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July 2010 InBox

Posted in Features on July 1, 2010 Comment (0)
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FJ vs. JK Smackdown, or just Smack?
In your "FJ/JK Deathmatch" (May '10) there are a couple of points to consider. Toyota says the FJ does not require premium fuel. It also certainly seems unfair to compare a Rubicon-equipped Jeep with a base FJ and then comment on the FJ's lame tires. Perhaps "similarly equipped vehicles weren't available in order to maintain editorial deadlines" or some such, but you could have at least mentioned the reason for the disparity in capability-enhancing optional equipment. The clamshell doors of the FJ aren't any worse than a lot of the rear doors of many extended cab pickups, and it doesn't take long to get used to the visibility constraints of the FJ. The addition of an ARB for the front axle, a cheap coil-spring spacer lift, and a set of good tires would use about a quarter of the eight-grand cost difference and would result in a far more capable FJ still at a significant savings, not to mention having something a bit different than everyone else at the mall.
Jay Isennock
Jarettsville, MD

Tech Editor Fred Williams responds: What the FJ requires and recommends may be two different things. Toyota's website does indeed recommend 91 octane fuel for the current model FJ Cruiser; the Wrangler does not (

Also the upgrades you mentioned are all excellent for an FJ Cruiser, and we never meant to diminish the FJ as a product or platform for building a great off-road machine. Rather, we were comparing it to the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in stock form. Yes, the rear doors are similar to some fullsize trucks, but again, that wasn't the test we were conducting.

Truth be told we would probably choose the FJ over many other 4x4s due to its size, performance, and price, but in our test the Rubicon it still ranks a close second.

More of the Same
There is an error in the "FJ/JK Deathmatch" article. The FJ Cruiser does not currently and never has had the requirement for premium unleaded. Toyota has made numerous statements that support this, and if you look online you will find the actual document. It was initially suggested by Toyota to use premium as a recommendation for increased performance, and then the entire subject was dropped for the '10 models. The article mentioned it no less than twice, and I hope your mag adds an addendum for clarification to the next issue.
Name withheld

Well, we would, except the website shows this:

4Runner 87
Avalon 87*
Camry 4-cyl/Hybrid 87
Camry V-6 87
Corolla 87
FJ Cruiser 91
Highlander V-6/Hybrid 87
Land Cruiser 87
Matrix 87
Prius 87
RAV4 4-cyl 87
RAV4 V-6 87
Sequoia 87
Sienna 87
Solara 4-cyl 87
Solara V-6 87*
Tacoma 4-cyl 87
Tacoma V-6 87
Tundra 87
Yaris 87

*For improved vehicle performance, the use of premium unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended.

Not only that, but the fuel filler door on our test model recommended 91, and it is required for maximum performance. Sorry, no retraction this time.

More Deathmatch Comments
In the May '10 comparison "FJ/JK Deathmatch," it did not seem to be a fair comparison of vehicles. Why would you compare the top-of-the-line Jeep Unlimited Rubicon four-door to a standard FJ with aTrac? Why wouldn't you compare it with the Trail Team edition, which has skidplates, sliders, and BFG AT tires (especially with the "what's with the lame treads" comment)? It just seemed misleading.
Carl Smith
San Diego, CA

We told Toyota that we were comparing its FJ to the Wrangler Rubicon. Toyota had the opportunity to send whatever model, package, and accessories it wished as long as it was a vehicle available from the dealership, the same way Jeep could send whatever options it deemed most appropriate for testing by an off-road magazine. Maybe Toyota didn't have any available in its press fleet-we're not sure-but we agree that the Trail Team package does offer some great upgrades for someone looking to purchase an FJ Cruiser.

It is our policy not to "test" vehicles that are not in front of us. We test what the manufacturer sends us, and unfortunately Toyota sent us an FJ with lame treads, not the more aggressive BFGs on the Trail Team package.

Final fj/jk Comment
Hey guys, I just read the stock JK/FJ comparo and had to laugh. Why would anyone trying to sell vehicles to off-road enthusiasts include "DNF" in the model designation of their IFS? Did nobody tell Toyota what that stands for? I'm a longtime reader and subscriber and think you guys (and gals?) are doing a great job. Keep it up!
Travis Kingsbury
West Sacremento, CA

We're sure that in Japanese it doesn't translate into Did Not Finish!

Filling our Shoes
In regard to your recent article on lifting a '71 Chevy K-10, "Lifting Old Iron" (May '10), I have just this to say. Nice truck, nice build, and definitely nice shoes. It takes a true man to wear Velcro "laced" shoes while wrenching on his 4x4. I can honestly say I am not that much of a man! Keep up the good work!
Joel Newkirk

I'm just glad I wasn't in the photo with my sandals. I can imagine what a comment I would get!

Reader Request: Digital Archives
I am writing in regard to a picture that was published in the Sept. '95 issue. It is the '79 Bronco "Fordified" on page 60. That Bronco was my uncles. He died from injuries he received in a motorcycle accident almost two years ago. I finally dug up the copy of the magazine that it was in and would like to see if there are any digital copies in your archives. I would like to blow them up and frame them for my cousins. He was always a gearhead or "throttle jockey," as the caption states, and I really think this captures who my uncle was. Any assistance in this request would be greatly appreciated.

We do not make articles generally available for sale, and the resolution is not high enough for a large photo. However, we were able to dig up this one somehow and present it here for you to enjoy.

Submission Information 4-Wheel & Off-Road welcomes letters to the editor. Letters must include an address or a telephone number so the sender can be verified. Once verified, your name may be withheld at your request. Letters published in this magazine reflect the opinions of the writers, and we reserve the right to edit letters for clarity, brevity, or other purposes. Due to the large volume of mail we receive, we regret that we cannot reply to unpublished letters or return photos. Digital photos must measure no less than 1600 x 1200 pixels (or two megapixels) and be saved as a TIFF, an EPS, or a maximum-quality JPEG file. Write to: Editor, 4-Wheel & Off-Road, 831 S. Douglas St., El Segundo, CA 90245; fax 310.531.9368 Email to:


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