Midsize SUV; Built in Japan
  • 4-door wagon
  • longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $12,800 – $36,400*


2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser


2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser


2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser


2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Pros:
  • Cargo room
  • Seat comfort (front)
  • Hard-to-miss styling
Cons:
  • Fuel economy
  • Handling
  • Seat comfort (rear)

Solidly built, Toyota’s FJ Cruiser looks like no other SUV on the market. Unfortunately, the FJ pays a price for its exaggerated styling and off-road-biased engineering. Specifically, on-road performance and daily practicality don’t match those of less-radical rivals. Somewhat strong resale value keeps used FJ prices a bit high.

Overview

Toyota wanted something different with the FJ Cruiser, and got it. Based on the 4Runner but far different in appearance, this new midsize sport-utility vehicle featured styling inspired by Toyota’s 1960s-era Land Cruisers. Each FJ Cruiser seated five and had two main doors, two rear-hinged rear access doors, with no pillar between. A swing-out cargo door had opening glass and mounting for the spare tire. FJs came with rear-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. Sole engine was a 239-horsepower V6. A five-speed automatic transmission was standard. The 4WD version also was available with a manual transmission. Two 4WD systems were used. Both had low-range gearing, but only the 4WD system used with manual transmissions could be left engaged on dry pavement.

Rear-drive FJs included a limited-slip rear differential. A locking rear differential was standard with the manual transmission and 4WD, optional otherwise. All FJs had antilock braking, traction/antiskid control, and mud/snow tires. Available with 4WD was Toyota’s A-TRAC off-road traction control system. Front side airbags and curtain side airbags were optional. So were a rear-obstacle detection system and an inclinometer showing vehicle tilt. Though the FJ was in something of a class by itself, rivals included the Hummer H3, Jeep Wrangler, and Nissan Xterra.

Yearly Updates

2008 FJ Cruiser
Curtain airbags and front side airbags joined the standard-equipment list for 2008. A new Off-Road Package became optional. Toyota announced that 3,200 Trail Team Editions would be built in mid-season. Dealers could now install a TRD supercharger, boosting engine output to 304 horsepower.
2009 FJ Cruiser
A rearview camera was newly available on the 2009 FJ Cruiser.
2010 FJ Cruiser
The Toyota FJ Cruiser’s sole engine received more power in 2010, with an upgrade of horsepower from 239 to 258.
2011 FJ Cruiser
The 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser saw only minor trim changes.
2012 FJ Cruiser
There were no changes of note to the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser.
2013 FJ Cruiser
There were fairly minor tweaks for the 2013 model year. The Trail Teams Special Edition package switched from Radiant Red exterior paint to Cement Gray. Other models were offered in a new shade of orange called Magma. The only other change of note was the addition of standard power outside mirrors with marker lights.
2014 FJ Cruiser
FJ Cruiser’s final model year was 2014. Toyota announced production of 2500 Trail Teams Ultimate Edition models as a send off. All were finished in Heritage Blue paint with a white grille surround.

Engines

longitudinal front-engine/rear- or 4-wheel drive

Under FJ Cruiser hoods, Toyota’s 4.0-liter V6 engine develops 239 horsepower, working with either a six-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission. FJ Cruisers could have rear-wheel or four-wheel drive. For 2010, FJ Cruiser’s sole engine received more power, with an upgrade of horsepower from 239 to 258.

dohc V61
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 4.0/241
Engine HP 239-258
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 278
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
5-speed automatic
15/18
16/20
17.2
17.9

1. EPA Note: Figures shown are for 2008 models. The Environmental Protection Agency changed its procedure for 2008 to yield more realistic estimates. Therefore, estimated mileage is lower than for prior years.

Road Test

Toyota’s off-road-ready SUV provides adequate pep with either transmission, though with automatic, the V6 can feel overmatched by vehicle weight in passing maneuvers and on long upgrades. A test 4WD model with automatic accelerated to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds. The manual gearbox has long throws but light shift/clutch action.

As expected, fuel economy is meager. A test 4WD manual-transmission FJ averaged 17.2 mpg. Another, with automatic, averaged 17.3 to 18.3 mpg. Each FJ requires premium-grade gasoline.

A firm, yet compliant, suspension combines with tall-sidewall mud/snow tires to flatten most road bumps, yielding little jolting or body quiver. However, the FJ’s relatively short wheelbase results in bouncy body motions on uneven surfaces.

On-road handling trails other SUVs. Those tall tire sidewalls, the compact wheelbase, and a crosswind-vulnerable body shape contribute to subpar straightline tracking. Slow, vague steering doesn’t help, and thwarts any sense of agility in changes of direction. High build and poor cornering grip from mud/snow tires dictate slowing down for most turns. On the plus side is good close-quarters maneuverability, and stopping power feels more than adequate. In an off-road exercise, the available A-TRAC system kept the FJ going through very deep ruts and over extra-tall humps.

