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2011 Toyota FJ Cruiser to launch in March

Toyota Australia has released pictures of its FJ Cruiser in right-hand-drive form before its local debut next year.

Toyota spokesperson Samantha Moore told CarAdvice that the FJ Cruiser would launch here in March of 2011. CarAdvice had a sneak preview of the car in pre-production form last week.

Based on the Prado platform, the FJ Cruiser receives the same 4.0-litre V6 and four-wheel-drive system, and information we've obtained says the car will come in at $45,990, well under the Prado's entry price.

Given the Australian climate, the FJ will come with air-conditioning as standard, an eight-speaker six-CD sound system with Bluetooth and steering-wheel controls, and reversing camera which shows up in the rear-view mirror. The FJ Cruiser's interior is designed for roughing it with hose-out rubber flooring and easy clean seats.

The dash fascia and door panels are colour-coded to the exterior, meaning the black FJ is the best looking one inside. The mid-blue and yellow paint colours are said to be dropped shortly after launch.

Some of the interior buttons are awkwardly located at the bottom of the stack, and the low entry price is reflected in the hard plastic finish of the interior. The FJ Cruiser is a four door vehicle; the rear suicide doors also make entry and egress difficult, however once in there's plenty of leg and headroom for average sized adults.

If you're wondering, no it's not a plastic roof, rather a white painted roof which is said to give a more utilitarian appearance. All the silver highlights on the front and rear bumpers are also painted plastic, not metal, however this means changing them in the event of a glitch while off road should be a simple affair.

"FJ Cruiser is a modern interpretation of a Toyota classic, providing a versatile, flexible and practical interior that complements its rugged exterior," said David Buttner, Toyota Australia's senior executive director sales and marketing. "It keeps faith with tough and functional roots of the original FJ40, yet interprets that for the 21st century to meet the expectations of a new generation of buyers."

CarAdvice will be at the launch of the FJ Cruiser in March and will bring you a full drive report then.