2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

FJ Cruiser

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2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview

Toyota's stout FJ Cruiser treks into 2013 adding standard power outside mirrors with illuminated markers, a new Magma Red exterior paint color and a new color scheme for the Trail Teams Special Edition. Otherwise the FJ Cruiser continues on just as drivers like it—rugged, durable, fun to drive and loaded with old-school off-roading character. This is a true warrior that likes its drivers to use the mirrors and the road less paved. Drivers seeking a timid, road-trained halfbreed need not apply. 

The FJ Cruiser is a 5-seat midsize SUV you either love or hate. Thick pillars and a heightened stance limit outward visibility for drivers unused to taking advantage of their mirrors, but anyone serious enough about adventure to get the FJ Cruiser finds its manual old-school nature a high point in its charm. Sure, its fuel economy could be better, netting at best 17 mpg city/20 highway, but those lighting up this 4-liter V6 would be just as content with more tank than the current 19 gallons to expand on its present 380-mile range on one tank. Otherwise 260 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque are more than ample to power through with either the standard rear-wheel drive (RWD) or one of 2 optional four-wheel-drive (4WD) systems, one part-time, one full-time.

Not that anyone is complaining. In fact, we couldn't find a single driver review lower than the highest possible rating. Without a glitch or snag, Toyota's reputation for reliability is exemplified in the FJ Cruiser, and drivers definitely notice the weekends spent scaling rocks rather than the Jeep-typical weekend of repairs. Affordably priced with a single trim, the FJ Cruiser offers hundreds of options depending on your outdoor style.

Standard features include 17-inch black-painted steel wheels, air conditioning, power windows and locks, an 8-way adjustable driver seat, tilt-only steering wheel, split-folding rear seat, water-resistant cloth upholstery, heavy-duty vinyl flooring, Bluetooth connectivity and a 6-speaker stereo with CD player, satellite radio, auxiliary audio jack, iPod USB connectivity and integrated steering wheel controls. The standard RWD system uses a 5-speed automatic with a limited-slip differential. Opting for part-time 4WD gets the same automatic, while the full-time version gets a 6-speed manual and locking rear differential. A Class 4 hitch receiver is available for a towing capacity of 5,000 pounds.

Most packages are geared toward added offroad prowess, the most notable of which is the Trail Teams Special Edition Package. This includes the standard Off-Road Package with Bilstein shock absorbers, a locking rear differential, upgraded active traction control system and some extra gauges, in addition to a sporty look for the bumper, grille and minor details inside and out, plus standard rock rails, door sill scuff plates, cases for key undercarriage components, special badging and 16-inch Toyota Racing Development wheels with all-terrain BF Goodrich tires.

For those desiring a few more modern comforts, the Convenience Package adds rear privacy glass, a rear wiper, spare tire cover, keyless entry, cruise crontrol, rear-view camera and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror. Springing for the Upgrade package adds the active traction control system for 4WD models, the locking rear differential and 17-inch alloy wheels also available separately, plus package-exclusive rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, extra gauges and trip computer functions as well as an 11-speaker JBL sound system with 6-CD changer.


Your prototypical "Tom Girl" Patricia got her start digging into Ford engines before she aged into double digits. Gifted with a mechanical mind, her favorite pass-time in the summer is picking up a fixer-up'r at the local public auction and massaging its every ailment until it's primed for a new lover. From dirt bikes to land yachts, every partner offers something truly special in her love affair with the road - just don't tell her husband.

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