Toyota is set to bid a fond farewell to the FJ Cruiser, a retro-inspired rugged off-roader that became an instant classic when it was launched in 2006.The FJ Cruiser will end its production run in August with global sales tapering off. The Japanese automaker stopped selling the FJ Cruiser in North America since 2014, but continued sales in Australia and some parts of Asia. With the regional demand going down, production for all markets will end come August.
Drawing its rugged DNA, inspiration and design cues from Toyota’s famed FJ40, the FJ Cruiser was developed as a basic, capable and affordable vehicle aimed specifically at serious off-roaders looking to push the limits.
Toyota Australia Executive Director for Sales and Marketing Tony Cramb said the FJ Cruiser built on more than half a century of Toyota tradition in producing tough off-road vehicles.
“The FJ rides into the sunset as a vehicle renowned for its ability to traverse rugged outback trails while offering plenty of utility for all types of activities and being equally well-suited for everyday driving,” Cramb said.
“It will leave lasting memories as one of the most iconic vehicles in Toyota’s rich SUV [sport utility vehicle]history, helping to bring renewed energy to the Toyota brand,” he said.
The thoroughly modern FJ Cruiser updated the classic FJ40 theme in a contemporary way. The front grille with two round headlights recalls the FJ40’s frontal styling. Other heritage design cues include the bonnet and wheel-arch contours, and a rear-mounted and exposed full-sized spare tire.
The FJ Cruiser design offers plenty of functionality. Side access doors open 90 degrees in clamshell fashion for easy access to and from the rear seats. A swing-up glass hatch is incorporated into the side-hinged tailgate, opening independently and also useful for accommodating longer items.
The FJ Cruiser capped off its first year on sale in Australia by winning 4×4 Australia magazine’s 4×4 of the Year title. Judges said the FJ Cruiser proved to be the “real deal” with its “well-proven and robust mechanicals.”
It is powered by a 200-kW (268-horsepower), 380-Newton-meter 4.0-liter V6 petrol engine with five-speed automatic transmission, part-time 4×4, an electrically-activated rear differential lock and switchable Active Traction Control technology to maximize off-road climbing ability.
FJ Cruiser has the best approach and departure angles in the Toyota 4WD range – 36 and 31 degrees respectively.
Local testing resulted in unique calibration of the heavy-duty all-coil suspension and power steering to suit Australian conditions, plus the fitment of 17-inch alloy wheels and 70-profile tires.
Australia’s course-chip road surfaces prompted improvements to FJ Cruiser’s NVH that were adopted globally.
Safety features include six airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, active front-seat head restraints and a reversing camera with the display located in the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.
Other features include rear parking sensors, rear fog lamps, privacy glass, cruise control, air-conditioning, a premium steering wheel with audio controls, multi-information display, eight-speaker audio system with a CD stacker and central locking.
Satellite navigation became standard in early 2012. An upgrade in March 2013 boosted the FJ Cruiser’s “go anywhere, do anything” appeal by more than doubling its fuel range and adding an off-road cruise-control system called Crawl.
Fuel capacity was expanded to 159 liters with the main 72-liter tank supplemented by an 87-liter sub-tank, providing a notional driving range of almost 1,400 kilometers.
Crawl is a “feet off” system that controls engine output and brake pressure to maintain low uniform speeds over severe or slippery terrain, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on steering.
The FJ40 LandCruiser became an icon among Toyota’s vehicles, generating widespread recognition and respect for its authentic off-road capabilities.
More than 1.1 million were produced between 1960 and 1984. However, Toyota’s enthusiasm never waned for the spirit of this rugged, go-anywhere vehicle.
In the late 1990s, Toyota in the United States encouraged design projects that ultimately led to the development of a new FJ – a modern vehicle that would appeal to younger drivers, even those who knew nothing about the original FJ.