2013 Toyota
FJ Cruiser

17 city / 20 hwy
4.0L, V6, 260 hp

It looks like those great rugged-yet-friendly Tonka trucks you played with in the bathtub as a kid. Or was that just me? We love the great style and can-do attitude of the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

By Holly Reich

The Big Picture

This is no Rodeo Drive poseur. Though we could argue that it’s so cool looking, it would be right at home next to the Lamborghini Aventadors and Ferrari Californias. The Toyota FJ Cruiser was mainly built with guys in mind, and especially those who like to do off-roading. But anyone who lives in a rugged area, with wet, icy winters would do well to test drive this able-bodied ride. The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is available in two-wheel or four-wheel drive versions.

An Inside Job

It’s easy to step into the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser, but you’ll want to grab on to one of the handgrips to get a hefty boost. Because hefty is what this SUV is all about, with a big dose of character and style.

The cabin is a design-driven environment—a nice departure from the vanilla interiors we are way too used to seeing. There’s a flat dash that is trimmed in metallic silver, a center console color-keyed to the exterior of the car, rubberized surfaces that are soft to the touch, large control knobs (made to grip with gloves), a chunky wheel, and a shallow covered container carved into the dash (for keys and such).

Yup, you sit up high in this rugged vehicle that has 3 windshield wipers on the oversize front windshield, chunky side mirrors (an undersized rear-view mirror), and a bright open greenhouse feel inside the cabin. All of the major dials and switches (climate, audio etc.) are mounted in the center dash panel for easy access. The seating materials are water repellant, and the floors are covered in a rubber-like material that is easy to clean. Both the 8-way driver’s seat and 4-way passenger seats are plenty comfortable but the backbench is a bit upright and stiff.

Family Friendliness

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser has plenty of cargo space. The side-hinged rear door has a swing-up glass hatch that opens independently of the rear door. I find that this is really handy for loading groceries with a baby on the other hip.

The FJ’s rear seatback is split 60/40 with folding (removable) bottom and back cushions that convert to a nearly flat cargo floor. The rear cargo area is equipped with cargo-net hooks, grocery-bag hooks, and sturdy floor-mounted cargo tie-downs. A 115-volt accessory power outlet is available.
With two full doors and two access doors, there’s plenty of room for five. The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser’s side access doors open 90 degrees in clamshell fashion. It’s easy for kids to slide into the back seat and they think it’s cool. However, closing those doors is another thing. They don’t call them suicide doors for nothing. They need to fold in first, before the front doors.


The FJ Cruiser’s standard safety package includes front seat-mounted side airbags and first- and second-row roll-sensing side curtain airbags. Dual-stage front driver and passenger-advanced airbags deploy based on impact type and severity. (See VroomGirls’ All About Airbags Primer for details.)

The FJ Cruiser is also equipped with active headrests for the front seats. (In certain rear collisions, a mechanism in the active headrest moves the headrest upward and forward to help limit the movement of the occupant’s head.) The LATCH child-restraint system secures child seats.

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes standard with Toyota’s STAR Safety System. That includes stability control, traction control, antilock brake system, brake assist, and smart stop technology (Toyota’s brake override system). All of these systems will activate the brake (if needed) and keep the vehicle stable on the road in all kinds of weather conditions.

Gizmos and Tech

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser was engineered for serious off-road roaming with its wide stance. Its steel body is welded to a steel ladder-braced frame. I’m not going to go into the double-wishbone independent front suspension or the four-link coil-spring with tubular shock absorbers. Translation? It boils down to a web of parts that are optimized for exceptional road feel and ride comfort.

With the FJ Cruiser’s standard 32-inch tires, ground clearance is 9.6 inches (8.7 inches for 4×2 models). Maximum towing capacity with the optional Class Four receiver hitch is 5,000 pounds.

There’s also water resistant seating surfaces (excellent for those ski trips and river runs), plus hands-free phone with Bluetooth.

Driving Experience

I perused a variety of owners’ clubs and fan clubs to get an idea of the FJ Cruisers audience. It appears that the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser is very much male driven with mud-seekers and after market enthusiasts. To clarify, I’m not that. I need some wheels that can get me through a snowstorm, navigate city parking spaces, and take off on the highway. No doubt about the snowstorm or serious potholes; the FJ could trump all that.

As for city driving, I was able to make tight U-turns on narrow streets in Ann Arbor, Michigan and parallel park with a few swift turns of the wheel. On highways, the FJ Cruiser kicked into action with a gutsy engine sound.

Pricing and Trim Levels

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser’s list of standard features includes: air conditioning, power windows and door locks, water-resistant seats, tilt steering wheel, four cup holders and two bottle holders, rear-window defogger, rear-door-mounted full-size spare tire, front- and rear-tow hooks, and mudguards. The Convenience Package includes: keyless entry, cruise control, power side-view mirrors with illumination markers, daytime running lights, rear privacy glass, rear window wiper, and a rear backup camera. Want more comfort without compromising the Fj’s rugged appeal? You can add on: JBL Premium Audio system; an 115V AC power outlet; 17-inch alloy wheels; leather-wrapped steering wheel with controls and a metal-colored shift lever; 4 x 4 5-door wagon 5AT $29,315 - - 4.0 260- hp V6; 5-speed automatic 17/20 mpg
Toyota FJ Cruiser

Final Thoughts

If you’re looking for wheels with style, personality, plenty of storage room, and the ability to get down and dirty, consider the FJ Cruiser. Check out the army green color, it's retro fab.

