Vehicle shopping - FJ Cruiser?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Vehicle shopping - FJ Cruiser?

    I am in the market for a new vehicle soon, my 1997 Saab 900 turbo is aging and doesn't have enough room for me, even though the hatchback has proven very useful.

    I have been looking at FJ Cruisers as an option, also the 4-door Wranglers. In either case I'd be going used, probably in the $20k range. I like the Wranglers but the older engine has been reported to be a real dog.

    Whatever I get would be used for bike toting (I'd like to get a hitch rack like this: Thule*-*916XTR T2) camping, and daily commuting. My commute is short (6mi) and mixed city/highway. It would need to handle two bikes on a rack, maybe some gear on the roof, and loaded up inside for a moderate-length camping excursion. I'd do some light offroading but probably not any crazy wheeling. How do bikes fit inside the FJ if I wanted to bring it to work, etc? I have a medium 29er.

    How are the FJs for those that have them for these uses and to live with on a daily basis?

    Opinions appreciated!

  2. #2
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    I'll start of by saying a really like my FJ.

    It's a 2008. It did get a crack in the engine block but toyota covered everything.

    It has a crack in the windshield that will cost me $400 due to being such a PITA to replace.

    It's suicide doors suck to get the kids in and out anywhere.

    The roof rack is way up there. I'm 6'3 and getting a kayak up there is a bit of a chore.

    I did have a hich rack but you could not get into the back door. I then got a Yakima tire rack and that problem is solved. You can get the bikes inside but take the front and rear tire off.

    Fellow owners have complain about blinds spots but I drive a cargo van and have no problem using the big mirrors of the FJ.

    The big question is would I get another if this one broke. I need to test drive the four door wrangler for the kids issue. If that wasn't an issue I would get another FJ the day it broke down.

  3. #3
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    Thank you, this is great info to take into consideration. I don't have kids or dogs to cart around and rarely travel with more than just one passenger, but are the suicide doors a bother if you're just dealing with gear or groceries? How is interior space with the rear seats folded down for bulky items?

    Appreciate it!

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    I had an 07 Titanuim silver, only gripe was small capacity gas tank and crappy seat fabric that pilled like crazy and wish that the suicide door windows would open. I love the exhaust note, my kids could climb in easily.. Oh and the plastic interior panels scratched easily. Oh and I hated the rear swing doors.. Couldn't hardly carry anything with that door, I wished they had a split tailgate or like the 4Runner.
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    Obviously, an XTerra should be in the mix as well unless you've got an aversion to them. My wife had an FJ and I had an XTerra when we met. Both were great vehicles, but very different.

    I know nothing of the wrangler, but these three vehicles are really the only options for off road capability in stock form. They're wildly different though, so the only way to choose for yourself is to go play with each. In my opinion, an easily accessible back seat was a big win, so that took out the FJ.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by breckenridge View Post
    Thank you, this is great info to take into consideration. I don't have kids or dogs to cart around and rarely travel with more than just one passenger, but are the suicide doors a bother if you're just dealing with gear or groceries? How is interior space with the rear seats folded down for bulky items?

    Appreciate it!

    They're a pain with the kids...that's about it. I wish it had more nterior space but there isn't a lot due to how high up the fj is for four wheelin. Fj and wranglers are designed four wheeling first and everything else second.

    Here's a great website to see what guys and gals have done with their fj.
    Toyota FJ Cruiser Community

  7. #7
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    Neither a Wrangler nor the FJ are choices for most bikers. Ditto the Xterra. These are trucks that have style and off-road capability, but you won't see many at MTB trail heads.

    A lot of people who move here (Colorado) are drawn to cars like this (4Runner, Liberty, Xterra, Wrangler, etc). It's usually an image thing.

    The same goes for the Wrangler (and Xterra and really anything with full 4x4 and a 2-speed transfer case): As the other person said, these are 4x4 first and everything else second. Their 4x4 systems aren't good for on-road driving in snow and ice and they come with a lot of compromises. They're great for frequent off-roading and towing. And of course they are iconic and have a great image. They look like what someone in the Midwest thinks a 4x4 should look like. But you can't get to the roof without a ladder, you can't sleep in most of them, and they don't hold very much stuff. My buddy's FJ was a total joke and we never took it biking, not even one. It was amazing for hard core off-roading but not much else.

