So we bought a manual 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

So we bought a manual 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 6MT in the UAE
The first time I drove the Toyota FJ Cruiser, it was late 2007, I was only 6 months out of college, I owned a 1990 junker, this site was still growing, and I was barely getting any invites to automotive media events. Fast-forward to 2014, and I’m married, I own three cars, the site is a successful behemoth…and I’m still barely getting any invites to automotive media events. That’s how long the FJ has been around. But I digress. The Missus just got her driving licence after a month of lessons, and a manual one at that. As with any noob driver, she still needs to keep practicing stick-shift driving, otherwise she’ll forget like the countless girly men out here, but I wasn’t going to put her in my S2000 on a daily basis. So I bought her a car. A nearly-new manual FJ Cruiser straight from the dealer.

You might ask why I didn’t just buy her a rental-grade manual Yaris. Somehow, I don’t think anyone on this site is interested in reading long-term updates on a Yaris. It’s also the car enthusiast’s curse. Even when I barely had any money, my 1990 junker was an AMG Mercedes. We wanted something cool, yet safe, to add to the fleet. And something that I wouldn’t mind driving as well. We’ll see how it goes.

It’s pretty tough finding a cool-yet-practical manual car for women nowadays. The few manual sports cars have a stiff clutch, while the softer ones are all fleet-spec econo-boxes. The first option was a Jeep Wrangler, but The Missus’s knees were touching the weird upright dashboard and there’s no dead pedal. The second option was a Ford Focus ST, but The Missus is “expecting”, if you know what I mean, so those daft Recaro seats with the high bolsters were hard to get out of for her. I even considered a used Subaru WRX STI or a Toyota Bushanab, but they were all at the Aweer Used Car Market, and after one trip there, I realised what a hell-hole it still was, and wouldn’t recommend it to anybody.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 6MT in the UAE 6

Then we casually arranged a test-drive of the manual Toyota FJ Cruiser. A new one costs Dhs 115,000, which isn’t a bad price for so much metal. The demo car was a late-2013 example. After I let The Missus do some awkward rounds in a parking lot with the salesman, Abbas, riding along, we figured she could eventually manage it with some practice, and more importantly, she could reach the pedals. I still had no real interest in an FJ Cruiser, until I casually asked Abbas if he’d sell the demo car to us, with a “LOL” at the end. Oddly enough, he said it could be possible. Oops.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 6MT in the UAE 2

We go back to the showroom, where Abbas makes a few calls, and arrives at a price of Dhs 98,000, inclusive of smart-repairing a minor ding on one door. Being a Toyota, there are no other freebies even if you pay full cash, aside from the remainder of the 5-year warranty. It sounded like a good price for a 6-month-old dealer-backed car with only 5500 km on the clock, so I pulled out my credit card and made the booking payment.

A couple of days later, I paid the rest with bundles of cash as well as submitted insurance papers. We did our own insurance outside, since it’s cheaper than the ridiculous dealer’s rate and we already had other cars with RSA Insurance.

We initially tried to get a better rate via our usual brokers, Gargash Insurance, but their customer service has slipped over the years, and they actually came up with a rate even higher than the dealer, that too from RSA! When we asked them to look at our no-claims history and arrange a better rate, they simply chose not to reply. So I figured I’d give them a free plug here.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 6MT in the UAE 4

After that, it took several days more by the dealer to get the car prepared for delivery. On the final day, we had to wait 2 hours to get the paperwork done, exacerbated by the fact that we wanted to get our own “special” number plate pasted on it. The cleaned car was already on display, roped away on the lower floor in full view at the Festival City showroom. For our troubles, they threw in a complimentary service at 10,000 km. We then drove it out after a final wipe-down.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser 6MT in the UAE 5

We’ll talk more about the FJ’s specs and drive later. As we’re coming to grips with our oddball new truck, we’re pretty pleased with the purchase. And yet, we’re not sure how long we’ll keep it, considering The Missus will only be able to drive till winter, given her “condition.” After that, we might sell it or keep it. Let’s see.

What do you think?



  1. And the curse of the second hand car continues…lol

  2. Congrats…u got a cool fleet now…

  3. No rear view camera ? And Congrats 🙂 You never go wrong with an FJ.

  4. Why did you buy manual? Any off road plans or just because it was cheaper to buy the demo car which happened to be manual?

  5. But Mash, even though the access will be easier to the FJ than the Sedans; don’t you think the firm ride sounds inappropriate for your Missus’s condition?

    PS: Hearty congrats in advance to both of you. May God bless your happy family.

