2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition. Click image to enlarge

Manufacturer’s web site

Toyota Canada

Review and photos by Michael Clark

Find this vehicle in Autos’s Classified Ads

Photo Gallery:
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser

Badges? We don’t need no stinking badges! Well, actually you do, when the vehicle the market-niks have dubbed as a Special Edition hits the runway. In this case, the runway is more of a muck-way, for the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams Special Edition (let’s call it the TTSE).

The quick answer for changes to the basic FJ are that there are practically no changes, especially in the terms of comparison to my previous tire-punt last fall. (Conveniently located at http://www.autos.ca/articles/mc/08fj.htm ) But for those in search of off-road capability that truly goes beyond the white-lettered tires, the TTSE is it. Essentially, the TTSE combines the FJ’s Off-Road Package and a list of extra comfort, appearance and off-road features. The TTSE weighs in at an MSRP of $37,900, (while the Off Road model is $34,820). In addition to the existing standard equipment on the FJ, here’s the breakdown on the package editions.

Offroad Package

  • Active Traction Control System (ATRAC)
  • Front and Rear Bilstein shock absorbers
  • P265/75R16 Raised White Letter, Mud and Snow tires
  • 16-inch Aluminium Alloy Wheels
  • Foldable Armrest
  • Privacy Glass
  • Cruise Control
  • Clearance and Back-up Sensor
  • Roof Rack
  • Compass
  • Power remote exterior mirrors with Image Lamps
  • Keyless Entry
  • Inclinometer

The TTSE includes the above, plus the following:

  • Wheel locks
  • Matte Black exterior finish (Wheels, mirrors, bumpers, door handles, ad infinitum.)
  • In-dash 6 CD changer, two additional speakers with subwoofer,
  • FJammer High Grade Audio System
  • Rear window privacy glass
  • 400W (115V) Power outlet
  • Rock rails (deletes running boards)
  • Front and rear skid plates
  • Roof rails
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel with audio controls
  • Colour-keyed interior door trim
  • Special Edition shift and transfer case knobs
  • Cargo area mat
  • All-weather floor mats

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition. Click image to enlarge

The TTSE is by no means a poser; there’s some serious thought behind the intended path. It starts with the in-your-face front skid plate, followed by the robust rock rails, with attachment points bordering on battleship. My only concern for serious off-roading is that the transfer case appears to be relying on the exhaust pipe for any unexpected thunks. The rear skid plate is similar to the front in construction. The roof rack on the TTSE includes sliding roof rails, with simple twist dials for the right cargo slide. Oh yes, there are badges to announce your muddy arrival, which even make their way onto the very-serious floor mats. To attempt to build either the C Package or the Off Road into a TTSE would be a stretch, if not downright impossible, as the only options available on either model fall under dealer-installed accessories. The skid plate array appears to be a TTSE exclusive. You can add the rock rails to the Off Road or the C, at $326.70 a side. There are no official provisions for tire and wheel changes.

2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition
2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser Trail Teams TRD Edition. Click image to enlarge

Though not an official dealer-installed accessory offering, you may want to consider changing the rock rails on the TTSE for the Predator Bars, a $474.50 option that includes both sides of the vehicle. (Try to get them thrown in, and a credit on the Rock Rails difference.) Think of them as Rock Rails Lite, with grip-style foot pads for ease of entry. If you’re more about the image than ever getting the TTSE dirty, the Predator Bars make sense, as the Rock Rails do nothing to aid ingress/egress. In fact, access to the front and rear seats of the TTSE is a downright chore, since the Rock Rails are located too far inward to be of any usable foot mount. While your entry and exit may be clumsy, there is plenty of head and leg room up front, as well as in the rear, even with a theatre-style seat cushion height.

Some changes suggested

With almost a year of a sobering buffer, there are a few changes the FJ needs that have yet to arrive. The rear cargo area glass still requires a physical key to be popped open. This could be so easily located on the keyless entry fob. There is no form of map light for the front passenger row. (Perhaps some form of rubberized removable/rechargeable flashlight would be FJ-worthy.) Another thought would a removable cover for the rear storage cubby, which could be easily stored in the rear seat pocket when not in use. Give it a press-fit neoprene perimeter seal, to keep with the FJ’s splash-me nature.

The Verdict

(9) One thing about Toyota; they can be downright Stephen Hawking-sharp when it comes to their option packages. The TTSE is the ultimate go-anywhere plaything, with very few reasons to head to the aftermarket for increased capability (which would void your warranty in a New York minute anyway). If you really want to go anywhere, accept no substitutes. If you want to go to the mall (on a hill, in a blinding snow storm) the FJ C Package is where you want to be, with an MSRP of $35,280 for the manual transmission.

The FJ as a whole drops from 5 stars in the previous review to 4.5, in respect to needed changes listed above.

Connect with Autos.ca