Built by Hino Motors in Hamura, Japan, Toyota FJ Cruiser is a midsize SUV that is very much recognizable for being a retro-vehicle. At first glance, one can be taken back into the 60's as its exterior design is reminiscent to the Toyota J40. Despite its classic styling, the automobile is noted for its superior off-road capabilities. This is all owed to its truck-based, ladder-frame chassis that will not budge from the most abusive of terrains. Over its production, the Toyota FJ Cruiser received various awards such as the 2007 Lowest Ownership Costs in its Class, the 2007 SmartChoice Retained Value in its Class, and the 2008 five-star rating in safety crash tests.
2008: A safe move
Because of its brusque exterior and equally vigorous activities, the Toyota FJ Cruiser received various safety enhancements in the year 2008. The most notable of these safety improvements was the engine immobilizer, which keeps the engine from running without the use of the correct key. This function prevents the vehicle from hot-wiring, which is a famous method in car theft. 2008 also brought about the tire pressure monitoring system to the automobile. This feature keeps the SUV from being driven with an under-inflated tire, which ultimately causes accidents in the highway when the automobile is driven at a high speed. To top it all off, airbag functions were also improved with the addition of front and rear airbags as well as dual front side-mounted airbags.
2010: In come the packages
The year 2010 gave way to a big improvement in the Toyota FJ Cruiser model with the availability of two packages, opening its two doors to the consumers' different needs, lifestyles, and budgets. The first package introduced was the Convenience Package which slightly changes the interior and exterior looks of the SUV. This includes luxury trims in the doors and the dashboard, cargo cover, privacy tinted glass on the rear side, driver and passenger power side mirrors with turn signals, rear window, and spare tire cover. Other features include glass breakage sensor, cruise control, remote power locks, auto-dimming rearview window, and rear camera parking distance sensors.
The second package was the Toyota Racing Development (TRD) Package. The TRD Package is a utilitarian option that smoothens the rugged features of the Toyota FJ Cruiser, making it perfect for on-road driving as well. Included in the package are high-speed Bilstein shocks for superior support, compass, inclineometer, fold flat seats at the back, and rubber floor and cargo mats above all. Through this package, the vehicle's off-road functions are also improved with 16-inch, 6-spoke, knobby all-terrain tires that soften the roughest roads.
2011: Performing for the changing times
Needless to say, technology has changed the needs, wants, and lifestyles of consumers. The Toyota FJ Cruiser is abreast with these changes and improves its performance features to provide what the buyers are looking for. The amusing thing is that the SUV model is able to do this while paying homage to its retro predecessor, the Toyota J40. 2011 saw changes in performance features to compete in the SUV class. These enhancements include auto delay off headlights for convenience as well as an electronically controlled locking rear differential for increased traction. TRD-developed parts were also added such as high-performance brake kit, performance shocks, and performance exhaust.