2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview
The Toyota FJ Cruiser, brought to market in late 2006, is Toyota’s attempt to rekindle its reputation for making quality, capable off-roading vehicles. Ever since the original Land Cruiser showed the world that hostile environments were now accessible to everyone, Toyota has been known for making some of the sturdiest and strongest vehicles available. The new 2013 FJ Cruiser is no disappointment.
At first, it looks funky – maybe even a bit odd. But as you look at it more and more, it becomes cool and rugged. Every FJ Cruiser (FJ from now on) comes standard with huge, chunky wheels and tires, a black body trim pieces. Perhaps a tribute to its off-road heritage, Toyota has given each FJ an under-body skid plate and automatic projector-beam halogen headlights. Exterior options include wheel locks, towing ball and hitch, and bead-locking wheels that help prevent the tires from separating from the wheels on the trail. In addition, a roof-rack, rock rails, and running boards are options for off-road and camping enthusiasts.
The inside of the FJ is probably the most rugged interior in production today. Every surface is made of easily-cleaned materials: the dash is rubbery and even the seats are made of a soft plastic material that doesn’t absorb moisture. The knobs for the standard air conditioning, radio, and MP3 player are chunky and easily usable by those wearing gloves. Bluetooth connectivity, a multifunction steering wheel, power windows, and 60/40 split rear-seats all come standard as well. Options are limited, but include ash trays, cargo nets, and an extra passenger armrest. One interior package is available, the “convenience package.” With this package, you get cruise control, a rear-view camera, rear-wiper, and power mirrors, among other less exciting things.
The real meat of an off-road vehicle is always its mechanics. The engine needs to be relentless – not necessarily powerful – but strong and reliable. Toyota’s 260-horsepower, 4.0-liter V-6 with 271 pounds-feet of torque fits the bill. The FJ can return up to 17/20 MPG (city/highway), but may give as little as 15/18 MPG depending on the trim selection.
Three trims are available, each with their own personality. The base FJ cruiser has two-wheel drive and an automatic transmission. It comes standard with steel wheels and relatively modest off-road capability. The mid-range trim is not very different from the base model, as far as looks go, but its mechanics are quite changed. It gets full-time 4WD, a manual gearbox, and a locking rear differential. This is the most hardcore of the trims, and can be spec’d with packages that include CRAWL (off-road driving system), A-TRAC (active traction control), specially tuned off-road suspension, extra beefed-up brakes, a quick-shifter, and a high-performance air intake. The top tier trim is similar to the mid-range trim, but it gets an automatic transmission. It’s intended to be a more luxurious way of going to inhospitable areas.
The 2013 FJ Cruiser is actually quite a safe car. The IIHS awarded the FJ with an overall “Good” rating, the highest award from the IIHS. Its only downfall was its roof strength, which the IIHS rated as “Acceptable.” Standard safety features include traction control, anti-lock disc brakes, and six airbags. In addition, the FJ gets side-impact door beams, active headrests, and rear parking sensors to prevent close scrapes with walls.