Having owned quite a range of vehicle genres, makes and models, I have to say I thoroughly recommend the Toyota FJ Cruiser. It is a versatile, good-looking, reliable and a enjoyable car to own. It’s a credit to Toyota for moving away from the “appliance” type vehicle they’ve been accused of making in the past.
In terms of performance and economy you’ll not be able to expect diesel like economy, but then you’ll will be rewarded with smooth, powerful and accessible performance. I’m currently getting around 11.5-12L100 around the city which is better than I anticipated living in Melbourne. The gearbox is another smooth operator and seems quite well matched to the engine. I’m a big fan of Toyota V6 engines in general; they seem to strike a good balance between smoothness, power and economy. Acceleration is quite good and over-taking is no problem on the highway and around town.
Cabin space and comfort is good, although not as luxurious as some of its competitors. But then in fairness being bench-marked for luxury wouldn’t be in keeping with the FJ history and brief. I love the seating position and the armrests which give the feeling of driving around in a lounge chair. The interior as you are probably aware if made up of vinyl flooring, water proof fabrics and plastics. The styling is retro as per the exterior, is dead easy to keep clean and ideal car for dog owners! The lack of steering wheel “reach” is an oversight in the this day and age however.
Technology and connectivity is all there with reversing camera (although a bit small), sat nat, blue-tooth, iPod connectivity and several USB points. The only real omission and probably because ignorance is bliss, is driver information about fuel usage! Other techno bits include a compass, incline metre etc.
I purchased my FJ second hand, and while I’m happy with the price I paid, resale I can say is pretty good and makes finding a “bargain” hard. This will be good news to those buying new and still represents good value for money when considering the FJ’s off-road credentials, equipment and relative to other Toyota products.
As I’m not a hard-core off-road car owner I did cross shop a range of other car against the FJ cruiser, provided they had some off-road ability. I was surprised to find that the FJ’s ride more comfortable than some luxury vehicles, and handling better than several road focused SUV’s. Steering is light and easy and overall the FJ is a relaxed and easy car to drive.
Overall I’m really pleased with the car and if you’ve been thinking of getting one I’d say go for it!