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by Tegan Lawson

The Toyota FJ Cruiser is big and bold, with an innate sense of adventure.

For someone not used to driving 4WD’s on city streets, initially the trip home in the sizeable Toyota seemed a daunting task.

But first time out of the CarAdvice garage, after getting my bearings in regards to its size and positioning on the road, the FJ Cruiser was a lot of fun.

Built for off-road adventures, the vehicle bounces a bit over city roads, but not to the extent of being uncomfortable or feeling out-of-control. The driver seat seems to bounce backwards and forwards when braking too, but that just contributes to the excitement of 4WDing through the city.

Without a side step, getting in and out requires a bit of effort to hoist yourself up into the cabin. The same goes for loading luggage, but there is plenty of room and the rear window is a hatch.

With a high seating position, keeping an eye on traffic up ahead is easy while the large side mirrors give a good depth of vision. However the bulky c-pillar creates a large blind spot, so quick lane changes aren’t on the cards. As the name suggests, taking your time and cruising along is the way to go.

The rear passenger seats are accessed via doors that open backwards, the release mechanism is accessible when the front door is open.

Another of the more unusual features of the FJ Cruiser is the reversing camera. The screen is visible in the rear view mirror, while the camera is hidden away in the spare wheel cover on the side-hinged back door.

Toyota FJ Cruiser :: Lifestyle Review

It also comes with an LCD touch screen, making it simple to change stations on the radio or use a mobile phone when connected with Bluetooth. Plus the in-car satellite navigation system comes as standard too, including audible directions.

The screen does seem to angle down slightly though, will have to look into whether it’s adjustable.

The 2014 model is available in a new Retro Blue colour and updated features include 17-inch alloy wheels (read more here). Those who are fans of the old-school look, like me, will be hanging out for weekend trips up or down the coast.

Whether you spend most of your driving time in the city, or if you enjoy regularly heading off the beaten track, the FJ Cruiser boasts a comprehensive range of safety features.

In the cabin there are 6 SRS airbags, including curtain airbags on both sides of the vehicle. Vehicle Stability Control (VSC) assists in maintaining control while cornering.

When it comes to traction control, CRAWL Control can be manually activated to handle the throttle and brakes, leaving you free to concentrate on steering.

The braking system specs read like a dictionary of acronyms. There’s VSC, TRC, ABS with EBD and BA, as well as a hydraulic brake booster unit.

The 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine with five-speed automatic transmission consumes an average of 11.4 litres per 100km.

Toyota FJ Cruiser :: Lifestyle Review

Though the FJ Cruiser would be more at home in its natural habitat – off-road – with its retro looks, and technological, design and safety bells and whistles, it handles the city well.