Used 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
List price range
2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Pros

  • Superior off-road ability, comfortable and supportive front seats, retro styling that captures the spirit of the original.

Cons

  • Limited visibility fore and aft, rear-seat entry hindered in spite of reverse-opening doors.

Used 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV for Sale

Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
121,422 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$13,000
Est.Loan: $266/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
135,723 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$11,995
Est.Loan: $245/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
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Dealer Notes
If you are of a certain age, you'll recognize the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser as the rebirth of an icon, the Toyota FJ 40, better known in North America as the original Land Cruiser. It was a rugged, go-anywhere vehicle, a sport utility vehicle decades before the genre had a name. On the other hand, if you are of a significantly younger age than graybeards nostalgic for manually locking hubs, you'll see the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser as something new and different and even unique on the road. **LOCAL TRADE**LOCAL TRADE**This 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is in excellent condition inside and out! JUST TRADED IN! VISIT OUR SHOWROOM TODAY AT 25284 PLEASANT VALLEY ROAD #110, CHANTILLY, VA 20152. CONTACT OUR SALES DEPARTMENT AT 703-574-4736. WWW.CHANTILLYAUTOSALES.COM
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
125,562 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$13,995
Est.Loan: $286/mo
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
77,810 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
Auto Bank II
15.4 mi away
List$13,900
Est.Loan: $284/mo
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
101,206 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$15,995
Est.Loan: $291/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
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Dealer Notes
***COOL FJ.....................2007 TOYOTA FJ CRUISER 4WD SUV, BLACK WITH A BLACK INTERIOR, AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION, AIR CONDITIONING, POWER WINDOWS, LOCKS, AND MIRRORS, AM/FM CD PLAYER, CRUISE CONTROL, VENT VISORS, ROOFRACK, CUSTOM FRONT BUMPER, ALLOY WHEELS, CLEAN CARFAX***MUST PRINT AND PRESENT INTERNET AD FOR SPECIAL INTERNET PRICING BEFORE YOUR SCHEDULED APPOINTMENT. PLEASE CALL MAXIMUM AUTO OUTLET AT 703.822.7998. GUARANTEED CREDIT APPROVALS FOR EVERYONE. FINANCE RATES AS LOW AS 2.99 APR. WE ARE LOCATED AT 8503-O EUCLID AVE, MANASSAS PARK, VA 20111. OPEN 7 DAYS A WEEK.PRICE EXCLUDES TAXES, TITLE, LICENSE, $595 DEALER PROCESSING FEE, & FINANCE CHARGES. SOLD AS-IS, SEE BUYERS GUIDE FOR WARRANTY OPTIONS.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
134,098 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
(5)
Kargar Motors
18.8 mi away
List$14,877
Est.Loan: $304/mo
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Dealer Notes
BUYING A CAR HAS NEVER BEEN THIS EASY.We specialize in 100% GUARANTEED APPROVAL. BAD CREDIT, NO CREDIT, BANKRUPTCY, REPO, FORECLOSURE...NO PROBLEM. We can HELP you DRIVE today!!! You will not be disappointed!! 124 point VA safety inspection, AUTOCHECK CERTIFIED, qualifies for AUTOCHECK buy back protection, WARRANTY on each vehicle and EXTENDED WARRANTY AVAILABLE up to 5 years.NON-COMMISSIONED sales reps. Just friendly staff and ready to help you. Contact our Sales at 703-520-9696.***LOOKS AND RUNS GREAT***4X4, POWER WINDOWS, MIRRORS, LOCKS, SEATS, CD PLAYER, AM/FM RADIO, TRIP COMPUTER, ALLOY WHEELS, REMOTE KEYLESS ENTRY AND MORE***for more information please call: 703-520-9696.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
102,946 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$14,999
Est.Loan: $306/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
118,380 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
(3)
Priority Toyota
25.3 mi away
List$48,977
Est.Loan: $891/mo
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
115,087 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
M & B Auto Sales
27.3 mi away
List$14,994
Est.Loan: $306/mo
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007
151,111 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$11,777
Est.Loan: $241/mo
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
108,952 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
CarMax
36.1 mi away
List$18,598
Est.Loan: $339/mo
