Did You See the Top Gear Episode with the FJ Cruiser?

Did You See the Top Gear Episode with the FJ Cruiser?

Some of you may have seen the recent Top Gear (USA) episode that included a 2014 TTUE FJ Cruiser, the Overland Journal LR4, and an AEV Brute Jeep conversion. If not, you can watch it here. I'll wait.

Top Gear USA on History FJ Cruiser

Before I wrote this I watched the episode a few times, partly to capture a few screen shots, but mostly to make sure I really understand what was going on. Like most network television, Top Gear is simply entertainment. The hosts are nice enough guys, and they make us chuckle, but they're not necessarily experts when it comes to vehicles, espcially when it comes to off-road, 4x4, or overland vehicles. When keeping that fact in mind with this particular episode, it's actually quite entertaining.

But there is more.


Top Gear USA on History FJ Cruiser Land Rover Jeep AEV

For those that actually know anything about modifying, using, and driving off-road vehicles, the comparison in this episode of Top Gear was complety unrealistic at best. At worst? Another paid advertisement for high-end vehicles that (almost) no 'real' people can afford. Let's start with the Jeep.

Top Gear USA on History AEV Jeep

AEV Brute with a HEMI conversion? As stated in the show, the vehicle retails for well over $100,000. According to the AEV site, their Brute conversions run $29,999 to $39,999 PLUS the cost of the original Rubicon, PLUS the cost of the Hemi conversion. It's a sweet rig, no doubt, but not realistic for a 'normal' person. Not a realistic comparison to the other two vehicles...Not. Even. Close.

Top Gear USA on History Overland Journal Land Rover LR4

Our friends over at Overland Journal truly did a great job on their OJ Edition LR4, a Land Rover 'Special' vehicle. Overland Journal did a number of really great modifications to that truck, and it's a very capable vehicle. Of course the BASE LR4 in 2012 started at $49,700. This is an upgraded model, and has at least $20,000 in additional upgrades as part of the OJ project. So we're looking at a $70,000+ vehicle if you could actually buy one of these. To my knowledge no Land Rover dealers actually sell the OJ model...so in many ways it's just a prototype at best.

FULL DISCLOSURE: We're a Toyota based magazine, with a profound love of Toyota FJ Cruiser trucks. TRD advertises with us, but Toyota Motor Sales USA does not (but we're happy to take their money if they want to). With my obvious bias in mind....

Top Gear USA on History FJ Cruiser

The 2014 Trail Team Ultimate Edition FJ Cruiser is the ONLY 'real' vehicle in this episode of Top Gear. I said it...I'll say it again...it's the only truck that anyone (well up to 2,500 of you) can actually go to a dealer...sign papers...and drive home with. Today. So keeping the fact that 2 of these vehicles are nothing more than fantasy's for anyone who would actually want one, only one truck in this episode is worthy of the comparison they manufactured.

Top Gear USA on History FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser TTUE not only completed every 'challenge' in the Desert Trailblazers edition of Top Gear on History, but it did so at an price point of around $40k. If I had $70k to burn, maybe I'd buy a '14 TTUE + a '13 TTSE. Then I could compare two real 4x4 vehicles to see which was better. Or, instead of an AEV brute that's too expensive to actually use, how about a trifecta of FJ Cruiser Special Edition trucks: A red 2012 TT, a white 2008 TT, and a blue 2014 TTUE. How patriotic.

Lastly...thoughts on using off road vehicles:

Top Gear USA on History stay on the trail

Since the three hosts obviously know nothing about how to use a 4x4 vehicle, I've provided a list of resources Top Gear can use before they attempt to do an 'off road' episode again.

Tread Lightly (They'll teach you how to drive in places you should, not like crazy 12 year olds out for a joy ride)

Barlow Jeep School / JT Grey Performance Driving / Bill Burke (Even though Nena Barlow, Scott Brady, and several others were 'consultants' on this episode, clearly Top Gear didn't sign up for the actualy 'learn how to to wheel' course)

Stay The Trail (Their website is SUPER easy to read...so anyone can learn where to keep their wheels, and how to respect the trail, the land, and other users)

FunTreks Guidebooks (Great guidebooks to help you find your way without getting lost, and without a GPS)

Way2Tread Maps (Maps that are really easy to read...even for those not used to being in the woods)

And finally...

An Introduction to Off Road Driving (So the hosts can learn what those buttons actually do)



That is all.