Cruising for a bruising with the Toyota FJ Cruiser
Just like the Basia song from 1990, this Toyota SUV is a throwback, both literally and figuratively, and can smoothly cruise and bruise with its retro styling and off-road toughness.
After starting out as a concept model in 2003, the FJ Cruiser began production in 2005, was released to the market in 2010, before finally making its way to our shores in late 2013.
It is inspired by the very popular FJ40 Land Cruiser of the ‘60s with a body designed by a 24-year old but it shares its platform with the more modern Land Cruiser Prado.
The FJ Cruiser is a one-and-done affair. Designed to specifically target young male buyers, manufacturing was discontinued in 2014 making the first-generation model the only one to ever be produced.
If you're a current FJ Cruiser owner, don’t worry, you'll still get service from any of Toyota 73 dealerships nationwide, but if you don’t own one yet and you like how it looks, get it while there is stock.
Think about it: You’ll own a piece of history and one of the rarest off-road vehicles the Japanese automaker has ever made.
To spice things up, we’ll give this mid-size SUV a look and give you the details on what it has and what it can do.
Exterior highlights include a short wheelbase at 2,690mm (for reference, the Fortuner has a 2,745mm wheelbase), a stocky frame, and a nearly vertical windshield with three windshield wipers. Instead of the usual Toyota logo, the brand name is spelled out across the grille just like how it was in the FJ40 and other older Toyota trucks.
It is 4,670mm long, 1,905mm wide, and 1,840mm tall with a curb weight of 2.5 tons, but can only carry five passengers.
Under its hood is Toyota’s 4.0L 1GR-FE V6 gasoline engine with dual VVT-i (Variable Valve Timing with Intelligence) that’s designed specifically for longitudinal mounting in RWD (rear-wheel drive) and 4WD (four-wheel drive) pickup truck applications. It comes with a high temperature plastic insulator/protector, which fills the empty space between the outer portion of the cylinders and block material common to open deck engines. For increased cooling efficiency, the 1GR has water passages between the bores of the engine, two for each bank for a total of four passages. This is to reduce cylinder hot-spotting and keeps combustion chamber temperatures more uniform.
Power output is 268hp and 380Nm of torque which is sent to its four-wheel drive layout via a five-speed AT (automatic transmission).
It has wave reflector-type headlamps, three variable windshield wipers in front, one window wiper at the rear, black overfenders, power-adjustable outside rearview mirror with illumination lamp, a two-door coupe-like design with rear access doors, glass hatch-type rear window, and a spring-spiral rear antenna.
The chassis comes with a double wishbone front suspension, a four-link with lateral rod rear suspension, a 16-inch front disc brake and 15-inch rear disc brake, rack and pinion steering column, hydraulic power steering, 17-inch wheels with 265/70 R17 tires.
Inside are fabric with PVC (polyvinyl chloride) bucket front driver’s seat with eight-way adjustment and armrest and front passenger seat with four-way adjustment, 60:40 split-folding rear seats with three headrests, leather steering wheel with cruise controls, electrochromic rearview mirror with reverse monitor, multi-information display, plain AM/FM + 6 CD changer + MP3 + AUX-in + Bluetooth infotainment system, urethane shift knob and shift boot, two extra-large front cupholders and two medium-size rear cupholders, illuminated entry system, front personal lamp, luggage room lamp, room lamp, an accessory power outlet, and seatback pocket.
Safety features include dual SRS (supplemental restraint system) airbags, anti-lock braking system, vehicle stability control with active traction control, three three-point ELR (emergency locking retractor) seatbelts in front, three three-point ELR seatbelts in the rear, two Isofix anchor points, a high mount stop lamp with rear spoiler, and an anti-theft immobilizer system.
It comes in seven colors, yellow, red, black, Cement Gray, Smoky Blue, beige, and white.
Priced at P2.083 million, it comes in much lower than even the top-spec Fortuner. This is due to the Japan-Philippine Economic Partnership Agreement, which makes the price and the model’s exclusivity a hunk of a deal that’s difficult to ignore.
Photo from Toyota Motor Philippines