2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

Pros & Cons

  • 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.
Other years
List Price Range
$19,981 - $26,998

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser is hard to beat.

Vehicle overview

Toyota is renowned these days for making straightforward, ultra-sensible and dependable transportation without much flair. That makes the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser the relative black sheep of the family. This dedicated off-roader is anything but straightforward and ultra-sensible. But what it lacks in sensibility, it makes up for with gobs of character; it's fun to drive and even more fun to look at. Plus, it maintains one of those well-known Toyota family traits: It's dependable.

The FJ Cruiser hasn't changed much since its introduction back in '07, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. Its stout chassis, wide approach and departure angles, and available locking rear differential make it a genuine go-anywhere type of truck. It's also blessed with precise steering, a robust V6 and a comparably comfortable ride. But around town the FJ isn't as ideal. The thick pillars and gun-slit windows limit visibility and make maneuvering in tight spots difficult. Frequently taking on rear passengers can also get old due to the FJ's access-style rear doors.

Really, this sort of fun/practicality trade-off is commonplace among the dwindling number of off-road-ready SUVs. The Jeep Wrangler is even more compromised and could be considered downright crude compared to the FJ Cruiser, though it does offer a higher degree of off-roading talent. The Nissan Xterra goes the other way, offering the practicality of four full doors and better visibility while lacking the visual flair of its rivals.

Of course, there are also countless crossover SUVs for those shoppers who know they really do need something sensible. But for keeping it real in the old-school SUV sort of way, the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser continues to be an excellent choice.

2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser models

The 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a five-passenger SUV with two regular front doors and two half-sized rear-hinged doors.

There is only one trim level and it comes standard with 17-inch black-painted steel wheels, air-conditioning, power windows and locks, an eight-way manually adjustable driver seat, a tilt-only steering wheel, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, water-resistant cloth upholstery, heavy-duty vinyl flooring, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and steering wheel controls.

There are a number of packages available that are often grouped together into larger packages depending on your region. Occasionally, they are automatically included as well.

The Convenience package adds power mirrors, rear privacy glass, a rear wiper, a spare tire cover, keyless entry, cruise control, a rearview camera and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Upgrade package adds 17-inch alloy wheels (available separately), an upgraded traction control system on four-wheel-drive models, an electronically controlled locking rear differential, rear parking sensors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, extra gauges and trip computer functions and an 11-speaker JBL sound system with a six-CD changer.

The Off-Road package adds Bilstein shock absorbers, the locking rear differential, the upgraded traction-control system and the extra gauges. The TRD package adds special 16-inch alloy wheels, BFGoodrich off-road tires and different Bilstein shock absorbers.

There are a number of noteworthy dealer-installed accessories including a large roof rack, accessory driving lights, rock rails, a cargo cover and a passenger armrest.

2012 Highlights

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is unchanged for 2012.

Performance & mpg

Every 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes with a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. Rear-wheel drive is standard on the FJ Cruiser and when so equipped, features a five-speed automatic transmission and a limited-slip differential. There are two different 4WD systems available. One is a part-time system attached to the five-speed automatic, while the other is a full-time system attached to a six-speed manual and a locking rear differential.

EPA-estimated fuel economy with 4WD and an automatic is 17 mpg city/20 mpg highway and 18 mpg combined -- typical for off-road SUVs. Getting the manual 4WD FJ Cruiser drops those estimates to 15/18/16, while the rear-drive FJ gets 17/20/19.


The 2012 FJ Cruiser comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, active front head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags. In crash testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the FJ Cruiser received the top rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side-impact tests, but a second-best rating of "Acceptable" in the roof strength test.


The 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser is in its element when off-road. With ample suspension articulation, it crawls over boulders, ruts and most other obstacles with ease. The FJ is also surprisingly good on pavement, offering precise steering and a smooth ride that makes a Jeep Wrangler seem like an ox cart by comparison. But the FJ's boxy shape creates noticeable wind noise at highway speeds, and poor outward visibility can make parking or identifying off-road obstacles difficult. Acceleration from the V6 engine is brisk, particularly at low- and midrange speeds, and exudes a nice exhaust bark that increases the "sport" quotient of this utility vehicle.


