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by George Skentzos

It all started with a Rukus, now Toyota Australia has confirmed it will add the quirky Toyota FJ Cruiser to the local range in the first quarter of 2011.

Due to make its local debut at the Australian International Motor Show in October, the retro-styled Toyota FJ Cruiser boasts a pedigree stretching back 50 years to the FJ40 LandCruiser.

With the original becoming an icon among off-road enthusiasts, the new model captures this heritage with its body-on-frame structure, short wheelbase, stocky appearance and the arrangement of its headlights and grille.

Its boxy proportions incorporate a near-vertical windscreen with three wiper blades, white roof, wrap-around rear windows and reverse-opening rear doors.

“FJ Cruiser has loads of character that isn’t found in any other SUV, let alone one that is built for off-road terrain,” Mr Buttner said.

“It will be a lot of fun to own and drive, satisfying those who want a modern vehicle with the boulder-crawling spirit of Toyota’s legendary off-roaders,” he said.

In the US, the Toyota FJ Cruiser is equipped with a 4.0-litre V6 engine developing 194kW which is likely to be the case with the Australian-delivered models, mated to either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual transmission.

The FJ Cruiser will also be the only model in Toyota’s modern line-up to use the name Toyota spelled across the grille in place of the corporate emblem.

US model shown.