Article and Photos by: Ankur Sharma
To launch the FJ Cruiser, Toyota invited MrGadget to the Flinders Ranges in South Australia, taking us on a 4WD expedition showcasing the vehicle’s true off-road toughness. We drove through some of the most rugged terrain in the outback to put this vehicle to the test!
We spent two days driving through some incredible serene off-road tracks around Wilpena Pound, traversing cliffs, driving through rolling hills, up and down creek beds which the FJ got us through flawlessly.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser features:
- 4.0 litre V6 petrol engine and five-speed automatic transmission
- Part-time 4×4 with an electrically activated rear differential lock & active traction control system
- Five seats – the seat fabric is water-repellent and breathable
- 17-inch alloy wheels and Triple windscreen wipers
- A world first: amplifier speakers in the ceiling above your head to deliver music directly to all passengers.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is a tough and functional descendent of the original FJ40: a two-door, short wheelbase, four-wheel-drive vehicle that first went on sale in early 1960s. The new FJ has still retained some of the features of its legendary namesake – two round headlights set on either side of a mesh grille, an upright windscreen, wrap-around rear corner windows and the now-familiar flat, white top. But underneath the stylish skin, it’s totally modern.
Like the original, the FJ grille features “Toyota” rather than the modern bulls-horns type logo.
Cruiser puts the onus on the driver’s ability, with little in the way of driver assist technologies. It is fitted with electronic functions, such as Active Traction Control and Rear Differential Lock, these can be switched on and off on demand. This enables drivers to challenge their personal driving skills and enjoy sporty off-road driving.
Toyota FJ Cruiser’s upright windscreen has rare triple wipers.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser has a 6 stack CD player, 8-Speaker audio system, USB for iPod connectivity, 3.5mm input jack for other MP3 players and Bluetooth connectivity for mobile phone hands free and audio streaming.
FJ has raised the audio excitement factor with a pair of advanced “Exciter” speakers which are installed in the roof lining complementing the conventional door speakers. The result is a broad sound pattern and richer acoustic environment.
Safety is a priority with six SRS airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-skid brakes with brake assist, rear sonar parking sensors and a reversing camera with the display located in the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.
Multi information display – inclinometer, compass and outside temperature indicator – mounted on dashboard, power windows, power mirrors, cruise control, keyless entry, air conditioning and privacy glass are also standard.
The Chief Engineer for the Toyota FJ Cruiser, Akio Nishimura was present at the launch event. He said that from the outset, the goal was to develop a rugged sports utility vehicle to capture the hearts of the younger generation – people in their 30s and 40s who want a capable, affordable, off-roader to suit their active lifestyles.
The Lead Exterior Designer Jin Kim was present along with Toyota Australia senior executive director sales and marketing David Buttner providing insight to design and production of the Toyota FJ Cruiser.
With 17 inch wheels and a re-engineered stiffened suspension, the FJ is refined for Australian conditions and provides a very comfortable feel on both gravel and bitumen.
The retro-styled FJ Cruiser was first launched in North America back in 2007. This true off-roader is now available in right-hand drive and will go on sale in Australia by late March 2011.
With a recommended retail price of A$44,990, no model grades or option packs, Toyota has delivered a vehicle that will be a hit among city dwellers and 4WD enthusiasts alike. FJ Cruiser will be offered in nine exterior colors – all with white roof – including Hornet Yellow and Voodoo Blue.
To kick off the launch, Toyota is offering people on Facebook an opportunity to purchase a vehicle at a socially reduced price. Jump onto www.likemyride.com.au, click that you ‘like’ the Toyota FJ Cruiser and the price will drop by $5. Anyone can register to buy the FJ with up to $20,000 off the price.
With the catch-phrase “Go anywhere! Do anything!” Toyota FJ Cruiser has the equipment and quality necessary for enjoyment as both an on-road and off-road vehicle.
Article and Photos by: Ankur Sharma
Tags: 4 wheel drive, FJ Cruiser, Outback Australia, South Australia, Toyota, Toyota 4WD, Toyota Australia, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Toyota FJ Cruiser 2011, Toyota FJ Cruiser Review