HPI Racing 1/10 Venture Toyota FJ Cruiser 4WD RTR Review
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Review by Adrian Apodaca, RealRCReviews Owner
All stock Gear
Servo: Power HD LF-20MG
LiPO: Gens Ace 2s 5000mah
Transmitter: Spektrum DX4S
- Lots of great scale details
- Excellent geometry
- Good stock tires
- Great handling
- Decent transmitter
- Inexcusable stock servo
- Tamiya plug on ESC
A couple things to say before I start this review. First, as you know, I am not a hard-core crawler/scaler guy, though I do love owning and driving them. To me, they are kind of like flying an RC glider...slow, relaxing, beautiful. Second, as you know, I am not huge on specs, and tons of technical jargon. You all know who to read and watch for that kind of stuff. My review as usual, will just be my average Joe assessment as to whether or not I think the FJ Cruiser is worth your money. Finally, my video review is pretty lengthy, so I'll try to keep it brief here.
Out of the Box:
So I had pre-ordered the FJ from Tower Hobbies way back in mid 2017. I didn't know how long they'd keep pushing the release back so I used the money for something else. As you know, they started shipping late in the year and I couldn't get my hands on one until recently, when retailers like RPP and Amain got them in stock. I ordered mine from RPP and waited a few days. When it arrived, my son and I tore into it to see what it looked and felt like in person. We both fell in love with it instantly. It is a true RTR in that it comes with a charger, battery, transmitter, and even batteries for the transmitter.
As I mention in the cons, the ESC and battery have Tamiya plugs, which are a ridiculous choice for a modern RC. For that matter, I don't know why they give you a nimh battery. I'd rather they either charge a few bucks more and included a lipo, or shave a buck or two off and don't include a battery at all. Aside from these initial negatives, I really loved everything else about the truck. It looks superb and the layout, geometry and body design are great.
I initially started my testing with all stock equipment. Mostly just driving around my house and in my yard. Everything worked as worked fine except for the stock servo. I am never a guy to rush out to switch out stock equipment because generally, most good companies give you an adequate setup. We switch stuff out to get more power, or strength or durability. Not the case here. The stock servo is so weak that it struggled to move the tires on the carpet in my house. I tried climbing a few obstacles and the servo just flat out would not hold it's position.
I decided before I continued, I'd order myself a proven (yet cheap $18) Power HD LF-20MG servo and switch the truck over to my Spektrum transmitter. Wow, what a difference a little upgrade on the servo made on the steering power. As you'll see in the video below, I didn't take it on any crazy terrain, but what we did drive it on, it handled really well. The ground clearance allows you to tackle some pretty high obstacles and keeps you from getting high-centered. The bumper is close to the body so you won't find yourself hitting the bumper very often when traversing rocks and curbs...especially if you approach at an angle. Speedwise, the FJ Cruiser has a nice range of speed. It slows down nicely for challenging terrain, and speeds up well for the open parts of the trails where you just want to add some pep to your step and get to the next challenge. With a decent 5000mah lipo, you'll get really long run times with the FJ. I didn't have the patience to drive until low voltage cut off but generally speaking, with most crawlers, you'll get at least an hour of run time.
Aside from the tiny complaints I had on the Tamiya plugs and the major beef with the stock servo, I actually really love the FJ Cruiser. Even having paid full price for this truck, and dishing out another $18 for the new servo, I don't feel ripped off. There are enough positives about this truck to cancel out my complaints and them some. Even though it doesn't have a two speed transmission, I will say I like this truck as much as I like my Traxxas TRX-4. They are different, but both awesome. I will also VENTURE :) to say that I would take this FJ Cruiser over ANY of the Axial SCX-10 offerings. I feel it's just a much nicer, more scale, better all around set up. If you have been on the fence about this one, it's time to put the FJ in your virtual cart, and hit checkout. You won't regret it. It not only makes a lovely shelf-queen, but it is also an awesome, very capable scale crawler. Please check out our video and at least forward to the driving part. Be sure to give my son Demitri some props for the driving in the video I shot! Also, do us a solid and subscribe to our channel!