2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser: A Terrific SUV On Or Off The Road

May 2, 2010

The 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser is built for people who want to get off the beaten path and onto gravel, sand, and rocks. If you’re looking for leather, don’t look at the FJ Cruiser, which comes only with resistant cloth upholstery and rubberized floor and cargo mats. That’s because people who drive FJ Cruisers get them dirty, and want something that will cleanup easily.

The FJ Cruiser has enough room for five. The front doors are standard, front-hinged units. There are rear doors, but they are rear-hinged to provide easy access to the back seat and cargo area. The inside of the vehicle seems a little closed in because of the shorter roof line, and visibility is somewhat limited. Because the FJ has wide C-pillars that may interfere with the driver's rearward vision, a rear sonar system and a rearview camera are included in the optional Convenience Package and warns the driver of the proximity of objects when reversing.

Changes for 2010 are small but significant. The 4.0-liter V6 engine sees an increase in power from 239 to 258 horsepower, while peak torque is reduced slightly from 278 to 270 pound-feet. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 17/21 mpg City/Highway for a 4WD automatic, and calls for premium gasoline.

My 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser came with part-time four-wheel drive with the automatic and set me back $25,270. Also included was the $2,275 Convenience Package, which added keyless entry, power side-view mirrors, daytime running lights, cruise control, privacy glass, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a rear window wiper.

An All-Terrain option package costing $1,335 enhances the FJ's off-road capabilities, adding BFGoodrich 285/75R16 Rugged Trail tires, trail-tuned Bilstein shock absorbers, a Cyclone air pre-cleaner, a rear differential lock that works in conjunction with Toyota's A-TRAC off-road traction control system, and a multi-informational display with a floating ball Inclinometer and Compass. This package gives the FJ Cruiser the ability to seriously compete with the Jeep Wrangler.

The FJ Cruiser is comfortable on the road and should be superb in rugged terrain. Its V-6 engine delivers more than ample power and torque for any foreseeable situation. The 4.0-liter V-6 is not only strong, but clean and fuel-efficient as well, and earned the vehicle an LEV-II (low-emission vehicle) rating from the federal government. The FJ Cruiser is rated to tow as much as 5,000 pounds, making it perfect for hauling ATVs, snowmobiles and personal watercraft to the mountains.

The part-time four-wheel drive and automatic transmission in my test vehicle is a good choice regardless of road and weather conditions. It would be my choice unless you are planning to do serious off-road adventures. With the automatic transmission, the four-wheel drive system offers a convenient shift-on-the-fly selection with H2 (2WD High range), H4 (4WD High range) or L4 (4WD Low range) settings.

The FJ Cruiser is a very capable sport utility vehicle for the person who wants to get out of the city and have fun on the weekends. This vehicle lives up to the Land Cruiser's heritage and much deserved reputation for getting across deserts, up mountains and going through swamps and jungles. This vehicle is for those whose lifestyles include exploring high mountain trails, fishing secluded lakes, skiing backcountry bowls, or hauling their favorite machine or camper for a weekend getaway. The FJ Cruiser provides quality, competitive pricing, and all the options needed to have some serious fun.

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