A change of tune

The Courier-Mail - Motoring - - Which Car? - TOYOTAFJCRUISER

THE QUES­TION CHOICES You rule it out but the new For­tuner diesel is one of the clos­est ve­hi­cles to the con­cept you’re after. It’s based on HiLux un­der­pin­nings and has rugged off-road abil­ity with good wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion. Need space? Re­move the third-row seats and stow the sec­ond row, which folds flat. The Toy­ota FJ Cruiser is, in ef­fect, a mod­ern ver­sion of the orig­i­nal 4Run­ner de­sign (but with retro looks). You bet­ter be quick. The petrol-only FJ Cruiser is now out of pro­duc­tion and the only ex­am­ples are in dealer stock. The Isuzu is due to get a mi­nor facelift and en­gine tune-up be­fore the year is out be­cause the cur­rent 3.0-litre turbo diesel won’t meet Aus­tralian emis­sions re­quire­ments from Novem­ber 1. It has a slightly lower roof than the Holden Trail­blazer and Toy­ota For­tuner and has a roomy cargo bay (once the seats are stowed) and might meet your needs. WILDCARD It might not be as re­li­able as the Ja­panese branded ve­hi­cles but the Wran­gler has im­pres­sive go-any­where wheel ar­tic­u­la­tion and the cen­tre of grav­ity is quite low when the roof is off. Con­sider the four­door if you need more space. But be warned: de­spite the hype, Jeeps are still un­re­li­able and their cus­tomer ser­vice and parts back-up are found want­ing. VER­DICT Run the tape over a Toy­ota For­tuner. It’s more ca­pa­ble and more roomy than you think.

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