We've all seen the specs and ridden along with Edmunds on one of the first FJ Cruiser road tests, now comes the hard part-- paying for it. Or perhaps not: the base FJ, with rear-wheel-drive motivation and five-speed slushbox will hit showrooms for $21,710, and a 4x4 six-speed row-it-yourself will go for $22,890. Soccer moms and some trail hounds will opt for the 4x4 automatic, which commands $23,300.

For reference, the Jeep Wrangler (likely its closest spiritual competitor) strips out to just $18,730, but that price advantage is a bit misleading. The Toyota is at once larger and more powerful, as all FJs are motivated by the brand's 4.0L V6 (mustering nearly 240hp and 278 lb.-ft. of twist) -- The base Wrangler SE makes do with a 2.4L I4 (147hp/165 lb.-ft.) though all Wranglers come with 4WD. Perhaps a more apropos comparison would be the Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, with its standard 4.0L I6 (190hp/235 lb.-ft.) and longer wheelbase. That model starts at $24,655, but is down on power and feature count.

Perhaps, then, the Toy's closest cross-shop is Nissan's Xterra. With a standard 4.0L V6 punching out 265hp and 284 lb.-ft. for just $19,950 (4x2, six-speed stick 'X' trim). An uplevel 'S' trim in 4x4 specification with five-speed automatic rings up at $24,950.

With three offerings now crowding the hard-core 'small' SUV segment, it appears that the demise of the body-on-frame market has been greatly exaggerated.  Surprise, surprise.

[Source: Toyota Motor Company via PR Newswire]