Toyota’s V6 growls at high rpm, but is acceptably muted at moderate cruising pace. However, the FJ’s angular shape promotes highway wind rush. Tire roar varies with road surface, but isn’t irksome even on coarse pavement.

Most controls are simple, handy, and large, despite sitting on a dashboard that’s essentially a bold showcase of box-shaped modules. Pushbuttons for various secondary functions are buried low, ahead of the shift lever. Main gauges are fine, but legibility of the extra-cost compass, thermometer, and inclinometer are compromised by their small size and dashtop placement. Functional interior decor includes washable rubberlike flooring, water-resistant fabric trim, body-color painted accents, and some low-budget plastic panels.

Front seats are all-day comfortable, providing good headroom and legroom for six-footers. Drivers enjoy a tilt steering wheel and a height-adjustable seat, but styling makes visibility poor to the right rear and dead astern. For that reason alone, the optional rear obstacle detection is worth having. Wide doors and moderate step-in height make entry/exit fairly easy for a truck-type SUV with sizable ground clearance.

Good headroom for six-footers is available in the backseat, but three adults are squeezed for shoulder space, and feel closed-in by thick roof pillars and small side windows. Legroom is tight with front seats far back. Entry/exit passages are also skimpy, even though access doors swing out 90 degrees. The back bench suffers a short cushion, upright backrest, and thin padding.

Despite a useful cargo bay, volume is subpar for a midsize SUV. Rear seatbacks won’t fold flat without removing seat cushions. The rear cargo door opens from curbside, but feels heavy and clumsy with the weighty bolt-on spare tire, which greatly hampers loading through the open window. In-cabin storage is ample.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2008 FJ Cruiser 4WD w/auto.

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 5
50%
Fuel Economy - 4
40%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 4
40%
Quietness - 4
40%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 5
50%
Room/Comfort Front - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Rear - 3
30%
Cargo Room - 8
80%

Other

Value - 5
50%

Total: 50

Specifications

4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
105.9 183.9 74.6 71.6
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
66.8 19.0 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
41.3 40.3 41.9 31.3
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 2007 FJ Cruiser 4-door wagon

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 4
80%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Rear Passenger Injury - 5
100%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Clutch
Description: The clutch pedal may be slow to return to full release in sub-freezing temperatures requiring replacement of the accumulator, slave cylinder and various other parts. (2007-09)
Clutch
Description: The clutch may slip in all gears due to the friction material separating from the disc. (2007-09)
Oil leak
Description: Some early build vehicles may develop an oil leak at the V where the timing cover meets the block. (2007)
Water leak
Description: There may be a water leak at the rear door for which improved weather stripping has been issued. (2007)
None
Description: The roof rack may develop noises due to crossbar screws that are too long and won’t tighten. (2007)

Recall History

2007 w/Bridgestone Dueler or Dunlop GrandTrek tires
Description: Inner bead of tire may have been damaged, allowing bulge to develop on sidewall and air to leak.
2007-13 FJ Cruiser
Description: Front seatbelt retractors are mounted in the rear door panels of the vehicle. Over time, the panel will crack and could detach the seatbelt detractor.
2007-13 FJ Cruiser
Description: Toyota auxiliary driving-lamp kits for these vehicles combine with the upper beam headlamps to exceed maximum light output and violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.
2008-11 FJ Cruiser
Description: When factory-installed wheels and tires were replaced with Toyota authorized accessory wheels and LT tires prior to first sale, the tire pressure monitoring systems were not re-calibrated correctly and therefore do not start illuminating the low tire pressure warning telltale at the required minimum activation pressure, increasing the risk of a crash. The dealer will replace or re-calibrate the tire pressure monitoring system on affected vehicles and install an updated tire and loading information label at no charge.
2008-14 FJ Cruiser
Description: Certain 2008 through 2014 model FJ Cruiser vehicles equipped with accessory wheels and tires before originally being sold may have incorrect information about the spare tire size and cold tire inflation information on the tire placard.
2010-13 FJ Cruiser
Description: Inaccurate label lists an inaccurate amount of allowable added weight.
2014 FJ Cruiser
Description: Certain 2014 model FJ Cruiser vehicles made between August 7, 2013 and August 20, 2013 may have inadequate welds on the intermediate steering shaft that connects the steering wheel to the steering gear box.
2014 FJ Cruiser
Description: Certain 2014 model FJ Cruiser vehicles may have accessories such as running boards that were incorrectly installed by Southeast Toyota Distributors, LLC, (SET). Fasteners may not have been tightened correctly, possibly allowing the accessories to fall off the vehicle.
2014 FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Ultimate Edition
Description: Certain 2014 model FJ Cruiser Trail Team Ultimate Edition vehicles may have bolts that were tightened with insufficient torque when the front shocks and springs were installed.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.