If ever there was an affordable vehicle to compete against the Jeep Wrangler, it would probably be the Toyota FJ Cruiser. With its classic styling and rugged off-road capabilities, the FJ Cruiser has been a popular choice in the compact SUV market since it went on sale in 2007. For 2010, the Toyota FJ Cruiser gets even better with enhancements to the engine and suspension that improve performance, fuel economy and handling.
The biggest improvement for the 2010 Toyota FJ Cruiser came through tweaks to the engine and its timing. The sole engine, Toyota's 4.0-liter V-6, will now use dual VVT-i and roller rocker arms to improve horsepower by 19 giving the 2010 model a total of 258. At the same time, the dual VVT-i will help improve average fuel economy by 1 mile per gallon (every little bit helps), which currently ranges from 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway for 4WD models equipped with the six-speed manual transmission up to 17 mpg city and 21 mpg highway for the 2WD model.
Another improvement the 2010 FJ Cruiser will receive are minor tweaks to the suspension that will help reduce the overall turning radius by a foot - down to 40.8 feet. Although the FJ Cruiser is designed to tackle rugged terrain, the smaller turning radius will make the compact SUV easier to handle whether navigating tight, twisty off-road trails or when attempting to turn into a tight parking spot. Despite the fact that the FJ Cruiser shares its underpinnings and drivetrain with the Tacoma pickup truck and 4Runner SUV, it doesn't seem that the 2010 FJ Cruiser's enhancements will carry over to these models based on the wording of Toyota's press release.
Like Ford's Flex, one of the coolest design elements of the FJ Cruiser is the classic two-tone roof color, but Toyota is also adding a new color to help give the FJ Cruiser an even more rugged appearance. Paired with the black, steel wheels of the base model, the new Army Green exterior paint color should be enough to make the FJ Cruiser look like a baby military-spec HMMWV (the inspiration for the now-extinct HUMMER H1). Other than the new color, the FJ Cruiser will soldier on with its retro styling inspired by the iconic Toyota FJ40 Land Cruiser that dates back to the 1960s.
Similar to the minor changes, the 2010 FJ Cruiser will also see a slight increase of $360 in the starting MSRP. The base 2WD automatic model will now start at $23,680, while the 4WD automatic model increases to $25,270. In all , the changes Toyota made to the 2010 FJ Cruiser make it more powerful, more fuel efficient and less expensive when comparing the base model to a base 2009 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited. Considering the market for compact, off-road ready SUVs is probably very narrow, this gives the Toyota a good edge considering neither vehicle is likely to be taken too far off road anymore.