The 2017 Toyota FJ Cruiser With High Hopes For Relaunch

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The Toyota FJ Cruiser is one of those vehicles that people love or hate – there seems to be no in-between view. In our opinion, we think the FJ Cruiser looks great – certainly different, and a traditional old school SUV with off-road styling and performance to match – the pictures with chunky off-road tires makes it look like a special vehicle rather than something straight off the Toyota production line.

Toyota announced that the 2014 Model Year would be the last in production, but then relented slightly … the 2014 Model Year was the last production model for the American market, but the Australian and Middle Eastern markets would continue to get the Toyota FJ Cruiser, at least until the 2017 Model Year.

We know that this current model is the very last of the line – there will be nothing after the 2017 Model Year, and we think that’s a great pity. Although clearly, we are in the minority, because if more people bought the FJ Cruiser, then there is no doubt that Toyota would still be producing it.


History of the 2017 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Contents

1. History of FJ Cruiser
2. Is it any slimmer?
3. Engine Choices
4. Functional

First introduced as a concept vehicle back in 2003 at the North American International Auto Show, it seemed (at the time) that the public liked it very much … it took Toyota just two years to have a production model of the FJ Cruiser at the same show in 2005, sales started later that year as a 2006 Model Year. Essentially, is was a dressed-up Land Cruiser Prado, but it didn’t matter what was underneath it, the vehicle style was pretty unique – all retro, rugged and utilitarian. Genius on behalf of Toyota.

However, it wasn’t cheap, so you really had to love the different styling if you wanted to buy one.

The 2017 Toyota FJ Cruiser is retailing for $46,990 Australian Dollars, at today’s exchange rate, that works out to about $35,353 U.S. Dollars – that’s a decent amount of money when you consider that you can get other vehicles that do the same job, with ‘different’ styling for a whole lot less. Maybe that is the Toyota’s downfall.

If you’re reading this in Australia, then you can head down to your local Toyota dealership right now and buy one, if you’re anywhere else in the world, then you’ve missed the boat, so other than a used one, you won’t be picking one up. More’s the pity.

Is the 2017 Toyota FJ Cruiser Any Slimmer?

Toyota have kept the traditional and boxy styling for the updated FJ, but despite that, they have updated it considerably, including redesigned fenders, bumpers (front and rear), headlights and grille. The headlights are already using LED technology thanks to the 2014 update, but this new model will feature upgraded lighting.

The design seems slimmer, although we aren’t actually sure that it is, but it’s still very square, which is what gives the FJ Cruiser its unique look.

The overall styling reminds us somewhat of the new Ford Bronco – it has a retro flavor to it but mixed with modern day touches and refinements. Retro styling is pretty hot right now, most of the big manufacturers are releasing models (or re-releasing) that look as though they have come from a 1970’s design studio – they look like the sort of vehicles that would have been thought of when the boss of the company said “hey guys, let’s do a futuristic concept car – the sort of thing that people may be driving in thirty years’ time, our vision of the future of motoring”.

Engine Choices

Under the hood, there will be a minimum of two engines (although both are nearly identical) and rumor has it that there may be a third.

First up is a 4.0 liter V6, producing 260 BHP and 271 lb.ft of torque, then a slightly tweaked version of that motor, but still keeping it a 4.0 liter. This version will produce 280 BHP and 290 lb/ft of torque. The rumor consists of yet another 4.0 V6, but this time it features supercharging to boost the output right up to 320 BHP and a ore than useful 400 lb/ft of torque. All motors will run through a 6-speed manual transmission, driving all four wheels.

We aren’t sure why Toyota would run two nearly identical engines – there isn’t enough of a power differential to make any difference – generally speaking, you need around a 10% increase in power to actually feel it through the seat of your pants, unless your ‘seat of the pants dyno’ is particularly well calibrated.

As for the rumor of the third engine – it’s too late in the production cycle for that to happen, besides, why would Toyota invest heavily into making the FJ Cruiser capable of taking a third engine when they are about to pull the plug on it? The simple answer is, they wouldn’t.

Functional

Inside the Cruiser, the interior is slightly more functional rather than super stylish, but it does feature a touchscreen infotainment system and will have the basics of safety features fitted as standard. No doubt that Toyota will be offering upgrades and enhancements, including leather upholstery and quality trim materials.

The focus is on being functional – take the FJ Cruiser off-roading, get it dirty and then just hose it out – that’s how Toyota have designed the FJ.

Sure, if you start adding leather and premium materials, it loses that ability, but the FJ isn’t about luxury and refinement – it’s about fun, getting away for the weekend and just … enjoying yourself.

Don’t misunderstand – the FJ Cruiser isn’t basic, it does come with a reasonable level of equipment fitted: airbags, air conditioning, electronic brake force distribution, electronic differential lock, multifunction steering wheel, parking distance control (rear), reversing camera, traction control and vehicle stability control. It’s just that it doesn’t come with much more than that – when the specification list adds ‘cup holders’ in, you know that they are struggling to find any more benefits.

We think that it’s a shame that Toyota are stopping production of the FJ Cruiser – the industry needs more vehicles like this, not less.

We would guess that Toyota will bring it back at some point, but that could be a while, have Toyota made the right decision? Would you buy a new version? Even when it’s $35,000+? Let us know in the comments – your opinion is important to us!

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Comments
  • sundance69

    It’s in the wind that a new FJ Cruiser is in the making for Toyota’s 2018 line-up, we can only hope. I wanted one the last time around and have been kicking myself because I did not get one. I’m not missing out this time around.

Editor's rating
4.5 overall
  • Safety4.5
  • Performance4.4
  • Design4.8
  • Features4.6
  • Fuel economy4
Summary

Cool-looking brutal FJ Cruiser win hearts of buyers, but Toyota decided to take it out of dealerships. However, some say they will come back with an updated SUV.

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