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FJ Cruiser preproduction speculation (Sept 05)

The new FJ Cruiser is planned to be released in 2006 as a 2007 model year. It will be based on the Prado 120 platform and most likely use the Prado 3 door platform. Reviewing pictures it looks like it will however have shorter overhangs than the Prado 3dr and improve approach and departure angles.

The styling of the FJC is a modern interpretation of the favorite old FJ40.

Current specification speculation is that there will be 2WD and 4WD versions with the 2.7 and 4.0 V6 engines. Coming with either 5 spd manual, 4 spd auto as well as 6 spd manual and 5 spd auto. It will most likely have the same power output and gear ratios as the current Tacomas. Wheelbase will most likely be 97” (12” shorter than the 4Runner or GX470) and overall length will be a few inches shorter than the 3dr Prado @ 174 (16” shorter than the 4Runner and GX470). This will translate into very good breakover angle as well. Ground clearance is estimate at 9.5” with the extra height due to 32” tires (265/70/17), so the suspension is most likely similar to current 4Runner (coils will be adjusted for wieght though). Total weight for the V6 should come in around 4000lbs or maybe even less.

The hope that the gas tank might be relocated to underneath the cargo area is seemingly crushed, as in current pictures it looks to be located under the passenger area (similar to 4Runner).The spare wheel is however relocated to the rear hatch door, making a far better departure angle possible. So in stock form the FJC should drag it’s ass a lot less than the current 4R. The very large C pillar is creating some concern for visibility though, and styling changes is expected during the model’s life span. Also the FJC will have 3 windshield wipers to enable cleaning of the flat wide surface.

Also notable is the fact that rocker panel sliders and rear locker should be options, also ATRAC should be std or at least available on most models. The transfer case looks to be manually operated via a lever and the Ebrake is a hand lever as well (similar to Prado and GX470).

Cargo and rear seat space looks to be less than the 4R and much less than the GX470 and Prado 5dr. Seats and some switches will most probably be carried over form the 4Runner to keep costs down.

Overall it looks to be a much more aggressive offroad vehicle in stock form then the 4Runner, utilizing the same structural underpinnings. Pricing will most probably range from $19k to $28k pending model and options.

Further suspension modifications should be easily leveraged from current 4Runner, which will make it easier for new buyers to be offroad worthy in a short space of time. Exiting times await the lucky new owners.

 

Update specifications can now be found on the Toyota website with more pictures and videos

http://www.toyota.com/vehicles/future/fjcruiser.html?s_van=GM_TN_FUTURE_FJ

2007 FJ Cruiser 

Well after 2 years of waiting and lots of marketing hype by Toyota the FJ Cruiser was finally made available to the public in late March 2006 as the 2007 model year.

It is based on the 4Runner and Land Cruiser Prado 120 platform, utilizing a shortened frame and similar suspension. Toyota decided to make it fit between the 3dr Prado and 5dr Prado in terms of size. It is good to note that the wheelbase is 4 inches shorter than the 4Runner and overall length by 6 inches or so, improving approach/departure/breakover angles.

It is available in 2WD as well as 4WD 5spd auto and 6spd manual. The auto is a part time 4WD transfer case, while the manual uses the full time Torsen diff transfer case. Pretty much a blend of the raided Tacoma and 4Runner partbins. It is interesting to note that the 6spd manual has a lower final drive, similar to the older (03-04) 4spd V6 4Runner at 3.909, while the 5spd auto reuses the current 3.73 final drive of the 5spd 4Runners.

On the suspension side Toyota tweaked the 4Runner suspension for better offroad performance. First they gave the 4WD smaller swaybars front and rear to improve offroad flex. To assist onroad handling they upped the front coil rates to what seems to be over 600 lb/inch. So people looking at spacer lifts with pre-load, need to check carefully as the ride will be very firm using spacer given the coil rate and lightweight V6. In the rear they added 10mm longer shocks for some added articulation.

The exterior was styled to resemble the FJ40 icon, which received plenty of positive and negative reviews from Cruiserland. The suicide doors also is a hot topic of debate with extra large rear pillars, visibility is an area of concerns for most folks. The interior was made very practical for offroad use with surfaces covered in a rubber/plastic. Even the dash is low key and functional. The detail even extends to waterproof seats, read easy cleaning overall.

