This week we’re looking at the Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV. Next week will end the series of Toyota product review with the Sienna.
In the meantime this FJ will surely give Jeep Wrangler a run for the money. Jeep is the grand daddy of all SUVs but Toyota isn’t intimidated. This FJ will deliver a more solid ride on or off road. It is a Foo Foo version of the Wrangler which has always been the Icon as the rough and tumble off road master. Whenever I think of a Wrangler I envision a self assured gal in a wet T-Shirt traversing a stream in the High Sierra’s. Now that’s what I call off roading.
That being said I believe FJ will be a contender and with the trouble in the economy you will continue to see a swing toward Toyota FJ as GM shuts down or sells off the troubled Hummer product. The other winners will be Jeep (still my all time favorite) and the owners of Hummers will find they will hold their value. Some folks are even buying soon to be discontinued gas guzzler performers. There will always be those who simply won’t give up those powerful and capable off road vehicles.
Parts – n/a
Assembly – Japan
Class: – SUV
Cars: – 4Runner, Avalon, Camry, Camry Hybrid, Camry Solara, Corolla, FJ Cruiser, Highlander, Highlander Hybrid, Land Cruiser, Matrix Prius, RAV4, Sequoia, Sienna, Tacoma, Tundra, Venza and Yaris.
As you may know, the FJ Cruiser is scheduled to be manufactured in the US soon. Toyota is ramping up to build it in California. I think they are well aware of the nationalism sweeping the US and this is a smart move. It will also put many American auto workers back to work for the job losses in the US automaker sector.
You may have seen the buzz across the internet of how to read bar codes to tell you where they are from. This signals the world that we’re increasingly aware of ways to support the US economy. Here is a list of the first few digits of any bar code to identify where it comes from.
690-692 – China
00-09 – USA and Canada
30-37 – France
40-44 – Germany
47 – Taiwan
49 – Japan
50 – UK
Handling & Performance:
FJ delivers a solid and comfortable ride and lots of power and 4-wheel drive capability, but of course that comes at a cost of greater fuel consumption – try almost $4,000 estimated annual cost.
Not a clone of other serious off road vehicles. This is however designed for make believe, Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills kind of image to say these are rough and tumble guys and gals with outdoor life styles. But to many, Wrangler is still the real deal. The only other contenders in this field of competition is the Hummer H3 and the Land Rover LR2 but with a much higher price tag.
Fit and Finish:
Similar to all other serious off road contenders.
Toyota came to play. I suspect the price will go up as popularity increases. When it arrived on the US scene in 2007 MSRP was $23,300. If interested in the 2007 review for comparison and initial reaction go to www.atthewheel.com , Archive , Toyota and FJ.
Conveniences and comfort:
More comfy than the Wrangler.
If you are off road interested and outdoor is your lifestyle FJ and Wrangler is priced well. If your budget is significantly more the Land Rover LR2 and The Hummer H3 should also be tested. You can pass on all the rest. If you are a street 4X4 driver the others would be worth test driving.
$514 per month. Down=$3,000; Int.=7%; Term=48 months.
Toyota FJ Cruiser $23-25,000, Mitsubishi Outlander $21-26,000, Hummer H3 $33-43,000, Mercury Mariner $23-27,000, Mazda Tribute $20-28,000, Nissan Xterra $22-29,000, Jeep Wrangler $21-32,000, Land Rover LR2 $35,375, Ford Escape $20-28,000, Dodge Durango $28-40,000.
Well priced, comfortable ride, tight off road construction and stand alone styling.
Only fair fuel economy for high hp engine and 4X4.
4.0 liter 239 hp V6 engine, 5-speed auto transmission w/ overdrive, part time 4-wheel drive, variable gear power steering, skid plates on engine transfer case and fuel tank, 2 front and 1 rear tow hooks, ABS brakes with electronic brake force distribution and traction control, 17” steel wheels, front and side and side curtain front and rear air bags, roll over sensors, tire pressure monitoring system, engine immobilizer, child safety tether anchors top and lower anchor points, audio with 1 disc CD changer and MP3 & 6 speakers, 60/40 split rear seat, tilt steering wheel, power windows & locks, 8-way driver adjustable seat, water repellent seats and engine immobilizer.
$2.85/ Gal avg. July 10, ‘09
for more information.
16 City and 20 Highway MPG