The 2007 Toyota FJ Cruiser, a newly distinctive offspring of the iconic 1960s FJ40, goes on sale in early 2006. It will cost under $22,000, far cheaper than the 4Runner on which it is based. The production FJ Cruiser is remarkably unchanged from the well-received and highly cartoonish concept that debuted at the 2003 Detroit auto show.
Four-wheel-drive FJ Cruisers should be quite solid off-road; rear-wheel drive will be standard. While it measures eleven inches shorter than a 4Runner, its wheelbase is shortened by only four inches, which should result in good departure and approach angles. An available locking rear differential and the standard 4.0-liter V-6, rated at 245 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque, also will aid in rock-crawling adventures.
Will the active-lifestyle Generation Y target audience be able to afford the FJ? Toyota vaguely claims it will be a “surprising value.” We can ascertain only that it will be priced between the RAV4 and the 4Runner, so expect it to cost $25,000 to $30,000.
The FJ will get loads of standard equipment, including some things that would have seemed Jetsonian on the original FJ40, such as a CD player, air-conditioning, power windows and locks, and–as with the rest of the Toyota SUV lineup–stability and traction control, ABS, electronic brake-force distribution, and brake assist. Optional front-side and front and rear side curtain air bags add to the safety factor.
Unfortunately for open-air enthusiasts, Toyota has no current plans to give the new FJ removable roof sections like those on the original FJ40. Likewise, Toyota does not anticipate offering the FJ in four-door or hybrid form. Regardless, the FJ is destined to be one of the hottest vehicles of 2006.