Retro vi­sion

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Used Car -

NEW It be­gan with the Mini, then came the Bee­tle and the Cin­que­cento or Fiat 500, and fi­nally there was the FJ Cruiser, Toy­ota’s retro salute to the FJ45 LandCruise­r.

It’s easy to dis­miss such sen­ti­men­tal­ity as all style and no sub­stance but the FJ Cruiser was more than a retro styling ex­er­cise.

It had to be be­cause Toy­ota is rightly proud of its off-road cred­i­bil­ity and build­ing a model that couldn’t cut it in the com­pany of such greats as the LandCruise­r and Prado just wasn’t go­ing to hap­pen.

So, if you look past the old­timer styling you find a proper off-roader ca­pa­ble of mix­ing it with the leg­ends.

That’s be­cause the FJ Cruiser was based on the Prado with the same un­der­pin­nings as the highly re­garded off-roader.

It has the same full-time four-wheel drive with lowrange ra­tios to get up and over rocks and logs it might en­counter deep in the bush.

To­gether with the goany­where drive there’s also the same amount of ground clear­ance and the same wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion from the coil­spring sus­pen­sion.

If there was dis­ap­point­ment, it was be­cause Toy­ota only fit­ted the FJ Cruiser with a petrol V6 — still, it had some se­ri­ous grunt with 200kW and 380Nm on tap.

The down­side of the petrolonly op­tion is fuel econ­omy, which at 11.4 L/100km claimed av­er­age isn’t great.

On top of that you need to shell out for pre­mium un­leaded in­stead of the reg­u­lar stuff the Prado uses.

There was no choice in trans­mis­sions ei­ther; Toy­ota spec­i­fied only a five-speed au­to­matic.

At first sight the FJ Cruiser ap­pears to be a two-door wagon but on closer in­spec­tion you find it’s really a four-door with the rear doors work­ing in con­junc­tion with the front doors to pro­vide ac­cess to the rear seats. NOW As it’s based on the Prado, there’s lit­tle that’s likely to go wrong with the me­chan­i­cals of the FJ Cruiser. The en­gine, gear­box and driv­e­train are well proven and give lit­tle trou­ble.

In­stead, fo­cus on the un­der­body and the com­po­nents un­der the car.

This is a ca­pa­ble off-roader, built with the in­ten­tion of be­ing used off the black top so it’s well worth­while check­ing for ev­i­dence of off-road use. Not driv­ing along the beach or a for­est track but the heavy stuff, crawl­ing over rocks and logs on tracks that are barely vis­i­ble.

Look for bashed body­work, bent brack­ets, flat­tened ex­hausts, split rub­ber bush­ings and seals.

Con­sider walk­ing away if you find any­thing that sug­gests hard use, be­cause there are plenty of other FJ Cruis­ers that have never been through any­thing more test­ing than the lo­cal school run.

There have been three re­calls to be aware of. The first was in 2011 to check the side airbag sen­sor that could re­sult in the side airbags be­ing in­cor­rectly trig­gered in a crash.

An­other in 2013 re­lated to cracks around the front seat belt an­chor­ages in the side pil­lar. The con­cern was that the an­chor­ages could pull out of the mount­ing panel in a crash.

In 2014 there was an­other to check the ma­te­rial and rout­ing of the fuel tank breather hose (main to sub-tank), which could be af­fected by heat from the ex­haust and leak with the pos­si­bil­ity of caus­ing a fire. OWN­ERS SAY

We’ve just done a trip around Aus­tralia in our FJ Cruiser and it did it eas­ily. We climbed sand dunes, drove through rivers, went up steep climbs and clam­bered over boul­ders. Didn’t miss a beat.

I ab­so­lutely love my FJ Cruiser. It’s so nice to drive, the in­te­rior is beau­ti­ful and it’s so dif­fer­ent from any­thing else out there.

I had mis­giv­ings about buy­ing an FJ Cruiser af­ter own­ing a Prado but I couldn’t be hap­pier with it. It’s bril­liant of­froad, tows eas­ily and we’ve had no trou­ble with it.

The FJ Cruiser looks amaz­ing, the in­te­rior and ex­te­rior rock. It’s ex­cel­lent.

My FJ Cruiser has sur­passed all my expectatio­ns.

SMITHY SAYS More than a fa­mil­iar face, the FJ Cruiser is a re­li­able and ca­pa­ble off-roader.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.