People are passionate about the cars they love, and one of those beloved cars is the FJ Cruiser. Several overlanding bloggers and photographers have helped the popularity.
Toyota FJ Cruisers are good vehicles for overlanding because they are built well, are meant for offroading, and have many aftermarket options available. They are best for 1-2 people. It has been out of production since 2014, so buyers should be aware of high mileage and hard-to-find parts.
For more information on what makes the Toyota FJ Cruiser a good car for overlanding and the risks that come with them, keep reading!
Is the Toyota FJ Cruiser Good for Overlanding?
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a great car for Overlanding, particularly if nobody ever needs to sit in the back seat. It’s loved for its unique aesthetic, its ruggedness, its durability, and its classic Toyota repairability.
One of the things that carries people in their love for FJ Cruisers is how little alteration they need before overlanding.
You can add things like armor, carry racks, fancy shocks, or other aftermarket pieces, but in the end, those are largely optional. The FJ Cruiser is already built for adventure.
Aftermarket Warranties have historically been available on many FJ Cruisers that underwent fewer changes. Those were in effect until 111,000 miles, so you will likely find FJ Cruisers are in better condition than other cars of the same age.
This car also has enough space and towing capacity to handle overlanding. They can tow between 4,700 and 5,000 lbs, depending on the year they were produced, which is more than enough for an ultralight overlanding camper or a pop-up tent on the roof.
They can also go for hundreds of thousands of miles without any issue beyond basic maintenance! FJ Cruiser owners are reporting that their truck is handling 200,000, 300,000, and 400,000 miles without any major issues. Some FJ Cruiser owners are hoping to hit 1,000,000 without issue.
They do have their problems, but heavy work and reliability are not included on that list.
How Many Miles Are FJ Cruisers Good For?
Most FJ Cruiser owners are reporting that they can make it to 200,000 or 300,000 miles easily with only minor issues, as long as they’ve been keeping up with regular maintenance and oil changes.
One forum user even reported that they’d passed 667,000 miles, providing an odometer picture for proof!
This is a good thing for anyone interested in buying an FJ Cruiser since they’ve been out of production in the US since 2014, and out of production internationally since 2018. All FJ Cruisers are going to be in the “high mileage” category soon, and they will only get higher from here.
Potential buyers should also keep in mind that an FJ Cruiser that has been used for overlanding may have more wear, have seen less maintenance, and therefore not be able to meet the same mileage potential as a car that has had more gentle use and thorough maintenance. Check before you buy the truck.
How Reliable Are FJ Cruisers?
RepairPal rated the Toyota FJ Cruiser at a 3.5/5 reliability rating, which is better than it sounds. That means that it is #12 out of the 26 midsize SUVs they rated, placing it slightly above average.
Toyotas have a reputation for easy and relatively cheap repairs compared to other cars, and the FJ Cruiser seems to maintain that reputation.
Its popularity as an Overlanding car skews the statistics since strange damage happens to it, but it is very repairable and it tolerates the crazy things people do to it without much fuss.
One concern with FJ Cruisers is that parts will soon be harder to find and more expensive, as they are no longer manufactured.
This can present a unique set of problems to overlanders who will often have reduced access to parts, maintenance, repair centers, and places to stay while waiting for a repair. They may also be on tighter timelines than the average driver.
FJ Cruisers are a car that will require regular and borderline religious maintenance if the owner wants their truck to reach its maximum potential. However, that potential is spectacular if the car is treated right, and people are loyal to them for more than just their quirky looks.
What Problems do FJ Cruisers Have?
As loved as FJ Cruisers are, they do have their problems. A wise buyer will consider them carefully so they’re not taken by surprise in buying.
They’re No Longer Made
The first and most obvious problem with the FJ Cruiser is that they are no longer being manufactured. FJ Cruisers are going to have higher gas mileage, more wear, and more limited options than other competing cars. This gives similar cars, like the Toyota 4Runner, an advantage in the market.
This also means that their price and value are driven by scarcity. You’ll see higher prices for higher mileage than on most other overlanding cars because the seller knows you don’t have other options, and people are passionate about their FJ Cruisers.
The Back Windows are Tiny
If you ever wondered how it would feel to cross the ocean with no view but a tiny porthole, look no further than the back seat of an FJ Cruiser. This is not a family car. The space is not an issue, but the sheer claustrophobia caused by traveling overland with no rearview is too much for many people to handle.
The Visibility Is Poor
This is an issue related to those tiny windows.
The visibility is not great in the FJ Cruiser, even for the driver. You’ll have a lot of blind spots, and there isn’t much you can do about it since your passengers can’t help you out. This isn’t as much of a problem when overlanding, since you don’t have to worry about merging in traffic, but it can become a major issue when you’re driving on the highway.
This is a gas thirsty car. Yes, there are cars that are worse, but there are also cars that are better. They’re supposed to get 17mpg in the city and 20mpg on the highway, but drivers reported those numbers were often lower.
This is a problem with overlanding, as gas mileage can drop even lower because of heavy weights and strange terrain in an area where gas stations are rare. Overlanders who want to take an FJ Cruiser should invest in a sturdy gas can.