In addition to the options mentioned above the driveline can be had with ATRAC and a rear locker. Unfortunately only one can be used at a time and the ATRAC can be turned off. Owners will probably figure out workarounds for this soon. All of this adds up to a very capable wheeler of the showroom floor. Add to that the aftermarket suspension components already available through the 4Runner and Tacoma leverage.

It is a welcome addition to the Toyota SUV lineup for the offroad minded. The pricing is pretty much below the 4Runner, ranging in the low to high $20k. Unfortunately at this point dealers are enjoying severe profit taking by adding very expensive options and selling at MSRP and above. Hopefully this will end towards the year end and folks should get a nicely equipped 4WD in the mid $20k.

So far it has been a hotly debated SUV by Cruiserheads, with some loving it and some hating it. However it seems as time passes more and more of the hating crowd is moving to the loving crowd. Guess time will tell if ti lives up to all the hype of the last 2 years.

2007 FJ Cruiser brochure and specifications

Late in 2006 Toyota introduced the TRD Special Edition of the FJ Cruiser. This added a whopping $7250 to the price and included the following:

  • Black Diamond Exterior
  • Exterior Color-Keyed Interior Door Panels And Center Instrument Panel Inserts
  • A-Trac And Rear Differential Lock (both can work together)
  • Trd Tuned Bilstein Shocks Absorbers
  • Trd Exhaust System
  • Trd 16'' X 7.5'' Gunmetal Painted Aluminum Alloy Wheels
  • Trd Special Edition Badge (Tailgate And Dashboard Mounted)
  • Trd Logo All-Season Floor And Cargo Mats
  • Rock Rails
  • Multi-Information Display (Dash Mounted With Outside Temperature, Compass And Inclinometer)
  • 2-1 Audio With 6-Disc Changer And 8 Speakers
  • Leather Steering Wheel W/Audio Controls And Cruise Control Function
  • Driver And Front Passenger Front Seat Mounted Side Bolster Airbags And First And Second Row Curtain Shield Airbags
  • BFG AT Tires

Some common issues folks have experienced with the FJC after some hard wheeling include:

  • Rear diff failures where the ring and pinion gears sheer (this issue is supposedly fixed for the late 07 and later models)
  • The inner front fenders bulge and crack (no confirmed resolution known on later model years)

 

2008 FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser was very successful in 2007 and should continue the success for 2008.

A number of changes from the late model 2007 have been made for 2008.

  • An offroad package is now available with upgraded wheels, tires and offroad tuned suspension with Bilstein mono-tube shocks
  • Side and curtain airbags is now standard on all models
  • 3 new colors are available: Beige, White and Red Metallic
  • Tire pressure monitoring system is now added to all models
  • Engine immobilizer is now standard on all models
  • The combination meter on all models have been changed to include the tire pressure warning light and a more visible slip indicator
  • The convenience package now includes a cyclone pre filter for the engine intake, to separate dust and reduce particles going into the air filter

2008 FJ Cruiser Brochure

 

2009 FJ Cruiser

Some rumors have been circulating that the FJC might be canceled after this model year due to poor sales (from high gas prices and slow economy). This however is not confirmed and time will tell.

2 Special packages are available for 09; the Trail Teams Special Edition and the TRD package. Will go into details on each a little later.

Additionally for 09 the following features were added (soem are options):

  • Rear View camera
  • Driver vanity mirror and mirror covers
  • VSC off switch
  • Active headrests
  • Map lights
  • Roll sensing side airbags with RSCA off switch
  • Automatic glare resistant rear view mirror

The Trail Teams Special Edition comes with a “iceberg” paint and black bumpers/mirros/door handles. Also special badging. ATRAC and rear diff lock and Bilstein shocks are included..265/75/16 BFG AT tires on TRD alloy wheels. Bumper mounted driving lights and front/rear skid plates. Cyclone pre filer on air intake system as well as TRD exhaust. A number of other small cosmetic items and a few features included in the convenience packages.

The TRD package is available on 2WD models only. It includes the Bilstein suspension and TRD alloy wheels with BFG Rugged Trail tires. It also comes in the same paint scheme as the TT-SE above.

Additionally there is a All-Terrian package available for other models. It includes TRD alloys with Rugged Trail tires, cyclone pre-cleaner, Bilstein suspension, A-TRAC and Rear Diff lock.

2009 FJ Cruiser Brochure