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Toyota FJ Cruiser v. Toyota 4Runner

SylviaSylvia Posts: 1,636
Toyota FJ Cruiser v. Toyota 4Runner
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Comments

  • Reasons to choose an FJ over a 4Runner

    1. You hate your 3rd and 4rth passangers, and want to make them suffer.

    2. You like a "challenge" when backing up with near-zero visibility

    3. You enjoy the added effort of opening the front door every single time you want to open the back door getting in or out.

    4. Cheap plastic interior reminds you of your first car.

    5. Huge turning radius means no dangerously sharp turns.

    6. The white roof reminds you of your first bald-spot.

    7. You like spending an extra $10,000 for markups because Toyota has earned it.
  • detourdetour Posts: 4
    Since, as I understand it, the FJ is essentially a 4Runner with some cool modifications, I'm wondering if I might not do just as well getting a previous model ('05 or '04) 4Runner with a few miles on it than having to pay a premium to get a new FJ (and then having to pay a premium at the gas pump every time I have to fill up with premium gas). The 4Runner might not look as cool as the FJ, and it might not have quite the same off-road abilities, but it's certainly a strong contender in the off-road category. What thoughts do people have about the advantages of one over the other?
  • voodoofxvoodoofx Posts: 81
    You need to read some of the previous posts. There are lots about the merits of 4Runners, Xterres versus FJs. You will also read that premium gas is not necessary unless maximum h.p. is needed. FJs are based on the Prada platform not $Runner. A trac alone makes the FJ far superior off-road, but most people here will never use it. The correct plastic dressing is of much greater concern!
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,110
    ...Prada platform not $Runner...

    Was that a typo or an editorial comment on pricing? ;)

    tidester, host
  • voodoofxvoodoofx Posts: 81
    Tho a typo quite true. Toyotas are expensive. A neighbor bought a loaded full size Chevy 4x4 for $5K less than my Tundra.
  • >>> Since, as I understand it, the FJ is essentially a
    >>> 4Runner with some cool modifications, I'm wondering if
    >>> I might not do just as well getting a previous model
    >>> ('05 or '04) 4Runner with a few miles on it than
    >>> having to pay a premium to get a new FJ (and then
    >>> having to pay a premium at the gas pump every time I
    >>> have to fill up with premium gas). The 4Runner might
    >>> not look as cool as the FJ, and it might not have quite the same off-road abilities, but it's certainly a
    >>> strong contender in the off-road category. What
    >>> thoughts do people have about the advantages of one
    >>> over the other?

    Choice of 4Runner Vs. FJ Cruiser depends on what you REALLY want from the vehicle. I don't think gas prices should be part of your decision, since the amount extra you'll spend on premium is relatively insignificant. (Pretend you drive the vehicle 20,000 miles/year. If you average 20 MPG you'll use 1000 gallons/year. If premium costs 30 cents/gallon more than regular you would end up spending $300/year driving on premium rather than regular. Is $300/year really a big deal to someone buying a $25,000 - $30,000 vehicle? Furthermore, the FJ Cruiser can actually use regular - doing so simply decreases the performance slightly.

    I think if people are honestly looking for the most FUNCTIONAL vehicle, the 4Runner blows the FJ Cruiser away. The 4Runner is much more spacious, has 4 real doors, has a bigger cargo area, has a smoother ride, has better handling on-road (especially 4Runners with the superb X-REAS system), is very good off-road in all but the most extreme conditions, can be purchased for MUCH less than MSRP (and even close to invoice price), has wide availability, and has more conservative looks (though I think the new 4Runner styling is hideous compared to the classic lines of the previous generation; the gray cladding on the new 4Runners in the first year of production showed how clueless Toyota stylists are).

    The FJ Cruiser on the other hand is better in extreme off-road situations (which is of no practical benefit to 99.837% of people buying these SUVs!), is less expensive (if you can find a dealership selling base models without a pile of useless, crappy options loaded on), and has more "look at me" styling (though I wish Toyota could have just kept the classic, timeless styling of the old FJ40*). Unless you're a hardcore off-roader or are buying with a limited budget, the only reason to buy an FJ Cruiser over a 4Runner is because you like the "look" of the FJ Cruiser. Which - of course - is a perfectly acceptable reason to buy a car. Just as long as you're honest with yourself about what you REALLY want from a vehicle you should find this choice easy to make.