    It sucks but the more you shop the more you realize why every third car in CO is an Outback.

  8. #8
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    So I have had both an FJ and am currently on my 3rd 4 door Jeep. What I can say about the FJ is that for me the seats seemed uncomfortable on longer trips and to replace the windshield was a PITA due to the plastic strip across the top. Lets just say it took the place 3 windshields to finally get one on right... Other then that recommend if you do get a FJ stay away from the 2007's as they had an issue with the crumple zones ripping apart.
    As for the jeep. To me the engine was a little sluggish but not a big deal. I now have a 2012 and with the new tranny it seems to be a big differece. If you compare the FJ and the older JK neither of them are power houses so if that is your downside to the jeep you wont gain much if anything with the FJ. I like the jeep better for a few reasons: seems to drive just a little nicer, you can buy a lot more accesories I.E bumpers and just about anything is a fraction of the cost to an FJ.... The top comes off in three pieces which is nice and the seats fold perfectly flat across the back.
    I have a Yakima spare me on the Jeep tire and it works fine but I only use it for one bike. So many options to carry a bike with either inside or out. I recommend go drive them and pick the one you like better.

  9. #9
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    This is all great info, much appreciated everyone. I will check out the Jeep, FJ, and xterra. I realize the outback is probably a superior car for paved road driving, but i just don't like them. Good info on the flat folding rear seats in the Jeep, that is one thing my Saabs seats dont do and its a big drawback.

  10. #10
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    I was recently in the same position and considered getting a used FJ but instead I went with a 4Runner ('04 Sport Edition 4WD w/ V8). I also considered Jeeps. My reasoning was as follows:
    - Although resale prices are high on both the FJ and the 4Runner, the FJ's are even higher making them more expensive.
    - The 4Runner is a bit more practical and roomy with proper (non-suicide) rear doors.
    - The 4Runner has better outward visibility.
    - The window on the 4Runner's tailgate can roll down (put the key in the rear lock, turn and hold it counter-clockwise), giving you access to the cargo area even if you have bikes mounted on the hitch rack. The rear window can also be raised/lowered via dash-mounted switch.
    - The 4Runner ('03-'09) was available with a V8, giving it a 7,000 lb towing capacity. The more common V6 version can tow 5,000 lbs and gets about 2-3mpg more but I wanted to give myself the option to tow a boat.
    - Everyone I talked to who owns or owned a 4Runner of this vintage LOVED them.

    I just took mine on a ~1,500mi road trip and it performed flawlessly. It's very quiet and refined; you won't be tired after driving it 8-10 hours. I've only had it a month or so but thus far I'm extremely satisfied with this used car purchase.


  11. #11
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    My wife had a FJ for a few years. Huge blindspots and doesn't have as much cargo space as you would think. A cool looking truck, but eats gas and has a crappy stereo. With the seats down you can barely fit one bike in it. Kinda funky rear hatch. She had the yellow that looked just like a Tonka Truck! She fell in love with the look, but ended up hating the issues stated above.

    I have a 04 WRX bought new in May of 03 and I can fit two bikes in the back with the seats down. I have never been stuck, even when driving over dune drifts on the beach, the awd just works. Maybe a Forester? I'm holding out to try the new XV Crosstrek. Supposedly more room than previous Impreza models and all-weather package.

  12. #12
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    I had an 07 FJC and now an 09 JKU.

    The positives for the FJ are acceptable power, decent on-road manners - partly due to it's IFS configuration, and ergonomics. All of which are relative because I'm comparing it against the wrangler. What I didn't like were it's offroad capabilities, especially on boulder laden areas (like we have here in the north east), being enclosed in the cabin, requiring significant work ($$$ and body chop) to get it trail worthy, expensive boutique aftermarket support, and PITA rear entry.

    Wranglers. I see way too many soccer moms and faux-roaders driving them. The JK, in my opinion, has ruined the comradeship of the Wrangler and has made it 'cool' to drive one. Especially so is the 4dr (which I currently own). But beyond the social aspect of owning the Jeep, it's a fantastic off-road vehicle with piss-poor on-road manners. The 3.8L is out of the Town & Country minivan. Fully loaded my JK is almost 3 toms on 35" with full armor. Just trying to maintain highway speeds uphill was in a word, challenging. Last year I decided to supercharge it and can't believe I waited so long to do so. The speed my slowpoke wrangler now carries into turn had made me nervous because I was overpowering the archaic suspension design and I had to relearn how to drive the Jeep. Oh, and the rear seats are at an extreme upright angle - only fit for small children or short rides - which is perfect for us since we have 3 and 6 year olds. While all this may sound unappetizing and unappealing, the minute I get behind the wheel all of my worries and stress dissappear. Pop the top, pull the doors off, 4-lo with locker engaged pulling me up the last ascent to get back to the trail head at my favorite trail is just as fun and rewarding as flowing through the techs on my bike.

