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Toyota FJ Cruiser



  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    The sad truth is, it WAS a production model in everything other than the interior dashboard and electronics. The exterior, interior, suspension, and all of the other things that make up the car in terms of safety and driveability were real production parts. You could tell from the way everything was built, screwed, and bolted together - it looked exactly like a typical car.

    But that's the problem. It was all plastic and built exactly like a Corolla or Camry. It would never survive actual off-road use without something breaking if you did more than tapped it. Given the side "wings" on the bumper, the one that had snapped off was clearly production-level equipment as you could see the broken fasteners where it has been held in place(ie - not plastic and glue). The plastic headlamp lenses had the proper DOT symbols on them. The mounting points where the front grill screwed into the front of the vehicle were complete, right down to the last detail. The exterior of the car was 100% what we'll see barring a stoppage of the work and a total redesign of the exterior.

    (sorry for the image sizes - I compressed them as much as possible)


    Tough as a rock. Glass everywhere and aluminum galore on the bumpers. In fact, nothing was plastic that you se in the picture other than the turn signal lenses.


    Built like a tin can by comparison. Plastic everything. Built for flashy looks. If it's not painted blue in this picture, it's plastic.


    Note the broken off piece. Note the way the grill fastens into the rest of the body. That will never survive any sort of off-roading impact any better than the ~2mph rating it has on the bumpers would suggest. Certainly not without serious and costly damage.

    I tapped my knuckles on it and it sounded completely hollow and well, like a typical sedan. But it's a 4*4. It should be built tougher. I know for a fact that an old 1990s F150 was built tougher - the older square ones had real bumpers and metal everywhere.

    It's well over ten years later and the new FJ - you can't stand on the bumper?!? Surely with a paltry 18mpg, you can toss in another 50lbs of metal on the bumpers? No way that passes as "off-road" in my book. I'd take a Jeep anyday, or even an XTerra.
  • It could be that by putting plastic there Toyota is trying to achieve one or more of the following:

    1) Decrease the weight and thus increase the mileage

    2) Make it more pleasant for a pedestrian colliding with the truck

    3) Prod you into buying an optional brush guard
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    #1:Mileage and weight? The difference would be less than a hundred pounds for the front and back to build proper bumpers and so on. Gas mileage is moot for this type of vehicle/market - or at least the one they are aiming it at.

    #2 I could possibly buy, but the U.S. has no regulations about this in place, like the E.U. has., so aluminum, which is a far cry from even steel, like on older trucks, is something that should be there at the least.

    #3: heh - though I saw no mounting places for such a thing - at least not other than where you'd expect cosmetic ones to be(covering the plastic lenses and plastic grille and so on).

    All in all, it was a nice truck. But it was plainly a yuppie status symbol and not built to survive anything more than mountain trails and the occasional dry stream crossing and the like. Sad, really. Compare it to an older Defender 90 - that's what a true hardcore off-road vehicle should be built like.
  • Makes a difference in mileage! Why do you think every "gas savings tip list" includes "get rid of the junk in your trunk." Besides, with all that plastic, it could be more than a hundred pounds of weight savings.

    The brush guard is on the list of options for FJ. Check out

    Perhaps, you are right about the yuppie status symbol. Likely, the vast majority of FJ owners won't take their truck to any bumper-threatening trail. For the serious off-roaders, there will be plenty of options to add armour, however
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It's so economy car-like in the panels and plastic that even guards won't help, unless they cover the entire front area like a shell. It's just not going to survive off-road abuse and Toyota won't figure out why the thing's sales tanked after a year or two.

    In fact, this could be a theme of all manufacturers - to bring back proper bumpers. Save us some grief. My dad's mid-90s Park Avenue has proper bumpers on it and it gets the same mileage as the new vehicle. Aluminum isn't more than a few pounds heavier, and we're talking about 2% of the FJ's weight here. Not enough to make a blip in fuel economy. Toyota(and al the rest) are just being cheap and causing us hefty repair bills.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    In the two reviews I've read there hasnt' been any mention of flimsiness in the vehicle during offroading. Since it's close to arrival now it wont be long b4 the first ones are taken deep off road and we hear how they stand up.

    There arent many vehicles that Toyota makes that get 'tanked'. I'd be shocked that with their marketing and production that they'd allow a balsa wood offroader into the market. Despite your valid concerns I think I'll wait for the first real world trip reports.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    But remember - they are measuring the truck's capability and not its long-term surviveability/durability.

    Given the crowd they are aiming at, it's going to get way more physical abuse to the exterior than your typical yuppie commuter SUV. Jeep at least has this right - metal is good because it can handle a lot of minor abuse and still look good. And this crowd of hard-core off-roaders don't like things that break easily. It's their #1 turnoff, in fact.

    CR is going to have a field-day in its bumper basher tests I can guarantee. "The whole front end crumpled"... "I can't believe this much damage occurred for what is supposedly a serious off-road vehicle"...

    But we'll see. Toyota can't always have a big hit everytime, though, and I think they missed their intended market with this one by not thinking "old school" enough.
  • SporinSporin Posts: 1,066
    Just because the covers aon the bumpers are plastic doesn't mean it is unsafe or will cumple up. NO manufactureermakes a car that can't do well in crash tests.

    i'm sure under all the plastic styling pieces, there is a perfectly stout and safe bumper structure.

    But I agree, all those plastic covers will get mangles in REAL offroading.
  • Hey guys!

    I dont know if anyone is interested, and many of you may already be aware of this, but you can now build an FJ Cruiser on the Toyota website. It is a pretty cool function. If anyone has any questions about how to get to it, just ask!
  • Guys/girls, if any of you would see an FJ at an auto show or elsewhere, kindly measure the interior dimensions (the length from the dash to the tailgate) and let us know.

    Thank you!
  • Hi There,

    I found this... Hope it helps a little bit.


    4.0 Liter V6 – 245 hp /282 torque
    5-speed automatic
    Available 6-speed manual in 4x4

    DIMENSIONS (inches)
    Overall Length: 177.6
    Overall Width: 74.6
    Overall Height: 70.9
    Wheelbase: 105.9
    Ground Clearance: 9.6

    Wheels: 17 inches black steel wheels w/full size spare
    Available alloy wheels (5)
    Tire Size: 265/70R17
    Towing Capacity: 5,000 lbs.
    Seating Capacity: 5
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    They really are. ~2mph tests into a fixed wall? That's nothing like bumping into a stump or squeezing past a rock and so on. Those bumpers need to be build to survive at least *5* MPH with 0 damage to be able to deal with of-roading(as opposed to Yuppie dirt roading)

    Look at the Wrangler. Even though it's not a serious bumper like the old days, it's small, close-in, and doesn't stick out where it can catch things or have parts of it snap off.

    But go see a FJ in person in a few weeks. And then decide if you think it is built tough enough.
  • Hello all.

    (I'm also on the [email protected] message board, and there isn't a lot of traffic there, please sign up!)

    Saw the FJ Cruiser "live" at the LA Auto show, and am seriously thinking of signing up for the waiting list.

    I'm a bit of a car-head. Mainly I've owned Land Rovers; my current vehicle is a 1998 Discovery, but I've owned a bunch of the older Series IIs (1960s era). I also have a Pinzgauer and a Haflinger; check my photo gallery at I like to actually take my trucks offroad and beat the heck out of them; would even like to sleep in them if possible (oh, yeah, I still own a Vanagon camper, as well!)

    I didn't get any good pictures at the show, but I do recall that the bumpers of the production seemed pretty plastic, which would be a disappointment. And the way the rear doors swing down and out is a bit bizarre. But otherwise I liked the truck. My Disco has 189,000 on the clock, so I'm thinking the FJ might be a reasonable replacement. I've also had my eye on one of the SE3 Freelanders, the
    ones that are like an Isuzu Amigo with 2 doors and a semiconvertable top. Tiny, but workable, especially since I have other larger vehicles (tho I do like to be able to tow). The other ones I've considered are the Xterra - too small inside, too tall outside! - and the Touareg - too much carpet inside, otherwise a decent choice.

    I don't really know the procedure for pre-ordering, but I figured I'd find a decent local dealer (Los Angeles metro area) and inquire. I've never bought a new new car before, which worries me a bit, for paying the shiny premium; on the other hand I wish I had with the Land Rover 110, which seem to be worth more now, with miles, than they cost new.
  • Thank you, Jackie :)

    I've seen these specs before. But I need INTERIOR length. It's just amazing that no manufacturer I know of lists interior dimensions of their vehicles (i.e. the length from the second row of seats to the tailgate, from the first row to the tailgate, from the dash to the tailgate, between the wheel wells, overall interior width, overall interior height). At most, you can get a "cargo volume" number. But those cubic inches tell me virtually nothing.

    Like I said, I've measured a 4Runner inside not so long ago. It is 6 feet from the back of first row seats to the tailgate. And 9 feet from the dash to the tailgate. FJ is likely to be 5 feet and 8 feet respectively. But I do need the exact dimensions, please
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I crawled in and around it. I seriously doubt if the space behind the second row is more than 3ft, if that. The rear seats offer nice room for sitting, though, but it's closer to maybe 5 ft with them folded down. Way too small to sleep in unless you are a an Oompa-Loompa or Munchkin.
  • 4rider4rider Posts: 96
    I totally agree with you. If this suv is not built tough enough for the expected off road usage, then what is the point of having this low mph suv? The adaption of plastic bumpers on trucks and suvs is really a dream come true for body shops and parts distributors.
  • belljebellje Posts: 1
    Try sleeping in a wrangler or even getting 4 people in it with all your equipment. Pletko if you so dislike the FJ why do you even participate in this forum? I don't dispute your right to participate, just your motives. You seem to have only negative comments.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    I do not actually know if you can sleep in the XTerra either. It has a pretty short wheelbase. I have never checked.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • rorrrorr Posts: 3,630
    "I crawled in and around it. I seriously doubt if the space behind the second row is more than 3ft, if that."

    Um.....he was asking about space behind the FRONT row (5' perhaps) as well as the overall distance from the DASH to the tailgate (8' perhaps).

    I had similar questions in my mind when my wife and I bought our '98 4runner. The problem there was that to fold the 2nd row seats, you first folded forward the seat bottom cushion. This ate into the available length for sleeping in the rear of the vehicle.

    I removed the bottom cushions and build an elevated sleeping platform and found I had plenty of room (I'm an even 6' tall). Perhaps the same could be done in the FJ. An elevated sleep platform would eliminate the problems with an uneven floor and could even extend partway over the front passenger seat (with the seat forward on it's rails and flipped forward if it doesn't fold flat). Plus, you could put hinged panels in it to store small stuff under the platform while sleeping.

    Should work fine for one; and nicely cozy for two... ;):)
  • fj07fj07 Posts: 89
    Yeah you could. The Back seat bottoms fold up or come out and the seat backs fold down and it is completely flat. If does not have a 4"-5" sink hole in the rear cargo area like the FJ Does.
  • Why would you want to sleep in your car??? I can't imagine going car camping and then crawiling into a cramped car to sleep. Sounds miserable. If you're in the city, don't be such a cheap skate, get a hotel room.
  • Seems pretty simple to me. Stay warm, stay off the ground, not have to set up a tent, be able to leave easily, be protected from banditos and mosquitos. This is why people buy Vanagons, but VW refuses to make a 4wd version since the Syncro. I sleep in my Pinzgauer all the time; while others are wrestling with folding poles and nylon I just climb in back. The other alternative is a car-top tent, which would certainly work on the FJ, but they're expensive as well.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    Yes, but how LONG is the XTerra behind the front seats. At least 6 feet or so? That would be enough, less would not.