    *I wish manufacturers would stop butchering classic designs when they try to make modern versions of old cars. The new version of the GT40 stays true to the old (perfect) styling, but the new Mustang, Charger and FJ Cruiser all look pretty bad compared to the originals. Had Toyota simply upgraded the old FJ40 with the parts needed to conform to modern emissions + safety regulations, they would have a vehicle that would draw BOATLOADS of younger customers into its showrooms while at the same time getting everyone who's ever owned an old FJ40 to take out their checkbooks as well. $25,000 for a modern, Spartan FJ. (Call it the FJ "Classic" and sell it alongside the FJ Cruiser if necessary. Toyota is missing a great opportunity)
  • >>> Tho a typo quite true. Toyotas are expensive. A
    >>> neighbor bought a loaded full size Chevy 4x4 for $5K
    >>> less than my Tundra.

    Sometimes you get what you pay for. I'll gladly pay $5000 extra for Toyota quality and reliability rather than driving a crappy, unreliable Chevy. When you look at resale value, the value of your time (the Chevy will likely waste a lot more of your time dealing with repairs) and the Toyota's higher quality driving experience, it's no wonder why the domestic truck industry will inevitably be decimated the same way the regular passenger vehicle segment has been. After years of underspecing the engines in their trucks and staying out of the full-sized truck market (out of fear of offending the Big Three) I see the Japanese are now starting to make waves in the big truck segment. Eventually even the most inbred Bubba-Joe in the US will stop mindlessly buying lemons year after year...
  • voodoofxvoodoofx Posts: 81
    Very true, I agree with everything in both of your posts. Incredably the high retail blue book value of my 04 Tundra is still about what I paid for it!
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    at the same time getting everyone who's ever owned an old FJ40 to take out their checkbooks as well.

    My sentiments precisely. I was all excited when they announced the FJ Cruiser. Brought back all the memories of my days in the back country with a brand new 1964 FJ40. To say I was let down is an understatement. My wife just said it is hideous and we did not crack the door open.

    I think Toyota missed the boat on this one. It will sell good for a few months then be sitting in the back lot waiting for someone to take it at cost.

    It looks like the premium fuel only gained the FJ 3 HP over the 4Runner and Taco. That also seems strange for an off road vehicle. finding high octane in the back country that is not old and lost its zip is not always easy.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    it's no wonder why the domestic truck industry will inevitably be decimated

    Toyota has a long way to go on building a great truck. I bought a new 1994 Toyota PU for my son. It was nothing but trouble and the dealer was worthless. I am on my 5th GM full size truck vehicle since 1988 with NO troubles. Toyota will have a tough time even catching Dodge trucks. And if it were not for the Ford owned Cummins diesel engine Dodge would have nothing to offer. The only shot I see for Toyota is if they offer a Taco sized truck with a small diesel engine. That would sell like hotcakes.
  • >>> My sentiments precisely. I was all excited when they
    >>> announced the FJ Cruiser. Brought back all the
    >>> memories of my days in the back country with a brand
    >>> new 1964 FJ40. To say I was let down is an
    >>> understatement. My wife just said it is hideous and we
    >>> did not crack the door open.

    >>> I think Toyota missed the boat on this one. It will
    >>> sell good for a few months then be sitting in the back
    >>> lot waiting for someone to take it at cost.

    >>> It looks like the premium fuel only gained the FJ 3 HP
    >>> over the 4Runner and Taco. That also seems strange for
    >>> an off road vehicle. finding high octane in the back
    >>> country that is not old and lost its zip is not always
    >>> easy.

    Yes, the old FJ40 styling is brilliant. It's one of only a handful of vehicles that I'd put in a museum. (The GT40, Shelby Cobra, and original Mazda Miata are some other cars that I would gladly buy exactly the way they were the first day they were released.)

