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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/6/2010 6:24:52 PM EDT
I'm potentially in the market for a new vehicle, and the FJ has been in my top 3 for some time now. I took a test drive today of a 2010 4x4 auto, and, frankly, I wasn't impressed.

First, let me explain that I come from a single cab full-size pickup with a V6 and auto, so I'm well versed in slow acceleration and minuscule torque. The few times I romped on the pedal during the test drive, the FJ felt no different than my current truck with some 202HP at the flywheel (the 2010 V6 FJ is rated at 260HP). I realize the FJ is fairly boxy/large mid-size SUV and the one I was testing had 4x4, but does it get any better when driving one with a manual transmission? Would I basically HAVE to get the TRD supercharger option to make the FJ peppy enough to make me giggle like a school girl?

Second, for the price ($31K sticker), the interior offerings seemed pretty weak. The dash is nice and all, and I think this model had the upgraded stereo, but it seemed like there was an absence of storage compartments (only found the glovebox and the little pop-up piece in front of the driver). Additionally, the test drive vehicle only had cloth seats (I repeat myself, sticker price $31K) and the driver seat had NO lumbar support. By the end of the drive, my lower back was aching to get out, so I can't even imagine how this would work for long highway drives. The dealership told me that they have a dealer add-on lumbar support for around $400, but shouldn't something so simple be standard? Even my lowly F150 has a lumbar wheel that you can use to adjust the lower back padding.

The test drive was fairly standard, going on the highway and returning via neighborhood streets. The FJ does offer a very quiet ride at low RPM (and a nice groan w/ gas) and handles bumps well, but some aspect of the vehicle just felt soul-less. This could be my negative bias toward Toyota in general, as I think their testicles got cut off in the late 90s when they quit offering exciting vehicles (MR2, Supra, etc). How much of an aftermarket investment am I looking at to make the FJ something that I enjoy wasting gas on?

So, to return to the topic of the thread. If you own an FJ –– based on my thoughts and feelings from the test drive –– would I find happiness in one? I do enjoy 4-wheeling, but I'm a working stiff so 85% of the time in the FJ would be commuting to/from work. My initial attraction to the FJ was based on the exterior look, stock ground clearance, and Toyota reliability. These are still valid points, but I think after today's test-drive, the negatives are weighing down the entire decision.

I understand that the 2010+ FJs have a different engine that can't be supercharged using 09 and prior kits. Would I be better off looking for a used FJ?

I'm also leaning toward getting one with a manual trans and full-time 4WD since I enjoy wrenching on my own vehicles. There currently are NONE in this region of the US that any dealership can acquire for me. No used ones, and a new one would have to be ordered custom from the factory. What is your opinion in terms of going with the auto transmission with part-time 4wd (and the slightly better gas mileage) vs keeping it more involved with the manual trans? I've read up on the funkiness of the manual trans FJs, so I could live with that, but how about maintenance since it'll be a full-time 4wd system?
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:29:14 PM EDT
unless you really NEED full time 4wd (I am 99.9987% sure you don't) just go with the part time 4wd, I prefer manuals so that is what I recommend.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:30:11 PM EDT
Don't own an FJ, or even a Toyota at all, but I think if your criteria on a rig purchase is acceleration, you are looking in the wrong segment entirely.
Try looking for a car instead.
4x4's that have any capability suck in on road, and cars suck going up a rocky trail.
Figure out what you want it to do and shop accordingly.

Nick
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:42:36 PM EDT
I like the FJ.

It's a fun car to drive, and the interior seems to be built more for durability than anything else. Being able to wash out your car with a garden hose is good thing, IMO.

I was really close to buying one, but the lack of a solid front axle as an option dissuaded me.

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:52:45 PM EDT
Can't speak for the fj but if that feels weak than you may want to look into the nissan xterra. My 06 has great power and its rated at 260. The new ones are rated at 290. Maybe it has something to do with the transmission but it feels great. Rugged simple interior with nice room and easy controls. The fj seems like a neater 4x4 though.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:53:09 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 6:54:50 PM EDT by GC7]

Originally Posted By Commando_Guy:
Don't own an FJ, or even a Toyota at all, but I think if your criteria on a rig purchase is acceleration, you are looking in the wrong segment entirely.
Try looking for a car instead.
4x4's that have any capability suck in on road, and cars suck going up a rocky trail.
Figure out what you want it to do and shop accordingly.

