes an eight-speaker, six-CD sound system. It has Bluetooth capability
and steering wheel controls.

The FJ Cruiser gets the Vehicle Stability Control, active traction control, ABS brakes,
Brake Assist and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.

It has six airbags, active head rests for the front seats. Preventing minor crashes are
reversing camera and rear parking sensors.

The reversing camera isn’t just for city-slicker parking, we find it very useful in tricky off-
road situations where you have to reverse on steep, narrow tracks.

Toyota has been a major player in Australia for many years and has been number one for
longer than competitors care to think about. So is well established in the suburbs as well
as out back of beyond.

There are many Toyota dealers in Oz even in areas where other so-called SUVs fear to
tread. Spare parts may not be in stock in the small, remote areas, but can usually be
shipped out within a few business days.

There’s plenty of underbody and underbonnet space so you can do quite a lot of the work

Insurance charges are generally moderate but as always it pays to shop around for the
best deal. Make sure that you are comparing like for like, though.

Most FJ Cruisers are only used as tough-looking on-road machines, others take on the
Aussie bush and beaches in the hand of enthusiastic off roaders.

Look for scratches in the doors and sills, as well as bits missing on the bumper corners.

Do an extensive check underneath for signs that the FJ Cruiser has hit the ground in off-
road areas.

Scars in the luggage area may be another sign the ‘Cruiser has spent a lot of time roaming
this great country.

Open the tailgate and see if it sags, even by a small amount – the weight of the spare
wheel puts a lot of strain on the door hinges.

Make sure that the engine starts easily, the automatic transmission acts smoothly and
accurately and the ABS brakes stop you quickly and in a straight line.

Expect to pay from $15,000 to $22,000 for a 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser; $18,000 to $25,000
for 2014 model; $20,000 to $28,000 for a 2015; and $23,000 to $31,000 for a 2016.

Looking for a real 4WD? Many have been bought by those wanting to look “tuff” at the
wheel. Chase these down as they’re likely to be in better condition than off-roaders.

RECALLS: To browse recalls on all vehicles go to the ACCC at:


About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *