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Toyota FJ Cruiser vs Jeep Wrangler

steverstever Posts: 52,462
How's the new FJ Cruiser going to stack up against the venerable Wrangler?


  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    Not very well. I love, absolutely love the old FJs, but this thing looks like a something Barbie would drive, and contrary to what Karl says, it does not remotely stack up to a Rubicon off road, and I'm not just saying that because I am biased and own a Rubicon. :P
  • pschreckpschreck Posts: 524
    OK, could you explain why you believe that? I'm not being a smart butt, I'd just like to know what makes the Jeep better.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    What Karl said:

    "I'll maybe give the Jeep Rubicon a slight advantage in pure off-road ability, but only because of the Wrangler's tidier dimensions, not because it has superior equipment or any other inherent "capability" advantage. And in terms of everything not related to going off road, the FJ pummels the Wrangler (BTW, I'm a big Jeep Wrangler fan, but I'm not going to let that fact warp reality)."

    Toyota FJ Cruiser vs. Jeep Wrangler (Karl on Cars)

    Steve, Host
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    4:11 gearing
    more useable torque in the low end
    heavy duty u-joints
    Good Year MTRs
    front and rear air lockers
    dana 44 axles
    fold down windshield
    removeable top
    removeable doors
    Coil Suspension

    Not to mention huge aftermarket offroad support. I'm sure the FJ will be very capable, but to say it's more capable than Jeeps except for the Rubicon is ridiculous. Karl has no idea what he's talking about, and then to say that it's equipment is comparable to the Rubicon is ridiculous.
  • steenh1steenh1 Posts: 28
    And you know it's capabilities aren't in line with a Rubicon how? Seen a live one? Driven one?

    I think Karl's got one up on you. He's actually driven one (and he likes jeeps).

    I don't know yet how it will stack up (I'll reserve opinion until I've driven one), but having owned a Jeep previously and a couple LC's today, I can speak from experience, if you get the jeep, better put in the budget a bunch of tows when things start breaking.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    And you know it's capabilities aren't in line with a Rubicon how? Seen a live one? Driven one?

    Nope, don't need to drive one to dispute what Karl said, besides, who has driven one besides the auto journalists? This topic was started based on Karl's artile, the first road test, and knowledge of current Jeeps.

    Karl said he gave the edge to the Rubicon based on dimensions not on equipment. I just gave you a list that the cruiser doesn't match. It does have a rear electric locker and slip. The Rubicon has air lockers front and rear and helical limited slip. Every other edge would go to the Rubicon except for out-of-the box tire size, which is an inch larger over the current Rubicon. The engine alone gives the Rubicon the advantage offroad. I have driven Toyotas with that engine and the Jeep inline six has much greater low end torque, which is what you need off road.

    And as far as things breaking, check out the Wrangler foruma and you'll see that the vast majority of Wrangler owners find the vehicle to be tremendously reliable. I have yet to have one mechanical issue in 13K miles. I could not say the same, however, for our Toyota Avalon, which had to have a new transmission at 10K miles.

    I'm really not trying to bash the Toyota. In fact, over all, I'm sure it is much more liveable than a Jeep. I'm sure it's much better on the road, but to say it rivals a Rubicon is premature at best. Before he says that, he needs to put them head to head in a true offroad test with several drivers, particularly drivers who know how to drive off road.
  • steenh1steenh1 Posts: 28
    I look forward to the head to head tests. Don't know which will take the prize. I'm sure the debate will continue long after that first test.

    I also know that one experience isn't necessarily indicative of all experiences but... I have two LC's, 97 and 99. Both have over 115k miles. I did have to change a starter in the 97 ($250) a few months ago, but other than that... nothing.

    I owned a Cherokee with the inline 6 for 4 yrs. At 5k mile a caliper froze. 15k miles the fuel injection system failed, and I constantly had major issues with hesitation on any trip over 2 hours. At 38k the clutch's went (why two in that vehicle, I don't know)... and then the replacements went at 62k. I traded in at that point. Like I said, that's one person's experience but I bet Consumer Reports wouldn't rate the Wrangler anywhere near as well as any Toy truck.

    I think the major weakness in the FJ will be the lack of solid front axle and no front locker.

    b/t/w, if Jeep sold a high quality product, I'd probably prefer it to the FJ. Would have liked to have seen Toy remake the FJ more like the old ones (very similar to today's Jeeps which haven't really changed in 30 years)

    I'll end up keeping the LC's... but look forward to seeing the debate.
  • pschreckpschreck Posts: 524
    Thanks for the reply.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I, too, will look forward to the head to head tests between these vehicles. I don't think either one will "naturally" have an advantage over the other. I personally prefer the looks of the old Wrangler (haven't seen the new one yet). I currently own 2 Wranglers (98 and 04, both bought new) and used to own a Tacoma (2000, sold before buying the new Wrangler). I've spent more on repairs for the older Wrangler, but only after it reached 100,000 miles. The Tacoma came close to stranding me in the middle of the desert once, something the Wranglers haven't. The Tacoma was the most uncomfortable vehicle I've ever owned, and we suffered with it for 4 years (and 177,000 miles). The '04 Wrangler has yet to have a maintenance problem in 67,000 miles, so I can't say that Jeep still makes junk.

    I briefly looked a the FJ at the LA Auto Show. My other half took one look at it and said he didn't like it, so we didn't spend much time (can't say if the seats are any better than the Tacomas. If not there's no way I'd buy one). The thing I noticed was on one that they had tricked out. It had the winch mounted behind the grille. My first thought that this would be really awkward - poor access. The way the bumper fits on the front of the vehicle, it looked like there isn't any other choice without doing some extensive modification (not as simple as changing the bumper like on the Wrangler). Do others see this as a potential problem?
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    You have great taste in vehicles. I love the Land Cruisers dating back to the orignal FJs. In fact, I periodically think about buying an early 80's FJ40 or a full size FJ, what were they called? 60s?

    Jeep has certainly suffered from reliablity issues on some models. We also have an 04 Grand Cherokee 4wd that has been in the shop for stupid things, like window actuators, but still we love Jeeps. It is one of the most recognizeable vehicles in the entire world, not to mention one of the most capable. This new FJ, unfortunately, cannot compete with that.
  • keatskeats Posts: 412
    Mtngal, I was beginning to wonder if any of the Wrangler crew was going to join this topic. *lol* Where in the world is Mac, Tom and Paul?
  • steenh1steenh1 Posts: 28
    The old FJ40's are really special vehicles... classics. It's too bad that Toyota gave up that market to Jeep, and didn't take the opportunity to really compete by building something that had the hard-core 4x4 looks. When they moved to the 60 series, they gave up that segment... not to say the 60's, 80's and 100's gave up anything off-road, just gave up competing directly against the Wrangler.

    In reality, the FJ40's were so much more expensive than the Wrangler back in the day... if you were in the market for that type of vehicle, you bought the FJ if you had money... the Wrangler if you didn't.

    We'll need some vocal FJ owners on this board in March when someone has actually driven one... or this place will be over-run with you Wrangler folks!
  • goducks1goducks1 Posts: 432
    And as far as things breaking, check out the Wrangler foruma and you'll see that the vast majority of Wrangler owners find the vehicle to be tremendously reliable.

    How about "moderately reliable." I've owned two over the past 10 years, including my current 98. It's had three semi-serious repairs (new radiator, new coil, and the infamous cracked exhaust manifold) a few small ones (leaking rear pinion seal, intermittent gauges). It's not self-imploding like a Volkswagen, but it's not worry-free either.

    The new FJ doesn't do much for me though. Maybe if I saw one in person.
  • mtngalmtngal Posts: 1,911
    I thought the FJ was nice looking and will certainly be cross-shopped with the Wrangler and the H3 (thought that wasn't bad, but not as cute as the Wrangler). It isn't all that different than what I remember from the old Land Cruisers, just not quite so primitive. I now wish that my other half hadn't rushed away (there were tons of people looking at them at the show).

    It will be interesting to see how well received they are, and how quickly there will be aftermarket options available. One of the things the Wrangler has going for it is how easily customizable it is.
  • cruiser vs wrangler??
    this 4runner owner thinks the 2007 wrangler far surpasses the cruiser.
    the toyota is a gimmicky thing designed to appeal to posers.
    have you seen the 2007 jeep? it rocks.
    the jeep is nice because it is truer to the utilitarian ideal, and it will be hard for toyota to beat jeep when jeep offers you different wheel lengths, different tops, etc.
    i've owned both toyotas and jeep suvs, and they seem to be about equal in reliability -- maybe the statistics will weigh in favor of toyota, but the difference really aint that much.
  • lou62lou62 Posts: 9
    "The toyota is a gimmicky thing designed to appeal to posers?????" Have you seen the FJ
    video filmed on the rubicon trail? Give me a break. Oh and how about that beast of and
    engine jeep has decided to put in the wrangler. That really gets my pulse jumping...
    Due to reliability issues and a lack of space, my friend just dumped his wrangler for a
    4x4 tacoma. He says he'll never go back. If this FJ model doesn't get your attention,
    maybe the Moab edition due out next fall will. Either way, get used to it.
  • Thats ok, I'll be there with a tow strap to pull him out.....
  • kernickkernick Posts: 4,072
    Other than they are both designed to go off-road, there's really quite a bit of difference - about 2 feet, and a removeable roof. Unless you're single, or plan on doing nothing more than off-roading, I think the FJ would be far more useful.

    When I go camping, and the weather turns bad, I like the option of sleeping in the vehicle. I'm positive the FJ would be better; I'll have to measure it, and see if the front seats fold forward.

    I think the Xterra is much closer to an FJ than a Wrangler. The closest thing Jeep has to the FJ is the Liberty.
  • pjalnpjaln Posts: 8
    toyota made a vehicle 40 years ago that stacked up as good or better than the original jeep it was the FJ40 that is the only thing that can be put up against the rubicon , the 2 door G wagen or LR defender , those trucks are in there own class because of there styling similarity,coil sprung or leaf spring front and rear axles removable tops etc. i already ranted about this new fj in earlier posts so i wont do it again all i can say is i currently own 2 landcruisers a 93 fj80,a 90 fj 62 ,which both have straight axles and a 01 tacoma xtra cab 4x4 which i use for work and beleive me i work it. the new forerunner platform is not as beefed as the 04 and older taco you can check out forum under imported trucks and there are some very knowledgeable guys who know all the particulars as to why the newer suspensions are just not able to take front end abuse .......paul
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169

    Ship building huh? Well that sounds pretty interesting too. I bet you have a lot of good stories to tell from your experience there too - Any kind of engineering interests me, especially the ones that have to do with transportation.

    Hey, didn't you buy one of those 2007 Wranglers? 4 door? How do you like it so far?

    Happy trails
  • I had a 98 Toyota Tacoma x-tra cab 4x4, at 67,000 miles the steering broke and the wheels were like this /\ in front and it kept getting worse till i sold it. I now have a Jeep Wrangler and it is a far better vehicle, trust me. Its much much tougher, and a good bit more capable off road as well. Also solid axles rule and so do coil springs, Jeeps are the best bang for the buck off-road these days.
  • drewmeisterdrewmeister Posts: 168
    Anyone else just get the SUV comparo that C&D put out? Got it myself on Friday.

    Interestingly, the Xterra won. (They tested a Grand, not a TJ, for the Jeep entry). The H3 blew chunks. Well, not really, but I've driven it, and it was a bit silly. But less silly than the H2. Too bad the H4 got delayed.

    The all-steel wheels look a little weird on such a "techno" styled truck. Otherwise, there was lots of positive. I think it's a lot bigger than I imagine from the pictures, as my Wrangler is very narrow. Overall, I see it as taking the best features from the Element and Wrangler and combining them. The question is, would Wrangler owners give up the convertible options and some at the limit off-road capability for a little better mileage and Toyota reliability. Even the price will be pretty close.

    In the end, I can't wait to see the 07 Wrangler interior up close. It addresses almost everything I would improve on the current version. I think it outclasses the FJ in that category.
  • daedae Posts: 143
    MotorTrend comparo looked like a bit less odd in regards to the weight given to the actual off road capability.

    As my excellent Odyssey minivan can not take me to some of the spots in the mountains I like, I will be getting an FJ when the prices settle down.

    I will get the dead base AT model, it will get close to invoice eventually, will put front and rear ARB air lockers and bolt on rock rails. That will make it quite a capable vehicle, with a lot of utility, for much less $$ then a Wrangler.

    ARB bull bar, winch, OME susp, to lift it an inch or two - maybe to fit 33" - will wait if needed - if I manage to tear up stock bumpers that is, and if I really need a fixed winch over usual slow high-lift jack pull or a portable. But I doubt I will need that. That's not for hard core wheeling - but it will make it up almost any road in Sierra Nevada.

    Rear axel in FJ is on par with 44, front is OK, with 8" diff gear (7.5 was too weak). transfer case does suck, but not too much. IFS - well, it is more capable then most drivers. And it can actually drive fast. And it is 200 miles to get to the mountains here.

    Wrangler is too small, not much, if any, better then my intended setup for off roading, handles on road much worse, and it is somewhat more expensive.
  • fourx4everfourx4ever Posts: 169
    The original FJ Cruiser (FJ-40) was designed to be a competent off-road vehicle for off-roaders of the 70’s and 80’s. Though there was never a factory V-8 option like Jeep offered in the CJ-5 and CJ-7, the FJ of the day was still considered the Jeep’s Japanese counterpart and well respected.

    Now Toyota has revived the FJ, and promoted it through print and video adds as an incredible 4x4 for the 21st century. Leaning heavily on the original FJ’s good reputation, Toyota seems to hope we will consider this new product as an option for the serious off-roader. BUT Does it stack up to it’s serious competition: The Jeep Wrangler?????? Lets see:

    Comparing the best of the best, we pit the 2006 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon’s specs against the 2006 Toyota FJ Cruiser C package (the best they offer for off-road).

    Turning Circle Curb to Curb – Jeep: 33.5ft, FJ:41.7ft, difference: you need 8.2 more feet to turn around in the Toyota.

    Minimum Ground Clearance – Jeep: 10.3in., FJ:9.6in, difference: you can drive over boulder’s that are 0.7” higher with the Jeep.

    Approach/Departure Angle – Jeep: 44.9/33.9, FJ: 34/31, difference: you can tackle steeper embankments without digging the bumpers into the dirt if you have the Jeep.

    Crawl Ratio – Jeep: 66:1.0!!!!!!, FJ 41.8:1.0 ???? duh??

    Bumpers – Jeep: Steel with tow hooks, FJ: Plastic with NO tow hooks, Comment: PLASTIC?????? How Fisher Price.

    Locking Differential Axles – Jeep: lockers in the front and back, FJ: Rear Locker only

    Suspension – Jeep: solid axle front and back, FJ: independent front and solid rear, difference: Solid is solid! with better articulation, Toyota needs to look back at the ORIGINAL FJ!

    Tires – Jeep: 31” Good Year Mud Terrain, FJ: 265/70R17 All Season Wadials – Cwazzie Wabbit

    Wheel base – Jeep: 93.4in, FJ: 105.9in, difference: 12.5in, if you’re thinking FJ at this point you might also consider a yellow school buss as an off-roading option.

    Tread – Jeep: 59.5in, FJ: 63.2in, difference: 3.4in, Hmmmm Hope all the trees on the trails are further apart than 63.3in!!

    Weight – Jeep: 3776lbs, FJ: 4290lbs, difference 514lbs, That’s like four of your buddies or two fat chicks!

    Engine – FJ: 278TQ & 239hp, Jeep: 235TQ & 195hp, difference: ok the new FJ’s variable valve timing engine has some more hp and more torque. However where you need the torque for most trail driving is just above idle. The Jeep’s 4.0L in-line six produces an incredible 85% of it’s peak torque at idle. This makes for about 200ft-lbs. Oddly enough the Toyota 4.0L V-6 produces the same amount at idle. So even here the Jeep is not really handicapped. Furthermore, that extra 514lbs of lard the Toyota carries around soaks up the extra hp and TQ difference to make things pretty even in this department.

    Well I guess I could go on and on, but really if Toyota thought they were making a trail rig to beat out Jeep’s best, it looks like they should try again. This is while neglecting to mention that the new FJ’s doors are not easily removed, the top does not come off, and the windshield does not fold down. My prediction is that Toyota will sell piles of these FJs in the first two years as novelty vehicles just as Chrysler did with the PT Cruiser. However, off-road, when every one sees the Wrangler beat the snot out of it like Mike Tyson on Pee Wee Herman, the sales party will be over.
  • chiefjojochiefjojo Posts: 39
    in action, click here! Wrangler wins on the rocks, but FJ is no slouch, and equal or better in all other areas... reliability, cargo room, all wheel drive, traction control, mpg, etc.
  • funpilotfunpilot Posts: 66
    Tonight I drove for the first time a regular Rubicon, the unlimited Rubicon and the FJ Cruiser. Between the Rubicons, the unlimited was much better. But between the Rubicon and the FJ, for street manners, the FJ is far superior. Was going to buy the Rubicon, but no more.
  • bctroutbctrout Posts: 1
    Noisy roof rack & poor folding config for rear seats.

