2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 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 Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 239 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 14/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser

  • It's not the most versatile choice available, but if distinctive looks and outstanding off-road ability are important to you in a midsize SUV, the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser is hard to top.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Impressive off-road ability, distinctive interior and exterior styling, comfortable front seats.

  • Cons

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

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser gets new safety features. Roll-sensing side curtain airbags have been added, and front-seat active headrests are now standard. Finally, the FJ Cruiser's optional convenience package now includes a rear back-up camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

Full 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser gets new safety features. Roll-sensing side curtain airbags have been added, and front-seat active headrests are now standard. Finally, the FJ Cruiser's optional convenience package now includes a rear back-up camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.


"Back in my day, SUVs were for one thing and one thing only: kickin' up a ruckus off-road!" Somewhere, a wizened grandfather may be telling this to his rosy-cheeked grandkid, and it wouldn't be an exaggeration. For the most part, today's crossover SUVs are unapologetic city dwellers, groomed for comfort and convenience. Most of us have forgotten that there was a time when these vehicles were masters of the trail, born to subdue mountains and slice streams without missing a step.

The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser is, quite literally, a throwback to these earliest models. It's a modern-day version of the storied "FJ" series of Toyota's Land Cruiser, a line that was known for its indomitable ruggedness and durability. Endowed with a torquey V6, robust underpinnings and ample ground clearance, the FJ Cruiser shines when taken off the beaten path. Its heritage is also reflected in its sheet metal -- its squared lines and close-set headlights hark back to the era of the original FJ.

Around town, this Toyota is reasonably maneuverable, but it comes with a couple of design cues that compromise its appeal as a suburban runabout. Its humongous rear roof pillars and high hood line hinder outward visibility, and its access-style rear doors make getting into the second row a chore. For these reasons, the Nissan Xterra is a better choice for those seeking an off-roader with maximum daily versatility. But the FJ is a lot of fun to drive and own, and will likely satisfy those craving a vehicle with the boulder-crawling spirit of the earliest SUVs.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a midsize SUV with four doors. Front doors are standard-sized, but the rear doors are smaller and open outward from the C-pillar. A single trim level is offered, and its list of standard features includes snazzy two-tone exterior paint, air-conditioning, 17-inch black steel wheels, a six-speaker CD/MP3 stereo, power windows and locks, and eight-way manual adjustment for the driver seat.

Options include a Convenience package that offers keyless entry, power side mirrors, cruise control, rear privacy glass, an auto-dimming rear mirror and a rearview camera. Two "Upgrade" packages bring with them features such as alloy wheels, a locking rear differential, a premium audio system with a six-CD changer, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, active traction control (4WD models only), rear park assist and an information display that includes a compass and an inclinometer. The All Terrain package includes special 16-inch alloy wheels, all-terrain tires, performance shock absorbers and a specialized engine air filter.

Powertrains and Performance

Pop the hood of the 2009 FJ Cruiser and you'll find a 4.0-liter V6 good for 239 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. Both a five-speed automatic and a six-speed manual transmission are offered. FJs with manual transmissions are only available with a full-time 4WD system; models with automatic transmissions come with either two-wheel drive or a part-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 -- 16 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 17 mpg combined in 4WD models with automatic transmissions.


Standard safety features include stability control, traction control, antilock disc brakes, front-seat side airbags and rollover-sensing side curtain airbags. In National Highway Traffic Safety Administration crash tests, the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser earned a top five-star rating for driver safety in head-on collisions, while front passenger protection rated four stars. In side impact testing, front and rear passenger protection received five stars. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the FJ its top score of "Good" for the vehicle's protection of occupants in frontal offset and side impact collisions.

Interior Design and Special Features

The FJ's dash features retro themes and is color-keyed to match the exterior. For the most part, the controls are well-placed and easy to find. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear compartment is a tight fit and requires a high step up for entry.

The rear access doors are like a pickup's in that they open rearward. Though this setup means that a wide portal is created when the doors are opened, it ultimately proves to be a bit inconvenient; the rear doors don't open unless the front doors are also opened, and can be difficult to close if you're seated in back. As a result, the FJ isn't the best choice if you're looking for a kid-friendly hauler. With the rear seats folded, 67 cubic feet of cargo space is created.

Wide C-pillars, small rear windows and a tailgate-mounted spare tire all contribute to poor rear visibility. Front visibility is also less than optimal, thanks to the FJ's high hood line. As a result, parking maneuvers can be challenging; it can also be tricky to spot obstacles when traveling off-road.

Driving Impressions

The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser is in its element off-road. Thanks to its supple suspension articulation, it crawls over boulders, tree roots and most other obstacles with the greatest of ease. It's better than most customers would expect on pavement, with precise steering and a smooth ride. The automatic transmission delivers smooth shifts, and the V6 manages brisk acceleration. The FJ's boxy lines result in noticeable wind noise on the highway.

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

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Great vehicule

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

Very reliable truck. Great off road. Fun to drive and unique design. Awesome truck in winter. Good power.

7 of 15 people found this review helpful

Our second fj

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

We bought our first FJ in May 2009. Four months later, towing our 24 foot travel trailer along Rt 84 in PA the trailer was caught by a gust of wind and we started to fishtail. My husband gently applied the trailer breaks in an effort to get it to stop swinging but it was too far gone. The trailer flipped, and with it went my brand new FJ containing my husband, our two dogs and me. I remember being upside down, then on our side, skidding along the highway, then somehow, back on all 4 tires and stopped. Only one window broke, the passenger side view mirror folded in and broke the passenger side window. Aside from scrapes and bruises, were all shook up and perfectly ok.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Overall great vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)

I bought my FJ in July to replace a piece of junk Land Rover Freelander (also purchased new in 2002). I wanted to wait until I had some time in the vehicle before writing a review. This is an outstanding vehicle. My wife didn't want to get it initially, but now she says she would buy another without a second thought. I immediately changed the oil over to Full Synthetic, and am getting an average 20mpg city/highway, and plan to change the drive train over to full syn in the near future. It is outstanding in the mud and snow. I have nothing but good things to say about this vehicle, and I've owned Ford's, GM products, Nissan's, Land Rovers, Mazda's and Subaru's. Toyota's from now on.

Best ever

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

I have had all manner of trucks and cars. This is the best ever. I started my driving with a 1972 fj40. This is like being 16 again and never wanting to get out. I find a reason to drive it whenever I can. I pull a 4300# boat and camp with it every weekend.

A book by its cover

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)

The FJ is exactly what it looks like - great fun in a hard-nosed package without extras. It's not a mall crawler, and that's ok with me. Great in bad weather, great off road. designed to be durable, should run forever. If you are an outdoor enthusiast - you owe it to yourself to look at one of these. I camp, hunt and fish, this is perfect for my needs. More HP and torque than an H3 and still gets better mileage. Visibility is no problem if you've driven trucks before.

09 fj

by on
Vehicle: 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)

Good enhancements to the 2009 model, rear camera to enhance visibility and inside reading lights. Off road buttons added.

Talk About The 2009 FJ Cruiser

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Discussions See all Started By

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Gas Mileage


  • 14
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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