Vehicle Type: 4×4

History/Description: Satisfying the desires of shoppers after a tough and rugged Tonka-toy truck they could drive on the daily, the Toyota FJ Crusier hit the market for model-year 2007 as the brand’s latest off-roader, packed with plenty of ground clearance, standard V6 power, a full range of off-road add-ons, and a face only a mother could love.

For 2011, the FJ Cruiser was been updated with an enhanced standard audio system that includes Bluetooth compatibility, satellite radio and USB audio inputs for easy playback from a storage device. New 17-inch wheels added visual flare, while a self-dimming rearview mirror and steering-wheel mounted audio controls enhanced convenience. Seating accommodations in the rear were upgraded as well. Look for available heated seats, power accessories, heaps of on-board storage, and added confidence from electronic assist systems like Hill Start Assist and Hill Descent Control.

A household power outlet, JBL audio system and back-up camera system were found in higher-range models.

Engines/Trim: Behind the FJ Cruiser’s googly looking headlights was a 4.0L V6 with 260 hp and even more torque. Features like variable valve timing, sequential multiport fuel injection, and an acoustic control induction system improved performance and increased fuel efficiency, and transmission options included a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. Part-time 4WD or full-time 4WD was available, as was low-range gearing and locking differentials for enhanced traction when the going got greasy.

What Owners Like: A feeling of all-surface capability, heavy toughness and durability is reported by virtually all FJ Cruiser drivers, with a solid and confident feel and proven off-road capability helping round out the package. Low end torque from the standard V6 engine is appreciated, and numerous owners note that the rear door is hinged to open horizontally, away from the sidewalk, which eases unloading of gear. Distinctive looks, a relatively generous cargo hold and an overall nice-to-drive demeanor come up commonly in owner reviews, too. Many owners also comment positively on the abundant interior storage space for smaller items.

What Owners Dislike: Common complaints include heavy doors, too much cheap (but easy to clean) plastic inside, less-than-inspiring handling, and fuel consumption. Limited rear seat space for larger occupants and large rear blind spots were also reported.

Here’s a look some owner reviews

On Used Vehicle Mashup: Second Hand Off-Roaders

The Test Drive: Start the test-drive process ensuring the owner will be accepting of you taking their FJ Cruiser to a mechanic for a full inspection ahead of your final purchase decision, should you decide on their particular offering. If not, see if they’ll agree to meet you at the garage of your choosing for an inspection, on your dime. Buying an FJ Crusier, or any used 4×4 likely to have been used in a severe off-road setting, is not advised.

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