The FJ's retro-themed dash is color-keyed to match the exterior. Controls are placed within easy reach and are easy to find. Some are also oversized to a cartoonish degree, but we can't say that hurts their functionality. The front seats are comfortable, but the rear compartment is a tight fit and requires a high step up for entry. Wide roof pillars, small rear windows and a tailgate-mounted spare tire all contribute to poor rearward visibility. Front visibility is also less than optimal due to the FJ's high hood line.

The rear-access doors, like those on most extended-cab pickups, open rearward. Though this configuration offers a wide portal with both front and rear doors open, it's tiresome if you're frequently carting rear passengers, as the rear doors won't open with the front doors closed. This is a vehicle for sport, not for kids. With the rear seats folded, a generous 67 cubic feet of cargo space is created.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4dr SUV 4WD (4.0L 6cyl 5A)
I'm 36, I served in the military for 12 yrs. rough, tough and rugged reliable rigs at work, and jeep wranglers at home. I've never even considered anything else. purchase a wrangler, smittybilt bumpers, black rims, and rugged mud tires for the snow, mud ect........... now, over a decade later 100% IU disabled vet with a bad back and no leg from my left knee down, I was devestated. no clutch lol.... so, i decided to open my options. in the entire car/suv/and 4x4 line up I was about to throw my hands up. then I saw a FJ extremely attractive from the outside. I don't want to say "boxy" but it wasn't all aero dynamic- It looked like a SUV built for a man. Then I saw the inside. WOW! I held the Toyota in such high regards- I've upgraded to a TRD Sr5 4Runner! Which is everything and more than I could have imagined!
Love my FJ in so many ways!
I have had my FJ for ten months now and still enjoy driving it very much. I owned cars for most of my driving years and wanted a SUV since we were moving into the mountains of WV. and thought a 4x4 would serve my needs better. This vehicle does just that and more...the seats are comfortable and the turning radius is great. Inside the cabin is quiet while driving and gives me a feeling that I am riding in a safe vehicle. I purchased the soild white color and couldn't be any happier with my decision on this SUV!
Just what you'd expect...
If you are considering buying this car, you are likely looking for something rugged, durable, reliable, and fun to drive. This meets all expectations. I have had my 2012 FJ for 1 month now and couldn't be happier. It gets the same gas mileage as a the Highlander, drives and handles great, is actually just as quiet (or quieter) than my friends' Audi S4 (except at speeds over 70mph, then of course there is more wind noise). I get compliments everyday on the car. It's spacious, reliable, rugged, unique, fun to drive, handles snow/ice/mud great, what else do you want? If you're considering buying this vehicle, it's just what you'd expect.
Laughing at the "professional" reviews
The reviews that have been published on the FJ crack me up. It's appears the reviewers don't understand the purpose of the FJ. This is no commuter car SUV, it is a body on frame vehicle with significant off-road capability. I have no issues with visibility or blind spots; check your mirrors and look out the window... My 11 year old son loves the back of this thing and the wife likes the ride better than our Ram 1500 quadcab. I got 18.5 mpg on the first tank and expect better as the engine breaks in. I bought this vehicle knowing what I was looking for and I'm thrilled with it. Can't wait to hook the camper to it and head to Marble, CO.

Features & Specs

17 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
260 hp @ 5600 rpm
17 city / 20 hwy
Seats 5
5-speed automatic
260 hp @ 5600 rpm
15 city / 18 hwy
Seats 5
6-speed manual
260 hp @ 5600 rpm
See all Used 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover25.6%
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 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Used 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview

The Used 2012 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).

What's a good price on a Used 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser?

Price comparisons for Used 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser trim styles:

  • The Used 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser Base is priced between $19,981 and$26,998 with odometer readings between 66913 and126689 miles.

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 2012 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) 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser for sale near. There are currently 4 used and CPO 2012 FJ Cruisers listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,981 and mileage as low as 66913 miles. 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 2012 Toyota FJ Cruiser.

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Find a used Toyota FJ Cruiser for sale - 3 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $7,747.

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Find a used certified pre-owned Toyota FJ Cruiser for sale - 12 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $16,375.

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Should I lease or buy a 2012 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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