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Toyota FJ Cruiser

The

by Richard Webb

old stager returns

years ago, Toyota’s toughas-old nails Land Cruiser FJ40 was the world’s workhorse, dominating dirt tracks from Kilkenny to Kentucky.

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Toyota FJ Cruiser

Now, Toyota has rekindled some of the old FJ’s go-anywhere appeal with its new FJ Cruiser, a retro-styled off-roader targeted at the weekend warrior adventure crowd. Visually, this car shares DNA with both the original FJ40 and the Land Cruiser range, and is named the FJ Cruiser in recognition of that heritage. Not every market served by Toyota took on this unconventional looking model, but happily, South Africa did. Whilst it’s not a frequent sight on our roads it could well be an icon in the making. Based on the 2003 Detroit Show concept, the production FJ is a big car. Inside, the feel of tactile surfaces and materials are typically ‘Toyota’, meaning they’re hard-wearing and utility minded. There’s a number of design nods to the past, with rubber mats for easy cleaning, painted inserts in the door panels and a painted centre console and a flat dash that has a sense of ‘Meccano’ simplicity to it. It will not appeal to all though, as Toyota have tried hard to make the retro theme work and it’s perhaps an acquired taste for some. Water repellent seats are comfortable and well-shaped.
 Rear passengers are elevated, giving a great view of the road, which may reduce the amount of “are we there, yet, dad” chirps from the sprogs in the back. Laid flat, the back seats give way to a cavernous space, ideal for a mountain bike and a lot of camping gear. The thick C-pillar tends to make for a cave like ambience in the back, but head and legroom is good. Rear-mounted rear doors open out at right angles to provide surprisingly easy access to the rear, even for adults. The standard equipment levels are generous; privacy glass, rear parking sensors, cruise control, air-conditioning, multi-function steering , USB, iPod, Bluetooth and aux connectivity – so it’s all there.

“The design remains functional on all levels and the FJ Cruiser has unparalleled off road capabilities.” Functionality Storage is truly taken care of thanks to a multitude of small and larger storage areas that can carry oddments and food, including larger drink bottles in the side doors. But does it still offer the Land Cruiser experience in all respects? Calvyn Hamman, Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Toyota in South Africa, reckons it is. “The design remains functional on all levels and the FJ Cruiser has unparalleled off road capabilities.” he says.

suspension, with high-mounted double-wishbones up front and a fivelink system creates a comfortable ride, dispatching bumps and undulations with consummate ease. It makes light work of off-road endeavour, aided by the low range transfer case, rear diff-lock and 68 www.whiskymag.co.za

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Off road, the FJ Cruiser does indeed live up to its Prado underpinnings, benefitting from shorter, lighter sheet metal. The well-sorted all-coil


Toyota FJ Cruiser

specs

Laid flat, the back seats give way to a cavernous space, ideal for a mountain bike and a lot of camping gear. Toyota FJ Cruiser Maximum power (kW@r/min): 200/5600 Maximum torque (Nm@r/min): 380/4400 Fuel consumption l/100km: 11.9

CO2 Emissions g/km: 278 Engine: 6-Cyinders, V-type, 3956 cc

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Priced from: R453 100

switchable off-road traction control, A-trac (which diverts drive to wheels

with

traction),

give

it

serious

capability

in

the

rough.
The
36-degree approach and 31-degree departure angles are class leading and equip the car with an air of indestructibility over some very challenging off-road situations. The suspension set up and 17-inch alloy wheels help too. The FJ is also fitted with two heavy-duty hooks on the front bumper and one at the rear, making it look the part.

Options

Toyota engineers have worked hard to ensure that the FJ Cruiser

The FJ Cruiser is currently available in four versions with minor

retained its torsional rigidity in the absence of a B-pillar. They achieved

specification changes, The Base model has a black radiator grille, fabric

this by carefully strengthening the chassis and body shell, making it

seat covers and silver front bumper section and retails for R435 500.

safer without adding too much weight.

The FJ Sport Cruiser version touts a ‘Raven Black’ paint scheme, extra

The well proven 4 litre V6 petrol engine, which powers all four

chrome detailing, a full wheel cover on the back door and leather seat

models, offers up 200 kW at 5 600 rpm and 380 Nm at 4 400 rpm. The

trim, meaning that you are less likely to hose the car out like you could

engine has dual intelligent variable valve timing (i-VVTi) and 24 valves,

in the base model. FJ Sport Cruisers are available in limited numbers

with power delivered to the rear wheels in normal conditions or

and will retail for R457 300.

through four wheels when selected. The driver can select between 4x2,

Two customised versions are available from launch. These are the FJ

4x4 high and 4x4 low ranges. Road noise is nicely suppressed. Wind

Trail Cruiser and FJ Desert Cruiser, with some modest personalistion

noise however, is not. That upright front screen shares the aerodynamic

elements like a roof rack with integrated driving lamps, blacked hard

co-efficient of a barn door.

spare wheel cover, tow bar, all weather carpet sets and Trail badges or

Fuel consumption is a thorny subject at the best of times but with the FJ Cruiser, it’s a bit of a disappointment. The quoted average

a nudge bar, with integrated driving lamps, a full set of all weather carpets, rock rails and a tow bar

of 11.4 l/100km will seem slightly optimistic if you are even slightly

All versions of the FJ Cruiser will be available with a 5 year/90 000km

leaden of foot. It begs out for a diesel unit, which is not, alas, available

service plan and a 3 year/100 000km warranty. Toyota has made a super

at present. It’s a real pity. Toyota will sell loads more with a decent,

effort with its new FJ Cruiser. It’s as competent as it is appealing it is a

punchy and frugal diesel unit.

worthy addition to the line up from Toyota South Africa.

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