One look at the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV, and you just know it is made for the unbeaten path. This is definitely a vehicle that is going to get you down the road less traveled and back again without the struggle you would expect from other so-called off-road vehicles. The 4.0-liter V6 pairs with a five-speed automatic transmission to deliver 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, and can easily tow up to 5,000 pounds. Rear-wheel drive is standard, but there are two four-wheel drive systems to choose from. The first is your typical part-time system seen in most SUVs. The second is a full-time four-wheel drive system that comes with a locking rear differential and six-speed manual transmission. One thing that really makes FJ standard out from other SUVs is its impressive water fording limit. Due to its protected electrical components and elevated air intake, it can traverse through water depths of 28 inches, so that an expected stream won’t stop you from getting to your destination. Although the ride is smooth on the street, there is a considerable amount of wind noise in the cabin, if you take it on the highway. Another point to consider is that the turning circle on the FJ Cruiser is 40.7 feet. This means that you can pretty much forget about trying to maneuver or park in tight spaces. Another downfall is fuel economy, as FJ only returns an average of 16 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.
• Audio - Most buyers will want to upgrade to the available JBL® audio system, which features 10 speakers, one subwoofer, 90-day trial to SiriusXM radio, auxiliary audio jack, Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and six-disc CD changer.
• USB Port - The USB port lets you plug in and play, regardless how large your music library is.
• Bluetooth - Never take your hands off the wheel or your eyes off the road again to send, end or receive a call with the Bluetooth hands-free system.
• Steering Wheel Controls - Clearly marked buttons on the steering wheel allow you to control your audio system and Bluetooth system. This is a convenience and safety feature in one.
When tested by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the 2013 Cruiser was given a “Good” rating for front and side impact crash tests, but was rated as only “Acceptable” in roof strength. In addition to six airbags and a multi-terrain four-wheel anti-lock brake system, other features include:
• First aid kit
• Whiplash protection system
• Emergency braking assist
• Electronic brakeforce distribution
• Turn signal mirrors
• Stability control
• VIP security system
• Traction control
• Tire pressure monitoring
• Child seat anchors
• Engine immobilizer
The exterior styling of the FJ Cruiser is one that you will either love or hate. Those who are drawn to the glamor of a shiny grille and attractive wheels present on most SUVs will probably find this vehicle not very appealing. However, if you are an adventure-lover and outdoor-enthusiast, you will likely appreciate the rough and rugged appearance of the FJ Cruiser. It does offer a ton of exterior options though, such as running boards, roof rack hood protector, rock rails and more.
Don’t expect too much from the interior and you won’t feel so disappointed. If you get sweaty and muddy yourself you will appreciate the use of rubber floor covering and water-repellant upholstery that’s easy to clean. This is definitely a no-frills interior, but the controls are thoughtfully placed and large enough so they are easy to identify and use, even on a bumpy trail. The cabin is not without its flaws though. First, rear visibility is quite poor due to the outside mounted spare tire and wide roof pillars. Plus, the rear seat is far from comfortable and not easily accessed. The rear-hinged doors combined with the high curb height make it a struggle to climb into, and once you are there, it does not offer much legroom.
With the rear seat up there is 27.9 cubic feet of space, which is quite generous for everyday use. Fold the seats down to make use of the full capacity of 66.8 cubes.