THE new Toyota FJ Cruiser is unique and it offers buyers a retro spin on the traditional SUV, boasting a throwback design that manages to turn heads everywhere it rolls.
You could consider the Hummer as somewhat of a competitor to this, but since it is no longer offered locally, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is pretty much in a league of its own.
Street credibility comes standard by the bucket load in the FJ Cruiser: you’re guarannteed to get instant respect from your fellow road users, when you pull up in something with as much presence and individuality as this.
But be assured that it isn’t all only for show – the FJ Cruiser is more than a big fashion accessory pavement crawler, and it actually boasts competence on the rough stuff. The idea here is simple: a product that embodies the go-anyhwhere ability of Toyota’s Land Cruiser series, but with a more stylish approach to it all. Toyota have touted this FJ Cruiser as the rebel of the bunch – saying that it would most likely be the one to arrive home to its Land Cruiser family, sporting a tattoo.
It takes many cues from the orginal FJ40. Up front you’ll find single, round headlamps, high mounted bumper and air intake, a mesh grille and a large Toyota emblem. The FJ Cruiser has a distinctively boxy profile – with some rounded elements, giving it a contemporary flavour. This is undoubtedly a vehicle without any qualms about its masculinity, with square wheelarches, housing some big off-road tyres with functional, but aggressive-looking alloy wheels. It’s got suicide doors; like you would find on the Rolls Royce Phantom: these open outwards and to the rear.
The FJ Cruiser’s interior boasts a blend of functionality, with character. The floor is covered in a robust rubber material, and upholstery is of an enduring fabric cloth variety. Novel touches include body coloured trim on the doors and centre console. You can tell that the FJ Cruiser’s butch nature is more than just an image – they want you to put this thing to good use: interior dials and switches for example, are purposefully chunky so that they can still be operated with gloves – if you’re driving through cold, snowy conditions.
Powering the Toyota FJ Cruiser is a 4-litre V6 engine; bringing the go to match the show. Plenty of grunt is on tap, with 200-kilowatts and 380 Newton metres of torque. Conquering obstancles – like sandy dunes, or even the city’s pavements, is unlikely to be an issue then. Driving in normal conditions, power is sent through the rear wheels, although you can send the power to all four wheels if you’re faced with some really tough terrain. The FJ Cruiser comes with a five-speed automatic transmission.
You can choose from four FJ Cruiser models: The Base, Sport Cruiser, Desert Cruiser and Trail Cruiser. The models are distinguished by various aesthetic trims, features and of course price. The Base model starts off at R435 000, while the more expensive Desert Cruiser comes in at R451 700. One is also able to customise the FJ Cruiser with products from the Toyota dealer network, for a bit of added individuality. A 5 year/90 000 kilometre service plan, as well as a 3 year/100 000 kilometre warranty is available throughout the FJ Cruiser range.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser is certainly something that will appeal to those who want something big, brash and different. It stands out in a crowd, and the fact that it is a Toyota – bringing the sound reputation that comes with the name, will also count in its favour.