    All in all the FJ is a genuinely good truck, but it just wasn't for me.




  13. #13
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    FJ= Fake Jeep
    I have an '09 JKU and have "zero" problems.
    The problem with the 3.8 vehicle is NOT the engine it's gearing.
    I tow 2600# uphill and can accelerate from 65 to 75 while doing it.
    35" tires and 5.13 gears.
    If you are going to buy a new JK with the 3.6 engine wait until mid '13 to do so.
    Big problems withe the 3.6 right now.
    The 3.8 is a tried and true engine.
    Over 40000 on mine now and more than half of that has been in 4wd.
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  14. #14
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    I owned an 08 FJ and put 125k miles with zero problems mechanically. Good power and handling. I opted for the 2wd after having 4wd Xterra and Tacoma and not really needing 4wd. Some of the same complaints as above. Blind spots are HUGE. Swing tailgate a pain but workable. I had to replace windshield 2x, not sure if is more prone to cracks because it stands more vertical than others. The real problem with it is the small body panels on either side of the windshield by the hood. Window installers do not know how to re-install the brackets that hold these down. I have seen many FJ's with the same problem.

  15. #15
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    Just got rid of an 08, pretty sure that we are going to regret doing it. Zero problems in approx. 140,000 miles.

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    For what it's worth, I am a big fan of Subaru also. I had an 04 WRX and that thing was unstoppable in east coast snow, but we rarely see more than 8-12" at a time where I live. I had a 99 exploder 4wd and the WRX was much better in the white stuff. I was fine driving through 8" of snow in that car with W or Y rated all season 225's. You'll be isht out of luck if you need to navigate a foot or more though. A forester has a good bit of space and a touch more ground clearance over the impreza and legacy I think, but I think it's just because they threw bigger tires on it... I've seen people lift their subarus and run all terrain tires, which makes for a pretty cool alternative looking vehicle that you wont see anywhere else, but it's obviously not for everyone.

    XTerra seats also fold completely flat, which was awesome. It gives you near Pickup truck load capacity. Also, I've thrown my sleeping pad in the back and slept in there comfortably.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by owtdorz View Post
    FJ= Fake Jeep
    I have an '09 JKU and have "zero" problems.
    The problem with the 3.8 vehicle is NOT the engine it's gearing.
    I tow 2600# uphill and can accelerate from 65 to 75 while doing it.
    35" tires and 5.13 gears.
    If you are going to buy a new JK with the 3.6 engine wait until mid '13 to do so.
    Big problems withe the 3.6 right now.
    The 3.8 is a tried and true engine.
    Over 40000 on mine now and more than half of that has been in 4wd.
    FJ = reliable Jeep with modern technology. At least the old 4.2L rambler engine was bullitproff. Maybe the next time Chrysler goes bankrupt we can marry them to a Japanese car company and finally give the Wrangler the love it truly deserves. It would be killer with a Toyota engine and a few other bits.

    Most trailheads in California also have Subarus too or the proverbial Toyota pickup trucks with lots of miles.

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    I just got out of my '11 Forester (worst highway car I have ever owned) and into a Tacoma DC. Even though the bed is short, I can still put 3-4 bikes in it and load them easily- much more secure than a rack. I looked really hard at a '12 Wrangler 4 door, but the interior space was limited and the back seat really uncomfortable. I started hearing about the new engine problems (heads/gaskets) and decided against it. I would love to own one sometime, but not as a daily driver. The really sad thing is around here, they have replaced minivans for soccer moms. They have hardtops with the windows up and A/C blasting all the time, and never go off-road. Poor Jeeps, they deserve better.

