Back to the future
With retro licks and modern kicks, Toyota hopes to hit the spot with the FJ Cruiser, writes CHRIS RILEY.
NO prices yet but Toyota is getting ready to launch its funky FJ Cruiser in Australia. Due to go on sale in March, be sure to check it out at the Sydney motor show if you’re there.
The FJ Cruiser takes its name from the 1960s-era FJ40, which was known as the vehicle that could travel to and return from any extreme environment.
Interestingly, the FJ is the only model to wear the name Toyota spelled out across its front grille, instead of the corporate emblem.
But, while the design has strong retro elements, that’s about as far as the links to the original go.
First shown at the Chicago motor show in 2003, Toyota decided to put this car into production due to public demand.
Here, however, it is likely to be a niche model and as such is expected to generate only a handful of sales.
The FJ sits on a modified Prado plaform and is powered by the 4.0-litre petrol V6 from Prado.
Unfortunately, there’s no diesel model which will limit sales.
The car we get will be built in Japan and features a part-time four-wheel drive system, with low range gearing for serious off roading.
The V6 puts out 200kW of power and and 380Nm of torque, and is coupled with a five-speed automatic transmission.
Double-wishbone coil suspension at the front and coils at the rear provide large wheel articulation and impressive water crossing capability, while there is excellent ground clearance.
The FJ Cruisers’ exterior styling provides the most obvious connection with Toyota’s roots body-on-frame structure, stocky appearance, unique Toyota badge on the grille, and the arrangement of its headlights and grille.
Setting it apart from other SUVs, its retro-inspired styling includes a near vertical windscreen with three wipers across the windscreen, a white roof irrespective of body colour and wrap-around rear windows.
Inside, there are two rows of seats with standardsize front door and smaller, reverse-opening rear doors. In keeping with the FJ’s mantra of style and substance, Toyota has opted for a no frills interior, including moulded floors for easy cleaning.
Translation: you don’t get floor carpets for your money – but that’s a good thing isn’t it?
In the US prices start from around $25,000 but expect it to be much more than that here.
Funk it up: The FJ40’s love-’em or hate-’em lines cover a rugged 200kw V6 unit – but there’s no diesel option and luxuries are few and far between.