Nick

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to get at least SOME peppy acceleration from a "sporty" SUV. Since 85% of my driving is commuting to work, I need some acceleration when merging onto the interstate or to maneuver through clogged morning traffic. Hell, my aunt's Ford Explorer with the 4.0 V6 hauls ass, but is still utilitarian enough to climb trails and go camping, and comfortable enough for daily driving.

The FJ just seemed so neutered in terms of performance. I'm sure it does well in the sticky stuff, but most people drive on a combination of different surfaces.

It's funny you bring this up because (looking at your avatar), one of the other vehicles I'm looking into is a 2011 Mustang.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:53:21 PM EDT
My FJ is a little older it has. 4 speed manual and Mercedes OM 314 Diesel.





Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:56:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By para_frame:
unless you really NEED full time 4wd (I am 99.9987% sure you don't) just go with the part time 4wd, I prefer manuals so that is what I recommend.

I don't, but the FJ is configured as such:

Automatic Trans - Part time 4wd.

Manual Trans - Full time 4wd.

That's it. I don't know why they couldn't make a manual trans w/ part-time 4wd, but they just didn't.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:57:09 PM EDT
they will get up and go
when the vvt kicks in you can feel it

and like others said
if you want that
get a corvette or something

i love mine
80k no problems
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 6:59:48 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Kbear:
My FJ is a little older it has. 4 speed manual and Mercedes OM 314 Diesel.
http://i180.photobucket.com/albums/x92/ultra-mac/banderante.jpg






I am seriously envious. You suck!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Very VERY sweet!
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:04:01 PM EDT
I like the FJ it was also one of my top 3 vehicles but I opted to purchase a Ford Edge and an very happy with it.........
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:14:32 PM EDT
I drive a 2010 automatic and it’s got all kinds of pep. However, I rarely punch the throttle unless I’m in the mood to watch the gas gauge race to empty. Put a turbo on a ’07 to ’09 and you’ll never want to stray too far from a gas station. The FJ just isn’t built for high speed fun because aerodynamically it’s the equivalent of driving a barn down the highway. It sounds like you would be happier in an Xterra which tend to have better road manners. However, you’ll get more off road bang for your buck from a basic stock FJ than you will form a basic stock Xterra.

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:15:03 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/6/2010 7:18:13 PM EDT by flyhack72]
I think it has enough pep to get up to speed quite well. I have the TRD exhaust and a less restrictive air filter. Still, neither of these elements changed the FJ too much.

Good luck finding a manual. I tried when I first started looking in 2006. Nothing. Then, you pretty much had the option to get whatever came off the boat.

As far as storage, you have a couple of storage areas in the back unless you get the subwoofer. I never thought the storage issue was that big a deal. One thing I don't like is that the seats don't fold down flat and that you don't get a full four feet across in the back for wide loads. The other issue is the short windshid. Stoplights are a pain to see if you pull up to the actual line. You may not like the fact that it requires 91 octane. Sure you could put lower octane in there. However, if you buy new and have it serviced at the dealer, the little black box that Toyota has will tell the mechanic that you haven't followed the requiremts therefore voiding your warranty.

The interior has been a huge benefit to me. Whether I am dealing with sand, mud, or being wet from rugby or the beach I don't have to worry about the interior. I can just wipe it down, sweep it out, and I am back in business. Can't do that with leather or normal cloth.

There are cheap used deals out there. If you buy new you will have free service for 3 years or 50k miles.

The off road capability is impressive. The Jeep, xterra, and others can't hold a candle to the FJ.

Good luck
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:16:32 PM EDT
I'm a huge fan of Toyota quality. I drive a drove a Scion and a 4Runner before my Taco. That being said, I didn't read your post, but make sure you sit in one before you go full-retard: WAY too much plastic inside those for me. Just felt "flimsy" to me.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:17:35 PM EDT
Passenger's drunk strap is horribly located, and has poor geometry due to the silly windshield/a-post angle. Will hurt your back if you actually hold the thing while wheeling. Optional front armrests? You gotta be kidding. Vertical windshield loves to crack due to to rock impacts (the opposite of the angles on an Abrams turret). A buddy of mine was on his 3rd windhield by 60,000 miles. Bumpers are just silly plastic monstrosities that need to be replaced with ARB hardware as soon as possible.

