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While assembling this comprehensive review that covers the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser, the auto experts at TheCarConnection.com turned to some of the best review resources on the Web. And to help compare it to the performance of its rivals, TheCarConnection.com’s editors brought their own firsthand experience with the vehicle.
- Retro-stylish inside and out
- Appealingly simple interior design
- Very impressive off-road ability
- Smooth on-road ride (for an off-roader)
- Road and wind noise on the highway
- Passing power is just adequate
- Tight backseat with difficult access
- Obscured rearward visibility
- Thirsty for premium fuel
Toyota unveiled the FJ Cruiser for the 2007 model year, cashing in on the retro theme played out on other crossovers and SUVs—in this case, with design cues reaching back to Toyota’s 1960s-era FJ40—but underpinning it with real truck toughness.
Built on the 4Runner architecture, with a shortened floorpan, the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser comes with the same 4.0-liter aluminum-block V-6 with variable valve timing offered in the 4Runner, Tundra, and Tacoma. Here it makes 239 horsepower and 278 pound-feet of torque. The engine is mated to either a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission exclusive to the FJ.
The 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser has the goods for serious off-roading. Approach and departure angles are among the best of any vehicle, and the FJ can ford water up to 27.5 inches deep. Skid plates help protect the underside, and components are tucked within the frame rails. Wheel articulation is also impressive, to help soak up jarring holes and boulders without being thrown from side to side. The four-wheel-drive system uses a mix of traditional mechanical and more modern electronic means of gaining and maintaining traction; a system called A-TRAC helps reduce wheel spin and redistribute torque, and it's helpful on the road.
On the road, the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser drives quite well, considering its off-road ability. It shows its truck roots in not offering especially responsive steering, but the ride is quite compliant. Only around tight corners does the 4,300-pound curb weight reveal itself. The V-6 doesn’t provide acceleration that’s particularly quick for passing, but it’s adequate and very torquey from a standing start. At highway speeds, there’s noticeable wind noise and some road noise.