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Discussion Starter #1
Hi! We're planning to relocate to the east coast soon (the maritimes, probably NS or more likely New Brunswick) and will need to buy a new vehicle as soon as we arrive. We're planning a semi-rural lifestyle (you know, a small acreage "a ways out of town" kinda thing) and surely can expect lots of snow on back roads as part of our daily life.

My wife was very keen on a pickup truck (casual lifestyle) and we had more or less narrowed that down to a 2011 Tacoma 4X4. But recent research leads me to believe that an FJ (auto) will be MORE PRACTICAL (we'll probably never use the truck bed, really!) and more importantly - BETTER HANDLING and SAFER when driving in the snow and ice. (And perhaps give us more freedom in the summer when we want to explore the countryside...)

FWIW, in the last 30 years I've never driven a pickup truck or a Jeep or SUV, (only sports cars!) and my wife has had only a couple years of limited city SUV driving in her Lexus RX400H and previously a RAV4.

So, am I on the right track... is an FJ a wiser choice than a Tacoma 4X4?
Are there any "official" specs on their snow and ice handling characteristics published anywhere?
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

From what I understand, they are fairly similar – platform, engine, etc. The Taco has (or can have) 4 true doors, while the FJ has suicide doors. You would love either.

Also, one thing that most people do not know is that the manual transmission FJ is FULL-TIME 4wd, which I find very handy during the winter.

Good luck!
 

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I have had both a Tacoma and a FJ. The Tacoma did pretty well on ice, if I put a few sandbags in the back over the rear axle.

I have had the FJ about 7 mos and have only driven it on ice one time. I do think it was more stable (more weight over the wheels). But again, it was only one time and pretty limited.

There are, generally speaking, traits about the FJ that could make it have cons handling on ice. Not so much snow but the slippery stuff. Snow should be ok if its just snow. The Wheelbase is somewhat short. I am not sure how it exactly compares to a Tacoma Double Cab but I suspect its shorter by a bit. That is good for 4wd but not so good on ice. I am sure the folks in here will back me up.

On the other hand, I know for sure in the 2010 version of the FJ, it has an active stability system. Apparently the system is really like what they used to say on the Subaru commercials. It transfers power from wheels that slip to wheels that grip.

Obviously there are more factors than these two but they stand out to me as something to be considered ;)
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

I have had both and the only thing I really miss about the Tacoma is not having a bed to haul my bike. The full rear doors were nice were nice but not a deal breaker for me.
It did fair in the snow/ice but there were a few pucker moments just in wet that freaked me out.
Still it's not a fair comparison since the Taco still had OEM tires and was missing a transfer case.
The MPGs were slightly better in the truck and it has a bigger tank.
IMO you can't go wrong with either.
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

That is one point that is certainly true. I could go a good 290 miles on the Tacoma between tanks, this thing is 230 or so. If you are going to carry passengers in the back a lot the Taco is also easier. I never did so it was not an option.

As for the bike are we talking a motorcycle or MTB or road bike? Yakima makes a trailer hitch rack that works awesome if it's the pedal variety!
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

Ah yeah... don't think that would work on the bike rack..:thinkerg:
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

Gents, I've driven Toyota Tacomas, 4runners, and, now, FJ's, for about 20 years. And I typically spent at least 30% of those years in snowy environs. None of the Tacoma's I've driven perform nearly as well as 4runners or FJ's in snow and ice! Are you kidding me? Yes, I did the sand bag thing, and camper shells, too. The weight distribution in pick ups could never match the performance of a typical SUV. It's a bummer, because I frankly like Tacomas, a lot. But they never felt as stable. I even notice the difference just driving around Seattle in the rain; my Tacoma always spun a bit in the back with mere gentle starts from intersections; my FJ, no.
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

Hey dryver, Your first post and nobody welcomed you aboard so here goes...Howdy! After reading your post it sounds to me like your in the same age bracket as myself getting ready for retirement. Like yourself I've driven mostly sport sedans but also owned a 4WD IHC Scout II with leaf springs front and rear which drove like a truck...lol. Anyway, I've own my '07 4WD FJC with auto trans since June 2006. It's my daily driver and I love this truck and you will too so when you get yours be sure to buy a good set of A/T tires and you''l be ready for any snowy trails that come your way. :cheers:
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

X2 on the Welcome! I have owned all the Toyotas...The FJ is great! next choice would be the 4runner 4X4...The FJ is more offroad capable and better if you invest in a good set of A/T tires. Most important it's just fun driving!
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

A pickup will never drive well in snow and ice, weight distribution is off. The rear end on pickups is to light and suspension is to stiff.


The FJ is the better choice, much more balanced and easy to control.
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

Thanks very much for all the feedback, looks like we're on the right track with an FJ. :bigthumb:

Just have to bide our time now (stuck in europe for a couple more months...)
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

I live in the Lake Tahoe area we are currently in the middle of a great storm! Past two days has given us about 4+ feet of snow. This is my third winter with my 08 FJ and this has been the best vehicle I have ever owned. Clearance is amazing with no MODs. The FJ handles great in the snow too. Often the snow plows cant keep up with the roads so most of the time we are driving on packed down snow which turns to ice very fast when its only 20 degrees out. I wend out for a drive tonight and top speed was 40 on snow covered roads around corners, curves, hills, the works and did not slip once, and I’m driving on BF goods with 22k on them. I also own an ‘86 4Runner light as a feather and the truck slides like it’s a sports car with bald tires on a frozen lake because its so light. My best friend owns a ’09 Tacoma and he loads it with sand bags, rocks, and concrete and still has a hard time with traction.