  19. #19
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    I did away with my Wrangler a while ago. Same problems as any jeep.. No security,not comfortable, stereo was lousy (when it worked), and many reliability problems you would expect from anything chrystler. It was a late 90s FWIW. After owning another Jeep (Grand Cherokee) I made the change to an '08 Xterra and never looked back. Everything the jeep was only so much better. Excellent 4wd and ground clearance, tons more power, extremely reliable, much more comfortable for longer trips, etc. Best vehicle I ever owned, much better value than any Jeep IMO.

  20. #20
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    Appreciate all the insight guys, I still have a month or two until I am looking to make the jump but I want to have my research done ahead of time.

    I used to drive some track day cars as daily drivers, so while I get living with compromises, I want to understand them ahead of time and take them into account.

    Less than modern 4wd wouldn't bother me in snow, I've driven plenty of rear wheel drive trucks and cars in the winter and can deal. The ability to blast through a road plowed in driveway would be nice, as would offroad capability. Things like wind noise, crappy stereos, and being overly slow would probably bother me though after having a decently quick semi-luxury car for a long time. Ride quality, doesnt matter, nor would high step in height... Not looking for any fancy interiors, basic is fine, as long as nothing feels excessively cheap or flimsy..

  21. #21
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    Good points deuxdiesel. Instead of an FJ, I'd recommend a taco. Bulletproof, better cargo handling, and if you get the quadcab, better interior.

  22. #22
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    My friend has an '11 or '12 Tacoma quad cab, and I love it. They just seem to have much higher resale value than the others I'd been looking at, which is great for those who have them but not so much for us looking to get in used with a low enough miles one to still have that new vehicle lack of major servicing.

    Plus if I had a pickup truck bed I'd be tempted to get an ATV. Which I dont need

  23. #23
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    I just got out of my '11 Forester (worst highway car I have ever owned) and into a Tacoma DC. Even though the bed is short, I can still put 3-4 bikes in it and load them easily- much more secure than a rack. I looked really hard at a '12 Wrangler 4 door, but the interior space was limited and the back seat really uncomfortable. I started hearing about the new engine problems (heads/gaskets) and decided against it. I would love to own one sometime, but not as a daily driver. The really sad thing is around here, they have replaced minivans for soccer moms. They have hardtops with the windows up and A/C blasting all the time, and never go off-road. Poor Jeeps, they deserve better.

  24. #24
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    I have a 2010 FJ and am very happy with it. I've also owned a Wrangler and an Outback. I can't really give you an opinion on the driving characteristics of the Jeep, since it was always parked in my driveway (broke). The Outback was great on gas mileage, but I found it very underpowered, not especially great in the snow (Utah), and it was very noisey.

    I've owned two Toyota trucks and have had very good luck with Toyota. The FJ is surprisingly quite and great in the snow. I have a child seat, and only find the doors slightly bothersome. There isn't a lot of cargo space and the windshield chips easily (just buy a membership card at your local windshield repair facility). The Northshore rack complements the FJ quite nicely too. The gas milelage is comparable to most cars in it's range.

    Would I buy another one? Yep! Caveat: I do miss having a truck (but the rear end is too light in our heavy winters). Good luck!

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by brianwon View Post
    Good points deuxdiesel. Instead of an FJ, I'd recommend a taco. Bulletproof, better cargo handling, and if you get the quadcab, better interior.
    I traded my 05 Taco for my 08 FJ...As much as I liked the FJ the Tacoma a better vehicle all the way around. Styling inside is much nicer and there is more room in the double cab configuration plus the added space of the bed. I had the TRD off road package which added some extra goodies...good mileage too. I lived in the Phoenix area and ALWAYS got 20-21 mpg even with the air on during the summer months.

    For what its worth, I had a first generation Xterra (2000) and put about 175K on that. Replaced timing belt at about 160k and that was only problem. It was slightly underpowered but I am sure Nissan changed that. It was a great rig!

  26. #26
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    Fj's are great but i found the visibility wasn't that great and i wanted something with more inside room. I went with the new 4runner. LOVE IT.

