Here Are The FJ Cruiser Years To Avoid and Best Year to Own

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

The Toyota FJ Cruiser often comes to mind when looking for the perfect off-road vehicle.

Selecting the best year for this sought-after SUV might seem challenging, with various models to choose from, especially as some Toyota FJ Cruiser years like 2007 and 2008 have unreliable transmission systems.

But don’t worry; this article will help you navigate the options and find the ideal 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser, known to be the best year for its performance and reliability. Keep reading to learn why 2009 stands out among other FJ Cruiser years.

worst FJ Cruiser rugged vehicle

Toyota FJ Years To Avoid

In this section, we’ll discuss the 2007, 2008, and 2009 model years and why they are considered the worst years for this vehicle.

2007 Model Year

The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser is known for having unreliable transmission systems, lack of structural integrity, and issues with paint chipping off.

Other problems reported include converter failure, check engine light coming on, gear issues, and growling or humming noises. Due to these problems, it’s recommended that you avoid the 2007 model year.

2008 Model Year

The issues continue with the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser, as rusting is a significant concern, along with faulty internal accessories.

The widespread rusting problem can lead to costly repairs and potential safety hazards. These issues, in combination with the ongoing transmission system problems from the 2007 model year, make the 2008 model year another one to avoid.

2009 Model Year

While more problematic than the 2007 and 2008 models, the 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser still has its share of issues.

Some common problems for this model year include higher oil consumption and occasional transmission problems. Although less frequent than in previous years, these issues warrant caution if considering a 2009 FJ Cruiser.

Toyota FJ Cruiser problems

Engine Issues

The FJ Cruiser has had its share of engine problems, especially in the 2007 model. Issues such as lack of structural integrity, paint chipping, converter failure, and increased oil consumption are expected.

You might notice the check engine light coming on or a growling or humming noise. These problems might lead to more severe damage, so it’s essential to address them promptly.

Transmission Problems

Transmission trouble has been a significant concern for FJ Cruiser owners, particularly in the 2007 and 2008 models. Common issues include a faulty transmission system, rough shifting, and shudders.

Additionally, the 2008 FJ Cruiser was also plagued by faulty internal accessories. When faced with these issues, it’s essential to consult a licensed mechanic as soon as possible to avoid further damage.

Steering and Suspension Issues

Steering and suspension problems can affect your vehicle’s handling and overall performance. The 2012 FJ Cruiser was known to experience issues in these areas.

Common concerns included drivetrain problems and suspension complications. As with all vehicle issues, have your vehicle inspected by a professional to diagnose the problem accurately and prevent further damage to your FJ Cruiser.

The FJ Cruiser can experience many common problems, such as engine troubles, transmission issues, and steering and suspension complications.

The 2007, 2008, and 2012 models have the most reported issues and may be years to avoid. Consult a professional mechanic if you encounter any problems to ensure your FJ Cruiser remains safe and enjoyable to drive.

Best Years for FJ Cruiser

2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser marked the beginning of this beautiful off-roading vehicle. In the first year of production, they had some exciting features which excited Toyota fans.

The 2007 model is the way to go if you’re looking for a classic. You’ll find that this model still boasts impressive off-road capabilities and its unique retro design.

The 2007 FJ Cruiser has a 4.0-liter V6 engine, providing ample power for your adventures.

However, it’s essential to be mindful of potential issues with an older model, such as occasional transmission concerns reported by some owners.

In this first generation, Toyota aimed to provide a reliable, rugged vehicle to handle the most challenging terrains.

The 2007 FJ Cruiser delivers that goal, and if you’re a fan of classic designs and off-road solid performance, this could be an excellent choice.

2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser

The 2011 model is one of FJ Cruiser’s best years. It comes with several improvements and refinements over the initial 2007 release.

Toyota addressed some of the earlier model’s concerns, like upgrading the interior materials and adding features for improved off-road performance.

With the 2011 FJ Cruiser, you’ll appreciate its durability, and its 4.0-liter V6 engine ensures that you have the necessary power for any off-road adventure.

This model is well-regarded for its reliability, and many owners have found it a fantastic option for off-roading enthusiasts.

When considering the 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser, you can expect a stylish design that pays homage to its heritage, with modern features and improved overall performance.

