Toyota FJ Cruiser: The Unlikely Collectible

2014_toyota_fj_cruiser

I may have accidentally cost myself a lot of money.

Since my son was about 10, he’s been in love with the Toyota FJ Cruiser and obsessed with having one as his first car. Being a loving and supportive dad, I told him that I’d pay half and match his contribution to buying one when the time came.

My son is 14 now, and his driving years are getting frighteningly close. He’s still set on having an FJ Cruiser, but prices haven’t exactly fallen like I expected.

Insead, some used FJ Cruisers are selling for more than when they were new. What’s going on?

Toyota ended production of its retro FJ Cruiser at the close of the 2014 model year. Over 222,000 had been sold in the U.S. since the SUV’s 2006 debut. There are still plenty of used models on the market, but they aren’t cheap.

A base model 2014 FJ Cruiser 4WD with an automatic transmission would have carried an MSRP of just over $29,000. A search yesterday of the CarGurus used listings in my area for 2013 and 2014 FJ Cruisers returned results priced between $30,000 and $37,000.

The least expensive model in my area was a 2007 with 103,000 miles for an eye-watering $19,000.

Ouch.

Why the high prices for a used car from a mass-market automaker? It all comes down to demand. Since new FJ Cruisers can’t be purchased anymore, all the supply is limited to the used market. Low gas prices are helping to fuel a high demand for SUVs, but many of the newer models are car-based crossovers. A late-model truck-based SUV that’s truly off-road capable is a rare beast.

The Jeep Wrangler and Toyota 4Runner fit the bill, but don’t have the FJ’s retro-cool factor. The Nissan Xterra is another off-road-capable SUV that is no longer in production, but it hasn’t become a cult favorite.

The price of the Xterra is right, though. In fact, there’s a nice 2007 model in my city with just 87,000 miles on the clock and a price of $10,500.

We’ll see what happens over the next couple of years. If gas prices rise again, the FJ’s thirsty 4.0-liter V6 might fall out of style. People who paid a premium for their FJs in 2015 and 2016 might be willing to let them go for a loss just to get out of their payments in 2019 and 2020.

For now, though, the FJ Cruiser is a modern collectible, and it doesn’t appear that prices will ease in the immediate future.

I wonder if I can get my son to consider a Nissan…

Would you pay over $30,000 for a used Toyota FJ Cruiser?

-tgriffith

Used Toyota FJ Cruiser
Used Jeep Wrangler
Used Toyota 4Runner
Used Nissan Xterra

2 Comments

  1. Just invested a hefty sum for a 2014 FJ Cruiser. Soooo cute and possibly a gas hog but i have searched 4 years and now its mine.

  2. Yes, they are cool and will be so ten and twenty years from now. I have a 1978 FJ40 LandCruiser and it is worth more than it sold for new. It is cool too. In fact, I am buying a 2014 FJ Monday at hefty premium – with the expectation of turning over the keys to my 11 year-old son in five years. There are a lot on the road. The ones with 150,000 are in good shape and reliable. I drive a cool 1990 Landcruiser for 110,000 miles as a second car over an almost ten year period. I bought it when it was used for a year. The only repair I made was to replace a brake master cylinder for $79. When I sold it, I sold it for $2,000 less than I paid for it.

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