NEW FOR 2009:

– Curtain airbags replaced with roll-sensing curtain airbags with off-switch
– Standard active front head restraints and front seat map lamps
– Redesigned sun visors
– Standard Active Traction Control (A-TRAC) with cutoff switch
– Locking rear differential added to automatic transmission models
– Off-Road Package and Adventure Package add spare tire cover and auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, and delete clearance and backup sensor, Active Traction Control and locking rear differential
– Exterior colours: Silver Fresco Metallic and Black added; Titanium Silver and Black Diamond deleted

The FJ Cruiser receives several safety upgrades for 2009, including roll-sensing airbags (which can be switched off for off-road driving), standard active front head restraints, and active traction control. There are also changes to the model’s two option packages.

Designed for the North American market, the FJ Cruiser uses a full frame modified from the Tacoma pickup truck, and a 4.0-litre V6 engine with six-speed manual transmission or optional five-speed automatic. The full-time four-wheel drive includes stability control, Active Traction Control, rear differential lock, two-speed transfer case, and fuel tank and transfer case protector plates.

The FJ Cruiser comes in a single trim line and includes 17-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, CD/MP3 stereo with auxiliary input, water-repellent fabric seats, 60/40 split-folding rear seat, power locks, power windows, three-spoke tilt steering wheel, rubber floor with all-weather floor mats, front tow hook, foldable exterior mirrors, flip-up rear hatch glass, splash guards, variable intermittent wipers, and rear washer/wiper.

The available Off-Road Package includes 16-alloy wheels with mud-and-snow raised white-letter tires, front and rear Bilstein shock absorbers, passenger folding armrest, rear privacy glass, cruise control, auto-dimming rearview mirror with integrated backup camera, multi-information display, keyless entry, exterior mirror image lamps and spare tire cover.

The Adventure Package builds on the Off-Road Package and adds six-CD stereo with wheel-mounted audio controls and rear subwoofer, 115-volt power outlet, running boards, leather-wrapped steering wheel, colour-keyed interior door trim and cargo area mat, but deletes the Bilstein shock absorbers and 16-inch wheels.

The FJ Cruiser looks "sport-cute" with its retro styling, but it’s also seriously capable, with approach and departure angles of 33.5 and 30 degrees, and the ability to ford up to 70 cm of water. Its chunky handles and controls, easy-clean interior and comfortable front seats make it a great choice for outdoor lovers, but the rear-mounted spare tire and huge C-pillars remove almost all rear visibility. The small back doors are rear-hinged, requiring the front doors to be opened first, and the rear seat is tight. The easy-clean interior includes rubber flooring, all-weather floor mats and dark charcoal water-repellent seat fabric.

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