Only down side to the FJ is having to tote kids or people around in the back. I always tell people that this truck was not designed to chauffer people around in, rather it was designed to be a 4x4 vehicle. The portholes in the back seat can be hard for people who get claustrophobic and getting kids in and out of car seats is not the easiest task. If you have your heart set on a pick up I would look into the Tundra bigger truck with much more room for passengers. 6 people I work with have 2011 tundra’s and they have told me that the truck is amazing in the snow due to the added weight of the truck over the Tacoma... good luck with the hunt and welcome to the forum!
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

oh and as for the all time 4x4 that only works in light snow, when you get into the feet you need to put it into true 4x4 or you will just spin your tires and the VSC will kick in better to just keep in 4x4 until the roads clear up... just my 2 cents :cheers:
 

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Re: SJ vs. Tacoma 4X4 driving in snow and ice??

Granted this is the FJ Cruiser Forum so I can understand why you're getting such slanted views. Let me start by saying I was one of the biggest proponents of the FJ before it even came out and I remain a fanatic. However, after being screwed out of not one, but two sun fusion yellow FJ's back in 2005, I settled on my 06 Tacoma. I have driven it in white out blizzards, over black ice, through the mountains of Colorado, hunting in the mountains of Idaho, all in conditions that would make mortals wet themselves, and I can tell you that either are VERY capable in the snow and ice. In fact, coming back from hunting in over 18" of fresh snow on windy mountain trails, I actually drove it as if I were in a rally race coming in far faster than I should have been with ZERO problems. The 4WD systems in either vehicle is more than adequate for winter driving.

If you're commuting with the taco, I would recommend a sandbag in the bed. Aside from that, I have used my truck to rescue at least 4 vehicles every winter from icy road conditions. I think the major tip is to drive like you know what you're doing, give yourself time to slow down. 4WD doesn't do ANYTHING for you when it comes to stopping on ice. Sliding is sliding. Weight over the axles, sandbags in an open bed, neither are going to be a huge benefit if you haven't prepared for your stop.
 

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Hey dryver! Hope you'll like NB. I've had my 07 for almost 5 years and can tell you it's amazing in winter conditions PROVIDED you install proper winter tires. I've had years of experience driving 4X4's both SUV's and pickups and pretty much everything that was said is true. The pickup will be as good as the SUV as long as you load the back. My first winter I made it through with new AT tires and it was dissappointing. Granted I'd used winter tires on my previous truck but the FJ with all the electronic nannies made me use 4X4 much more that I wanted just to disable them. Since then I use Nokian Hakka SUV 5's and it is a dream. I only have to use 4X4 in storms. The rest is in 2 wheel drive and I have no problems. AT's don't cut it when the temperature drops. It's as if the electronic nannies need a certain degree of traction to really work well. With good winter tires, the FJ is a dream. I'd never go back to a pickup (unless I get another hunting dog and or ATV.) The flexibility of the SUV is more usefull to me than the pickup bed. Hope this helps. Either of them is a good choice but do yourself a big favour and use proper winter tires.
 

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I've owned my FJ for 2 years now and must admit that I don't feel very confident driving in icy conditions. The braking just isn't there with the ABS making creaking sounds and requiring a few pushes before it comes to a halt. Just yesterday I had some pedestrians give me ugly looks as I drove into their territory in trying to come to a halt.
 

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Winter = get the proper tyres!

Cheapest winter + stud's will be better than non-studded any day of the week!

Had an 03 4x4 and now an 07 FJ

4x4 had winter studded on them when I sold and the FJ has the Goodyear Wrangler Kevlar tyres on it. They're good but the studded was far better
 

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I've owned my FJ for 2 years now and must admit that I don't feel very confident driving in icy conditions. The braking just isn't there with the ABS making creaking sounds and requiring a few pushes before it comes to a halt. Just yesterday I had some pedestrians give me ugly looks as I drove into their territory in trying to come to a halt.
4x4's don't stop any better than 2 wheel drive vehicles in ice and snow. It's all in the tires that you're running during winter months. This is the first vehicle I've owned with ABS and I'm not impress with the system in emergency situations especially if you hit a bump or pot hole on a dry road. You loose brake pedal pressure and the pedal goes to the floor and you don't stop. You have to let up then hammer the brake again to get pedal pressure again. Get some dedicated winter tires and you'll see what I mean.
 

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I spun a 99 tacoma 3 times around on ice in Oklahoma. I had a 06 tacoma before my FJ and it liked to get squirrelly in the rear but never dangerously.

The FJ is actually kind of boring to drive because the traction and weight distribution is so good. Anytime I try to break it loose the traction control takes over and sorts it out.
 
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