  6. Congrats to Mash & family for good news, and also for adding new vehicle into already existing fleet.

    May Allah bless you & family.

  7. Author

    Thanks for the best wishes, everyone.

  8. that is a good buy i reckon, Mashfique

    have fun with it

  9. Congrates for the Fj and to-be born

    Since this is the last year of production, I am thinking to buy a manual Fj and use it for long.

  10. Congrats Mash and Mrs. Mash for the good news of the impending arrival of Mash junior, Insha Allah. Family addition is more of an exclusive than this new addition to your car fleet. 😉 Is this the 1st junior or 2nd?

    Doesnt the FJ have rear parking sensors? If not your missus will definitely have a tough time parking. Or perhaps your missus could get her hands on the keys of s2000 and you could handle the FJ mammoth instead!

  11. Ride is not too firm as thought. Rear access might be a challenge for aged people and some pregnant women. While parking in a cramped parking lot, always park next to a curb and not next to another car or else getting rear passengers and your self out at the same time can become a circus involving the suicide doors. Rear camera should be in your next shopping list. I cant imagine backing up in mine without the cam and the sensors. And may Allah bless you with a beautiful & healthy angel.

    • Author

      Thanks, man. And managing fine without rear cam so far. Mirrors are pretty big if positioned right, but camera may be an option later.

  12. Best wishes for the family and new ride. What happened to your preference for Xterra, based on previous reviews compared to Wrangler and FJ, simple and with practical doors, though, I am not sure about the availability of manual model in UAE.

  13. Best Wishes to you Mash and family!

  14. Let the trucking feel begin. 😀

  15. Congrats on your new baby and may your entire family live in peace and harmony and mabrook on your new FJ Cruiser!

  16. base fj cruiser or base prado?

  17. BTW I have a jeep wrangler n am 190cm, my knees never touches the dashboard!

  18. Many congrats 🙂
    May Allah keep blessing you.

  19. Heartiest congratulations Mash!

    more the merrier! 😉

    the cars i meant..

  20. Congrats Mashfique! All the very best for the future!

  21. nice, congrats.

  22. Great article! Is it true that this is the last year for the fj cruiser?

  23. How’s the FJ so far?

  24. Hey,
    Congrats on your new car! Hope you guys are going offroad with it! 🙂
    Just wanted to know, I have noticed that the service from Gargash Insurance is getting worse, and I too have an RSA insurance. I just want to know which broker or agent you used finally. If so, can you provide me their contact details?

    • Author

      A Gargash Insurance manager actually contacted us after reading this and mended the issue. We used RSA direct for the FJ, but continue to use Gargash for our other cars.

  25. Hey,

    Would love if you can give such detailed review about this vehicle performance and other features. I am planning to get one (automatic) for daily basis (no off-road). Any suggestions??

    • I had this car for a year and never took off-road. Honestly this car is built to go off-road. I felt bad for keeping it on-road that i ended up selling it to a buyer who wud actually do this car some justice. Dont buy this car if you dont plan to take it off-road. Although Its a fine car for any surface and its super smooth on highways. But I think you will be better off with a prado or a smaller american SUV.

  26. Me too would like to know more Mashfique..for daily use and little bit of offroad. Have been in dilemma whether to go 4 fortuner or FJ for quite some months. I’m very much inclined to FJ but not sure how it will go good as a family car as well.

    • the fj is crap if being used as family car mainly. we considered it twice as second car but passed. no space for proper child seats in the back unless the front seats are fully pulled back (maybe enough if u re just 5.7 or smaller). also, the pseudo rear door becomes a pain when getting kids in and out..

      otherwise a great fun car

  27. Hi Mash,

    Congrats for the good news. May Allah bless you & your family

    It was nice reading your article as always. I have a quick question. I Wanted to know if an FJ can be fitted with a third row seat. Do you have any idea?

    Or any of our dear friends who would know about this.

  28. Hi mashfique.
    I visit drive arabia and read your article frequently . I wanted to know whether fj cruiser has durable engine like the classic land cruiser pick up or jeep.. u know the 1960’s or 70’s model which is still prefered by arabs for off roading and stuff. Coz am looking forward for this vehicle.
    Please give me information on that..
    thanks in advance 🙂

    • Author

      It’ll be durable if you maintain it and don’t abuse it. No known issues.

    • Yes, maintain it with regular services but it’s durable even if you abuse it heavily in the desert. Tried and tested in Stock condition for 2 years now 😉 .. One of the best offroaders available in the market.

      That being said, the Jeep Wrangler needs to be heavily modified to accept similar sort of abuse.

  29. When r u going off-road?

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