As other SUV models from Toyota continued to grow and become much larger and more expensive, Toyota wanted to introduce a vehicle that still offered a rugged 4WD experience in a smaller package. The FJ Cruiser was this incantation and it brings much of the spirit of the original Toyota FJ to a much more modern vehicle with stylish new body. The 2011 FJ Cruiser offers a nice off road package and a much smaller price tag than the other models in Toyotas SUV line. Starting at only $24,180 and offering 22 MPG on the highway this smaller SUV offers a lot of value in purchase price and fuel economy.

The FJ Cruiser offers a great ride for those who plan on using it as a commuter vehicle and is available in a 2WD version that is most efficient for this purpose. On the other hand those who are looking for a reasonable priced off road vehicle can opt in for the 4WD version and the off road special edition that offers more rugged suspension among other useful features.

Body styles: Sport/utility
Engines: 4.0L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed manual, 5-speed automatic
Models: FJ Cruiser

The big news is this year’s cool FJ Cruiser special edition: it features Army Green paint (body and roof), with matching seat inserts; black trim and grille; Bilstein shocks; locking rear differential; active traction control; and new 10-speaker audio system. There’s also a new Off-Road package, which includes many of the mechanical features of the special edition. This replaces the All-Terrain package.

The FJ Cruiser is the modern representation of the wildly popular FJ models from the 1950s through 1980s. It uses rounded lines and is much larger than the original, but it serves as a character-filled tribute to the original.

There are plenty of standard features on the FJ Cruiser: power windows and door locks, water-resistant seats, air conditioning, and tilt steering wheel. Six-speaker audio is now standard and there are now steering-wheel audio and Bluetooth controls.

The FJ Cruiser is available with active traction control, a locking rear differential, and Bilstein shocks. It has plenty of ground clearance, and a solid rear axle contributes to the FJ’s excellent off-road capability. On-road, the 4.0L V-6 is relatively stout and torque is impressive; the five-speed automatic is intuitive. The last time we tested the FJ, it was before the 19-horsepower increase it received in 2010. Even so, it moved to 60 mph in 7.3 seconds.

The FJ Cruiser has driver and passenger front airbags, dual front seat-mounted side airbags, and roll-sensing two-row side curtain airbags are standard. Also standard are four-wheel ABS with brake assist and brake-force distribution, traction and stability control, and brake override with 5A.

FJ Cruiser: 15-17 mpg city/19-22 mpg highway

  • Cool retro looks
  • Excellent on trails
  • Smooth engine
  • Great special editions
  • Blind spots at C-pillars
  • Small back seat

Capability backs up good looks


  • Jeep Wrangler
  • Nissan Xterra

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