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Toyota FJ Cruiser vs Jeep Wrangler



  • artemis,

    Few people here would dispute Toyota's quality of construction. However I guess many of the people on this forum are disappointed that the FJC didn't follow closer to the off-road heritage of the original FJ-40.

    Back in the 70's the FJ-40 and the Jeep CJ (wrangler) were very close counterparts. They were both extremely capable for the day. In the past 30 years, Jeep has continued to refine and hone the Wrangler's off-road ability while at the same time making incremental creature comfort improvements. In that time span Toyota killed the FJ and now brings it back. However, in real off-road ability it doesn't seem to have progressed that much beyond the original FJ, and some things like the visibility, plastic bumpers, no soft top, lack of under carriage protection are actually much worse than the original.

    If I was faced the desire to buy a new hard core off-road machine today, it would be one of three choices:

    1. Buy the new Wrangler Rubicon

    2. Buy an old Jeep CJ and put the extra money into mods to make it as good or better than the Rubicon.

    3. Buy an old FJ-40 like Steenh did, and put the extra cash into mods to make a killer machine.

    The FJC wouldn't even get a second look.
  • Based on Toyota's reputation and success, I honestly expected much more in the FJC's off-road ability than what they delivered. I expected a Toyota 'Rubicon' or maybe something even more capable, but instead they spit out this thing that couldn't out 'wheel' the previous generation of Jeep Cherokee.

    If I was in the market for a Toyota, wanted creature comforts and some reasonable off-road ability, I would just buy a 4Runner and forget the FJC.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    They could have "slapped" the FJ body on the LC 70 Series that's sold overseas in higher volumes than the FJC will here in the US? I don't think that cost was the reason. They "chose" the IFS... So, granted that the rock-crawling ability is limited by IFS, there had to be a reason. I'm betting insurance and wanting to increase the on-road drivability were the driving factors. Very respectable performance for IFS though.

    I personally hope they go solid in the future. Might trade in the 100 for it someday. 40 stays forever though.

    4x4... good to see you back in action!

    Trip this weekend was perfect... got to camp at 5500 ft, no rain while we were awake, enough at night to make for some great mud for the day rides, great trails, minor breakage. 17 LC's in all. 40 yrs between oldest and newest. My '67 and a couple of '07 FJC's with pretty much everything inbetween including a 60, and a few 80's.

    Covered about 35 miles over three days. A fantastic trip.

    My favorite pic...

    <img src=

    Camping up on the bald.

    <img src=
  • Steenh,

    Sounds (and looks like) it was a great trip! I must say though as much as love to hit the swamps and mud holes, I'm not really fond of the clean up when I get home. I mean the last time I went on a really muddy trail with my CJ I had lots of mud inside, on the back seats, the floor, even the dash somehow got mud on it. When I got back it took about $20.00 at the car wash to make it look half respectable. However, as I'm sure it is with you, the memories are all good.

    Chears bud!
  • keatskeats Posts: 412

    I didn't mean to imply that the Avalon was a piece. It was a very, very nice car. I was just highlighting that any vehicle can have issues. I'm not sure what was up with the tranny since it was fixed under warranty I didn't pry. The only other problem we had was the alignment. It never did track straight. All Toyota would say was that it was within specs.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    Sounds like you had a blast. That is great looking FJ.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    "If I was in the market for a Toyota, wanted creature comforts and some reasonable off-road ability, I would just buy a 4Runner and forget the FJC. "

    Or even better, the 4-door Tacoma and have some pick-up utility to go with it.
  • I owned a Wrangler, sold it bought an FJ. I'll say the wrangler went a little better off road, but that is the ONLY thing better. Quality, durability, and a company that stands behind the warranty, rather than prentending the problems do not exist stands for a whole hellva lot more in my book, than a lower quality poorer made vehilcle sold by a buch of scumbags who will not even fix it. Daimler can only sit back and use such drivel as "legendary" when extorting the name "JEEP" todays Jeep vehicles are purely nothing more than mass produced cheaply made junk. Why have they rolled back the 7/70,000 drive train warranty to 3/ 36,000 at the same time GM has gone to 100,000? It is because they are too cheap to last, and the scumbags are losing customers by refusing to fix the problems. I know, I have owned 3 Jeeps! Never Again!
  • Hmmmm, strange, my 2005 Wrangler Rubicon has a 5year/100 000 warranty. I have had no problems with it; runs like a top. And actually the Wrangler has a very good customer satisfaction rating if you bother to look it up in surveys. Furthermore, the Wrangler has one of the best resale values of any vehicle sold - I believe it's tied with the Toyota Tundra.

