Production of Toyota’s FJ Cruiser is set to end in August, 2016.
Since its local launch in 2011, the FJ Cruiser has considerably exceeded expectations, with more than 11,000 of the rugged off-roaders finding Australian homes.
In its debut year, it also claimed the coveted 4X4 Australia Magazine Car of the Year award – in controversial circumstances, mainly due to its petrol-only engine.
The retro-inspired off-roader draws its DNA from the rough-as-guts FJ40 Land Cruiser, which was first seen in 1960. The FJ40 felt most at home on arduous terrain, and it was best known for its dependability in hostile conditions.
More than 1.1million FJ40s were produced between 1960 and 1984.
There were several concepts that led Toyota to produce the FJ Cruiser.
In 1999, Toyota’s Retro Cruiser stole headlines at the Chicago Auto Show. The concept vehicle – a converted 1967 FJ40, created by Rod Millen – combined the bodywork of an FJ40 with a modern Cruiser chassis and V8 donk. ICON 4x4’s Jonathon Ward also produced a prototype that was more akin to the original FJ40.
But it was the Rugged Youth Utility displayed at the 2003 North American International Auto Show as an FJ Cruiser concept that led to what we eventually got. It was a unique design that included several design cues of the original FJ40, but was identifiable as its own vehicle. It was more a homage than a retro FJ.
Tony Cramb, Toyota Australia’s executive director of sales and marketing, said that the FJ Cruiser built on more than 50 years of Toyota tradition in producing tough off-road vehicles.
“[The FJ] is renowned for its ability to traverse rugged outback trails, while offering plenty of utility for all types of activities…
“It will leave lasting memories as one of the most iconic vehicles in Toyota’s rich SUV history…”
The FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine (200kW/380Nm), which is mated to a five-speed auto transmission, part-time 4x4, and electronically activated rear diff lock and Active Traction Control tech.
It also has the best approach and departure angles (36- and 31-degrees, respectively) in the entire Toyota 4WD range.
Originally built in left-hand-drive only, primarily for the US market, the production of LHD units stopped in 2014. Production of RHD FJs will cease August this year. Priced from $46,990, it could be a clever purchase.