Hey, Cruiser fans. Get ready. Toyota has a new FJ and it's heading toward production. The all-new FJ Cruiser was unveiled at the Chicago Auto Show in February 2005 and is slated to reach Toyota dealerships in early 2006. Prompted by an overwhelmingly positive public response to an FJ concept developed two years ago, the new FJ Cruiser features several styling cues from the original FJ-40 Land Cruiser, including its wide grille with "Toyota" emblazoned on it, round headlights, wrapping rear corner windows, upright windshield, and white-capped roof. The vehicle is further enhanced with a two-part rear hatch with flip-up glass, black over fenders with mudguards, silver-painted bumper extenders, and offset combination headlamps.
With room for five passengers, the FJ Cruiser uses a 4.0L V-6 engine capable of 245 hp and 282 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed automatic transmission is offered on both 4x2 and 4x4 models, however, a six-speed manual transmission is an available option on 4x4 models. Additional optional equipment is said to include 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels, a rear differential lock, electronic four-wheel traction control (on 4WD models only), running boards, rear sonar backup assist, front seat-mounted side airbags and front- and rear-side curtain airbags, daytime running lights, power outside mirror with image lights, cruise control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, stereo system upgrades, a multi-information display, privacy glass, and a rear wiper. As with all SUVs in Toyota's lineup, the FJ Cruiser will also be equipped with the Star Safety System, which includes vehicle stability control (VSC) and traction control (TRAC), an antilock braking system (ABS) with electronic brake-force distribution (EBD), and brake assist as standard. All 4x2 models will also include a standard automatic limited-slip differential (ALSD).
The final production design of the FJ Cruiser was a joint project by Toyota Motor Corporation and Calty Design Research, which developed the original FJ Cruiser concept in 2003. "The FJ Cruiser effectively fills a gap in the Toyota lineup, which was once our core heritage-capable, affordable, and durable vehicles that are youthful, fun-to-drive, aggressive, and tough," said Don Edmonds, senior vice president and general manager of Toyota Division. "The FJ Cruiser will deliver true off-road ruggedness, image, and performance at a very low price, making it highly accessible for a large volume of young buyers.
Ford F-Series Best-Seller in 2004Earning its designation as America's best-selling vehicle for the 23rd year in a row, Ford's F-series pickup truck also set industry truck sales records during the month of December 2004. For the full year, Ford dealers delivered 939,511 F-series trucks, topping the previous 2001 record of 911,597. Last year marked the first full year of sales for the all-new F-150, and also included the redesigned F-series Super Duty model, which made its debut in September 2004. December sales were 95,392, up 13 percent from the previous year's record-setting numbers, and marking the 16th month in a row of higher F-series sales.
VW Touareg Goes Highest
The VW Touareg recently added a new accomplishment to its long list of impressive attributes. Apparently, it has few issues with altitude being that it successfully reached the height of 6,080 meters (19, 947.5 feet) to earn a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the highest altitude recorded for a vehicle. At the wheel of the record-breaking Touareg was Ronald Bromann, who has won the European Truck Trail competition several times. The VW Touareg and an expedition team of eight individuals trudged up the lunar landscape of the Ojos del Salado, the world's highest volcano, to achieve the record. The vehicle was equipped with a winch, a roof rack with rescue equipment, spare parts, lighting, and a host of navigational equipment. For more information about the recorded-setting Volkswagen Touareg, contact: www.vw.com.
International XT Family
Well known as a leading manufacturer of tractor-trailer trucks, the International Truck and Engine Corporation is expanding its line of commercial pickup trucks. The International XT family of trucks was on display at the 2005 Chicago Auto Show and included the CXT (the world's largest production pickup truck), RXT, MXT, and a futuristic concept pickup truck called the Project XT.
The RXT is a 22-foot-long 4x2 crew-cab pickup with an 8-foot bed, commercial hydraulic brakes, full body skirts, and an air cab suspension. It features an International VT 365 diesel V-8 engine with 230 hp and 540 lb-ft of torque for great hauling and towing capability. The MXT is a preproduction prototype vehicle derived from a military chassis offered with the same International grille and crew-cab configuration as all the XT family, but features a more aggressive design with the headlights integrated into the front fenders, rough terrain tires, and excellent 4x4 capability. The CXT is currently available from International dealers, while the new RXT will be offered in fall 2005. The MXT will be available in late 2005, with the first version designed for military applications and government agencies such as the U.S. Border Patrol. A commercial version of the MXT is slated for production in 2006.
Jeep-Brand Adventure CompetitionWhat do Jeep and the ESPN Winter X Games have in common? They both thrive in the colder months. Jeep displayed its fondness for snow-covered mountains as it held its Second Annual All About the Ride Jeep Adventure Competition in cooperation with Aspen/Snowmass and ESPN. The event, which took place on Tiehack Run at Buttermilk Mountain in Aspen, featured top-name athletes who competed in the 2005 Winter X Games and media covering the games in a timed test of winter driving skills. Cash prizes were then donated to charities in the winners' names. A total of $6,000 was donated to the charitable organizations Boarding for Breast Cancer, the Clayton Memorial Foundation, the Aspen Environmental Fund, and the Aspen Community Fund. Athlete and media winners included 2005 Winter X Game Moto-X gold medallist Brian Deegan, X Games judge Jim Rippey, ESPN X Games announcer Jamie Little, and Indy 500 and X Games announcer Paul Page. Jeep also donated an additional $1,000 to each of the runner-ups in the competition.