Toyota’s take on its FJ40 swept all before it in 4X4 of the Year, but how does the FJ Cruiser rate against a couple of real icons?
“What were they thinking?” said one former editor, incredulous at the decision to name Toyota’s quirky FJ Cruiser 4X4 of the Year (4X4OTY). His wasn’t the only voice of dissent; the FJ became one of the most controversial winners in the history of our long-running award.
At a time when turbo-diesels seem to be making all the running, eyebrows were raised because the FJ Cruiser is a petrol-only model, and only an auto at that… and one with a relatively small fuel capacity. Some also questioned the FJ’s limited interior space, while others deemed the FJ too pug-ugly to be deserving of anything, let alone the 4X4OTY award.
Of course, this is all grist for the mill; another day in the life of the magazine and, as they say, the judges’ decision is final.
The 4X4OTY award typically throws together a disparate group of vehicles simply because eligibility is based on being new that year, and not on price or vehicle type, and the finalists are not compared to each other but judged against the award’s criteria. The field that the FJ beat home was as diverse as ever, but raises the obvious question: How would the FJ go against similar, price-comparable vehicles?