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Dealer Notes
CarMax makes car buying easy and hassle-free. Our upfront prices are the same online and on our lot. All our used cars come with a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee, a 30-Day Limited Warranty (60-Day in CT, MN, and RI; 90-Day in GA, MA, NJ, and NY) and a free vehicle history and safety recall report. Price assumes final used vehicle purchase will be made in MD, and excludes tax, title and tags but includes $99 dealer processing charge (not required by law). Some fees are location specific and may change if you transfer this vehicle to a different CarMax store. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Check nhtsa.gov/recalls to learn if this vehicle has an unrepaired safety recall. Inventory shown here is updated every 24 hours.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
115,518 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$13,709
Est.Loan: $280/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
179,482 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$10,995
Est.Loan: $225/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
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Dealer Notes
Capitol Motors of Stafford3316 Jefferson Davis Hwy, STAFFORD, VA 22554540-659-1000capitolmotorsdmv.comWarranty: Extended warranties available on most vehicles.DISCLAIMER: NEITHER THE DEALERSHIP NOR DEALERSCLOUD.COM IS RESPONSIBLE FOR TYPOGRAPHICAL ERRORS, MISPRINTS ON PRICES OR EQUIPMENT. TOTAL PRICES ON VEHICLES FINANCED MAY VARY. WE FINANCE PEOPLE WITH ALL TYPES OF CREDIT.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
129,870 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$13,970
Est.Loan: $285/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
$300 Below Market
View Details
Dealer Notes
4WD. This 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser will not make it to the weekend!! Please call now to reserve your test drive appointment!! (240) 585-7300. 17/21mpg Prices subject to change without notice and do not include Title, License, Registration Fees, State or Local Taxes or Processing Fees, if any. Please contact seller first for vehicle availability
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
145,250 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$14,250
Est.Loan: $291/mo
Great Deal!Great Deal!
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Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
76,301 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
CarMax
54.5 mi away
List$21,998
Est.Loan: $401/mo
View Details
Dealer Notes
CarMax makes car buying easy and hassle-free. Our upfront prices are the same online and on our lot. All our used cars come with a 5-Day Money-Back Guarantee, a 30-Day Limited Warranty (60-Day in CT, MN, and RI; 90-Day in GA, MA, NJ, and NY) and a free vehicle history and safety recall report. Price assumes final purchase will be made in VA, and excludes tax, title, tags and $299 CarMax processing fee (not required by law). Some fees are location specific and may change if you transfer this vehicle to a different CarMax store. Certain vehicles may have unrepaired safety recalls. Check nhtsa.gov/recalls to learn if this vehicle has an unrepaired safety recall. Inventory shown here is updated every 24 hours.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
95,350 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
(4)
Jones Toyota
67.6 mi away
List$18,987
Est.Loan: $346/mo
Fair Deal!Fair Deal!
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Dealer Notes
This 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is Carfax certified with no damage history. Its in perfect condition and just passed a Maryland State Inspection where we completed an oil and filter change and replaced the battery.Its well equipped with power windows, power locks, cruise control, two keys, two fobs, an owners manual plus so much more!Jones Junction is proud to announce that 2018 marks their 101st consecutive year as a family-run automotive business serving the Harford County and surrounding Maryland, Pennsylvania and Delaware communities. The Jones family believes their success lies in focused dedication to hard work and integrity. Their goal is not simply to sell a car; it is to create a lifelong partnership with their customers.All prices plus Taxes, Tags, and $300 Dealer Processing fee, not required by law, Feel free to visit us at WWW.JONESJUNCTION.COM, or come by today at 1713 Harford Rd Fallston, MD. 21047.
Toyota FJ Cruiser 2007 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M)
149,625 miles
Used 2007
Toyota FJ Cruiser
Base
List$14,996
Est.Loan: $306/mo
Good Deal!Good Deal!
View Details

