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2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser Performance

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The 4.0-liter aluminum-block V-6 makes 260 horsepower and 271 pound-feet of torque, and it feels very strong from a standing start either with a five-speed automatic transmission or a six-speed manual transmission—and with the upgraded engine it received last year, it now can muster faster highway passes. The four-wheel-drive system on the FJ Cruiser 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. Automatic and manual versions of the FJ get a full-time four-wheel drive system, while manual versions get a part-time one.

The 2011 FJ Cruiser is built from some of the same components as the last-generation Toyota 4Runner, so it shines off-road—especially when considering its shortened wheelbase and additional ground clearance. Skid plates protect the underbody, and components are tucked into frame rails. Suspension tuning aims to get good wheel articulation without making too many on-road sacrifices, and the FJ can ford up to 27.5 inches of water; approach and departure angles for the FJ are among the best of any stock vehicle.

Considering that, on-road performance isn't quite the afterthought you'd expect. The FJ does quite well, even on the highway, provided the path is relatively straight, but in any corners its height, tall tires, and hefty 4,300-pound curb weight get in the way of any attempt to change direction quickly. Maneuverability remains disappointing, though; the FJ doesn't turn around as easily as you'd expect, and it feels wide in anything but full-width parking spots.

The 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser is surely focused toward off-roading, but it's not completely inept on streets and highways.

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