In 2003 Toyota showed a concept FJ Cruiser at the Chicago Auto Show. Such was the public response that in 2006 the FJ went into production, unfortunately only in left-hand drive. Now a right-hand-drive version has been developed, and it’ll soon be available locally.
The retro-styled FJ Cruiser is supposed to be reminiscent of the iconic FJ40 Land Cruiser of the 1960s, but is actually based on the Prado. The chassis is a tough ladder-frame, with the FJ’s big body welded to it. Double-wishbone independent front suspension offers impressive wheel travel, while it still offers a good blend of capability and comfort. The solid rear axle uses a four-link coil-spring suspension system with a lateral rod, tubular shock-absorbers and a stabilizer bar. 17-inch steel wheels are standard, with P265/70R17 tyres, and alloys are available as an option.
Both 4×4 and 4×2 models are available in the States, but assume that only the 4×4 model will go on sale locally. Ground clearance for the 4×4 model is 244mm, while approach and departure angles are 34 degrees and 31 degrees respectively.
The manual versions of the FJ Cruiser use a full-time four-wheel-drive system, complete with a transfer case that gives a low-range ratio of 2,566. The transfer case uses a Torsen limited-slip centre differential with a locking feature, and distributes the engine’s power 60/40 under normal driving conditions. When locked the power is distributed equally between the front and rear axles.
Just one engine is available in the FJ Cruiser, and that is the familiar 4,0-litre V6 petrol engine that produces 194 kW at 5600 r/min and 367 Nm at 4400 r/min, thanks in part to the dual Variable Valve Timing with intelligence (VVT-i) system. A cyclone pre-air cleaner (standard on all models) is effective at trapping sand and dirt and is easy to clean.