2008 FJ Cruiser New Car Test Drive
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is the rebirth of an icon, the Toyota FJ 40, known in North America as the original Land Cruiser. It was a rugged, go-anywhere vehicle, a sport utility vehicle decades before the genre had a name.
Today's FJ Cruiser is designed to be the most capable of all Toyotas when the pavement gives way to gravel, sand, and rocks. That's saying something, given the capability of the 4Runner and Tacoma.
For 2008, an Off Road option package further enhances the FJ's capabilities, with BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires, trail-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, a Cyclone air pre-cleaner, and a rear differential lock that works in conjunction with Toyota's A-TRAC traction control system. Also for 2008, all FJ Cruisers come with front-seat-mounted side-impact airbags, and with full length side-curtain airbags.
The FJ Cruiser seats five. The front doors are standard, front-hinged units. Rear-hinged access doors ease egress to the back seat and cargo area. Rear access to the cargo area is through a door hinged on the driver's side of the vehicle instead of a typical roof-hinged hatch-style closure.
We found the FJ Cruiser superb in rugged terrain but comfortable on the road. Its V6 engine delivers more power and torque than the Jeep Wrangler's V6; and slightly less power but more torque than the Hummer H3's standard inline-5.
The 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes in just one model. However, there is a choice of three drivetrains: a basic rear-wheel-drive version equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission ($23,045), a part-time four-wheel-drive version with the same automatic transmission ($24,135), or a full-time four-wheel-drive version with a six-speed manual transmission ($23,725).
Standard equipment includes air conditioning, tilt steering, power windows and door locks, eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, six-speaker AM/FM/CD audio, an engine immobilizer, and P265/70R17 tires on 17-inch steel wheels (with a full-size spare mounted on the back door). Upholstery is water-resistant fabric and flooring is a rubber-like mat.
An available Convenience Package ($1,840) adds keyless entry, cruise control, power side-view mirrors with image lights, daytime running lights, privacy glass, rear window wiper; and rear parking sonar.
Upgrade Package One ($2,150-$2,560) includes A-TRAC electronic traction control, a rear locking differential, a multi-information display (compass, inclinometer and temperature gauge); eight-speaker, 400-watt premium audio with in-dash six-CD changer; leather-covered steering wheel with audio and cruise controls: metal-colored shift lever; interior trim panels keyed to exterior color; and 17-inch alloy wheels. Upgrade Package Two ($2,210-$2,620) delivers all of the above, plus a subwoofer.
An Off-Road package includes P265/75R16 BFGoodrich Rugged Trail tires on unique 16-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels; trail-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers; a Cyclone air pre-cleaner; a rear locking differential; A-TRAC; and the multi-information display.
The Trail Team Special Edition Package ($4,755-$5,110) combines the tires from the Off-Road Package with the stereo and some trim items from Upgrade Package Two, and adds bumper-mounted driving lights, front and rear skid plates, rock rails, all weather cargo mats, and a TRD exhaust. It is available on either 4WD model but not with 2WD.
Options include 17-inch alloy wheels ($650), the rear differential lock ($340), and running boards ($345). Customers can also choose from a catalog of dealer-installed accessories, including: auxiliary driving lights, rock rails, roof rack, brush guard, taillight guards, sport exhaust system, receiver hitch and harness, wind deflector with off-road lights, a cargo mat. and all-weather or carpeted floor mats.
Safety features include Toyota's STAR Safety System that combines Vehicle Skid Control to help the truck go where the driver steers, even on a slippery surface; traction control to reduce wheel slip and thus enhance traction; and anti-lock brakes with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist. Side-curtain and front-seat side-impact airbags are now standard, along with the required dual-stage airbags up front. A tire pressure monitor is standard.