Aftermarket Head-To-Head: Does The Toyota 4Runner Or Toyota FJ Cruiser Have Stronger Off-Road Parts Support?
The Toyota 4Runner sits at the apex of that automaker’s off-road SUV pyramid. While the Land Cruiser might get more attention thanks to its long-running heritage, the 4Runner’s enormous sales numbers, more affordable pricing, and rugged construction have seen it surpass its larger sibling as the go-to off-roader of choice for Toyota fans.
As a result, the 4Runner’s aftermarket support is understandably strong. That doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t other Toyota sport-utility vehicles that can also lay claim to a thriving community of third-party vendors and tuners. The Toyota FJ Cruiser doesn’t have the same high profile as the more traditional 4Runner, but it’s still worth a look for 4x4 fans seeking a rough-and-tumble trail rig.
Here’s how the Toyota 4Runner and the Toyota FJ Cruiser stack up when comparing their aftermarket parts support.
What Is The Toyota 4Runner Aftermarket Like?
The Toyota 4Runner is an off-road icon, with five generations and nearly 40 years of production backing up its status as the preferred go-anywhere rig of millions of 4x4 fans around the world. It’s safe to say that, aside from the Tacoma pickup, the 4Runner has the deepest level of aftermarket support of any Toyota vehicle.
If you can dream it, you can do it with the 4Runner, and you’ll probably only have to click your mouse in an online catalog to have the parts you’re looking for show up at your door a few days later. This is true even of the latest 4Runner models, as the vehicle’s drivetrain and platform haven’t changed significantly in well over a decade.
Looking for a catback exhaust? A long-travel suspension? A huge lift kit? Beadlock wheels? A roof platform? A full vehicle camping system? Auxiliary lighting and the battery power to match? A supercharger? There’s really no limit as to what’s available for the Toyota SUV. Not only that, but given its fair amount of crossover with the Tacoma itself, which has helped further expand the number of vendors that support its engine, transmission, and four-wheel drive system.
It’s no exaggeration to that say that the only SUV out there with the same level of hardcore aftermarket support as the Toyota 4Runner is the Jeep Wrangler. When the Wrangler is your closest comparable when shopping for trail-ready gear, you know you’re in good company.
What Is The Toyota FJ Cruiser Aftermarket Like?
The Toyota FJ Cruiser was produced between 2006 and 2014 for the North American market, and continued on to 2022 elsewhere around the world (primarily Japan and the Middle East). It was a single-generation vehicle, which can be both good and bad from an aftermarket perspective.
The positive? Since the FJ Cruiser was largely unchanged for its entire U.S. run (save for some upgrades made as part of a 2010 refresh), pretty much every third-party component will fit, regardless of model year. The negative? With only that initial run to go on, it at first seems like development for the Toyota would be more limited than it would be for a model with a long-running and well-established ownership base.
Fortunately, the FJ Cruiser shares more than a few mechanical details with the popular 4Runner, which means modifications for the engine, transmission, braking system, and axles are shared across both models. There’s also strong commonality when it comes to the FJ Cruiser’s chassis, as its suspension is remarkably similar to that of the 4th generation 4Runner, as well as the Lexus GX470.
This is a huge boon for owners, as it allows them to access a deeper pool of equipment and accessories. Where the restrictions lie are body modifications such as bumpers, racks, snorkels, and winches, which don’t always line-up across models (and in some cases, have mounting challenges to overcome when comparing first-year and last-year FJ Cruisers). The end of the FJ production cycle also pre-dated the overlanding craze by a few years, and its smaller ownership group has kept it from enjoying the same level of vehicle-specific customization in terms of cabin and camping gear than is found with the 4Runner.
Which Is The Better Choice For Off-Road Mods?
Clearly, there are few vehicles that can compare to the Toyota 4Runner when it comes to aftermarket off-road mods. The SUV has been in the game so long, has sold millions of examples, and as mentioned has resisted significant change for its most recent model, and this translates into a very stable platform for which third-party companies have wholeheartedly embraced.
That being said, the Toyota FJ Cruiser aftermarket is more robust than it might first seem. It’s easy to write off a vehicle like this one as being too niche to enjoy decent support when it comes to drivetrain and suspension mods, but the parts commonality it has with the 4Runner and the Lexus GX give it an edge over other one-and-done type sport-utility vehicles. Yes, it falls behind the 4Runner, but it’s far from an orphan when it comes to personalizing and improving on the factory platform.