Rank: 3 out of 3
Cost: $22,000 to $25,000
Fuel economy: 17/21 with AWD and automatic transmission
Photos and details
The FJ Cruiser is the automotive equivalent of painful, but great-looking, shoes. All around, design trumps functionality.
The main problem is visibility. To the front, a windshield so narrow it needs three stubby wipers combines with a low ceiling and a bluntly squared-off hood to reduce the field of vision to a narrow strip. At traffic lights, you have to rest your chin on the steering wheel to watch for the light to change.
When you need to back up, things are even worse. You can get some idea of the difficulty by just looking at the Cruiser's thick rear window pillars. But a large portion of the glass you can see from the outside is purely cosmetic. The part you can actually see through is much smaller.
The Cruiser, like the original Land Cruisers it's modeled on, is intended for serious off-roading. The ride isn't horribly rough, compared to the Wrangler and H3, but the Cruiser feels thick-legged and lumbering on the road.