  27. #27
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    When I bought my Wrangler, I shopped the FJ.
    I love the looks of the FJ and I have respect for them.
    What kept me from it were a few factors. Many already mentioned, but the key ones were...
    -awful backseat (space and comfort) and rear entry
    -hideous rearward visibility
    -No topless option
    Went with a 2009 Wrangler, sold it and now own a 2012 Unlimited. Never looked back and will now always have one in my garage. You can transform it in the summer (doorless, topless) and in the Winter (hardtop SUV). Beast off-road, and in heavy snow. Tons of space for a week's worth of gear and bikes. Road manners are fine, but not the greatest... but it's light years ahead of the previous gen (TJ). The Jeep has soul... I find excuses to drive it.
    If these things matter to you, I'd give a nod to the Wrangler. If you want more comfort, better road manners, and likely better reliability, the FJ is a solid choice.
    The Wrangler vs. FJ will spark a holy war with the zealots, but chose what moves you. It's your money.
    PS. I am former performance car driver (a few M3's in my day)... so moving to a Jeep was quite a shock. But it's a different kind of fun vehicle.

  28. #28
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    Love my FJ Cruiser. The blind spots that everyone mentions are there, but you adapt to them really quick.

  29. #29
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    I have an 07 FJ with 120k. Never had an issue with it at all. I drive it a ton on the highway, and think it handles great. There are some blind spots, but I am used to driving trucks with caps and these are even worse in most cases. I load my kids in it with no issues. Don't have a probaly with cargo space either.

    Two biggest drawbacks are mileage and back seat. It is not really an adult sized back. It fine for me with kids and my wife is child sized too. I can put four guys in it to go ride, but it is not super comfy for the guys in the back. Mileage is somewhat my fualt, I added 33" tires and refuse to drive anything that is not manual transmission. The manual transmission is only full-time four wheel.

    I can fit 3 bikes on top and 3 on the hitch. No issues here. I like the plastic interior. Makes cleaning easy.

    I plan on having mine for another 100k and then I will need to make a decision. Jeep is not in the consideration. Prior to this, I had a 1998 Taco extended cab. The new quad cab Taco is pretty nice and it has some more room in the back. There is also something to be said about the veristility of a pick-up. Not sure which of these two it will be yet, but it will be one of them.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by deuxdiesel View Post
    I just got out of my '11 Forester (worst highway car I have ever owned) and into a Tacoma DC. Even though the bed is short, I can still put 3-4 bikes in it and load them easily- much more secure than a rack. I looked really hard at a '12 Wrangler 4 door, but the interior space was limited and the back seat really uncomfortable. I started hearing about the new engine problems (heads/gaskets) and decided against it. I would love to own one sometime, but not as a daily driver. The really sad thing is around here, they have replaced minivans for soccer moms. They have hardtops with the windows up and A/C blasting all the time, and never go off-road. Poor Jeeps, they deserve better.
    I always feel bad for those soccer mom jeeps.

    What else didn't you like about the Forester. I'm car shopping myself and have been seeking out people who didn't like the Forester.
    I like to ride bikes.

  31. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by otis24 View Post
    I always feel bad for those soccer mom jeeps.

    What else didn't you like about the Forester. I'm car shopping myself and have been seeking out people who didn't like the Forester.
    I'd be curious too, as the Wrangler has all the freeway grace of a covered wagon. The Sub is much better.

  32. #32
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    Hi,
    didn't read every post. my .02 cent.

    I have had just about every toyota SUV available, currently have a 2010 FJ teams edition, 2010 4runner trail, 99 4runner 3rd gen 5sp (w/mods), FJ60, FJ40, 85 4runner x2, 81 pickup and more.....all with Yakima / Kuat racks....

    2010 4Runner Trail...awesome in every way, but not a 20K vehicle.

    most convenient, most affordable, most comfortable, most capable (diff loc option w/minimal mods), most visibility, great gas mileage, great looks IMO. = 3rd gen 4runner w/diff loc option. save a bit of cash, don't buy the FJ Cruiser...or, if you do, get a 2010 or better if you can for 20K or less...

    Find a low mile 96-2002 toyota 4runner 4x4 sport w/diff loc option. (approx $12K) add toytech coil overs in the front / medium OME spings in the rear, remove the lame running boards and add sliders....you are set !!! Toyota dependability, awesome resale value.

    Don't get me wrong, I love the uniqueness about my FJ Cruiser, but as others have mentioned.....- funky rear seats (cave like, kids get sick), funky rear door with kuat rack or other to access riding gear, can't see **** (still back slowly hoping to hit something with little impact) bugs like it...reasonably fast, gets 20mpg if you do not rage it on the e-way.

    My 98 4runner: sonoran steel lift kit: sketchy road handling, off-road flex monster for IFS setup.


    My 98 4runner: OME lift complete...heavy setup....like, not adjustable.



