The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a retro-styled mid-size SUV manufactured and marketed by Toyota, a Japanese car manufacturer, since 2006. The FJ Cruiser, produced by Toyota subsidiary Hino Motors, has been built in Japan since 2006 and is similar to the Toyota Land Cruiser Prado. It was released in Japan in 2010 and was discontinued in the US after the 2014 model year. It continued to be sold in other markets, including Australia until August 2016 and is still sold in several other countries, as of April 2022.
History of the Toyota FJ Cruiser
Toyota FJ Cruiser (2006–2010)
Toyota introduced the FJ Cruiser at the 2005 North American International Auto Show as a retro-styled SUV built on top of the Land Cruiser Prado platform.
The idea of a retro-styled SUV was born in the mid-'90s at Toyota's headquarters, and the project was strongly supported by no other than the company's president, Akio Toyoda. Even though the carmaker already had a few chassis available to create the car, the final solution was found in the Land Cruiser 120, which was the latest and most competent one to support such a project. The FJ Cruiser, which has a design inspired by the FJ40, has a flat front fascia, two round headlights, and the Toyota name instead of the logo. The bumper looks like an aftermarket one for FJ40s but is made of plastic and features silver trims. The vehicle has squarish wheel arches and flared wheel fenders for off-road tires, and rear-hinged doors that allow passengers to climb in easily without a B-pillar. Under the skin, the FJ Cruiser sported a ladder-frame chassis fitted with an independent front suspension and a live axle in the back. Power came from a 4.0L V6 that drove all the wheels via a five-speed automatic or a six-speed manual.
Toyota FJ Cruiser (2011–2016)
The name FJ had an important meaning for any Toyota Land Cruiser enthusiast. And the FJ Cruiser was built to resemble that legendary model. Launched in 2011, the FJ Cruiser resembled the 1970s – 1980s Toyota Land Cruiser FJ. A car that was boxy, rugged, and with a go-everywhere capability that made the 2011 SUVs slide out from the scenery. But it wasn't just the look. The FJ Cruiser took the old model's front design and updated it with a new interpretation. It was like a black & white old movie but remastered and colorized. And the designers did their job well. Inside, the retro design was continued with a classic look for the dials and the big turning knobs for the ventilation system. Everything was designed to be used with a pair of working gloves on (apart from the steering-wheel buttons). Under the body, there was a ladder-braced frame chassis. The front independent suspension and the solid rear axle were part of the rugged, yet comfortable, package. The car was offered with different transmission ratios, to be used on rock crawling. The rear locking differential was standard for the manual transmission and fitted as an option for the automatic. The FJ Cruiser was originally intended for the North American market but has been sold globally in limited numbers since its debut. In November 2010, Toyota announced that it would start selling the SUV in right-hand drive form for the Japanese market, where it replaced the Hilux Surf and sold alongside the Land Cruiser. Japanese-produced right-hand drive models have some differences, such as a different rear bumper and side indicator markers located on the fender panels instead of the side-view mirrors. Right-hand drive models were also sold in Australia and New Zealand starting in 2011, with automatic transmission, four-wheel drive, and a petrol engine. However, sales in the Japanese market were never significant and were discontinued in January 2018.
In 2022, Toyota retailed the 2022 Toyota FJ Cruiser with a starting MSRP of Php 2,293,000 ($42,092).
Features of the Toyota FJ Cruiser
The FJ Cruiser has a design that pays homage to the original FJ40, with a short wheelbase, stocky frame, and a grille-headlight arrangement. It also has a nearly vertical windshield with three wipers, and the name "Toyota" spelled out across the grille instead of the logo, reminiscent of older Toyota trucks. The SUV's body has rear-opening access doors, which provide a unique look. Additionally, special high-strength steel was used to give the vehicle side impact protection, eliminating the need for a door pillar.
The interior of the FJ features many design elements focused on enhancing off-road practicality. All interior surfaces are covered with washable rubber materials to aid in the fast cleanup after heavy outdoor use. The FJ also incorporates oversized controls to aid drivers with gloved hands. The three-gauge cluster (with compass, temperature, and inclinometer) as well as the 120 V rear outlet were carried over from the FJ Cruiser concept vehicle as options on the final production model.
Specs and Performance of the Toyota FJ Cruiser
- 4.0 L 1GR-FE V6
The FJ Cruiser is equipped with a 4.0L 1GR-FE DOHC V6 engine, which was updated in 2010 to include Dual VVT-i technology, producing 259 hp (193 kW) at 5,600 RPM, and 270 lb-ft (366 Nm) of torque on 87 octane fuel. It is recommended to use premium fuel for more demanding situations. Four-wheel drive models with the RA61F manual transmission have a full-time 4WD system that uses a TORSEN differential to distribute power between the front and rear wheels. The differential varies power distribution based on steering angle and wheel slippage and can be locked into a 50-50 power distribution. The Toyota FJ Cruiser accelerates from 0–60 mph (0–97 kph) in 7.5 seconds, with a top speed of 109 mph (175 kph). Dimension-wise, the Toyota FJ Cruiser measures 4,670 mm (183.9 in) long, 1,895–1,905 mm (74.6–75.0 in) wide, and 1,830 mm (72.0 in) high. Its wheelbase measures 2,690 mm (105.9 in) and has a curb weight of 4,050–4,442 lbs (1,837–2,015 kg).
In 2003, Toyota showcased the FJ Cruiser as a concept car at the North American International Auto Show, and after receiving a positive response, it was put into production. The final production version was revealed at the same auto show in 2005. Recently, on October 1, 2022, Toyota announced that the FJ Cruiser would be discontinued in the Middle East by December 2022, and a final edition model will be released.