Since its launch demand for Toyota’s FJ Cruiser has exceeded expectations. This is probably because the FJ Cruiser is not only a revelation in its looks but it is extremely capable off road as well. The FJ Cruiser is powered by a 4.0L V6 5 Speed drivetrain with a dual transfer case.
Externally the FJ Cruiser has distinctive styling. Jump in the comfortable driver’s seat and the height adjustable steering wheel feels good in your hands with audio and bluetooth controls. I would have liked some adjustable squab and lumbar support but there is adequate slide adjustment.
The dash is well laid out with an upright front windscreen (which has three wipers) and sits high and forward, giving a feeling of space but you find yourself sitting slightly higher to obtain better forward visibility, especially off road.
There is a clever storage bin in the top of the dash right in front of the driver but no front glove box for the passenger as they make do with a smaller under dash storage area.
With no centre console, a storage bin will take a number of drink bottles and other stuff that we all seem to accumulate.
The audio system also features a USB port for iPod™ connectivity, 3.5mm input jack for other MP3 players, six-stack CD player and Bluetooth™ for mobile phone hands free and audio streaming.
Safety is a priority with six airbags and active front-seat head restraints and a reversing camera with the display located in the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror. This should be mandatory for all vehicles. Active safety features include switchable active traction control (A-TRAC), VSC, and ABS with EBD and BA.
The Coupe design is high waisted with narrowed windows but visibility is reasonable with the use of large side mirrors and reverse camera overcoming any blind spot.
The suicide doors have the B-pillars built in and support the upper and lower front seatbelt anchorages and are opened from the inside. Access is passable and sitting in the rear seats is reasonably comfortable. Visibility is a bit like looking out of an aeroplane window.
The rear seat has a 60/40-split seat back and a double folding cushion function. The cargo area is home to three child restraint anchorage points and four cargo tie-down points. The cargo deck is 754mm above the ground to make loading easy.
The FJ Cruiser has very comfortable rubber mats that take practicality to new levels and yet provide the necessary noise suppression.
Toyota has kept the electronic wizardry to a minimum of Active Traction Control and rear differential lock that can be switched on and off on demand. On test we never had to engage the rear diff lock and we only engaged the ATC to play with it.
The FJ Cruiser has the looks and street cred backed up by off road capabilities. There is not much around at the same price that looks as good or has the same feel both on and off road, but please Mr Toyota when can we have the diesel.
What is good:
• It looks different
• Surprisingly comfortable inside
• Capable off road
What is not so good:
• No Diesel
• Over bonnet visibility
• No Diesel (not a misprint)
Model Toyota FJ Cruiser
Model Price $50,992 RDAP
Drivetrain 4WD 4.0-litre V6 5 speed auto
Power 200 Kw @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 380 Nm @ 4,400 rpm
Safety 5 Star ANCAP
CO2 Emissions 267 g/km
Green Vehicle Rating 2 ½ Star
Economy (ADR comb) 11.4 L/100km
Tow Capacity – Max 2250 kg
Tow Ball Rating 225 Kg
Servicing $210 per service up to 3yrs/60,000km
Warranty 3yr/100,000 km with full roadside assist
Overall OzRoamer Rating 82/100
Behind the Wheel 7
Ride & Handling 8
Fit for Purpose 9
Towing Ability 6
Off Road Ability 9
Value for Money 10