    My 99 4runner: favorite.... toytec coil-overs, medium rear ome springs, bilstien rear shocks, outdoorlogic front bumper and sliders....awesome setup, rips corners like a sportscar, great flex offroad...best of the best....L1 auto install in berthoud co..these guys rock....more aggressive tires tomorrow.

    " I Love My Bike "

  33. #33
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    Ride2suffer,
    Thanks for the 4runner breakdown.. Any advice on Landcruiser choice?, What gen is the best ?
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  34. #34
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    I assume you guys are complaining about the road noise in the Forester. Its a pretty easy fix - dynamat the floorboards and the doors - the inside of the engine hood too. Doesn't cost that much if you do it yourself and really makes the car quieter. Tires can affect how much road noise comes into the cabin as well. You can do what I do - the top 2 options plus a very loud aftermarket stereo complete with extra aftermarket speakers and a subwoofer (or two). When they make cars they cheap out on soundproofing to meet price points - Subaru is pretty guilty in this respect on some of the cheaper models - love the Turbo in the Forester its a hell of a lot of fun. (The Outback is much more refined but not as fun and more expensive).

    -dx

  35. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by digktialx View Post
    I assume you guys are complaining about the road noise in the Forester. Its a pretty easy fix - dynamat the floorboards and the doors - the inside of the engine hood too. Doesn't cost that much if you do it yourself and really makes the car quieter. Tires can affect how much road noise comes into the cabin as well. You can do what I do - the top 2 options plus a very loud aftermarket stereo complete with extra aftermarket speakers and a subwoofer (or two). When they make cars they cheap out on soundproofing to meet price points - Subaru is pretty guilty in this respect on some of the cheaper models - love the Turbo in the Forester its a hell of a lot of fun. (The Outback is much more refined but not as fun and more expensive).

    -dx
    Older Subarus with the frameless windows are much noisier than the newer framed models.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by dirt diggler View Post
    Ride2suffer,
    Thanks for the 4runner breakdown.. Any advice on Landcruiser choice?, What gen is the best ?

    FJZ80 if you can find a low mile one....95-97 preferably w/solid front axle. The earlier FJ60's / FJ62's are a bit slow and only 4speed before 1988. We have had both models, they suck the fuel.

    This makes the 4runner the better choice, bit smaller to get into the back country, decent MPG's, much faster on road and mountain passes, capable off-road (with minimal mods if any) 3.4 motor is awesome. don't be afraid to buy one with service records @ 150K miles, ask about timing belt & water pump though.

    Did I say the land cruisers get horrible MPG's
    " I Love My Bike "

  37. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride2Suffer View Post
    FJZ80 if you can find a low mile one....95-97 preferably w/solid front axle. The earlier FJ60's / FJ62's are a bit slow and only 4speed before 1988. We have had both models, they suck the fuel.

    This makes the 4runner the better choice, bit smaller to get into the back country, decent MPG's, much faster on road and mountain passes, capable off-road (with minimal mods if any) 3.4 motor is awesome. don't be afraid to buy one with service records @ 150K miles, ask about timing belt & water pump though.

    Did I say the land cruisers get horrible MPG's
    I wish they still a manual 4runner; not all the buyers are soccer moms.

  38. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ride2Suffer View Post
    FJZ80 if you can find a low mile one....95-97 preferably w/solid front axle.

    Did I say the land cruisers get horrible MPG's
    We were looking for a clean 1996-1997 FZJ80 back in 2007-2008 but they all seemed to be pretty haggard not to mention the dog hair. Looked at a few Lexus versions too, but didn't like the gold or 2-tone. We ended up getting a 2003 100 series with 70K for $20K when gas was $4.30/gal. Best vehicle we've ever owned. It goes anywhere, literally. Driven through snow drifts on Buffalo Pass (outside Steamboat) and pulled trucks out that were stuck. This is with all season's too.

    Land Cruisers have been one of the most capable stock outfit off-road vehicles in the world and the official UN/third world "tough" vehicle for a reason.

    2003 is the first year of the 5 speed, and gas mileage seems to be on par with the newer 4Runners, 16-19mpg. 22 with a tailwind.
    Front Range Forum Moderator

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    I wish they still a manual 4runner; not all the buyers are soccer moms.
    Yes, that would be nice. Especially since both the FJCand Tacoma have manual options. A big plus for me!