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Edmunds' Expert Review

If you never go off-road, you'll like it; if you always go off-road, you'll love it.

vehicle overview

In the world of serious off-road trucks, Toyota's FJ series that flourished from 1960 to 1983 had few equals. In addition to being able to go over and through most obstacles that lay off the beaten path, the compact yet rugged ute also had a reputation for bulletproof reliability and durability. As long as there was gas in the tank, oil in the engine and coolant in the radiator, nothing short of an attack by an enraged elephant could keep the FJ from getting to nearly any part of the earth's four corners.

While the FJ Cruiser's lineage is long ("FJ" has been the Land Cruiser's internal vehicle code name for more than 50 years), Toyota claims that the 2007 version is "the most distinctive and capable 4x4 in the Toyota lineup." That's quite a statement from the company that builds the current Land Cruiser and 4Runner, which are excellent off-roaders in their own right. Harkening back to that illustrious FJ40 model of decades gone by, the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser incorporates many design features of the original, such as fairly compact dimensions and aggressive approach and departure angles. But unlike those mechanical billy goats of yore, today's version has a lot more muscle underhood as well as the latest features that today's consumers demand.

Although the FJ's styling is definitely retro, its running gear is not. A variety of drive systems are available, ranging from a "Pre-Runner" style two-wheel-drive version to a pair of four-wheel-drive FJs. Standard on all is the same potent, DOHC 4.0-liter V6 that sees duty in many of Toyota's other trucks, and buyers have a choice of an automatic or manual transmission. Four-wheel-drive models have low-range gearing, a locking center differential and a traction-control system with a brake-based electronic differential locking feature. A mechanically locking rear differential is available as an option.

The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser certainly lives up to its lofty forebears in terms of off-road prowess. At the same time, it's considerably better in terms of comfort and amenities than any old FJ ever was. But we doubt many people will be cross-shopping new and old. For 2007, the Toyota's closest competitors are the Hummer H3, Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, and Nissan Xterra. The Xterra holds a slight advantage in terms of on-road performance and versatility, but its styling seems rather staid in comparison. For the shopper desiring a reasonably affordable SUV that shines in terms of style, performance and off-road capability, the new FJ Cruiser is tough to beat.

Trim levels & features

The 2007 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 air conditioning, a six-speaker CD 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 mirrors, cruise control, deep tinted glass and rear park assist. There are also two "Upgrade" packages that add features such as alloy wheels, a locking rear differential, a six-disc CD changer, a 115-volt power outlet, active traction control (4WD models only) and an information display that includes a compass and inclinometer.

A TRD Special Edition package is also available. Included in the package are TRD/Bilstein off-road tuned shock absorbers, all-black exterior paint, special wheels, rock rails and a TRD exhaust. Toyota says the locking rear differential on Special Edition vehicles no longer overrides Active Traction control, enabling the FJ Cruiser to navigate through boulders more easily.

2007 Highlights

An old nameplate makes a comeback. The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a new SUV that takes the philosophy of Toyota's old compact but tough off-roader and adapts it to meet the demands of the 21st-century consumer.

Performance & mpg

Powering all 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. Our test of a 4WD automatic FJ Cruiser confirmed that it's fairly quick for a 4,300-pound SUV, as our test vehicle ran the 0-60-mph drill in 7.8 seconds. Braking is strong too, with a stop from 60 mph taking just 126 feet -- very good for an SUV. Towing capacity is rated at a respectable 5,000 pounds, while fuel mileage ranges from 16 mpg city to 22 mpg highway.

Safety

Stability control, traction control and antilock disc brakes with brake assist are all standard. Optional are front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags for all outboard passengers, daytime running lights and rear park assist. In NHTSA crash tests, the FJ earned a top five-star rating for driver safety in head-on collisions. Front passengers earn four stars. For the side-impact test, front and rear passenger protection receive five stars. The IIHS gives the FJ a top score of "Good" for its protection of occupants in frontal-offset and side-impact collisions.

Driving

Along with those aggressive approach/departure angles, available locking differential and 17-inch wheels wearing 32-inch tires, all 4x4 models offer 9.6 inches of ground clearance, full underbody skid plates and generous suspension travel. As expected, the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser rocks off road, with its supple suspension articulation enabling it to clamber over boulders, tree roots and most anything else. On pavement, the precise steering, smooth ride and surprisingly low wind noise at freeway speeds make for an affable commuter.

