The rugged and retro-inspired Toyota FJ Cruiser off-roader is being discontinued over the next few months, as Japanese production ceases in August after a decade-plus run.
Launched late in Australia in 2011, the body-on-frame FJ Cruiser has become something of a cult car, with more than 11,000 sold so far at a rate of 180 units per month — much higher than first expected. Even in its final year, FJ sales are nudging the Jeep Wrangler.
Claimed to be inspired by the FJ40 — though the stylistic resemblance is… vague — the FJ Cruiser complemented its retro-cool design with genuine off-road ability, thanks to its Prado-based mechanicals. Read our last off-road review of the car here.
It offered a number of interesting touches such as 90-degree clamshell-style rear suicide doors, bright colours (both outside and inside the cabin) with contrasting roof hues, and a swing-out glass insert in the side-hinged tailgate. This contrasted the FJ Cruiser all the more with Toyota’s generally safe and predictable range over its tenure.
Power has always come solely from a 200kW/380Nm 4.0-litre petrol V6, matched here with a five-speed auto gearbox, given the initial US and Middle East focus. The lack of a diesel was always seen as an impediment here, but the 11,000 sales speak highly of Toyota’s sales power in Australia.
Off-road credentials were assured with part-time 4x4, locking rear differentials and switchable active traction control. Among all of Toyota’s rugged 4x4s, the FJ Cruiser has the best approach and departure angles — 36 and 31 degrees respectively.
Australian-market versions also got the typical local testing, with specific coil suspension calibration, 70-profile tyres and NVH adjustments for our coarse-chip roads that were eventually adopted globally.
A 2013 update then added a 87-litre sub-tank to the existing 72L main tank, taking range to 1400km, and Toyota’s CRAWL off-road cruise-control system.
"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," Toyota Australia executive director of sales and marketing Tony Cramb said.
"It will leave lasting memories as one of the most iconic vehicles in Toyota's rich SUV history, helping to bring renewed energy to the Toyota brand.”
Will you miss the Toyota FJ Cruiser? Do you own one? Let us know in the comments.