Farewell to Toyota's FJ Cruiser
The rugged and retro-inspired Toyota FJ Cruiser off-roader is being discontinued over the next few months, as Japanese production ceases in August after a decade-plus run.
Launched late in Australasia in 2011, the body-on-frame FJ Cruiser has become something of a cult car, with more than 11,000 sold in Australia so far at a rate of 180 units per month — much higher than first expected. Even in its final year, FJ sales are nudging the Jeep Wrangler.
Claimed to be inspired by the FJ40 — though the stylistic resemblance is... vague — the FJ Cruiser complemented its retro-cool design with genuine off-road ability, thanks to its Prado-based mechanicals.
It offered a number of interesting touches, such as 90-degree clamshell-style rear suicide doors, bright colours (outside and inside the cabin) with contrasting roof hues, and a swing-out glass insert in the side-hinged tailgate. This contrasted the FJ Cruiser all the more with Toyota’s generally safe and predictable range over its tenure.
Power has always come solely from a 200kW/380Nm 4.0-litre petrol V6, matched in Australia with a five-speed auto gearbox.
Photo / Dean Taylor
Off-road credentials were assured with part-time 4×4, locking rear differentials and switchable active traction control. Among all of Toyota’s rugged 4x4s, the FJ Cruiser has the best approach and departure angles — 36 and 31 degrees respectively.
Australian market versions also got the typical local testing, with specific coil suspension calibration, 70-profile tyres and NVH adjustments for the country’s coarse-chip roads that were eventually adopted globally.
A 2013 update then added a 87-litre sub-tank to the existing 72L main tank, taking range to 1400km, and Toyota’s CRAWL off-road cruise-control system.
“The FJ rides into the sunset as a vehicle renowned for its ability to traverse rugged outback trails while offering plenty of utility for all types of activities and being equally well-suited for everyday driving,” Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said.
“It will leave lasting memories as one of the most iconic vehicles in Toyota’s rich SUV history, helping to bring renewed energy to the Toyota brand.”