Interior

We approve of the FJ Cruiser's interior design, which stays true to the original FJ philosophy by being straightforward and functional rather than overly stylized and littered with gimmicks. A nice touch is the standard MP3 auxiliary input. An asset for outdoor sports enthusiasts is the available 115-volt, three-prong outlet in the cargo area. The front seats are very comfortable, but getting into the spacious rear compartment requires a high step up and a contortionist dance, even with the rear doors open. Flipping that split rear seat down results in 66.8 cubic feet of maximum cargo capacity. Unfortunately, rear visibility is tank-like 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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

Personal Experience with my 2007 FJ 4x4
John,09/13/2015
I first want to start off by saying I have not reviewed any prior vehicles but felt compelled to due to the pleasant experiences I have had with my FJ. The most common question I get is "why didn't you just get a jeep" and to be honest they were considered when I was in the market for my next vehicle. There was not one deciding factor in my getting a FJ over a Jeep but rather a list of reasons. I like to research my next vehicle to the fullest extent before investing any sort of money in them. Overall, my personal experiences with Jeep's have been less than satisfactory. I have had a Jeep in the past and was not happy with it. Prior to buying the FJ I drove my buddies 2007 Jeep Rubicon 4x4 for week to see how I liked it. I gave it back within 2 days. It drove like a tractor in that you have to constantly manipulated the steering wheel to get it to track straight at anything over 40mph. It was a dog. The V6 in the Jeep's up until 2010 I believe had absolutely no power. During my brief time driving it we had a small shower and like every Jeep I've known, it leaked. One of the only advantages I could see was the huge availability of aftermarket parts. On to the FJ. I test drove a FJ at a dealer and immediately loved it. Personal preference maybe but it felt more like a machine than any Jeep I had been in. Dealers in my opinion are always overpriced so I got my preapproval from the bank and stalked Craigslist, and AutoTrader until one came up. The FJ's are supremely unique in that they look like nothing else on the road. Jeeps are miniature hummers, 4runners look like mini Sequoias and so on. I wanted something unique that everyone didn't see everyday and I found it in the FJ. The V6 in the FJ initially surprised me with how much get up and go it has. With more horsepower than most Mustangs and Camaros of the same year it makes for a awesome driving experience. I've read reviews of people complaining that Toyota paint is horrible but I must say it is quite the opposite. I personally have a Black FJ and the paint has been easy to upkeep. Easy to wash, wax and buff. Resilient against most things encountered off road like thorns, rocks that have been flung up and the occasional branch popping up. I would definitely recommend getting the roof rack and step up rails as they add style and function. The interior as I'm sure you've read if your here researching FJ's is designed to be washed out with a hose. IE. It is mostly plastic and water resistant cloth. This is one of the best features Ive found yet. IT IS SUPREMELY EASY TO CLEAN. After a weekend at the beach with the dogs, or off-roading you can practically take a hose to it or a broom. With a cloth and a touch of Armour All she looks new. The plastic just about everywhere on the dash is very resilient. The floor and cargo area lack that a bit. Though not soft it tends to scratch if throwing rocks, antique furniture or what have you in the back. Keep in mind this is not a Land Rover, it is made to be used. Not looked at. It is not your prissy leather, and hardwood Jeep. I am 6'2 and a compact 225 and fit great in the front seat. The back is a bit of a squeeze but I'm always driving so who cares. Until your kids grow past 5ft you will be fine. The front is very open and the windshield can be expensive if broken but I've thankfully not had that happen. Many people complain about the lack of visibility when looking back. If you angle your mirrors like it says to do in every DMV book you will be fine. Its not for soccer moms who have kids throwing candy while changing lanes. Like I mentioned before the engine is a great piece of engineering, Toyota literally squeezed every bit of HP they could out of it. If you want more, get a Supercharger, the engine has been built up about as far as it can go. Sure exhaust and a CAI will add 5HP but can you really feel that when you step on it? No. The Oil Capacity is a nuisance at 5.5 quarts, IE you have to buy another quart along with that 5 quart jug. Something that I found notable is that even at 5k miles, the oil is still cleaner than my Mustangs oil after 3k. Better tolerances? I don't know but its worth mentioning. MPG is something people complain about the most. At 55mph at get 24mpg, (automatic w/ 4x4) at 65 20MPGand on long hauls to the coast at 85-95mph I get 17MPG. If your buying the FJ for fuel economy get a Prius instead, its literally a box. Some people report a bump in the transmission after coming to a stop. Supposedly this happens after 100k but at 125k I still have not felt it. Drivetrain seems bulletproof, the fancy A-Trac and locking differential is really handy for getting you out of places where you should of had a second vehicle. Overall I love the FJ. I love the fact that it has true glove box on the drivers side dash and that it has 3 windshield wipers. Toyota dependability can not be beat. I'd buy another one tomorrow if I could drive both at the same time.
Scuba mod
SiNiStEr07,09/01/2010
I read through a majority of the reviews on the FJ before I bought mine. Every now and then there is a very low rating because of transmission or rear differential/transfer case problems. To those I ask, did you take your stock FJ in mud or water? If the answer is yes, that's why you had these problems. Unfortunately Toyota let the casual offroaders down. The problems you guys are having is because of the differential and transmissions breathers. These breathers let the hot gases/vapors out of your diff/tranny so they don't overheat. The problem is Toyota messed up with the placement. While these breathers are open to keep your parts from overheating, they fail to keep mud and water out.
No worries , get better roof rack.
manuel munoz,03/24/2015
I made a deposit prior to the fj being delivered into the US. One of the first on the west coast.No regrets.Front seat is a bit uncomfortable.Pillow fixed that.I only changed the intake,and exhaust, shocks,TRD all.The best tires for this rig are General at 2. Rotate every 3000, as with the oil.70,000 plus miles on tires. Work great in 2 foot snow and steep rock and gravel roads.Keep it at 65 mph and received 20 mpg,freeway. Will keep this forever.Not true about "all over the road,in wind".Not one problem.Do not use after market ultra bright headlight bulbs,will fry the sockets.lift kit not needed.Goes everywhere,anywhere,stock.Install blind spot mirror's A must. No regrets update 2017 still have still a great fit.
Enjoying my FJ
Dynmo,12/30/2006
I have owned Jeeps for the last 30 years so this was a big change and I was a little apprehensive at first at changing my 4X4 ride. Now that I have had the FJ for three months I can say this is the best 4X4 I have ever owned. It four wheels with the best that Jeep has to offer and is much more comfortable to ride in.
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Features & Specs

