Whether you’re planning to negotiate mountains or parking lots, the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition should do the trick.
The 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser is a mudslinging, rock-climbing, off-road utility beast. It’s also meant to be a grocery-getter. So when reviewing a vehicle such as this, you need to put things into perspective. Does the full size 17” rear mounted spare tire and huge C-pillars reduce visibility? Yes. Is it a bit noisy in the cabin? Yes. Will you notice some body roll when taking sharp corners? Sure. Will your FJ conquer mountains, swim through questionable swamps, and leave your friends in the dust? Absolutely.
The exterior styling is extremely aggressive and beefy, to say the least—a retro-styled compact SUV paying homage to it’s FJ40 Land Cruiser predecessor. An ironic mix of ‘small’ and ‘big’ exterior styling cues create this monstrous identity: tiny windows surround the cabin; a skinny front grill with fairly small, round headlights; small window wipers; and small access doors. Nestled amongst bugling bumpers and chiseled shoulderlines; massive 17-inch alloy wheels with black powder-coated finish rolling on tires with raised white lettering; huge front doors and fat C-pillar; and invasive skid plates, front and rear. Overall, The FJ renders this sense of exaggeration. And it works.
The interior is roomy and has good mix of comfort and utility. The front bucket seats are water-resistant, but I found the material makes things sweaty and uncomfortable (I’m sure that’s insignificant when you’re traversing hills, but not so cool when you’re on the way to meet your accountant). The rear finds a bench seat with 60/40 split, same material as up front. The centre console sees incredibly large, almost condescending, buttons but they’re simple and straightforward. Above the console sit three gauges: compass, temperature, and inclinometer. The 3-spoke tilt steering wheel feels good. The instrument panel with techy-styled white-black gauges are easy to view and laid out well.
Under the hood
Power is driven by the 4.0-litre, 24-valve, DOHC V6 engine, paired with a 5-speed automatic or 6-speed manual, producing 239-hp and 278 lb-ft of torque. Other notables include electronic throttle control system with intelligence (ETCS-i), a multi-port fuel injection system, and variable valve timing with intelligence, to name a few.
Safety features include dual stage driver & passenger airbags, front seat mounted airbags, and front and rear/side curtain airbags. Side impact beams, a front tow hook, and high-mounted rear stop lamp with LED provide addition safety.
The FJ Cruiser is available in a few trims: the Base model starting just shy of $30,000, the Off-Road Package, and C Package.
For an extra $8,175 you can get the Trail Teams Special Edition package, as tested, with a cluster of comfort, convenience, and utility features including some of the following:
– Active Traction Control System (A-TRAC)
– Locking Rear Differential
– Rock Rails
– Front and Rear Skid Plates, Roof Rails
– Special Edition Badging
– Five Piece All-Weather Floor Mats and Cargo Mat with Logos
– Colour-matched Door Trims and Instrument Panel
– Leather-trimmed Steering Wheel
– 8-Speaker FJammer High Grade Audio System with SubWoofer, In-Dash 6-CD Changer
– Rear Privacy Glass and Rear Parking Sonar
Whether you’re planning to negotiate mountains or parking lots, the FJ Cruiser-Trail Teams Special Edition will do the trick. And look pretty damn slick while doing it.