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You'll Like The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser If...

Whether you’re drawn to it as a comfortable and versatile daily driver, a weekend off-roader or just an expressive way to get from Point A to Point B, you’re sure to appreciate how well the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser does it all.

You May Not Like The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser If...

Depending on what other vehicles you might be considering, the FJ Cruiser’s potential faults include marginal fuel economy (although it’s slightly more fuel-friendly than the Xterra), big blind spots at the sides and a cargo area that’s not as accommodating as those of some other SUVs.

What's New

The 2009 FJ Cruiser adds two new safety features: A standard roll-sensing side airbag curtain and whiplash-preventing front seat active headrest. A revised Convenience Package adds a rear backup camera and auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

Interior Features

Equipped with water-resistant seat fabric, rubber flooring, removable rear seat bottoms and big control knobs designed for easy operation when wearing gloves, the FJ Cruiser’s interior is decidedly purpose-built. Still, it’s a very comfortable cabin for front and rear passengers alike, even if entering or leaving the rear seat through the small rear-hinged doors is tough to do elegantly. The rear cargo area isn’t huge, but convenient hooks and tie-downs add functionality. A color-keyed center cluster adds a touch of whimsy.

Exterior Features

With two smallish round headlamps flanking a low-profile, rectangular grille, the FJ Cruiser’s face provides the strongest link to its FJ40 ancestry. The contrasting white roof, wraparound rear glass and available roof rack are also familiar. In total, though, the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser isn’t as stylistically true to the original as the modern MINI or VW New Beetle are to their ancestors. Exterior features worth noting are the FJ Cruiser’s big 32-inch tires, three windshield wipers and available side mirror-mounted lamps. Toyota also offers plenty of add-ons geared toward off-road duty.

Driving Impressions

Whether you’re hoping the FJ Cruiser shines brightest as an off-roader or a daily driver, you’ll be happy to hear it fills both rolls exceptionally well. Except for its limited side visibility and a wide 41.8-foot turning circle, Toyota’s newest SUV is as pleasant to drive as many sedans. Off-road, the FJ Cruiser’s 32-inch tires, steep approach and departure angles and sophisticated traction aids combine to deliver world-class off-road capability. Compared with its most closely matched competitor, the Nissan Xterra, the FJ doesn’t corner as eagerly around town but does deliver a marginally softer highway ride. As for the off-road comparison, we’ll give the nod to the Toyota, although the Nissan remains impressive.

Pricing Notes

The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starts around $24,000 for the two-wheel drive model and jumps to just over $25,000 with four-wheel drive. A fully-loaded FJ tops out around $31,000. Our Fair Purchase Prices reflect real-world selling prices, so be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price before you set out to shop. The FJ’s competitors include the Nissan Pathfinder with prices ranging from $28,000 to just about $41,000, the Jeep Wrangler which ranges from $21,000 to more than $33,000 and, to a lesser extent, the HUMMER H3 which ranges from $34,000 to well beyond $40,000. In terms of resale value, we expect the 2009 FJ Cruiser to perform better than each of the competitors listed above.

Notable Equipment

Base FJ Cruisers are equipped with two-wheel drive, automatic transmission, air conditioning, power windows and locks, a six-speaker CD/MP3 audio system, auxiliary audio jack, electronic stability and traction controls, front seat side-mounted airbags, roll sensing side curtain airbags, two front airbags and 17-inch black steel wheels. Four-wheel-drive FJs come standard with a six-speed manual transmission.

Notable Options

FJ Cruiser upgrades include keyless entry, cruise control, rear sonar parking assist, rear backup camera, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, eight-speaker audio system with six-disc CD changer, subwoofer, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a 115V/400W power outlet. Options for off-roaders include the new Off-Road Package, an automatic transmission (4WD models), a rear differential lock, A-TRAC active traction control and an inclinometer.

Favorite Features

Subwoofer SwitchA big, console-mounted subwoofer on/off button makes it easy to optimize the listening experience when switching from talk to rock, for instance. A-TRACBy automatically applying the brakes to a spinning wheel, Toyota’s active traction control system forces torque to the opposing wheel and boosts the FJ Cruiser’s off-road capability.

Under the Hood

A sophisticated aluminum V6 anchors three powertrain combinations that include a five-speed automatic transmission coupled with either two-wheel-drive or a part-time four-wheel-drive system, or a six-speed manual transmission teamed with a full-time four-wheel-drive system. Four-wheel-drive models include a two-speed transfer case. Off-road capability is enhanced with locking differentials and electronic traction controls. Rock-crawling specs include approach and departure angles of 34 and 30 degrees, respectively (32 and 29 degrees for two-wheel drive models). The FJ Cruiser has an independent front suspension and solid rear axle, and its maximum towing capacity is 5,000 pounds.4.0-liter V6239 horsepower @ 5200 rpm278 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3700 rpmEPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/21 (2WD, automatic), 14/19(4WD, manual) 16/20 (4WD, automatic)

Editors' Notes

Sold in the U.S. from 1960 to 1983, the Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser remains one of the most respected off-road vehicles of all time. The Land Cruiser nameplate survives to this day, in fact, but affixed to a much bigger, much more expensive vehicle. Toyota’s 4Runner has also grown, both in size and in price, to a starting sticker near $30K, which necessitated the need for the FJ Cruiser. The 2009 FJ Cruiser is Toyota’s answer to the popular Nissan Xterra and the venerable Jeep Wrangler. The FJ Cruiser backs up its distinctive, retro-esque styling with serious off-road capability, thanks to features like body-on-frame construction, big tires, available four-wheel drive with two-speed transfer case and available locking rear differential.

Road Test Video Reviews

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Owner Reviews

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If you have eye problems or see badly, the back has a few blind spots.

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser

I have loved my fj cruiser since the second I test drove it! It is design is extremely unique and everyone always compliments it. My fj has never had any problems besides my battery (5 years old) died and I had to replace it, but that is normal for most cars. My fj is black and has an adorable pin stripe down the side. I also have a roof rack that is so helpful when I go camping! The tuck is huge and I moved myself to college and fit everything in my car! All in all, I cannot say a bad thing about the fj cruiser!

- Vanessa G

Over 300,000 miles and going strong

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD 4dr Man (Natl)

Over 300k miles. Never any major issues. Would definitely buy it again. Other than changing the oil, replacing the brakes, replacing tires, never any issues. Now, the volume button on the stereo doesn't work all the time, but I can use the one on the steering wheel. The only negative is that the back upper quarter panels create blind spots.

- Jill Z

Lifted 2009 Toyota Cruiser

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD 4dr Auto (Natl)

It still runs like new and it has 150,000 miles on it. I does excellent off road and in snow also. Great utility vehicle for towing camping etc... Gas mileage is only about 17 MPG but hey, it's a FWD truck. The roof rack is very handy for camping gear etc.

- Ralph C

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