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The Toyota FJ Cruiser was a midsize SUV designed for off-roading. Despite a loyal fan base, the Japanese automaker discontinued the retro-styled vehicle stateside in 2014. Enthusiasts would love to see the Toyota FJ Cruiser make a comeback, but two features that define its throwback style are annoyingly impractical.

Why did Toyota kill the FJ Cruiser?

A yellow Toyota FJ Cruiser parked on a platform in front of a manufactured forest scene.
Toyota FJ Cruiser | Juancho Torres via Getty Images

The FJ Cruiser gets its name from the classic Toyota SUVs the company has built for decades, but it’s a fairly recent model. The auto giant began producing the midsize SUV in 2006, and it debuted in North America for the 2007 model year.

The basic idea behind the FJ Cruiser was simple. It was supposed to be a modern SUV with a retro style, like the Toyota Land Cruiser from the ’50s and ’60s. And just like those classic models, the FJ Cruiser was designed to off-road well. Unfortunately, that meant it packed a powerful V6 engine with unimpressive fuel economy. It depends on the model year, but drivers could expect about 16 mpg in the city.

Unsurprisingly, the FJ Cruiser sold well in 2006 and 2007, but sales fell when the Great Recession struck. Fuel prices were high, and drivers didn’t want a gas guzzler like the FJ Cruiser. Thus, FJ Cruiser sales never recovered, so Toyota discontinued the SUV for the North American market after the 2014 model year.

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is an attractive SUV, but it has 2 impractical features

A used FJ Cruiser is still a capable vehicle, especially for drivers who want to go off-road. By the 2014 model year, Toyota had tuned its V6 engine to produce 260 hp and 271 lb-ft of torque, making it quite powerful. That allows the SUV to go from 0 to 60 mph in just 7.5 seconds. And thanks to its 9.6 inches of ground clearance, it’s excellent off-pavement.

The retro styling is also attractive but hurts the SUV’s practicality. For example, its wide D-pillars create huge blind spots for the driver. In addition, this five-seater has only two full-size doors for the front passengers. Back-seat passengers get skinny rear-opening “suicide” doors hinged backward. Although the little doors look cool and preserve the aesthetic of the two-door FJ40, users must first open the front door to open the back door. Plus, the narrow opening makes accessing the rear seats a chore.

Retro-styled SUVs are the rage

Although Toyota discontinued the FJ Cruiser in America almost a decade ago, times have changed since the Great Recession. Ford recently released the Bronco, a retro-styled off-roading SUV, to high demand. Today’s drivers want what the FJ Cruiser offered, so it’s no surprise fans are scooping up used FJ Cruisers.

Although the Japanese auto giant hasn’t announced the FJ Cruiser will return to America, it did the next best thing. Toyota created a page for consumers searching for certified pre-owned FJ Cruiser models. However, shoppers might have trouble finding many certified pre-owned FJ Cruisers because it’s desirable among off-road enthusiasts. Indeed, a used 2014 model could fetch $30,000.


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