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2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Review

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Most special edition models are nothing more than window dressing and badging, but the 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition is the real deal when it comes to providing something special for off-roaders. This FJ Cruiser is ready to take its owner just about anywhere they want to go. Even though the FJ is going away after the 2014 model year, it’s a very capable recreational vehicle for those with active lifestyles. If you are into getting away from civilization, this vehicle will provide an escape.

What’s New for 2013?

The 2013 Toyota FJ Cruiser gets a new off-road-ready Trail Teams special edition package that comes with a new Cement Grey exterior color. This model incorporates the standard FJ Cruiser Off-Road Package and is highly-capable off-road. Also new for 2013, the FJ Cruiser gains standard power outside mirrors with illuminated markers.

Stepping inside the FJ Cruiser, it offers a comfortable cabin that features a more rugged approach which is ideal for those who will use it for recreation. The water-resistant seats are especially comfortable and work well for those long trips to the high country and give the support needed for tackling rugged trails. The controls are well-placed and easy to reach while on the road.

A unique backseat perspective

We took a young millennial couple to lunch on Sunday, because we wanted to get their unbiased opinion on the backseat. They didn’t mind the rear-hinged back doors and said it wasn’t an issue getting in and out. A comment was made that the handle needs to be pushed forward to release the door in order for the rear seat passenger to get out. Our young passengers said there was even plenty of legroom while we rode to the restaurant. They did however say it felt dark and like a cave in the back with the small windows. This young couple owns a Jeep Wrangler, and they were interested in getting a look at the FJ Cruiser from the inside.

Toyota FJ Cruiser

Also inside, Trail Teams Edition comes equipped with easy to clean rubber-type floor and rear deck mats that can be hosed off at the car wash after a tough day off the pavement. Other notable extras include power-side mirrors that feature Illumination markers, and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror that integrates a backup-camera monitor making it easier to get out of tight spots. FJ also comes with a “floating ball” multi-information display shows the degree of angle and lets you know if you are pushing the safety edge while navigating steep and precarious trails.

FJ Cruiser on the road

On the road, the FJ Cruiser with the Off-Road Package sits a bit higher and offers a commanding view of the road from the drivers seat. But trying to maneuver in and out of traffic in the city is a challenge. We had to stretch our neck to be able to see around the blind spots on this all-wheel-drive recreational vehicle. You have to constantly be aware of cars around you because it’s hard to see to the sides while driving on crowded city streets.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Side

All 2013 Toyota FJ Cruisers are powered by a 4.0-liter V6 that produces 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque. During our week with the off-roader, it had plenty of power in the city and performed surprisingly well getting us up the hill on I-70 heading into the mountains. The Trail Teams package gets a stiffer suspension and TRD alloy wheels and BF Goodrich 265/75R16 All-Terrain tires with wheel locks. This sets it apart from the crowd and didn’t seem to affect the ride quality. Even on dirt roads and uneven pavement, this tester has a comfortable ride for a vehicle with such off-road ability.

Trail Teams Special Edition

Off-road is where this multi-purpose vehicle shines. It features extra ground clearance and low range gearing making it the ideal vehicle for getting away from civilization. There’s even a cyclone pre-air cleaner that’s effective at trapping sand and dirt that off-roaders will certainly encounter. The Trail Teams package upgrades the chassis for serious trail performance with trail-tuned Bilstein shocks, rear differential lock and the Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) system, protective skid plates for engine, fuel tank and transfer cases and rock rails.
If you have a few recreational toys FJ Cruiser with the optional Class Four receiver hitch can pull up to 4,700 lb. which is perfect for hauling a pair of jet skis, a small fishing boat, dirt bikes or snow machines to the mountain playground.

Toyota FJ Cruiser Rear


For those wanting to take some serious off-road adventures, and need a vehicle that will handle more extreme off-road conditions, the 2013 FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition is a good choice. It’s not the ideal vehicle for those with kids, but for the single couple who want to get away from civilization, this vehicle will meet your needs. And it comes with the reliability factor that Toyota is known for.