    I was also disappointed by the crass, nonfunctional styling and odd decisions made in creating the FJ Cruiser. Toyota could EASILY have made this the perfect little SUV:

    - Improve the forward and rearward visibility
    - Improve the side mirrors
    - Replace the cheap plastic bumpers + grill with something sturdier
    - Have the rear seats fold completely flat
    - Improve access to rear seats (adding REAL rear doors would have been nice)

    I don't mind the presence of the independent front suspension. It's a fair compromise, since ATRAC allows the vehicle to go where all but the most extreme off-roaders will go and probably makes the on-road ride a lot more acceptable to potential regular customers (i.e. soccer moms, sorority girls, suburbanite pretenders). The requirement of premium gas is a bit silly, but also forgivable.

    Unlike the Mazda RX8, I expect the FJ Cruiser will still be selling OK in a year, mainly because: so few are being made + the Toyota name/reliability + pent-up demand from people who have waited over 20 years for a successor to the FJ40 + there are few competitors + it actually is a decent value as-is in its base form (i.e for less than $25,000).

    Right now my choices are:

    1) Wait for a base FJ Cruiser to arrive. (After I went to cancel my order, the local sales manager now says they will get me a base model. Go figure...)

    Pros: New vehicle, good reliability expected, good off-road ability, modern comforts + conveniences.

    Cons: Ugly styling, suboptimal visibility.

    2) Buy a well-maintained FJ40.

    Pros: Classic styling, awesome off-road ability, "street cred", nostalgia.

    Cons: All the headaches of owning a 20 to 30 year old vehicle (rust, parts wearing out, locating replacement parts, etc), less comfort/convenience/safety features.

    3) Buy a 4Runner Sport.

    Pros: New vehicle, good reliability expected, good off-road ability, modern comforts + conveniences, spacious interior.

    Cons: Higher price (approx $5000 more than FJ Cruiser), don't like the current 4Runner's styling, a bit bigger vehicle than I like to take off-road.

    Decisions, decisions, decisions...
  • Toyota has a long way to go on building a great truck. I bought a new 1994 Toyota PU for my son. It was nothing but trouble and the dealer was worthless. I am on my 5th GM full size truck vehicle since 1988 with NO troubles. Toyota will have a tough time even catching Dodge trucks. And if it were not for the Ford owned Cummins diesel engine Dodge would have nothing to offer. The only shot I see for Toyota is if they offer a Taco sized truck with a small diesel engine. That would sell like hotcakes.

    I disagree. Your experience (remember you are an n = 1) is not typical of Toyota truck owners. Once Toyota, Nissan, Honda etc turn their sights onto the pickup market their superior engineering + quality will eventually win out. There is no magic to building trucks, so the same companies that are able to produce the best passenger vehicles will also produce the best trucks if it makes financial sense for them to compete in that market. Right now the only reasons consumers have to buy a domestic over a Toyota Tacoma or Toyota Tundra competing in the same market are because:

    a) domestics are cheaper
    b) they want/need a diesel engine (of course, don't be surprised to see a Toyota diesel now that the US is geting the new ultra-low-sulfur diesel fuel)
    c) they prefer to "Buy American"
    d) they need a bigger/more powerful truck than the Tundra
    e) they are ignorant hicks that need to blindly keep buying the same crap that their "daddy done bought" for the past 40 years

    ;)
  • Your points are right on and I have also posted similar content... numerous times. ;) I did want to add that 4Runners currently sell around $2k under invoice (more or less). For example, a local no haggle-dealership posts these kinds of prices for a 4DR SR5 Sport V6: Delivered Internet Price: $28,719; Factory Invoice: $30,488; MSRP: $33,690. Like yourself, I also like the Sport but in most markets Toyota does not offer side curtains with the Sport which is pretty disappointing :mad: !

    Interestingly, the same dealership prices FJ as Delivered Internet Price: $27,717; Factory Invoice: $26,304; MSRP: $28,955. Frankly, it is very easy for many of us to justify the extra $1k. :confuse: Clearly, FJ prices are too far ahead of themselves!

    Gagrice: All makes make problematic vehicles... some make more :lemon: than others... and almost all stealerships suck! It also may not be very reasonable to compare a 12 year old vehicle to something built today. IMHO: Toys are best because they (typically) require almost no dealer visitation!
  • steenhsteenh Posts: 103
    I went with option 2. One of the "pros" that you didn't mention is that you'll have $20k to deal with the admitted "cons" for that option.