    AS for why sleep in your truck, have you ever had to hit a trailhead at dawn? It's a lot quicker to just roll out of the back of the truck. Ditto if you arrive someplace at midnight - easier to just roll in the back to sleep. And if you love to camp in the Pacific Northwest and Canada as i do, it makes getaways on rainy mornings a lot quicker too. basically, it's good for all sorts of scenarios in long trips, or for special needs.

    Definitely, if time is plentiful and the weather is good, I would prefer to be outdoors.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    I wanted the FJ to be THE truck for me - but seeing the glorious concept and the built-to-too-low-of-a-price-point plastic reality, it was a let-down. It feels like a big Rav-4 fit and finish wise, which all said, is SUPERB. For a car or SUV.

    But for a 4*4? Needs some extra toughening on the exterior, and in this case, aftermarket might not even be able to work right.

    Now, I'm *sure* it whomps on most everything else in its class off-road. And it *looks* better than most of the others, too. But it's not going to survive a week the way my friend uses his 4*4s.

    Oh well - back to saving for a mint condition Volvo 303. Now that's a real 4*4. :)
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    we get it, OK? You were disappointed.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738

    I think it's important to point out any major potential problems, since this is heavily marketed as a newer, better version of the original. Aluminum is dirt-cheap, as is steel, so there's no excuse, really. Charge $500 more and give us a real metal and tougher exterior.
  • What the heck are you guys going on about?
    Look at the bumpers on the 4Runner. What do you think that stuff is? It's PLASTIC. Same with the Xterror, same with nearly anything today. Those plastic end caps on the Wrangler bumper - I've torn a few of those off. The Jeep bumper itself is tin - I destroyed one by hitting a dog fer godsake. Body shops aren't making money because of the changeover to plastic - just the opposite. Go whack a 4Runner bumper with a hammer - nothing. Now whack an old steel Toyota bumper. Dent. Permanent dent. Plastic body panels are great too, they don't ding and dent easily. Metal bodies get dented and have to be fixed. You want steel thick enough to resist denting? Do you know how thick (and heavy) that would need to be? There hasn't been metal bodies that thick since the 1940s. Some of you guys are idiots. If you're going to see serious trail use and tear off the plastic bits, you'll probably need to put something better on there anyway, tin bumpers wouldn't matter. For everyone else, it does not matter one bit. Steel weighs more and costs more, aluminum is nearly impossible to fix, and costs a LOT more. Steel will absorb some energy, aluminum absorbs nearly none, it just cracks if the energy can't dissapate to something else, like maybe the frame. THATS a good idea - no bumper damage, but now I need the frame straightened... Think about what you're saying once in a while.
  • BRAVO!!!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    It sounds good at first, but the problem is that it's car-like cheap plastic. Very hard, very brittle. It's nothing like say, the door panels on a Saturn are, or the bumper on a 4-Runner is. And those side "wings" on the bumpers are purely for looks and stuck out too far. Look at the new Wrangler - the bumpers are in close and tight as possible for this reason. The headlight lenses are well, almost as flimsy as my water bottle. Seriously. And they are round - there's no reason not to use sealed-beams in this case(and I suspect many people will retrofit theirs accordingly)

    The FJ is a nice truck, but it feels mosre like a Yuppie status symbol than a real in-your-face 4*4. Um - it's exactly like comparing a Wrangler to a Liberty. One is a 4*4 and the other, while the specs say it's really good off-road, hasn't come close to bearing that out in real useage. The Wrangler still beats the Liberty and survives more abuse while doing it, too.