MPG
15 city / 19 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
239 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
17 city / 21 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
Gas
239 hp @ 5200 rpm
MPG
15 city / 18 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
Gas
239 hp @ 5200 rpm
See all Used 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Acceptable
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Marginal
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser
More About This Model

Toyota does have a sense of humor. All it takes to see it is a look at the 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, a cartoon version of the old FJ40 Land Cruiser. It makes your daily commute feel like a trip to the beach.

Until, that is, the FJ Cruiser's double-wide C-pillar blots out your ability to make a quick lane change during the crush-hour traffic. There must be some kind of comic irony to be found in a retro vehicle with severely impaired rearward vision.

Someone should do something about this. In fact, why not just cut off the whole top altogether?

Is Placentia Anywhere Near Newport Beach?
Apparently someone at Toyota had similar thoughts, because last year the company commissioned a convertible concept for the SEMA show from Al Zadeh of Newport Convertible Engineering in Placentia, California. Actually, Zadeh did much better than just slice off the FJ's roof; he went ahead and built a power-operated fabric top to replace it.

This is not the first time an automaker has come to Zadeh to produce a convertible version of one of its vehicles. The FJ represents only a small portion of the alphabet soup of vehicle tops he has engineered during his 24 years in business.

"I have done just about every vehicle from A to Z," he says, only half joking. Under the letter "A" you will find conversions of the Aston Martin Vanquish for individual customers. He handled the design and engineering of the first convertible version of the Volkswagen New Beetle in 1998. Soon after, he worked on the PT Cruiser for Chrysler. His conversion of the 1990-'99 Mercedes-Benz S-Class is still popular with customers in Dubai. Recently, he's been meeting a big demand for ragtop versions of the Cadillac CTS and Chrysler 300C. And don't forget his Nissan Z, which was popular in Japan through the 1980s.

For all Zadeh's popular successes with convertible versions of exotic modern cars, he got the inspiration for his vocation from an MGB while a student at USC.

"I got tired of carrying towels and having wet pants every time I drove my MG in the rain or the car wash," Zadeh recalls. "I started thinking about how I could improve the design of the convertible top."