    Kickin around, I let a few dealers know I was interested in the FJ. All were to be pre ordered but with no hassle to walk away. One dealer called back with a tester – Oh yeah - we went for a ride. Well, not off road, after all I had to bring it back clean.
    The bad stuff.
    Anyways - in around 80kms/hr the very strong roof rack with multiple cross blades makes a heck of a lot of noise. Makes you think you have real mudders on with only hollow tins between you. Cargo area and back of the rear seats are plastic lined but the seats don’t fold down flat. To bad, if they did you might just have enough room to sleep diagonal. If the weather gets nasty, there is definitely not enough room to sleep in with the highly tilled rear folded seats. I also felt like drop kickin those cheap plastic front corner bumpers. Front wheel wells have floppy inner void cover that may not last. Side and rear door thresholds for stepping on are poorly supported plastic that dip and distort under light foot pressure. It is very wide, oh you’ll have fun finding parking locations you can open the doors in. Off road – lots of other options and what is with the no diesel option in North America.
    Good STUFF
    This puppy is made for where it will be used most of the time, city. It has great visibility, high as any full size truck. The automatic with slip shift and multi drive modes is actually tempting to those die hard manual lovers. Specially if cruising in the city. Anyways after I lulled my test driving escort to sleep with my cautious driving we pulled a little foot stomping burnout just trying to see if it could go. Pretty good squeal for not really trying.

    By the way I don’t have a real off-roader but have taken more types of domestics further along blown out discontinued logging roads than most wanna-bees can dream of. I drive a standard 97 RAV and I drive the snot out of it. Protect what I can with real synthetic. Actually go off-road once a month and get reasonable mileage. It works on the job site and gets me out fishing. I was just hoping the FJ might fit the bill.

  • dizzle65dizzle65 Posts: 20
    First off. The FJ Cruiser is in fact a solid vehicle. Anyone who knows anything about wheelin' knows about the FJ40. And no one is stupid enough to argue with Toyota's reputation for quality and reliability -- it's second to no one!!! AND ITS NOT A JEEP -- I mean "HEEP"!!!

    As far as first impressions go, I am still not a huge fan of the large C pillars. That being said, GO SEE ONE IN PERSON!!! I did. It is much better looking than in the pics. Also, I test drove one last week, and then immediately placed a deposit for one. PLENTY OF POWER and decent cargo room. I do plan on doing some upgrades, however, including an ARB bull bar and warn winch; Donahoe coil overs, possibly OME in the rear; and American Racing Mojave teflon rims matted to P285 BFG Mud Terrain tires (maybe beadlocks instead; cannot decide). Anyway, it should be a pretty good rig when I am done with it.

    Finally, a word regarding off road capability and Jeeps. People seem to defend their CJs Tjs, etc. like one of their own children. A little hint: the Wrangler is not the end all, be all small platform trail and rock rig; that would be the LAND ROVER DEFENDER 90, which I am proud to own. Check the stats on that rig; they're quite nice. I just couldn't wait till the new Defender comes out, which should probably stomp all over the new Heep Rubicon just as my 1994 D90 ST does. Thus the FJ in the interim. (only other vehicle I would consider is a Galaendewagen).

    So, I plan on keeping my D90 (nothing like going topless in the summer) and adding the FJ Cruiser primarily because of its better amenities and reliability factor. With both of these rigs I will be unstoppable!!! :shades:
  • t26reddt26redd Posts: 2
    Hey I've got a question for you regarding the repairs you got done to your Wrangler. I have to get both front and rear pinion seals replaced on mine. What should I pay to get those replaced? Also, in case you might know I have a 4.0 Auto 97 Wrangler. A second or so after I pull out i get a rattle from under my seats near the transmission. It only happens when i accelerate hard. Any suggestions?
  • First, t26redd check the problems forum to find out how to fix your junk, but here you go anyway. The pinion seals are pretty easy to replace, just mark the yoke and nut before you begin so you can get the same pre-load when you put it back together ($50 per end is a good price). The rattle is probably exhaust components coming in contact with the cross member.

    Now, I drove a FJ yesterday...have owned all types of Jeeps over the past 30 years. While I covet the Toyota's quality and on road ride, it cannot fill my need to take to top down, clearly see all the vehicle's corners and achieve maximum articulation with a mild lift (OME 2.5"). I rate the FJ as poor in line of sight over the hood and out the back corners. Yes, the FJ's insides are cool and out pace the TJ, but the TJ we are comparing it too is nearly 10 a year old design. I look forward to wheeling my TJ beside an FJ on the trail one day to get a better idea of its capabilities. Dizzle65, if you are actually buying one and want to wheel it let me know when and where. If you bring the D90, we can enjoy our tops being down while we fix them on the trail. :P
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