  40. #40
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    Just my .02, but I think the FJ is stupid. It's relatively large, yet lacks interior space, and the view out of that thing looks horrible.Plus that weird looking interior.

    I always thought the FJ was more of a trendy, gimicky car for Toyota, just to get people in the showroom. It just doesn't seem to really do anyting well - too small to carry alot of gear or passengers, not especially talented offroad, and the roof doesn't come off. At least with the Jeep you get amazing offroad ability and a removeable roof.

    As far as "real" SUV's go, my nod goes to the Xterra, 4Runner (the RIGHT Toyota to buy), or even the H3. All 3 of those have legit offroad ability, but out of the 3 I think the X probably has the most cargo room, as it has that tall roof. Plenty of room for standing bikes up inside!

    I love Jeeps, but I'm not much of a fan of the early JK's becasue of the 3.8. If I'm going to have an underpowered Jeep I'd prefer the 4.0. But the comment about gearing was correct, so if one was to mod one of these, you can't just slap on 35's with the stock 3.55's.

    You can also get a Land Rover Disco Series 2 for short money these days, although relibility is a crapshoot, and I think they're rated at 15mpg highway on premium - ouch!

  41. #41
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    Quote Originally Posted by StuntmanMike View Post
    Just my .02, but I think the FJ is stupid. It's relatively large, yet lacks interior space, and the view out of that thing looks horrible.Plus that weird looking interior.

    I always thought the FJ was more of a trendy, gimicky car for Toyota, just to get people in the showroom. It just doesn't seem to really do anyting well - too small to carry alot of gear or passengers, not especially talented offroad, and the roof doesn't come off. At least with the Jeep you get amazing offroad ability and a removeable roof.

    As far as "real" SUV's go, my nod goes to the Xterra, 4Runner (the RIGHT Toyota to buy), or even the H3. All 3 of those have legit offroad ability, but out of the 3 I think the X probably has the most cargo room, as it has that tall roof. Plenty of room for standing bikes up inside!

    I love Jeeps, but I'm not much of a fan of the early JK's becasue of the 3.8. If I'm going to have an underpowered Jeep I'd prefer the 4.0. But the comment about gearing was correct, so if one was to mod one of these, you can't just slap on 35's with the stock 3.55's.

    You can also get a Land Rover Disco Series 2 for short money these days, although relibility is a crapshoot, and I think they're rated at 15mpg highway on premium - ouch!
    Are Land Rovers super unreliable? They have the resale value of a Walmart bike ...

  42. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Are Land Rovers super unreliable? They have the resale value of a Walmart bike ...

    I did some research on them a few years ago, since I was sort of interested in them because I noticed how cheap they are. While the vehicle itself is pretty tough, I read WAY more bad than good about reliability. Lots of electrical problems among other things. Plus, the small V8 that body style came with made V6 power and was rated at 12 city/15hwy....on PREMIUM. That pretty much killed that for me, I drive about 350 miles/week. I figured at that mileage I might as well just go with a Tahoe or Suburban, more reliable with better mileage.

    I ended up just hanging onto my Jeep though.

    The LR3 which was designed after BMW bought them is probably much better, and it definitely made more power, but the resale is alot better as well.

  43. #43
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    If only Land Rovers and Range Rovers were as good as they looked. Nothing but issues with them. I have some friends that have them and they spend more time in the shop than on the road. Mostly electrical problems from switches to A/C and ignition issues and gauges that work when they feel like it. They are great off-road when they run, but why take a chance??
    If a truck is a must, than I'd look at an Xterra or a Tacoma.

    I have a 2011 Outback with the 3.6 H6 and I can go everywhere I want to go. Even some 4x4 roads in CO there were no problem for that car. It is NOT an off-road vehicle nor a truck, but it carries people, bikes and gear while getting good to great MPG's. Keep in mind that the price of gas is only going one way too....
    Last edited by OscarW; 09-03-2012 at 11:33 AM. Reason: syntax
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT and a Norco Threshold SL with Di2

  44. #44
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    So I've been lurking in a few of the car/bike threads for a few weeks now, my POS 1989 van has reached the point of the cost of the current fix is a down payment on something newer/new...my head is about to explode! Lots of information and feedback, but to many choices! A friend recommend I look at the FJ, but after reading this thread I'm thinking about a used 4runner...what to do, what to do...

