Reviews

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Introduction

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is the most capable of all Toyotas when the pavement gives way to gravel, sand and rocks. That's saying something, given the capabilities of the 4Runner, Land Cruiser, and Tacoma. All of these Toyotas are among the best in their respective classes for travel over rugged terrain.

The FJ Cruiser seats five. The front doors are standard, front-hinged units. Rear-hinged rear side doors provide access to the back seat; beginning with 2011 models, the right front seatback folds a little flatter, which makes squeezing in a little easier than it was before. Main access to the cargo area is through a door hinged on the driver's side of the vehicle instead of a typical roof-hinged hatch-style closure.

An Off-Road option package further enhances the FJ's capabilities, with BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires, trail-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, and a rear differential lock that works in conjunction with Toyota's A-TRAC off-road traction control system; with this setup, the FJ Cruiser can hang with the Jeep Wrangler crowd. It also includes a multi-information display with a goofy floating ball inclinometer and compass.

The biggest change for 2012 is to the Trail Teams Special Edition, which sheds its army-olive paintwork for a new and exclusive shade called Radiant Red. Bumpers, grille, and door handles are still blacked out, and the package has been expanded to include even more off-road equipment.

The 4.0-liter V6 engine makes 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. It has dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i), which means variable valve timing for both intake and exhaust. We found the FJ Cruiser superb in rugged terrain yet comfortable on the road. Its V6 engine delivers more than ample power and torque for any foreseeable situation.

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