2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Click image to enlarge

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Manufacturer’s web site
Toyota Canada

Review and photos by Paul Williams

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2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is two trucks in one. On the one hand it’s a “retro” vehicle, paying homage to the legendary FJ 40 Series Land Cruiser that debuted in the 1960s. On the other, it’s what I would call a genuine high-performance vehicle.

True, it doesn’t possess the high performance of a Ferrari or Porsche Turbo, but like those cars the FJ Cruiser is capable of extraordinary feats of operation in the environment for which it was designed.

That environment is off-road, where our reviewers at the FJ Cruiser’s launch in 2007 described its abilities as “remarkable,” “formidable,” “superb.”

The irony, of course, is that like most high-performance vehicles, the FJ Cruiser will mostly be used for everyday driving around town or on multilane highways. Consequently, it features the usual array of creature comforts (including a killer audio system) expected by buyers of more conventional SUVs. But unlike those vehicles, the Toyota FJ Cruiser has a look and style all its own.

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Click image to enlarge

With a base price of $32,725 for the six-speed manual (6MT) version, our test vehicle with the new Urban Package and required five-speed automatic (5AT) transmission stickered at $38,745. Add the $1,560 delivery charge and various environmental fees and you’re a shade over $40,000 for this piece of heavy-duty kit.

The FJ Cruiser is based on the Tacoma truck platform and uses the same V6 engine that makes 260 horsepower at 5,000 rpm, and 271 pound-feet of torque at 4,400 rpm. At 1,967 kilograms (4,335 pounds) it’s no lightweight, but the FJ Cruiser will haul 2,268 kg (5,000 lbs) and return 12.4/9.5 L/100 km, city/highway (if you believe the Natural Resources Canada “estimates” –Ed.). This is actually better than the V6 Tacoma 4×4.

Standard equipment includes the manual transmission, a part-time four-wheel drive system with automatic disconnecting differential, rear differential lock, two-speed transfer case and engine/fuel tank/transfer case protector plates. Tires are 265/70 all seasons, on 17-inch aluminum rims. The powertrain includes a heavy-duty battery, starter, alternator and heater and a stainless steel exhaust system. Air conditioning, Bluetooth, power windows are also standard.

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser
2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser. Click image to enlarge

The 5AT-only Urban Package includes a JBL Synthesis audio system with 10 speakers and subwoofer, foldable armrest, rear privacy glass, cruise control, keyless entry, 115V power outlet, back-up sensors, multi-information display (compass, outside temperature, inclinometer), power adjustable mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, cargo area mat, exterior mirror lamps, and special interior trim.

A $4,670 Offroad Package is available that features Bilstein shocks and some of the Urban Package’s appearance items and amenities, and a $7,610 Trail Teams Package adds off-road roof lights, style items, the Bilsteins and special 16-inch wheels. These packages are available with manual or automatic transmissions. Add $1,000 for the automatic transmission.

The FJ Cruiser’s off-road relevant numbers are very impressive. Ground clearance is 245 mm (9.6 inches), and the short front and rear overhangs enable approach and departure angles of 33.5 and 31 degrees respectively, with a breakover angle of 27.5 degrees. It has a fording depth of 695 mm (27.4 inches), made possible by an air intake system mounted high in the engine bay.

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