My 4-door Tacoma, built on the same platform, is a better truck for every conceivable purpose. The FJ is the ExtremeShock of the truck world, all style, little substance.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:22:43 PM EDT
Oh and that 6-speed manual (avail on the Taco and the FJ) is a really nice tranny.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:30:40 PM EDT
I've got an 07 FJ with full time 4WD and the 6 speed manual. My only real complaint is with the small fuel tank. 19 gallons just isn't enough. I do get 18-20mpg on the highway but I'd still like a 25 gal tank. Google "fender ripping" if you are considering an 07-09 FJ. I have 54K on mine with no problems but there are FJs out there with 15k on them hand that had the inner fender aprons bulge and rip. The 2010s are supposed to have certain areas beefed up to stop the ripping.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:32:06 PM EDT

Originally Posted By flyhack72:
...You may not like the fact that it requires 91 octane. Sure you could put lower octane in there. However, if you buy new and have it serviced at the dealer, the little black box that Toyota has will tell the mechanic that you haven't followed the requiremts therefore voiding your warranty.

The 2010’s do not require 91 but there is evidence that you’ll get better mileage running it.


Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:41:24 PM EDT
Thanks for the information. I concur on a lot of the opinions from the FJ owners.

- Short windshield = Don't pull up too close to a stoplight or you'll have to crouch down to see the light.

- "Drunk strap" - Seems to be way too forward to be convenient to grab.

- Was not aware of the 91 octane info, but good to know.

I think I may check out the Xterra since it has similar specs, but maybe is better suited to my lifestyle. I had high hopes for the FJ, but I think it targets a very specific type of owner, and I'm only about 15% of that guy.
Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:54:56 PM EDT

Originally Posted By GC7:

Originally Posted By Commando_Guy:
Don't own an FJ, or even a Toyota at all, but I think if your criteria on a rig purchase is acceleration, you are looking in the wrong segment entirely.
Try looking for a car instead.
4x4's that have any capability suck in on road, and cars suck going up a rocky trail.
Figure out what you want it to do and shop accordingly.

Nick

I don't think it's unreasonable to expect to get at least SOME peppy acceleration from a "sporty" SUV. Since 85% of my driving is commuting to work, I need some acceleration when merging onto the interstate or to maneuver through clogged morning traffic. Hell, my aunt's Ford Explorer with the 4.0 V6 hauls ass, but is still utilitarian enough to climb trails and go camping, and comfortable enough for daily driving.

The FJ just seemed so neutered in terms of performance. I'm sure it does well in the sticky stuff, but most people drive on a combination of different surfaces.

It's funny you bring this up because (looking at your avatar), one of the other vehicles I'm looking into is a 2011 Mustang.

Lol, need to change that avatar, traded that Stang for a Wrangler....but the '11 with the 5.0 would be VERY nice to have.

Nick

Link Posted: 9/6/2010 7:59:28 PM EDT

Originally Posted By flyhack72:
I think it has enough pep to get up to speed quite well. I have the TRD exhaust and a less restrictive air filter. Still, neither of these elements changed the FJ too much.

Good luck finding a manual. I tried when I first started looking in 2006. Nothing. Then, you pretty much had the option to get whatever came off the boat.

As far as storage, you have a couple of storage areas in the back unless you get the subwoofer. I never thought the storage issue was that big a deal. One thing I don't like is that the seats don't fold down flat and that you don't get a full four feet across in the back for wide loads. The other issue is the short windshid. Stoplights are a pain to see if you pull up to the actual line. You may not like the fact that it requires 91 octane. Sure you could put lower octane in there. However, if you buy new and have it serviced at the dealer, the little black box that Toyota has will tell the mechanic that you haven't followed the requiremts therefore voiding your warranty.

The interior has been a huge benefit to me. Whether I am dealing with sand, mud, or being wet from rugby or the beach I don't have to worry about the interior. I can just wipe it down, sweep it out, and I am back in business. Can't do that with leather or normal cloth.

There are cheap used deals out there. If you buy new you will have free service for 3 years or 50k miles.

The off road capability is impressive. The Jeep, xterra, and others can't hold a candle to the FJ.

Good luck

What Jeep are you comparing it to-a 2wd Compass?
Went on a run a few months ago with a group of Cherokees, we had one in the group with an FJ, and one in the group with a 2wd Cherokee-guess which one got high centered and stuck several times? (hint: it wasn't the Jeep).
That being said, I am sure that if you pulled the low hanging running boards it would not have that problem anymore, but you did say stock to stock.

Nick
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