    I do like the idea of Toyota coming out with an FJ Classic styled after the FJ40... Coke did it after their "New Coke" debacle. There is hope. And if they don't, one thing that is definitely going to happen is that the demand for the old FJ40's will go up with the increased attention that the FJC is getting. Not looking to sell, but nice to think that the "investment" could pay off in the long term.
  • voodoofxvoodoofx Posts: 81
    in the FJ40 cons you forgot to mention awful m.p.g., 0-60 eventually [never uphill], terrible road noise, rides like a truck designed in the 50's would. Still a great 2nd. vehicle as long as you dont have too long a drive.
    I've yet to see a soccer mom in an FJ. Around here [So Cal] the majority of drivers are young guys.
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    It also may not be very reasonable to compare a 12 year old vehicle to something built today.

    It was new in 1994. And my 1993 Chevy was a lot better built. The clutch went out at 12k. Of course that is not covered. $900 down the Toyota toilet. I am not a late comer on buying Japanese. I bought the first of the Land Cruisers to hit CA in 1964. Mine was the small window FJ40, very rare today. My only mistake was selling it. I should have done what all the 4 wheelers were doing. Dump the Toyota POC engine and put in a Chevy small block.

    At the time Datsun was superior to Toyota. The Datsun Patrol was much better built. But more expensive. I bought a 1970 Datsun PU that was a great little truck. Toyota and Honda both are living on recent glory. They built a LOT of crap vehicles over the years. I feel I gave them 3 shots and they missed the target with all three.

    Now for me and my nostalgic look back they missed again with the FJ Cruiser. Oh well, I got more vehicles than I need anyway.
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    FJs are based on the Prada platform not $Runner. A trac alone makes the FJ far superior off-road, but most people here will never use it.

    The 4Runner starting in 2001 had ATRAC and the FJ is based of the 4Runner/Prado (overseas Landcruiser) platform. I like my comparison of the "classic" 3rd gen 4Runner vs the FJ. Their size is comparable, although the FJ has some off-road advantages (32" tires, ATRAC/rear locker combo, better approach/departure angles). The 4R has 4 real doors, more storage space, can go probably 95% of the places the FJ can, and you can sleep in it--as I did in my 2002 this past weekend. :P IMO, either one is a good choice depending on what you want. They are Toyota trucks after all.
  • OK 5th GM since 1988?

    I still have my 1982 FJ60 LandCruiser and it runs perfect no rebuild.

    Where is your 1988 GM?
  • gagricegagrice San DiegoPosts: 28,678
    Where is your 1988 GM?

    My ex in-laws are still driving it. I bought it in Seattle and drove it back to Alaska. They needed a 4X4 and I sold it to them in 1990, flew back down and bought a new one. Then In 1993 I sold the 90 for nearly what I paid for it 3 years earlier. Buying vehicles in Alaska is very expensive. Went to the same Chevy dealer in Seattle and bought a 1993. They were all extended cab 3/4 ton 4X4 long bed trucks. I would still have the 1993 if I had not hit a big buck in Sun Valley Idaho. I did not want to wait around for repairs so I traded it for a 1999 Suburban in June of 1998. When I sold the Suburban last year it only had 46k miles on it. I should have kept it as the new GMC is not nearly as well built. The engine is more powerful and the truck drives and runs good. Just too tinny built for me. Kind of like the FJ Cruiser I went and sat in. TOO Much Plastic!

    My 1964 Toyota Land Cruiser had to have 3 valve jobs and 3 new timing gears in 50k miles. I wish I still had it. It was the small window version. They are worth about 10 times what I paid new in 1964. It was very rugged built. Toyota did not know how to build good engines back then.
  • jimirljimirl Posts: 31
    "I've yet to see a soccer mom in an FJ. Around here [So Cal] the majority of drivers are young guys."

    Who wants to buy a vehicle that has to get the Soccer Mom stamp of approval. I would rather get a vehicle that is fun for me. As a single guy who likes the odd weekend adventure and still lives in the City, it has all the practibility I am looking for. Who cares who sits in the back anyway.

    I am really surprised there are so many people here on the FJ Cruiser and Toyota forum that are just bashing the FJ and Toyota. Why aren't you just posting how great your vehicles are on the boards that represent them rather be negative here?
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