    I try to buy and use a vehicle for what its designed for, hence I don't try to go rock crawling with my muscle cars and I don't expect to beet a Porsche at Le Mans with my Wrangler.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I hand my jeep bashing torch to you. (I thought I was rough)

    Not sure about the accuracy of the warranty data, but agree that the wranglers are fine off-road, but lack quality compared to most makers, and to Toyota especially. That's always been my complaint about them.

    Some of the reason for the "satisfaction" is the cult like following jeeps have due to being unique in the market. My FJ40 will have lot's of problems due to it being 40 yrs old, but I'm very "satisfied" for the same reasons jeep owners love their vehicles... unique and great at what they were built for. Doesn't make a jeep high quality though. My experience was similar to yours... one was enough.

    You have ATRAC on your FJC?
  • The Jeep Wrangler series of vehicles is every bit as reliable as a Toyota Tacoma, FJ ect..
    I have owned Toyota trucks and two Wranglers and my Jeeps have had less problems than the Toyota 4x4's.
    Look at the consumer reports and buyers guides to see what vehicles are reliable, dont go off hype.
    The jeep (Wrangler included) has been proven more than any other 4x4 in existence.
    The quality of the jeep is as good as any toyota and the Rubicon is in its own catagory of 4x4's because there is no other vehicle capable of doing what it can from the factory! I got more trouble free miles out of my Jeeps than my Toyota' s.
    I have owned both and know that in my personal experience the Jeeps held up better than the Toyota's did.
    I lost a driveline while doing 65 miles and hour down the highway in a Toyota truck because a Toyota u-joint failed. I also had to replace more parts on my Toyota's than I ever had to on my Jeeps, like front main seals, starters and brake parts.
    Does that mean the Toyota's are junk? Nope, just means they are not the bulletproof tanks that they are hyped up to be.
    Where did all this crap about toyota's being better quality come from anyway.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    Where there is smoke there is usually fire. People talk about Toyota quality... and they don't talk about Jeep quality. They talk about Jeep capabilities... for good reason.

    Glad you've had good experiences with Jeep. That's one vote. I had a horrible experience. That's another vote. Neither of our experiences make a trend.

    Consumer reports and all the other measures consistently rank Toyota at or near the top. That's where the "crap" comes from.
  • Rubicon and Steenh,

    I think I can shed some light on this one:

    There is a marked difference in Jeeps here. When I was talking about reliability of a Jeep I was speaking ONLY of the Wrangler. Wranglers, have an excellent reliability and they are one of the very best at holding their resale value. This is NOT true of all Jeeps! In fact you will find that the both the reliability and resale of Jeep Cherokees, and the 'Liberty' is MUCH lower than that of the Wrangler.

    I have compared for several years back in many publications such as lemonaid, consumer reports, e-pinions etc. and found that the Wrangler TJ consistently has few issues historically and is rated as a very solid machine. My personal experience backs this up too. However the ratings of the other Jeeps made in the last 10 years do not follow this. They have a much more average reliability rating.