When work in the oil business began to disappear in 1981, Zadeh changed his engineering career and began to build convertible versions of the Nissan 300ZX, Porsche 928 and even Roll-Royce sedans.

Measure Twice, Cut Once
Zadeh relies on a combination of sketches, computer design and Photoshop-altered images to carry out his development.

"My knowledge base is strong because of all the cars I've done over the years," he explains. "I respect the manufacturer's original design and try not to deviate from it. Safety is most important, so the mounting points for the seatbelts and backseat points stay in place."

Zadeh personally carries out the initial conversion to get a feel for the way the car is built and where it needs structural reinforcement. He says that a four-door vehicle usually takes up to three or four months to design.

The four-door Toyota FJ Cruiser posed an additional problem because its unique B-pillar swings out to afford access to the rear seat, so once the top is removed, the upper latch points for the front seatbelts go with it. As a solution, Zadeh has fabricated a roll cage of 1.25-inch tubing over the passenger area to locate the door mount, plus he's added structural integrity, safety and a dash of Hummer-like off-road machismo.

What Zadeh didn't add was a lot of weight. "I try to keep the weight within 50-100 pounds of the original vehicle," he declares. His FJ convertible weighs about 80 pounds more than a stock version.

Because the FJ has body-on-frame construction, there was no need to further stiffen the chassis. The body, however, gets additional bracing at the rear via extensions from the side of the roll cage, a rectangular bar just forward of the rear wheelwells and two similarly sized bars across the back near the tailgate.

The fully lined power top includes a heated glass rear window. A switch on the lower left of the dash raises and lowers it. Securing it to the windshield is easily done by a pair of latches borrowed from the Toyota Solara convertible.

Sparks Fly
As eager as we were to do some al fresco beach cruising in the FJ, it was hard not to resist the opportunity to watch one of NCE's workers wield an electric saw in an attack on the FJ Cruiser's offensive C-pillar along with the rest of the roof.

The whole spark-scattering, eardrum-shattering process (much like a fireworks display during a demolition derby) takes about 30 minutes. This is done after the interior has been stripped and the exterior covered in 3M Welding and Spark Deflection paper. It takes three workers to lift off the amputated roof.

What follows is the more exacting task of fitting the roll cage, bracing, top mechanism and then the reinstallation of the interior.

Great Big Beach Cruiser
With the top down and the windows raised, the FJ convertible is nearly as temperate and draft-free as the hardtop FJ. Judging by the stares we get (well, except for the guy in the Wrangler straining to avoid eye contact), it's even cooler on the outside.

Some people might like the humpback styling of the stock FJ Cruiser, but the general populace definitely feels the convertible vibe, especially the closer you get to the beach.

Zadeh's engineering skill and the general sturdiness of the FJ convertible are verified when two sets of railroad tracks fail to induce a hint of cowl shake or vibration. While vehicle performance hasn't been upgraded, the airy cockpit makes the FJ feel sprightlier. Being able to hear the V6's raspy little exhaust note adds to the illusion of power.

Although the top retracts almost completely, it still rests above the FJ's already high beltline, so visibility directly behind the driver remains compromised. Once it's raised, the top seals well, with no annoying squeaks or rattles. But we must admit that there is only a slight improvement, if any, in terms of the dreaded blind spot.

But who cares when you know the remedy is only a button-push away?

So Good, Toyota Wants One
The success of Newport Convertible Engineering's FJ Cruiser Convertible has made Toyota think seriously about putting something similar into production itself, and we anticipate a factory-authorized version in the fall of 2009. For the time being, plenty of Toyota dealers are sold on the idea. To meet demand, Zadeh has had to employ two 12-man shifts to pump out 20-25 FJ Cruiser Convertibles a month.

About 90 percent of Zadeh's sales are new models sold through dealers. The remaining sales are to individual FJ owners who deal directly with NCE. The convertible conversion costs $10,000 and includes NCE's warranty for three years or 36,000 miles. Just as important, the conversion does not affect Toyota's warranty on the rest of the FJ.

You know, there are times when you really enjoy driving a life-size cartoon, especially if it's a big, yellow convertible.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Used 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV Overview

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Should I lease or buy a 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Toyota lease specials
Check out Toyota FJ Cruiser lease specials