Our local Toyota dealership has received its first demo FJ Cruiser and their initial shipment of 16 vehicles will arrive at the lot within 2 weeks.
I got a chance to test drive the demo car earlier in the week. First impressions: it looks as awesome as I thought it would. It is big, very tall, very bold, very masculine, and very unique - w/ a touch of Hummer H2 to its design.
5 passenger seating - it is really more like a Porsche 911, the back seat is not very usable. In the case of the FJ Cruiser, it could sit 3 children, but adults should be restricted to only short distances.
Driving - the car I test drove was an automatic, lots of available power, great maneuverability, very short turning radius, handled great. Very quiet ride - much quieter than my 2004 Honda Odyssey or my former Honda Element.
My short test ride revealed just one major flaw - visibility. Visibility from every angle is terrible, horrible really. Front visibility is obstructed by a tall hood, you can probably park two Miatas in front of the FJ and not see any of them. Rear visibility is worse, small window and a rear tire makes seeing out of the back nearly impossible. Side visibility is also very poor, the car is very tall and the large rear pillars creates huge blind spots.
Initial FJ cruisers will not have the sonar or rear cameras. Sonar and camera will only come later in the production cycle. Real bummer, as the 2 features are essential for city driving considering the poor visibility in the FJ Cruiser.
Another annoyance is that the automatic is not a full time 4 wheel drive, it is a rear wheel drive. The manual version is a full time 4x4.
Price, it is not the $22,000 as originally rumored. The initial batch of cars arriving at the dealership are fully loaded, raising the MSRP to just over $30,000.
All in all, if the dealer has a yellow automatic available, I will trade in one of my cars and get the FJ Cruiser.