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2014 Toyota FJ Cruiser Overview
Despite inspiring some heady off-road adventures, Toyota’s retro-styled 2014 FJ Cruiser is saying sayonara after this year. Apparently the Japanese automaker has decided that its full-size, mainstream-oriented Land Cruiser sport ute is more marketable than its midsize, 5-seat FJ Cruiser SUV, with the latter yet again burdened with cramped rear quarters and a set of all-but-useless reverse-opening, half-size rear doors. Heck, even tepid mileage and performance numbers never really made much sense in this pint-size, tough-talking version of one of the more capable rock crawlers available.
Needless to say, the FJ Cruiser cruises into its swansong year understandably little changed from its 2013 iteration. In fact there have been few significant changes since this scaled-down sport ute’s 2007 inception. The single rear-wheel-drive (RWD) Base trim offered can be subdivided into the Base 4WD MT (4-wheel drive, manual transmission) and the 4WD AT (4-wheel drive, automatic transmission). Each of the trail-blazing sub-trims can be delivered with full-time or part-time 4WD, with the former essentially an all-wheel-drive system and the latter boasting a manual transmission, auto-locking hubs and hi-lo gear selection. Both 4WD variations also sport a locking rear differential for some admittedly hefty all-terrain capability.
Powering this downsized ute is the traditional 4.0-liter V6 engine that puts out 260 hp, with the Base RWD FJ Cruiser, as well as its go-anywhere 4WD AT sibling, each packing a standard 5-speed automatic transmission. The part-time 4WD MT, as mentioned, flaunts a 6-speed manual transmission. No matter the gearbox, look for some 271 lb-ft of torque out of this throwback ute, while towing is maxed out at 5,000 pounds with the proper equipment. Meantime, fuel efficiency, despite variable valve timing, is estimated at a less-than-inspiring 16 mpg city/20 highway in the automatic-toting RWD variant, 17/20 in the Base 4WD AT and a downright ghastly 15/18 in the stick-shift-laden 4WD MT.
Standard appearance and cabin bling in the Base 2014 FJ Cruiser continues to be unimpressive for its rather hefty price tag, with 17-inch steel wheels and skid plates adorning the profile, and water-resistant premium cloth upholstery, full power accessories, tilt-wheel steering and air conditioning standard inside. Entertainment, meanwhile, remains provided by a single-CD player sporting 6 speakers, satellite radio and a USB port, with all of it bolstered by Bluetooth hands-free calling.
Cruise control, a rear-view camera, upgraded and upsized wheels, upgraded off-road suspension components and an 11-speaker JBL premium sound system with 6-CD changer are all offered as options in various packages, along with the Trail Team Special Edition package flaunting all-terrain tires, an off-road-tuned suspension and an electronically locking rear differential.
Notable standard safety equipment aboard the various FJ Cruiser sub-trims for this, its final year, includes 4-wheel antilock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, front and rear head airbags, front side-mounted airbags and front head restraint whiplash protection. Turn-signal-integrated mirrors also come standard, as do daytime running lights, while rear window wipers are optional.
Have Laptop, Will Travel. I'm retired and travelling the country in a 34' motor home. I'm really digging meeting people . . and sometimes their cars . . . getting a sense of what makes this nation tick. The plan is to visit all the national parks in the continental US, then cruise to Alaska to visit Denali, and to Hawaii to check out Haleakala and the Hawaii Volcano's national parks. Anyhow, when I'm not horsing the motor home around the roadways, I'm tooting around in the 2012 Ford Focus that we tow behind, or making runs to Home Depot and various malls with the 2004 F-150 that just won't die.