2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Toyota FJ Cruiser Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 4.0 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 239 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/20 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser

  • Though not the best midsize SUV in terms of versatility, the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser more than makes up for it thanks to its distinctive style and superior off-road ability.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Impressive off-road ability, distinctive interior and exterior styling, comfortable front seats, strong crash test scores.

  • Cons

    Limited visibility fore and aft, cramped rear seat with impeded entry and exit.

  • What's New for 2008

    An all-new model last year, the Toyota FJ Cruiser rolls into 2008 with minimal changes. Last year's optional side and side-curtain airbags are now standard. The TRD Special Edition model is no more, but much of its additional equipment is now contained in a new off-road package.

Full 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

What's New for 2008

An all-new model last year, the Toyota FJ Cruiser rolls into 2008 with minimal changes. Last year's optional side and side-curtain airbags are now standard. The TRD Special Edition model is no more, but much of its additional equipment is now contained in a new off-road package.


In the science fiction TV show Stargate SG-1, a small U.S. Air Force military team uses an ancient alien device to travel to other worlds. The team's adventures typically entail going to other planets, shooting guns, speaking to inhabitants who strangely speak English and saving Earth from otherwise certain destruction. All good stuff, really. But here in the real world, we don't have a Stargate or even Richard Dean Anderson at the ready to reach faraway places for adventure. What we do have is the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Now in its second year, the FJ Cruiser is the modern reincarnation of the legendary "FJ" series of Toyota's Land Cruiser. The old FJ 4x4 was known for its rugged capabilities and durability and has become a very popular classic SUV. Stylistically, the FJ Cruiser pays homage to the old model via a squared-off stance, close-set round headlights, a retro-look Toyota grille badge and an offset rear license plate. It's a look that screams "I'm ready to go rhinoceros hunting," or if you're a Stargate fan, "I'm ready to scale the mighty dunes of Abydos!"

Though carlike crossovers are increasingly popular with consumers, the FJ maintains the SUV tradition of truck-based heritage and true off-road ability. It's related to the Tacoma pickup, and relatively compact dimensions, a torquey V6 engine, stout underpinnings and plenty of ground clearance and wheel travel allow the FJ to be one of the best off-roading rigs you can drive off the showroom floor. Yet it is surprisingly maneuverable around town on wild adventures to Best Buy.

This dedication to off-road performance and style does come at the expense of some utility. The vehicle's outward visibility is poor even by SUV standards, and its rearward-opening doors aren't as convenient as one might think. As such, you might find the FJ's main competitors, the Hummer H3, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited and Nissan Xterra to be a little better in terms of daily-use versatility. But the FJ's faults are pretty easy to overlook given how enjoyable it is to drive and own. For an adventure vehicle, it doesn't get much better than the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser -- unless of course, you have access to a Stargate.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser midsize SUV comes in one body style, essentially a two-door SUV with a pair of smaller, reverse-opening doors behind the standard front ones. There is a single trim level that comes with 17-inch black steel wheels, a two-tone exterior paint scheme, air-conditioning, a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo, power windows and locks, eight-way manual adjustment for the driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Options include a convenience package that includes keyless entry, power side mirrors, cruise control, rear privacy glass and rear park assist. There are also two "Upgrade" packages that add features such as alloy wheels, a locking rear differential, an upgraded audio system with a six-CD changer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, a 115-volt power outlet, active traction control (4WD models only) and an information display that includes a compass and inclinometer. A Garmin portable navigation system that mounts above the gauges is now available. This year's new All-Terrain package includes special 16-inch wheels and all-terrain tires, Bilstein shock absorbers, an additional engine air filter and a locking rear differential that's optimized with the stability control system for better rock-crawling performance.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering all 2008 FJ Cruisers is Toyota's refined workhorse 4.0-liter V6. In this application, it makes 239 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. FJ Cruiser buyers can choose between a five-speed automatic and a six-speed manual transmission. Most automatic-equipped FJs will come with a part-time four-wheel-drive system, though Toyota also has a two-wheel-drive version available. Vehicles equipped with the manual have a full-time 4WD system. In our testing, a 4WD automatic FJ Cruiser went from zero to 60 mph in 7.8 seconds. Towing capacity, at 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, is about average, as is fuel economy. A 2008 FJ Cruiser automatic has a 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway rating.


Stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, front seat side airbags and full-length side curtain airbags are all standard. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser earned a top five-star rating for driver safety in head-on collisions. Front passenger protection rated four stars. For the side-impact test, front and rear passenger protection received five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the FJ a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

Interior Design and Special Features

The FJ's retro-looking dash is color-keyed to the exterior, and most of the controls are straightforward and functional. Seating in front is very comfortable, but getting into the rather cramped rear compartment requires a high step up and a contortionist dance, even with the rear doors open.

Those rear access doors open up a big portal, but in actuality they're not particularly convenient. The front doors must be opened first to get the rears open, and the rears can be hard for people seated in the rear to close. As a children-schlepping vehicle, an FJ isn't the best choice. Flipping that split rear seat down results in 66.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. Unfortunately, rear visibility is tanklike because of the wide C-pillars, tiny rear side windows and tailgate-mounted spare tire. Front visibility also takes a hit due to the high hood line, making both parking maneuvers and off-road obstacle-spotting a bit tricky.

Driving Impressions

The 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser simply rocks off-road. Its supple suspension articulation enables it to clamber over boulders, tree roots and most anything else. On pavement, the FJ handles better than you might expect. The steering is precise and the ride is smooth over most types of pavement. At the same time, the V6 engine is able to get the FJ up to speed in quick fashion, and the automatic transmission shifts smoothly and accurately. Wind noise on the highway is often noticeable due to the vehicle's blocky exterior shape.

Read our Toyota FJ Cruiser Long-Term 20,000-Mile Test

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

130,000 reliable miles and counting

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

After driving 130,000 miles on my 2008 FJ Cruiser, I have found this SUV to be very dependable. I love the plastic floors which I just spray down and wipe down. Don't miss carpeting . I enjoy the easy to clean durable interior fabric, however I would like to have as an option a leather interior. A fellow FJ owner told me there is a shop in Buffalo NY that sells leather skins that simply stretch over existing seats. Most people that ask me how I like FJ follow up with gas mileage question. I get around 18mpg which is fine for a vehicle that can tow up to 5000lbs.I'm not risking life for mileage!This vehicle gets top marks (5 star rating) for rear and side impact crash testing.

Big blue

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Owned over a year. Bought it used with just over 9,000 miles. No problems whatsoever. Truck came with an aftermarket DVD, amp and subwoofer. Many compliments from friends. Easy to shift into 4X4 when needed. Rides perfect for a truck and love the height. Adjustable height on the driver's seat. The interior is awesome. Recommend buying one!

The fj

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

This car is an absolute beast. It goes wherever you want to go, and does whatever you want to do. Great off road capability and just really fun to drive. Reliability is great. Have not had one problem with it.

Cheap !

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

The paint on the outside of the FJ scratches way to easily. The plastic interior scratches even easier. For an off road vehicle, in which mine is not, just cheap and poorly designed. The premium gas @2.98 a gal. What ! 15 miles in the city and 20 on hwy. Rides nice and has good pick-up when you need it, just shouldn't have to run premium gas and give a second thought to the paint! Now the windshield, cracks WAY too easily. Bad up-right design as the hummer, rocks don't skip off, again an off road vehicle . What ! Had 5, count em, 5 small dings (dime size cracks/spots) fixed b4 the last one gave way to a 16" crack! Shop around, maybe buy American, I know. I know., but it's true

Great vehicle/ questioable price.

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Loved it but,If I new That just driving a new one off the lot automatically dropped the value of the vehicle to 25,000 or less.I would have searched and found one a year old and would not have spent more than 23,000.Shame on Toyota for ruining yet another lifetime customer. P.S. I'm still going to keep my old toy trucks though. Must have had real engineers (or not Harvard,or Yale). You get the point.

Not impressed

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Vehicle: 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

A salesman talked me into this heap. I like to offroad and he told me all sorts of crap about other makes and models, so I bought it. It"s like a coffin inside. Very dark. No sunroof. Bad interior lighting. Hummer H3 and Jeep Wrangler are both more capable off-road. Plus, you can barely see out of it. And now the windshield is cracked cause of poor 'flat' design.

Talk About The 2008 FJ Cruiser

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Discussions See all Started By

"You keep giving the wrong info, and I will keep correcting you. The VF4AM is used on the V6 4Runner and 05 - 07 Sequoia. The VF4BM is used on V8 4Runner and FJ Cruiser with a manual transmission...

Hi Steve. Toyota is providing lease support on the 2007 FJ Cruiser in a couple of its regions right now. I would be happy to give you an idea of what this truck's current program is like if you tell...

I owned a 1964 FJ40. The new FJ Cruiser is not in that league. I think that Toyota is realizing they made a mistake with FJ sales off by 60%. I would imagine they will be dropped from the lineup. Pict...

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 20
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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