    P.S. the Wrangler has thick enough steel to survive most small dents.
  • OK boys and girls. Hear is my take on the CJCruiser! I have owned 3 cj40 tanks in my life time. The third one was a brand new 1978 in 78. These vehicles off-road were(and some still) almost indestructible! I paid shy of $7,000 for her new. Why would I pay $28,000 for a new FJCruiser and go out and bash the hell out of it on rocks and trees! You got the money for that then you got too much money! I loved my fj40's and I love this new retro look! I hope they kick (4x4 speaking)the comps asses!! Oh by the way, I just got back from my local Toyota dealer, put down a $250 deposit.That put me 2nd on the list for when they arrive! I'll keep ya' posted!! -CaptainMorgan
  • Toyota announced that pricing will begin at $29,990 for the base 6-speed manual, while the 5-speed automatic is $30,990.
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    I think it's important to point out any major potential problems, since this is heavily marketed as a newer, better version of the original. Aluminum is dirt-cheap, as is steel, so there's no excuse, really. Charge $500 more and give us a real metal and tougher exterior.

    All the foregoing prefaced by... IMHO.. ;)

    1 vote for FJ, Karl, who has driven
    1 vote against FJ, plekto, who has not driven;

    so far it's a tossup.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Note I did say it would DRIVE well and beat the socks off of the competition. It's a superb truck - just... MAN IT NEEDS A TOUGHER EXTERIOR. That's my gripe - and it's just Toyota being cheap about it.

    We shouldn't have to add in $3000 in aftermarket accessories because the bean counters at Toyota saved $500 and 200lbs on the exterior.

    But, yeah - it will kick butt off-road. Just hope it lasts longer than a couple of seasons is all.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    "It sounds good at first, but the problem is that it's car-like cheap plastic. Very hard, very brittle."

    So how do you know that it is brittle? Have you taken an FJ Cruiser and broken it's bumper cover? Do you have specs on this plastic and have you compared it with specs to different plastics?

    How do you know it is cheap? Have you seen the invoice from Toyota's supplier?

    Or is everything you are saying complete speculation?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    See, if you go back a few pages, I posted pictures from the LA auto show.

    It explains it all - the prototype was fifteen feet from th pre-production model. And the pre-production model has a busted bumper, actually, so yes - it's clear now flimsy the font end is.

    OTOH, ALL cars at the show, even Mercedes, were an astonishing amount of plastic compared to five years ago. Sad, really.
  • jaxs1jaxs1 Posts: 2,697
    So, it isn't meant to be climbed all over by hundreds of auto-show attendees or banged into objects. Even driving off road doesn't require smashing through rocks.
    I'm sure there will be optional and aftermarket protective grills for hardcore off-roaders who want to plow through heavy brush.
  • nedzelnedzel Posts: 787
    I've read the thread. I've looked at the pictures.

    Again, I ask you, how did you determine that the plastic is brittle? Have you tested it? How did you determine the cost? Do you have invoices from the supplier?
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Three areas were judged to be deficient by me and everyone there I asked(place was mobbed, so I asked about a dozen people nearby).

    1:Headlamp lenses were thin plastic. They were round copies of the original's sealed-beams, yet they didn't put round standard sealed-beams in there and instead went with a piece of plastic barely thicker than a CD? Thinnest headlight "lens" I've ever seen on a vehicle. A nice $8 sealed-beam would have been as good AND well, cheap as dirt to replace. Look better, too, plus no yellowing.
    2:Front grille - all one piece and thin plastic. Held on up top by four tiny little plastic brackets. Reminded me very much of the front end of an old late 80's GM - when they were building it out of fiberglass - one hit and presto - need a new entire front grille.
    2a:It looks like the headlight lens is part of the front grille - I suspect that a strong hit on the lens would break some mount/bracket it's attached to, requiring a total grille replacement.
    3:The side wings on the bumper are useless, and only for looks. They appear to come off quite easily as well, so IF you clip something, that piece is going to pop off first. They should have ditched the aggressive look and gone with a cleaner one-piece assembly.(Wrangler is a good example)

    The interior was also very ticky-tacky and plasticky. Looked fantastic. But all hard plastic. Not even colored plastic - it's painted plastic to look "cool", which means it'll get worn looking fast.

