Have you ever had a first impression of something only to find your perception changes after getting to know it? Sure you have and I just had that very experience with the 2008 Toyota FJ Cruiser. I suppose a bit of an explanation is in order here. Last fall, when I visited the IMPA Test Days, I had 3 vehicles I was psyched to check out on the off road test track. The H3, the Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon and the FJ Cruiser. The Rubicon is a full on off road beast and the Hummer folks had brought an H3 with all terrain tires and fancy paint straight off the SEMA show floor. The FJ Cruiser that that Toyota sent was wearing plain old all season tires. Talk about bringing a knife to a gun fight. Needless to say, the impression left by the FJ that day was severely hampered by tire choice. Fast forward 8 months and I’d just spent a week in a Rubicon and had the opportunity to get it dirty for the camera. When I picked up the beige FJ from Toyota Canada, it was wearing some all season boots. So much for our planned photo shoot in the mud! I was disappointed.
What happened during our week with the FJ Cruiser was very interesting. Every single time I got behind the wheel, I found something else that I liked. The truck grew on me in a way that no other vehicle ever has.