Monday, September 24, 2007

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Review

The rugged 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser SUV is designed to appeal to those of us with Hummer lust and no pocketbook to match. Slightly boxy with a big front nose and a molded rear end over squared wheel wells, the SUV is available in three trims (4x2, 4x4 MT, and 4x4 AT.) The FJ Cruiser carries an MSRP range of $22,545 to $24,135.

Technically we're talking about a four-door sport utility vehicle with room for five, but the Cruiser is a bit more than that. The base model has a 4-liter V6 under the hood equipped with a five-speed automatic transmission and producing 239 horsepower. Expect to get about 16 miles to the gallon driving around town and 20 out on the road. In theory the FJ Cruiser is a "mid-sized" SUV, but one with a commanding profile and more than enough interior room for any task or trip you want to tackle.

The list of standard features is pretty sweet -- side airbags mounted in the front seats, curtain bags on the side with technology to detect rollovers, and a system to monitor pressure in the tires. Inside look for an AM/FM/CD combo with MP3 and WMA capability playing over six speakers. The cabin air conditioner is filtered and there are two heating ducts in the rear -- a nice extra for colder climates.

Toyota chose material for all the seats that is water repellent. The back seat splits and fold on the conventional 60/40 arrangement. When it's down you pick up about 66 cu. ft. of storage space and the floor is covered in rubber making clean-ups a breeze. All the locks, including the one for the tailgate, are powered as are the windows. (The back window is a flip-up hatch as well.)

Drivers who opt for the Off-Road Package on the 2008 FJ Cruiser will pick up a system for active traction control, rear differential lock on models with the five-speed automatic transmission, and Bilstein shock absorbers front and rear. The P265/75R16 BF Goodrich tires are perfect for mud and snow and look tough on the 16" alloy wheels. Add privacy glass, cruise control, a sensor for backing up, a rack on the roof, powered mirrors, and a metallic shift knob and you're not just off-road, you're off-road with style. (Added instrumentation with this package includes outside temp, inclinometer, and compass.)

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