2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD | First Drive

Posted on Jan 20, 2015 by
2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • Very Good
AEDAED 155,000
  • 5/5 Avg. User Rating

  • Rated 5 stars
  • 3 Reviews

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: January 20, 2015
  • Exterior
    Editor: 70%
    User: 98%
  • Interior
    Editor: 70%
    User: 100%
  • Quality
    Editor: 60%
    User: 100%
  • Features
    Editor: 80%
    User: 100%
  • Performance
    Editor: 85%
    User: 99%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 65%
    User: 99%

Review Summary:

added bits from their TRD ( Racing Division) kit to the base model FJ and the Dubai dealer gave us a unit to run in the annual Gulf News Fun Drive. Is the FJ Cruiser TRD all it's hyped to be? That was the question running in our head before we pitched it for over a 100km run in the sandy stuff of UAE. Verdict - the capabilities of this legendary sand warrior from need no proof. The TRD kit adds basic off road gear to the standard FJ, but the asking price for the TRD kitted FJ - we would not pay that much.

Pros

* A phenomenal off-roader that tackles dunes with great ease
* Impressive torque at low rpm
* Built in air compressor on the TRD version is capable of inflating 2 tires simultaneously

Cons

* Visibility from its narrow windscreen isn't the best
* Does tend to feel overpriced when compared to its standard siblings
* One can feel claustrophobic in the back seat

With the rising sun as our backdrop and rippling dunes sprawling farther than our eyes could see, we set off on the 34th Gulf News Fun Drive on a chilly Friday morning. From Umm Al Quwain to the picturesque Wadi Maleha and onto the sharper and more challenging dunes of Hatta, it was a truly gruelling 100 odd kilometres that we put our 2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD through the sandy stuff in UAE.

Exterior

For those who believe that the FJ Cruiser is an aesthetic disaster, not much relief will be found in knowing that the TRD edition is merely a stickered, brawnier version of the regular rig.

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD front

With flared fenders, side sill protectors, an engine protection plate, a stylized exhaust tip and blatant TRD branding, this incarnation of the Toyota FJ Cruiser definitely looks the part though. Sitting higher up thanks to its taller coil springs and shock absorbers, the FJ TRD also bears a more commanding stance. However, with the majority of special bits being simple bolt-on additions, it makes you question if it’s worthy of the AED 155,000 asking price.

Interior

Having spent nearly 12 demanding hours within the confines of the TRD FJ Cruiser’s cabin, we developed a fair understanding of the pros and cons associated with an interior that to some, looks like it were put together using a Meccano set. With gloss black trim making its way onto the dashboard and door panels, it provided a break from the monotony of dull, hard plastics all around. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a big enough distraction to make us forget the sheer ache our backs and rear ends were experiencing due to the terrain and the bland, unsupportive seats.

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD interior

Features

It is only when analysing the feature list of the TRD FJ Cruiser that one truly understands the Japanese SUV’s attachment to the paths less travelled. Fitted with ATRAC, a rear differential lock and a hill descent option, this sand warrior is well kitted out to handle the dunes. A nice touch was the inbuilt flag mount in the roof rack. Simply get a read flag from Al Awir shops and bolt it into the flag plug – simple, effective. Attention to details did not end there. Pre-fitted air compressor in the boot comes with pressure gauge and is powerful enough to fill up two tires simultaneously  to pre-set pressure levels.

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD front

Electronic toys inside the FJ Cruiser TRD include a touchscreen infotainment unit, a rearview camera and a knob along the centre console that controls the media source and Bluetooth telephony. Nothing spectacular or groundbreaking, but decent nonetheless.

Drive

Powered by the very same engine found in the standard FJ Cruiser, the TRD version remains good for 270 horsepower and 380 Nm of torque from its 4.0 litre V6 engine. Mated to a 5 speed automatic transmission, the FJ TRD directs power to all four wheels and is able to touch 100 km/h in 10.1 seconds before proceeding to its 180 km/h top speed. Of course that would only matter on tarmac, as off the beaten path, it isn’t about speed.

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD side

Be it while ascending the steepest of dunes or merely riding the crests of smaller ones, the virtually endless amounts of torque are more than enough to confidently get the FJ through even the trickiest of patches off-road. With a short wheelbase and a decent amount of ground clearance, taking the FJ TRD off-road isn’t a daunting experience at all. In fact, with an unintrusive traction control system, brilliant gearing ratios, and sheer low-end power, it makes for an experience that all off-road junkies should be a part of at least once.

Verdict

We really like the 2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD, we genuinely do. But when we weigh its price tag against what it brings to the table, we can’t help but feel there are better ways to spend that AED 155,000.

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD side

Option one (and still overpriced) being the TRD’s cousin, the FJ Cruiser XTREME that imbibes the exact same amount from your bank account, but caters to the hardcore off-road enthusiasts with a Fox suspension setup, Eibach springs and wider BFG tires.

Option two and arguably the best of the lot remains buying a standard FJ Cruiser for AED 119,500 and kitting it out the way you like. Wider tires, a stiffer suspension set-up and maybe even a better exhaust system. The possibilities are limited to your requirements and bank balance. For those who know what they want, this is undoubtedly the best option. Spending AED 35,000 for a basic suspension upgrade, black wheels and an inbuilt air compressor seems rather pointless. The only after thought would be Warranty – with the TRD kitted version, it’s all covered.

Photo Gallery

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD side

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD side

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD front

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD front

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD side

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD front

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD interior

2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD rear

6 Responses to 2015 Toyota FJ Cruiser TRD | First Drive

  1. Reza Reply

    June 15, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    • Exterior
      100%
    • Interior
      100%
    • Quality
      100%
    • Features
      100%
    • Performance
      100%
    • Value for money
      100%
    • Rated 5 stars

    Lovely caaaaaaar

  2. Tim Reply

    June 5, 2015 at 12:23 am

    Bought one…maybe I’m one of the idiots, that James points to.

    However,

    Offroad = almost unbeatable. Seriously capable.
    Onroad = Better to drive than a Wrangler, IMHO.

    Overpriced = for sure…

    But the Toyota warranty is arguably worth the extra cash…

    • Zaran Tarapore

      Zaran Tarapore Reply

      June 7, 2015 at 11:03 am

      Hey Tim,

      Great to have an owner’s feedback on the vehicle.

      Thanks for coming on and sharing your experience with us and all of our readers.

      Best regards,

      Zaran Tarapore

  3. James Reply

    May 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

    The options fitted on this TRD doesn’t cost more than 5k if done outside. Only idiots would buy this.

  4. faiq hussain Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 3:31 pm

    • Exterior
      95%
    • Interior
      100%
    • Quality
      99%
    • Features
      100%
    • Performance
      98%
    • Value for money
      98%
    • Rated 5 stars

    very very good car and excellent value for money especially for GCC area

  5. faiq hussain Reply

    February 12, 2015 at 3:28 pm

    • Exterior
      %
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      %
    • Quality
      %
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    • Value for money
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    • Rated 5 stars

    very very good car and excellent value for the money

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