    It felt like, well, the Yaris comes to mind. It was good mechanically, but the interior and esterior was cost-cut to the point where it felt "cheap". If I pay 25-30K for a vehicle, I want it to at least hide most of the offending plastic and not feel like a bigger econobox inside.

    But, the whole industry is like this now. All looks and no substance. $30K cars made half out of plastic seem to be the norm these days.
  • Plekto, I was at the LA Auto show as well, and saw both versions. I sat in the pre-production one. I do remember someone there going on about the plastic bumpers, and one of them had broken off.

    How do we know that these are the production materials? We don't. Bumpers and dashboard plastic might be changed; this one might have been produced six months or a year ago for all we know. Time will tell.

    I still think I'm going to get in line for one.
  • Q for other FJ enthusiasts..

    Any idea as to how much will the Upgrade Package cost? I am guessing $3,000; which will put the cost of an FJ to around $26,000 (4x4 MT).

    Go FJ!
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    True, we can hope that Toyota figures it out and goes super-toughened on it at the last minute, but that front Grille looked very complete and finished, especially at the mounting points.
  • bowmar9bowmar9 Posts: 10
    For the 4X4 Manual transmission version of the FJ Cruiser, upgrade package one is $2150 and upgrade package two (adds subwoofer to upgrade one items) is $2210. Either of these requires that you purchase the convenience package at $1840.

    For the 4X4 AT version, upgrade one is $2560 and upgrade two is $2620. The convenience package is same as above.
  • plektoplekto Posts: 3,738
    Wow. 4K in options. Given that that represents about $750 to the dealer's profit margin, you'll not see any basic models I bet.
  • Indeed.... with 4K in options (typical Toyota), the FJ suddenly got pretty expensive.
  • You've got to compare FJ's price to the vehicles it targets: Jeep Rubicon and Xterra. Then you'll see, that a similarly equipped FJ has about the same price. Toyota knows what it's doing. Otherwise, it would not be where it is today
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,726
    is pretty good - they clearly liked it, and they had the automatic. Of course, the pics they had showed them driving along sandy roads, so I am not sure how hard-core their offroading ever got. They probably can't do too much with a press vehicle, especially a pre-intro car like that one, or they might get in trouble.

    2014 Mini Cooper (stick shift of course), 2016 Camry hybrid, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (keeping the stick alive)

  • fever3fever3 Posts: 1
    So when is this thing gonna come out? I keep hearing different things. I hear early spring, febuary, march? Does anyone really know when I will be able to see this thing in person? I wanna go to the dealer and check it out for myself.
  • The last I heard FJ would be available at the end of March, and a total of 46,000 would be produced in 2006
  • kdhspyderkdhspyder Posts: 7,160
    Yes it seems to be all word of mouth.. no announcements or anything like that .. suddenly one or two will be there and then they will be gone.. one or two the next allocation and then those will be gone.. etc.
  • derail1derail1 Posts: 10
    Not being one myself, maybe I am speaking out of ignorance here...but how many REAL off roaders are really out there? And how many of these REAL off roaders buy STOCK vehicles to take off road? All the Jeep Rubicons I have ever seen have been all shined up and parked outside the local grocery store! Now maybe its because I am from the northeast, and im sure there is more off roading going on in the south and out west...but I think that if any car manufacturer made a car that was almost EXCLUSIVELY for off road use, they would have a VERY small market to sell to. Heck even the H1's I have seen have all been cleaned and parked roadside, or in someones driveway on MTV cribs!!! I think that of the 46,000 FJ's made in the first year, no more than 10% will ever see any Rock Crawling. Look at Xterra's commercials for example. These trucks are going off the beaten path, but they are still driving on roads!! (albeit dirt and bumpy ones!) The FJ will get you "out there" and look cool doing it. If you want to get "really out there" then something like that Volvo Plecko is talking about it probably the car to shoot for.
    -yuppie 20 something from D.C. who wants a cool looking car for cheap that will be more reliable than a Jeep and will get me to any fishing spot with ease.
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