Toyota has a wide range of trim lines, from Sienna and Corolla to Camry, but one that stood out was the Toyota FJ Cruiser. This emerged between 2007 and 2014 before it was stopped, but many think the car deserves to be released again.
To know the concept behind this iconic off-roader, you need a little history on the earliest models, the FJ 40. This was the initial off-roader from Toyota that was sold between the 1960s and 1970s. Although the code names of the land cruisers have changed, enthusiasts still called them FJ 40.
Toyota decided to create an off-roader in the 2000s and then the FJ Cruiser was designed based on the FJ 40. Although the sales were decent, it was not enough to warrant another production, and then it was discontinued.
The main reason why many think the vehicle should be re-released is bad timing. It emerged a decade before there was widespread interest in off-roaders and was discontinued right before its increasing popularity.
Quirks and Features of the Toyota FJ Cruiser
The most obvious characteristic of the FJ Cruiser is the three windshield wipers. When the company was manufacturing the vehicle, they realized that if you have only two wipers, there’ll be a large portion of the glass that won’t get wiped. They solved this problem by adding another windshield wiper.
It has a light behind the side mirror that points forward. Whenever you turn on the headlights, the mirror lights turn on too. Unfortunately, it is not as bright as one expects.
The original FJ 40 was a two-door SUV and since the FJ Cruiser was modeled based on it, they needed to make it a four-door SUV. So, the vehicle has a regular front opening and when you unlock that, you then open the half rear door! The half rear opening is on both sides and allows you to sit in the back.
The dashboard of the automobile has an odd structure that most cars won’t dare include. It makes it look old school. Then we have the gear lever which has the same shape as a pepper grinder.
It does not have a storage panel at the top of the dashboard like most off-roaders as that space is taken, so they included the compartment above the gauge cluster directly above the steering wheel. There is no other car that includes a storage compartment in that position.
The center of the top of the dashboard space is taken because it has three gauges. The gauges include a compass, the outside temperature, and your pitch and roll angles.
Another interesting quirk is the auxiliary visor in the FJ cruiser which shades you from the sun. Most automobiles only have the front sun visor which blocks the sun in the front and when you turn it, it still works. In this vehicle’s case, it doesn’t block the sun when you turn it to the side because of the large window and door design, so they added an extra sun visor that works when you put it down.
It has climate control dials which have a bulky and big structure. The same goes for the hazard lights and defroster.
On every surface of the Toyota FJ Cruiser interior, there is a tough and brutish material and robust patterns probably meant to reinforce the fact that it is an off-roader vehicle.
The company also brought the same color as the exterior into the interior. In a tan-colored model, one will see the same tan color on the radio/stereo, the middle of the seats, and the door panel.
The rear-seat area is quite tight and ideal for children more than adults. It does not have any windows that open, as the window is fixed into place, making the place feel more claustrophobic.
Also, the rear cannot be opened from the outside and does not unlock independently from the front, so you always have to unlock the front first before coming out.
The cargo space is be accessed in two unconventional ways. Because of the massive rear spare tire attached behind the off-roader, the cargo features a swing outdoor instead. The swing outdoor is cumbersome and is hard to keep it ajar it if you’re parked on a hill.
The second way is with your key. If you unlock the cargo with the key, only the glass unlocks and you raise the glass up separately. It’s ideal if you want to drop something small in the automobile. The cargo area is big at the expense of the rear seats.
What Happens if the FJ Cruiser Comes Back?
If Toyota releases the FJ Cruiser again and changes some of its characteristics to fit today’s technological standards, there’s no doubt that the demand for the vehicle will be high. The car has not lost its value till now and it is quite difficult to find one that goes for $10k.
Although it didn’t make sense when this model emerged years ago, that won’t be the situation if it’s repackaged and released today. It will be seen as an off-roader for anyone who has an active lifestyle and wants to take their new SUV anywhere.