I was afraid to parallel park for the first few days, as the rear visibility takes a bit to get used to. (I think it's because of the smaller rear window from what I've been used to)...However, after a few weeks of ownership, I feel quite comfortable backing up.
It is strange when you first "jump up" into this vehicle. You almost feel like you're sitting in the rear seat. I guess this is due to the windshield which is positioned further ahead than normal, and in an upright configuration. Further, this is the first vehicle I've ever got into that I actually had to pull the seat ahead. I'm not one of those drivers who cruises along with their wrists and elbows flopped over the wheel. Rather, I prefer to drive with my arms fully extended. Personally, I would have liked the seat to be able to raise up a bit higher, but I think the large head room gives one the impression he is sitting a tad low.
At any rate, the forward and side visibility is excellent. In fact, I commented to the salesman about the great panoramic view that this vehicle affords. He said he would use this observation for future sales.
...I absolutely love the roomy interior of the FJ Cruiser, and the dash layout is perfect. I used to own an Expedition, and for comfort and roominess, this Cruiser is right up there with it. (Especially for the seat comfort and roominess between the two front seats.)
The vehicle has got great lines to it, and definitely draws the spectators. I wanted the roof rack, as I think it helps with the over all look...Not to mention it's actually built to carry stuff. A few have commented on how heavy duty it looks.
With regards to power and gas mileage...Well I was used to the gutless "lemon" Liberty that I owned for a few years...But pulling out to pass with this guy, and you'd swear there was a V-8 under the hood...I'm not a "how many miles to the gallon", sort of a guy...If I had wanted to get great gas mileage, I would have opted for a Geo or a Smart car. There is always a trade-off...Personally, I prefer to travel in style where I can actually extend my arms and legs, and yet still have room for those in the rear seat...If I have to pay a bit more for gas; so be it.
The book calls for 91 octane gas; however, our local pump has 87, 89, and 94...I've been using 89, and haven't noticed any pinging yet. Mind you, I live at 2800 feet. (I've heard altitude can make a difference.)
All in all... I'm really happy with every aspect of this vehicle.