This model year has proven to be an excellent choice for those looking to tackle the great outdoors confidently.

The 2007 and 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser models are the best years for this iconic off-roading vehicle.

The 2007 model will appeal to those who love the retro design and appreciate the ruggedness of a first-generation SUV, while the 2011 model offers refinements and improvements that make it even more reliable and enjoyable for off-road adventures.

reliable FJ Cruiser green color

What Was The Best Year FJ Cruiser?

The number 1 best FJ Cruiser year is considered to be 2007.

As the introductory year of the FJ Cruiser, it offered a fresh design and a solid connection to the classic FJ40 Land Cruiser.

In 2007, you would have experienced a well-built off-road vehicle with robust performance and unique features that set it apart from other SUVs.

While subsequent years had some refinements, the 2007 FJ Cruiser stands out as the peak year for sales and excitement surrounding the model.

Whether exploring rugged terrain or simply turning heads on the road, this was the year to enjoy your FJ Cruiser to the fullest.

As you reminisce on the 2007 FJ Cruiser, remember the captivating combination of retro styling, modern performance, and Toyota reliability that captured the hearts of off-road enthusiasts and made it the best year for the FJ Cruiser.

Features & Specifications

Engine & Transmission

Your FJ Cruiser has a powerful 4.0L V6 engine, making off-roading a breeze. You can choose between a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual transmission to suit your driving preferences.

Suspension & Off-Road Performance

With its robust suspension system, your FJ Cruiser is built for tackling rugged terrains. The vehicle’s impressive off-road performance allows you to confidently venture into the great outdoors. Toyota’s rugged dependability has been proven over the years.

Interior & Safety Features

Inside, the FJ Cruiser offers comfortable seating and practicality for all your adventures.

Safety features such as anti-lock brakes (ABS), stability control, and front airbags are standard, with side curtain airbags available from the 2008 model year onwards.

This SUV provides both functionality and peace of mind while exploring uncharted territories.

Reliability & Dependability

Overall Reliability

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is ranked 12th out of 26 midsize SUVs with a 3.5 out of 5 reliability rating. Its annual repair and maintenance cost is usually around $506.

Known Issues & Fixes

  • Oil Consumption: Some FJ Cruisers have oil consumption issues. Regularly check your oil level to avoid compression loss or damage.
  • Cracks in Dashboard: Inspect your dashboard for cracks, and consider using a dashboard cover to protect it.
  • Transmission System: Shuddering issues have been reported, especially in the 2007, 2008, and 2013 models. If you experience this, have your vehicle checked by a professional.
  • Durable & Dependable: Proper maintenance ensures that your FJ Cruiser can achieve high miles. Just ensure you follow the recommended service intervals.

Remember to research the best FJ Cruiser years to avoid common problems.

Model Year Comparisons

2007 vs 2010

In 2007, the FJ Cruiser debuted as an iconic off-roader from Toyota, with a 4.0L V6 engine and unique styling. Sales peaked this year at 56,225 units.

However, by 2010, sales had dropped due to the economic recession, and specific model years experienced a shudder in the steering.

As a 2010 FJ Cruiser owner, you may appreciate the same off-road capabilities and design features while benefiting from upgrades in technology such as iPod connectivity and satellite radio.

2011 vs. 2014

The 2011 model began the facelift for the 1st-gen FJ Cruiser. Improvements included addressing the steering issues found in earlier models and a refreshed look. However, some 2011 models experienced cracks in the windshield.

In 2014, the last production year of the FJ Cruiser, Toyota focused on promoting its off-road prowess, making it a top choice for off-roaders.

This model year, they also introduced the Jeep rival – the Trail Teams Ultimate Edition. So, if you’re looking for the most polished and off-road-ready version, go for the 2014 model.

What is the life expectancy of a FJ Cruiser?

FJ Cruisers are known for their reliability and can often reach impressive mileage.

If you maintain your vehicle well and follow the scheduled services, your FJ Cruiser can run well into 250K+ miles without major mechanical failures.

Some owners have reported their FJ Cruisers reaching 300K+ miles with regular maintenance and minor cosmetic issues. Keep up with your FJ Cruiser’s maintenance to ensure your vehicle’s long and trustworthy life.


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