    As far as Toyotas being unreliable ‘crap’, well I don’t have any personal experience to support or refute this – the reviews say Toyotas are reliable. However what the reviews do not report on is body corrosion: I happen to know that Toyotas made before the 90’s were tied with Hondas for having the worst rust problems of anything that rolls on pavement.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    I know this from first hand experience. I bought an a new 04 4wd Grand Cherokee and less than a year later A new Rubicon. In that time I've had 0 mechanical problems with the Rubicon and 10 or more problems with the Grand Cherokee. I have been very very disappointed in it, and would definitely hesitate to buy any other Daimler Chysler model. My wife has been eyeing Mercedes sedans, but I'm going to try to steer her to a Lexus or Infinity. However, I love my Rubicon and am so glad I bought it. In fact, the negative post from the previous Wrangler owner was the only one I've seen on a Wrangler. Steenh, didn't you say you had a Cherokee?
  • fourX4forever, I didnt say Toyota's are unreliable crap. I said where did all this crap come from about Toyota's having the BEST Quality.
    Dont get me wrong here, I loved my Toyota Trucks. I simply stated that they gave me more problems than any Wrangler I ever owned.
    I have been impressed with my Toyota trucks but I have been more impressed with my Jeeps. And I also take into consideration that the Jeep (Wrangler) is an American 4X4.
    The Toyota's have a reputation for being tough.
    So do the Jeeps. I think the Toyotas have been used more overseas in remote areas so gulible Americans think they are better. Better marketing and sales focused on foreign markets has gotten the Land Cruisers a reputation for being ultra reliable and has gottem them used in other countries.
    They are no more reliable than a Jeep.
    Land Cruisers and Jeeps both have a cult following. There is competition between the two vehicles in the US. Competition is good and I wish Toyota would make a new vehicle like the old FJ-40. The FJ-Cruiser is not that vehicle!!
    I would be happy to take my Rubicon anywhere a Land Cruiser has ever been in any country (Provided I wasnt paying the travel expenses)!
    The old FJ-40's are built heavier than the older Jeeps, The Land Cruisers also weigh 1000 lbs more than the older CJ-5's and 7's!!!
    The Jeeps will hang with the Land Cruisers, that has been proven, and in my personal experience my Jeeps were more reliable than my Toyota's. I'm not talking about Cherokee's or the Liberty. I wouldnt own a Liberty any faster than I would own an FJ Cruiser.
    My wife drove a Cherokee for several years and it was a great vehicle. Hers was the old style Jeep Cherokee in the 98 sport model and it held up great. NO problems in the 5 or 6 years she drove it, and I mean no problems. Now she was not driving it off road but she is hard on vehicles, like most women I have known, no offense to any other women out there!!
    Anyway, If a guy wants a RELIABE, CAPABLE and fun vehicle to drive off road or around town or on the highway a Rubicon is as good as it gets for certain types of people.
    Yeah, it doesnt hold much beyond the driver and one passenger but it will get you where you are going and back.
    Wow, this is a long windy post!!! Ron
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    Toyotas made before the 90’s were tied with Hondas for having the worst rust problems of anything that rolls on pavement.

    I think that distinction would belong to the '73 or '74 Pinto. :)

    tidester, host
  • daedae Posts: 143
    >They could have "slapped" the FJ body on the LC 70 Series

    Which would have probably made it more expensive. They are not selling LG70 here as nobody paying that kind of money here are taking it off-road, unlike in some corneres of the world. No dealers are set up to service it. And they obviously did not care THAT much about off-road performance.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I did have a cherokee, but one of the biggest problems I had with it was the engine and that's the same engine that was in the Wranglers.

    The FJC's are pretty good off-road. I driven one. Are they as good as a Rubicon off-road out the door? Probably not. Will they most likely be running much better after 100k miles? That bet I would take.

    The LC's are run so extensively overseas in rough country where 4x4's are needed because they are reliable and tough off road vehicles, they are not perceived as tough and reliable because they are used overseas... chicken vs. egg.
  • Steenh,

    In all fairness though, the LCs used over seas have little to almost nothing in common with the FJ Cruiser. The Jeep Wrangler is much more like the LCs over seas than the FJC is.

    Oddly enough Steenh, I have never ever, heard anybody complain about the reliability of the inline 4.0L six engine that was used in the Cherokee(s) and the wrangler. By all accounts they are a nearly bullet proof engine that I have personally seen several examples go over 500 000km with no major repairs - and still not use an appreciable oil or smoke. I have not seen too many other engines that will even come close to this. My bets are that neither the V6 in the FJC or the V6 in the new Wrangler will outlive the abuse and longevity of the 4.0L I6. The architecture of an I6 is vastly superior to any V6 and will stand far more abuse with less maintenance.

    The biggest complaint I hear about the Jeep Cherokees was not with engine, but transmission trouble. However this problem does not carry over to the Wranglers because they predominantly used different transmissions. By all accounts; media, personal, and word of mouth, the Jeep Wrangler has an excellent reliability track record and fantastic resale value.
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    No argument there... LC's overseas are not FJC's.

    I was making to point that for anyone to say LC's get their excellent reputation because Toyota's marketing machine did a good job of selling a product overseas is backwards... they got their reputation because they built quality capable trucks that were bought by the markets that needed them... and then they delivered quality and capability. That's why they still are the number one selling 4x4 worldwide.

    Sorry I was the first to complain about the engine... and maybe I got a lemon, but mine was horrible... great when it ran right, but that wasn't often. Then, the clutches twice, the caliper, etc... transmission actually didn't cause any problems but I had to dump it at 60k or so. Tradein value was pretty high if I remember right? Irony at it's best.

    Saw a picture of a new Wrangler with a tent built into the roof... that was a very cool idea. Like I've seen some Toyota board members say... "wish we could hire their designers... don't want any of the engineers though"
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