2009 FJ Cruiser New Car Test Drive
The Toyota 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 Land Cruiser, not to mention the Tacoma pickup.
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.
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 off-road traction control system. With this setup, the FJ Cruiser can hang with the Jeep Wrangler crowd.
We found the FJ Cruiser superb in rugged terrain yet comfortable on the road. Its V6 engine delivers more power and torque than the Wrangler's V6; and the same power but more torque than the Hummer H3's standard inline-5.
Changes for 2009 focus on safety. 2008 models included front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and full-length side-curtain airbags as standard equipment. For 2009, both the seat-mounted and curtain airbags can be activated by a roll sensor, which first communicates with the standard Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) to try to stop the rollover before it starts. Also new for 2009 are active front headrests as standard equipment. Also new for 2009: a rear backup camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The 2009 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes in one model with a choice of three drivetrains: rear-wheel drive with five-speed automatic ($23,320), part-time four-wheel drive with the automatic ($24,910), or full-time four-wheel drive with six-speed manual ($24,500).
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.
A Convenience Package ($2,175) adds keyless entry, cruise control, power side-view mirrors with image lights, daytime running lights, privacy glass, rear window wiper; and rear parking sonar. For 2009, it also includes a backup camera and auto-dimming rearview mirror. Upgrade Package One ($2,250-$2,660) 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 ($2,310-$2,720) delivers all of the above, plus a subwoofer.
An Off-Road package ($1,035-$1,375), available only on 4WD models with the Convenience 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 locking rear differential that works in conjunction with A-TRAC; and the multi-information display. Only the 2WD base model can be ordered with the TRD Sport Package ($2,580), which combines off-road-type wheels, tires, and shocks with an all-white color scheme and TRD decals.
Stand-alone options include 17-inch alloy wheels ($650), the rear differential lock ($340), running boards ($345), and daytime running lights ($40). 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 also standard, along with the required dual-stage airbags up front. So is a tire pressure monitor.