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The revived Ford Bronco’s success proves a market exists for retro-styled cars. But Toyota had its version long before the new Bronco arrived. The Toyota FJ Cruiser became popular among enthusiasts, but the Japanese automaker killed its retro-styled SUV a while ago. Here’s a look back at the FJ Cruiser and why Toyota discontinued it.

A brief history of the Toyota FJ Cruiser

Toyota FJ Cruiser discontinued
Toyota FJ Cruiser | Ken Hively/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The story of the FJ Cruiser began decades ago, around 1950, when the U.S. government asked Toyota to build jeeps. Those early vehicles eventually evolved into the Land Cruiser, which is still going strong. However, Toyota’s design choices changed over the years, and the latest Land Cruiser looks more like a typical SUV than a military jeep.

That’s where the FJ Cruiser came along. Envisioned as a modern take on the old Land Cruiser, the FJ Cruiser debuted in America for the 2007 model year. It was still designed to go off-road, but it had more modern comforts and up-to-date tech. 

Toyota offered one engine option in the FJ Cruiser, a 4.0-liter V6. It made 239 hp in its first year but was tuned up to 270 hp in later models. Although it was a potent engine that allowed the SUV to be quick, it wasn’t fuel-efficient, mainly because it was designed for off-roading. At best, owners could expect about 18 mpg overall.

Why did Toyota discontinue the FJ Cruiser for the American market?

At first, the FJ Cruiser sold well, but things soon went wrong. The Great Recession threw a one-two punch at automakers. The first was because many people lost their jobs and couldn’t afford to buy a car, especially a rugged new SUV. The second came with spiking gas prices around 2008, making gas guzzlers even less appealing. 

The result was the same for most automakers, as the Great Recession sent car sales plummeting. So automakers adjusted. For Toyota, that meant retiring the FJ Cruiser. The Japanese auto giant didn’t do it immediately, though, giving the SUV several years to turn sales around. However, they never rebounded, plateauing at about 14,000 units a year. So Toyota finally discontinued the FJ Cruiser in America after the 2014 model year.

The FJ Cruiser is retiring worldwide

Although the FJ Cruiser was discontinued nearly a decade ago in America, other countries continued to enjoy new models. However, Toyota didn’t make significant changes to the SUV over the years, so it’s unsurprising that the company finally pulled the plug on the FJ Cruiser in other markets worldwide.

Toyota left plenty of hints, too, including the Final Edition in the Japanese market a few years ago. And now, there’s a Final Edition for the Middle East. It’s almost identical to the last version for American consumers before Toyota pulled the plug. The latest Final Edition is available in Saudi Arabia. These 1,000 units boast some exclusive features, namely in uniquely numbered badges. 


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