Toyota is about to launch the distinctive retro-modern Toyota FJ Cruiser to the motoring press in Australia, and already the buzz is that its off-road talent is considerable.

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'FJ' as in homage to the revered hard-core bush basher of the '60s, the FJ40, which was pretty much indestructible, but loved to drink the benzina.

The FJ Cruiser is an entirely new model for Toyota and although there are one or two styling cues from the ’40 Series’ truck, it has it’s own unique design – inside and out.

For what is essentially a ‘lifestyle’ vehicle, the FJ Cruiser has already proven itself to be an exceptional off-road performer in a variety of overseas markets, where it was launched back in 2007.

For starters, it has the best departure and break-over angles in Toyota’s 4WD stable – 31 and 29 degrees respectively, and the approach angle of 36 degrees is only bettered by the 70 Series.

A recent Toyota press release said that, “FJ Cruiser provides basic, capable, affordable, off-road transport for younger buyers with active lifestyles”. That might be the core target, but my guess is that this unique vehicle will attract a much wider market due to its retro-styling alone.

Getting to your off-road trails shouldn’t be an issue either, with its 4.0-litre petrol V6 putting out 200kW and 380Nm of torque. Once you reach the end of the tarmac, there’s a dual-range transfer case and plenty of wheel articulation to assist with deep ruts and rocky terrain.

There’s plenty of standard kit on offer in the FJ Cruiser too including all the usual active and passive safety systems, as well as a rear camera and reverse parking sensors.

Creature comforts like air conditioning, Bluetooth functionality with an eight-speaker audio system, and keyless entry are also part of the standard feature list.

Stay tuned for a full review of the 2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser with off-road action photographs this week.