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    A friend of mine bought a then-new '04 Land Rover Discovery (one of the last ones made before they ended production and started making the more soccer-mom friendly LR3 and LR4). He wanted it because its off-road capability was "pure" - solid axles front and rear, truck chassis, etc. They're definitely formidable offroaders. The engine failed at about 9K miles; low oil pressure and it spun a couple rod bearings. Apparently there was a batch of them made that year that was bad and his was one of them. Since then I think he's had some nagging fluid leak problems here and there to deal with. He hasn't driven it that much either; it was always treated as a second car. Still, there's something likeable about it. It has personality. It came with a cassette deck (no CD). He even hung a disco ball from the rearview mirror. Personally if I was looking at them, I wouldn't want one for a daily driver. As was previously stated, they get horrifyingly awful gas mileage and well, they're British.

    How about a Porsche Cayenne S? You can pick up an '04-'06 model for between $18-$25K depending on their condition. They might drink gas like a Disco but they were $75K+ new, they drive like a sportscar (albeit a very heavy one), they're good offroaders and they can even tow 8,000+ lbs. A friend of mine has one. He likes it. Just make sure you live near an independent Porsche specialist.

  46. #46
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    ... and if we just ...

    It is spelled Por$$che...
    Current ride(s) 2011 Santa Cruz Blur LT and a Norco Threshold SL with Di2

  47. #47
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    Jeep is my dream vehicle. I just don't think there is anything that is as fun to drive as a jeep. Top down, doors off, really just endless options for one to spend their money on.

  48. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmoney View Post
    A friend of mine bought a then-new '04 Land Rover Discovery (one of the last ones made before they ended production and started making the more soccer-mom friendly LR3 and LR4). He wanted it because its off-road capability was "pure" - solid axles front and rear, truck chassis, etc. They're definitely formidable offroaders. The engine failed at about 9K miles; low oil pressure and it spun a couple rod bearings. Apparently there was a batch of them made that year that was bad and his was one of them. Since then I think he's had some nagging fluid leak problems here and there to deal with. He hasn't driven it that much either; it was always treated as a second car. Still, there's something likeable about it. It has personality. It came with a cassette deck (no CD). He even hung a disco ball from the rearview mirror. Personally if I was looking at them, I wouldn't want one for a daily driver. As was previously stated, they get horrifyingly awful gas mileage and well, they're British.

    How about a Porsche Cayenne S? You can pick up an '04-'06 model for between $18-$25K depending on their condition. They might drink gas like a Disco but they were $75K+ new, they drive like a sportscar (albeit a very heavy one), they're good offroaders and they can even tow 8,000+ lbs. A friend of mine has one. He likes it. Just make sure you live near an independent Porsche specialist.
    Any vehicle that cost so much new and has so little resale value is a POS. Look at the resale value of Toyotas, Subarus and Hondas. Plus any Porsche without a boxer is just a rebadged VW.

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    One vehicle that never gets mentioned much.. Mitsubishi Montero. NOT the sport model.
    I had a 98 with factory rear locker. It has tons on room, gets pretty good mileage. ( i took a 17,000 mile trip in it last year and many times averaged over 20mpg. That was with a roof rack and OME lift.) Much more comfortable that my 2010 4runner. I would recommend a 03-06, as they stopped importing them. They are totally under rated here in the USA. They are called Pajero's overseas.

  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by SS Hack View Post
    Any vehicle that cost so much new and has so little resale value is a POS. Look at the resale value of Toyotas, Subarus and Hondas. Plus any Porsche without a boxer is just a rebadged VW.
    Some might call it a POS, some might call it a smart used car buy. Sure it shares DNA with a VW Touareg but if you look beyond the badge you'll see a Cayenne S is a pretty capable vehicle. My friend really hasn't had much of anything go wrong with his. BTW, I have a 4Runner. Already have a BMW in the slot next to it in the garage and frankly one German car in the household is enough

  51. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKmoney View Post
    Some might call it a POS, some might call it a smart used car buy. Sure it shares DNA with a VW Touareg but if you look beyond the badge you'll see a Cayenne S is a pretty capable vehicle. My friend really hasn't had much of anything go wrong with his. BTW, I have a 4Runner. Already have a BMW in the slot next to it in the garage and frankly one German car in the household is enough
    How many miles does he have on it? How many $100 oil changes? What's his insurance bill like?

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