Out and About
Indoors is no longer an option....
Though a brand-new model in South Africa, the FJ Cruiser has been around since 2007, a resounding sales success in left-hand drive markets where it has become an icon in the lifestyle segment.
Toyota’s FJ Cruiser has only recently become available in right-hand drive form, and Toyota let no grass grow under the FJ’s tyres in making it available locally. It comes to South Africans in the year that Toyota Motors South Africa celebrates its 50th anniversary and its iconic Land Cruiser turns 60. Fittingly, the FJ features a retro look arking back to those original Cruisers – note the white roof, round headlamps, wide grille and wrap-around rear quarter windows and over fenders that pay homage to the classic FJ40 of the 1960s.
Weighing in at two tons, the FJ has the appearance of a coupé, but the full front and half rear doors lend easy access to a roomy cabin with comfortable seating for five adults. The B-pillars are built into the access doors and support the upper and lower front seatbelt anchorages.
The FJ is fitted with a powerful four-litre DOHC dual VVT-i V6 light alloy-block petrol engine mated to a five-speed auto gearbox sending drive to the rear wheels under normal on-road conditions and all four wheels, with low range option, when venturing off the beaten track. It is essentially the same mechanical set-up as seen in the Hilux and Prado, though with different power configurations.
DID YOU KNOW?
The FJ Cruiser is the only current Toyota with the manufacturer’s name spelled out across the grille rather than the bull’s-horns type logo. The wide windscreen has a rare three-arm wiper system.
This new SUV is very much about its owner’s indulgence and was developed for practical driving performance for everyday use about town, but it could whizz into the country for an off-road excursion on a whim. The cabin is focused on drivers and passengers who enjoy recreational activities. For instance, the water-repellent front-seat fabric means it’s easy to wipe off dirt and water. Beneath the fabric the seat covering has a urethane film which is both waterproof and breathable. The floor is fully washable, moulded from thermo-plastic-olefin (TPO) rubber for easy cleaning.The two front seats are of the cosseting bucket type and the rear bench can be split 60/40 to increase the already substantial load area which is accessible via a large tailgate that swings outward, or via the flip-up rear glass screen. The flexible seating allows for it to be folded or even removed to increase cargo space and store items up to three metres long.
A reversing camera mounted in the spare wheel housing on the rear hatch and rear sensors aid in parking. The camera image is integrated into the FJ’s anti-glare electro-chromatic mirror in an LCD screen.
The camera is one of the numerous standard features on the FJ, which comes in one fully loaded model grade only but with the option of leather and other cosmetic accessories to tailor the FJ to personal taste.
As Akio Nishimura, FJ chief engineer puts it, “The FJ Cruiser is not just a car. It represents the spirit of Toyota, blending history with modern design and engineering.”
Town drivers will no doubt enjoy the array of standard luxury and convenience features, including the fully automatic gearbox. Family owners will appreciate the three child restraint anchorage points for the rear seat.
The interior colour is a practical dark trim up to the window line and lighter above, while the exterior body colour continues inside on the dash and door trims.
IT SOUNDS RIGHT
On the FJ, an eight-speaker audio system includes a world-first in which the ceiling headliner is an integral part of the speaker system, showering the occupants with sound. The system also features a USB port for iPod connectivity, 3,5 milimetre input jack for MP3s, a six-stack CD player and Bluetooth for mobile phones.
Leaving the city behind, hardcore off-road enthusiasts may be interested in the FJ’s approach and departure angles – 36 and 31 degrees respectively (compared to the Land Cruiser Prado’s equivalent figures of 32 and 25 degrees). A high-mounted double wishbone independent suspension system with large diameter shock absorbers, coil springs and anti-roll bar at the front provide damping, while at the rear a rigid live-axle, five-link system with upper and lower link trailing arms and Panhard rod does the duty.
Traction control (TCS) and vehicle stability control (VSC) fitted as standard aid in dynamic performance.
On wet or even sandy road surfaces, the degree of traction between the tyres and the road is dramatically reduced.
Traction control improves tyre grip by regulating the distribution of torque to each wheel. This prevents the tyres from spinning, and also ensures that brake pressure is electronically controlled at each wheel to suppress wheel spin and maintain optimum traction, so drive force is correctly distributed to all four wheels.
When venturing into very challenging terrain, the driver can activate the rear diff lock when 4WD is engaged. This restricts the movement of the diff and ensures optimised traction.
THE SERIOUS STUFF - TOYOTA FJ CRUISER
Engine type: 4 - litre V6 VVT- i petrol
Displacement: 3 956 cm³
Power: 200 kW / 380 Nm
Urban 14,9 ℓ / 100 km
Highway 9,3 ℓ / 100 km
Mixed 11,4 ℓ / 100 km
CO2 emissions: 265 g / km
Boot capacity: 990 dm³
Fuel tank: 72 litres