To save some of you the disadvantage of wading through my admittedly-wordy content, I’ll divulge the dirty little secret up front. For those who prefer to skip straight to the end of the book, my expeditionary platform of choice is none other than Toyota’s FJ Cruiser. For those interested in some of the history behind my purchase, please do read on.
My first encounter with Toyota’s FJ Cruiser platform was, oddly enough, not on the street or on a car lot. Our paths initially converged, believe it or not, in the overly-commercialized alleyways of the local town mall. My wife and I, while enjoying a brief but leisurely reprieve from our busy work schedule, came out of one of the mall shops only to be presented with a vehicle unlike anything I had ever seen. To say it’s unique in style is a rather broad understatement. The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a most refreshing combination of nooks and crannies, achieving both form and function in its design. Unfortunately, because it was a mall display, all the doors were locked, preventing lookie loos like myself from getting a true first-hand impression. But that did not prevent me from curiously peeking and peering inside through any glass I could find. The encounter was brief, but succeeded in planting a seed, a seed which began to slowly grow.
I feel the need to state up front that my intentions when originally purchasing my Toyota FJ Cruiser were not entirely based on expeditionary trips. At the height of the gas crisis when diesel prices were hovering near or above five dollars a gallon, I was the poor sap sitting with his 2005 Ford F-350. Powered by a 6.0 liter Powerstroke diesel engine, I had pulling power to spare. Unfortunately, the same could not be said about the cash in my wallet. This post is most certainly not a knock at Ford. I’ve had a string of Ford diesel pickups over the years and loved every one of them. But the price of diesel combined with a 2+ hour commute each day to work was putting my finances in a bit of a pinch. This resulted in a truck that was getting driven about once a week in order to save on fuel costs. I eventually decided it was time to either sell it or trade it in. It was a fateful second step, I must say.
It was shortly after I made the decision to sell the Ford, that I decided to stop by the local Toyota dealership and get a better view of the FJ Cruiser. I’ll save you all some time and leave out the days and days of negotiating tactics and dealer trips. Suffice it to say, I was finally able to come to an agreement with one of the semi-local dealerships, trading my F-350 in for a brand new 2007 FJ Cruiser. I spent the entire trip home from the dealer grinning sheepishly, elated with my purchase decision. And not much has changed since. After almost three years of ownership, I am just as enamored with the FJ today as I was when I purchased it. In fact, I am probably more in love with it now than I’ve ever been. My hat’s off to Toyota for delivering a truly remarkable product.