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Hi Botchi,

I wrote to your column four years ago. I was looking for a sub-P1 million car, and after a couple of years of saving, I opted for a Mazda CX-5 last 2016. My first ride is a 2012 Toyota Fortuner which is still working fine, but its maintenance has started to increase due to the normal wear and tear. With the upcoming unreasonable proposed tax on vehicles in 2018, I am planning again to upgrade my ride by selling my Fortuner, or combined with my two-year CX-5 to upgrade to an Toyota FJ Cruiser.

In my honest opinion, I know that mechanically and feature-wise, the CX-5 is leaps and bounds ahead of the FJ Cruiser. But I'm worried about the maintenance cost of my CX-5 once my Yojin3 expires.

My question is, is it worth selling my less than three-year-old CX-5 to get a new FJ Cruiser? I'd like to listen to both pros and cons through your professional opinion.

I hope to hear from you again.

Thanks,

Arvin

 

Hi, Arvin!

Great to hear from you again! Great car you have there, the Mazda CX-5. I'd keep it for as long as I can! Regarding parts and maintenance cost after your Yojin3 expires, best thing to do is to actually ask the Mazda service center how much a typical servicing will cost in the future. 

I own a Toyota FJ Cruiser and I love it to bits! But, (and it's a very big but), the FJ Cruiser isn't the most practical of vehicles for everyday use. Visibility in and out of the FJ is quite poor as there are lots of blind spots and you can easily miss very low objects (or animals and even people) up front. The width is imposing (but you will get used to it), and gas consumption is so very bad it should have been banned by the Kyoto Protocol.

Getting in and out of the FJ is quite tough, and the rear suicide doors make getting into the rear seats even more difficult. This is a problem if you have passengers that are elderly, have bad knees or overall poor mobility, or have small children and infants with yayas.

You have to want the FJ Cruiser at a very emotional level, as the only rational explanation for buying one is that you go through very difficult terrain on a regular basis. I always tell people that the best way to look at an FJ Cruiser is that it's like a lifted sports car: fast, fun, but not very practical or convenient to use every day. And it likes to consume gas like a sports car too!

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Though it can hack it for everyday use, the FJ Cruiser isn't the best car to take around town on numerous short drives, visit malls, then get right back in and drive. Plus the relatively tall ride height is a hassle; there are some parking buildings (especially older ones) where you won't be able to enter, especially if you install a roof rack, raise the suspension, or fit taller tires. 

Lastly, good luck finding a brand-new FJ Cruiser unit from Toyota as supplies are dwindling and so many people are looking for one right now. 

From my personal experience, I've had to spend a lot to get the FJ Cruiser running the way I like it, but every time I fill up the gas, my wallet goes into shock. I've really learned to drive much more fuel efficiently with all cars in general ever since I got my FJ Cruiser. 

As for the Fortuner? You can keep it because it should be quite reliable given proper care and servicing. You can even mod or tune it and keep it as a spare car. If you're stuck with the FJ being your only car, mobility will be tough when you're number 'coded.' Or you can sell it and buy a smaller, more fuel-efficient car like a Honda Jazz to use as a secondary vehicle alongside your CX-5.

I'm not trying to dissuade you to buy an FJ Cruiser. I just want you to realize the consequences and ramifications of buying one! Haha! 

Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor
Botchi eats, lives and breathes cars (aside from hotdogs). Aside from wanting to drive any car, preferably through some scenic destination, he's always thinking of ways to "improve them" by modifying the (insert any car-related word here).
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