Long-term update: Can the Toyota FJ Cruiser be a family car?

Long-term update: Can the Toyota FJ Cruiser be a family car?

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser in the UAE

One reason why some people skip the Toyota FJ Cruiser in favour of a 4×4 with four proper doors is that they see the FJ as a car with two doors, with the rear-hinged back doors there only for show. Hence it will make a bad family car. However, we managed to use it as one just fine.

When our aging Range Rover ended up in the shop yet again, the FJ Cruiser became our primary ride to transport our newborn baby between our home and the hospital several times in the course of a couple of weeks. Luckily, as we suspected, the rear-facing child seat fits perfectly in the central position of the back seat, which is where we believe is the best position for a baby seat. Our resident photographer Faisal “Worry-Wart” Khatib raised objections that the child seat should not touch the front seatbacks and be level, which is exactly how it fit in the FJ, so no worries on that front.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser in the UAE 2

While there are no side airbags, at least it has three proper seat-belts in the rear and a big boot. Access to the back seat is only slightly more difficult than an SUV with conventional rear doors, with the rear doors needing to be opened along with the front doors, as well as the tall ride height, but if my wife could manage it five days after giving birth, so could anyone else. It’s a bit of a hassle, but it’s doable, even with the horrendous aftermarket tubular side-steps the dealer installed on our base model. We might try hunting for stock side-steps later on in the spare-parts market. However, don’t bother buying a lifted TRD or Xtreme version as a daily family car. Then they’d really be unusable.

2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser in the UAE 3

On another note, we managed to rack up about 950 km on a single tank of petrol simply by driving a bit more conservatively and shifting early. That amounts to a fuel consumption figure of 16.7 litres/100 km, still nothing to write home about, but a fair bit of improvement from the last time we spoke about our whopping 159-litre fuel tank.

Original Mileage When Bought: 5,500 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 8,500 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 16.7 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 0
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 0

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 0

Read all 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. as much as i like the FJ, it does NOT serve as proper family car.

    caveat here is that it may work for small/ short people. assuming proper child sets in th back, there is only enough space for small people in the front for sure; we have tried it a few times given that i really wanted to have one as weekend car. i could hardly get into the driver seat (and i am with 6.3 not particularly tall)!

    • I’m on my second FJ and I have a 4 year old little girl. I am 6’5″ and the very reason I kept with it is the room in the front for me. My little girl’s carseat fits perfectly in the middle of the back bench and she uses the front armrests as her foot rest. Every day I climb in the back with her to strap her in and take her out. Is is perfect, no. But I have no issue with it whatsoever.

  2. My wife drives the fj on weekdays & i get the keys on the weekend when i go offroading. We have a child seat as well at the back. No complaints.

    I’ll have to agree to Mash, it does serve as a decent family car.

  3. Bought my first FJ in 2006(2007 model yr) put almost 100,000 miles on it doing everyday to work, long trip, off road and towing. Never got below 16 mpg and often 20+. Just routine maintenance. Best vehicle ever owned. Traded it for a new 2014 last year and after one year of driving I still have same opinion. Shame 2014 is last yr for the FJ. People are just waking up to how good it is.

  4. I’ve had mine for 4 years, daily runner for the family. Drove across the southern US for a month with 4 of us and a dog. No issues. Best of luck to you.

  5. i have a buggatti but its brakes aren’t good

  6. I’m trying to understand why are you getting 16.7l/100kms fuel consumption when I’m getting 14.7 with the Prado. It’s the same engine and my car is heavier, I belive.
    Is that the normal fuel consumption for the FJ?

    • I am doubting its the traffic conditions. Even I am wondering why a manual FJ is giving this figure.

    • It’s strange because automatic models are generally more thirsty than the manual versions. The possible explanations may be that the engine has not broken-in yet fully or the changing of the gears is done late at higher revs.
      However, based on the mileage you get I belive it might be the case of a wrong indication. 16.7 for combined fuel consumption is very high.

    • Author

      It’s partly gearing for offroading and acceleration, partly new engine, and partly that it is already officially rated as consuming more than the softer automatic.

    • Had a look at the official figures, it says 13.6/100kms combined. They are really off the mark with this one. A difference of 3l extra in reality. Good to know. It burns as much fuel as a V8.

    • Official figures never match real life. Most Prado owners drive like uncles, looool!

    • @Mitch .. Your Prado is a FULL TIME 4WD, our FJs are PART TIME hence the mileage difference.

      Hope this clears your doubt 😉

    • Hold on.. Mash has a Manual which again is a full time 4wd.. hmm

    • Author

      Yes, the manual FJ has full-time, lol. And the first gear is very short.

  7. I have a 2011 auto FJ which averages 11.5L/Km, I can squeeze as low as 9.5L/Km on a good run here in Western Australia.

    I have a 12 year old and he loves it, no complaints as a family car from us.

    It’s great to be on the Tarmac cruising one minute, and then turn off and head off across the beach the next minute. Seems just as capable as a Land Rover Defender I owned, only more reliable and comfortable!


  8. we have a ’14 FJ cruiser here in dubai and it’s a decent family car. my 16 month old daughter loves it very much and i can easily strap her in the child car seat with the suicide door. my average fuel consumption is about 7-8 kms/liter.

  9. This is a family car if you want it to be. Having 2 extra inches of leg room in a mid size sedan gives you the happiness of flying business class then, oh well. Driving mine since 2010, Can say it got best of both worlds. Super reliable, still looking cool and feels like a tank. It’ll take a lit use to for the first timers to access the back seat, but no problem its an FJ. And I wonder, how come Mash’s FJ came without the standard side step?

    Note : My second car is a challenger 2015 and I think even that can be classified as a family car. ask my 10 year old son.

  10. Good read, had mine for 2 years and did about 110K Km’s on it. Rock solid car. Was adequate when I had 2 kids (aged 5 n 3) the wife and a month full of groceries. Had to part with it after we had r 3rd child. I wudnt think twice to buy the FJ again, only gripe is space. Had to move to a 8 seater. Immediate feedback from kids is that they cud see more of outside now. Personally, I miss the drive, reliability and the “go anywhere, anytime” feel of the FJ.

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