The design! The barn door in the back with the flip up glass hatch is a keeper. This car appeals to my cowgirl

Seriously versatile

If you have small children, the side access doors probably won’t work for you. I envision slammed fingers, a dented door, and tears

Can Do
Fun Styling
Easy Backseat

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15 Responses to “Toyota FJ Cruiser”

  1. Michele says:

    Last month I purchased the 2012 FJ Cruiser Trial Team Edition in radiant red. I love the way it rides, and I am loving the interior, and as you wrote “a nice departure from the vanilla interiors”. It does sit pretty high, and mine does not come with a running board so it can be challenging trying not to flash anyone when wearing a skirt. I have to say the FJ Cruiser’s retro style is a head turner. I am not sure if mine will ever get any off-road driving, but who knows. I am hoping that more girls will be seen around driving this SUV.

  2. david says:

    For 2012, the Toyota FJ Cruiser’s Trail Teams Special Edition package that was launched only during the last year receives a new color, Radiant Red.

    • david says:

      hi, I was also thinking of buying a 2014 model, just apprehensive and a little held back, can this be used in the city? cause i do not have plans on taking this outdoors ( mountains…etc..) i just like the vehicle for the looks of it!
      awkward to see an fj Cruiser on the streets, more so, there was no picture in the brochures the car is in the city all are outdoor filled with mud, rocks etc…


  3. Jeanne Hill-Jurik says:

    Just bought my FJ TT in radiant red! Thanks for your advice about taking it on an extended test drive and parking tests. I love it even though my husband thought it was overkill for winter. I’m keeping my 99 Acura CL as my summer car and will be using the TT as my winter car. We live at 9,340′ in the Rockies and I know with the FJ I will never get stuck on our hill again.

  4. Sarah Marie says:

    I just bought my bright orange 2013 F J cruiser and love it but the doors don’t close soundly all the time and that means they won’t always lock. Was broken into last night because I didn’t realize it didn’t lock. Does anyone know is there is a fix for this

  5. Kat says:

    I am looking into this vehicle and am looking for more information about how the windows roll down in the back . . . . . something about needing a key to open and shut. If anyone knows, please share.


    Mother of 10-year-old

  6. Stephanie says:

    Im looking into this car, but we will be having a baby soon, and I was concerned about how easy/difficult it would be to load/unload a baby and a carseat in this car with the half-backdoors. What do you think?

    • I personally think this car is FUN…and loading/unloading the car seat shouldn’t be a problem. But to be certain, why don’t you bring a car seat to a Toyota dealership and ask the salesman if you can fiddle around with installing the carseat in the FJ? They should be happy to oblige. Please let us know what happens.

  7. Louia says:

    I have purchased the Fj Cruiser and would like to know what baby capsules fit into this car? has anyone had any experience with this?

  8. OZ Nick says:

    To the lady above whom asked about putting a baby capsule into the FJ Cruiser it is possible. However the only place it will fit is in the centre of the rear seat so that it can poke through between the 2 front seats. We have a Maxi Cossi capsule and I tried putting it directly behind the passenger seat but because of the design of the seat back and the height of the rear seats the capsule wouldn’t fit without the front seat all the way forward and very upright meaning that no one except a very small child could sit in it. There are anchor points in the seat backs and additional anchor points under te seats if required.

    Now fitting the capsule in the center isn’t really an issue because it’s actually safer to have the capsule in the middle if you are involved in a side impact accident. It’s a little more difficult to get the capsule in and out but that has never bothered us.

    One of the reasons we purchased the FJ was because of the safety offered in the event of an accident. You are up nice and high with a big, solid, steel chassis and the child is protected in the rear by the huge C pillars.

    So to conclude, yes you can fit a baby capsule but do a test fitting first to make sure it will fit.

  9. Pam says:

    I have a 2013 FJ in iceburg white and it is appx 2 years old now. I love this vehicle! I live in N.E.Ohio and last winter was very brutal. I feel very safe for the first time in years driving this during winter months. I love knowing I have 4 wheel drive when needed while others are struggling keeping their cars on the road. This vehicle is just so cool to look at. I still love looking at it knowing that it has great personality. I have had people give me the thumbs up while in traffic. Yes, it may be a little intimidating for some to drive and backing up is challenging but ladies, get the hang of it and the guys will look at you in a different way…with respect! The meaning of “Bad Girl” takes on a new version. My husband who happens to be a car guy, thought I was nuts wanting this vehicle which is very basic in just about everything. I have had many beautiful and classy cars loaded, but I was never in love with any of them like I love my FJ. I had to quit saying that it is so freaking ugly I love it because my man did’t like my language saying that it sounded like I was swearing! You want to feel and look cool, get one of the these things before they are totally gone for good. BIG mistake on Toyota’s part. They didn’t go after ladies who are so sick of driving mini vans. I will be keeping my FJ for at least 2 or more years and just put tires on her. The joke is that we always buy a new car because it needs tires! Not this time, I will not give this car up for something I know I will absolutely hate!!!!!! By the way, I am 60 year old lady going on 25 who also drives my own ’55 Chevy!!! Don’t let the young person in you ever get push out by an old person!!!!


  10. Tina says:

    I bought my FJ Cruiser summer 2014. Purchased it brand new- Magma color (orange) with white top. I love my FJ! It turns heads all the time! A great decision on buying an FJ!

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