2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

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Toyota FJ Cruiser model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Impressive off-road ability, distinctive interior and exterior styling, comfortable front seats.
  • Limited visibility fore and aft, cramped rear seat with impeded entry and exit.

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.

Vehicle overview

"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.

2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser models

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.

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2009 Highlights

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.

Performance & mpg

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.


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


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.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

Trending topics in reviews

Most helpful consumer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
Great Vehicule
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.
4.63 out of 5 stars
09 FJ
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.
4.5 out of 5 stars
A book by its cover
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.
4.63 out of 5 stars
Overall Great Vehicle
Jack ,01/30/2010
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.


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
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview

The Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser is offered in the following submodels: FJ Cruiser SUV. Available styles include 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A), 4dr SUV (4.0L 6cyl 5A), and 4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 6M). Pre-owned Toyota FJ Cruiser models are available with a 4.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 239 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes with four wheel drive, and rear wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed automatic, 6-speed manual.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruisers are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.

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