Toyota calls time on FJ Cruiser

Toyota calls time on FJ Cruiser

It looks like a giant Tonka toy, polarises car folk more than any other 4×4 and traces its ancestry to one of Toyota’s most famous off-road beasts.

It is, of course, the modern take on the mighty FJ40 – and its days are numbered.

Production of the FJ Cruiser will shut down permanently in August with Kiwis having bought 299 of them. Dealers have firm orders until close of play in a few months.

It’s been part of Toyota NZ’s line-up 2010 – and it will be missed.

“The FJ cruiser was a special model introduced as a testament to the original FJ40 and ride on its legendary namesake,” says Spencer Morris, Toyota’s general manager of product.

“Although we always knew the FJ Cruiser would have a limited production run, I am confident the model, with its rugged capability and retro design will continue as a Toyota icon sought after and loved by enthusiasts.”

Toyota ambassador Marc Ellis took an FJ on a Top to Bottom challenge – offroad from Cape Reinga to Bluff – a 16-day journey that helped celebrate 2011’s 60th anniversary of the iconic Land Cruiser.

Toyota will shut down production of the FJ Cruiser that became an instant classic when it was launched in Australia in 2011.

The FJ Cruiser will end its production run in August with Australians having bought more than 11,000 vehicles at an average of 180 a month.

Drawing its inspiration and design cues from Toyota’s FJ40, the FJ Cruiser was developed as a vehicle aimed specifically at serious off-roaders looking to push the limits.
The FJ Cruiser is powered by a 200kW, 380Nm 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine with five-speed automatic transmission, part-time 4×4, an electronically-activated rear differential lock and switchable Active Traction Control technology to maximise off-road climbing ability.

Safety features include six airbags, vehicle stability control, anti-skid brakes with brake assist and electronic brake-force distribution, active front-seat head restraints and a reversing camera with the display located in the electro-chromatic rear-view mirror.

Other features include rear parking sensors, rear fog lamps, privacy glass, cruise control, air-conditioning, a premium steering wheel with audio controls, multi-information display, eight-speaker audio system with a CD stacker and central locking.

Satellite navigation became standard in early 2012. An upgrade in March 2013 boosted the FJ Cruiser’s fuel range and adding an off-road cruise-control system, CRAWL.

Fuel capacity was expanded to 159 litres with the main 72-litre tank supplemented by an 87-litre sub-tank, providing a driving range of almost 1400km.

FJ Pedigree

The FJ40 LandCruiser became an icon among Toyota’s vehicles, generating widespread recognition and respect for its authentic off-road capabilities.

More than 1.1 million were produced between 1960 and 1984; however, Toyota’s enthusiasm never waned for the spirit of this rugged, go-anywhere vehicle.

In the late 1990s, Toyota in the United States encouraged design projects that ultimately led to the development of a new FJ – a modern vehicle that would appeal to younger drivers, even those who knew nothing about the original FJ.

Here are the key developments.

Model: FJ40
First seen: 1960
In brief: The third generation of LandCruiser
Description: Tough and functional, the original FJ was a two-door, short wheelbase, four-wheel-drive vehicle. Its exterior design has become iconic – angular lines, two round headlights set on either side of a mesh grille, an upright windscreen, wrap-around rear corner windows and a flat, white roof. The FJ40 amply demonstrated its suitability for the toughest conditions and it became a part of life in outback Australia. FJ40 established LandCruiser as the vehicle of choice for large construction projects, in mines, on cattle stations – in fact, anywhere requiring a rugged, dependable vehicle that could travel to, and return from, any extreme environment.

Model: Retro Cruiser
First seen: Chicago Auto Show 1999
In brief: A converted 1967 FJ40, created by Rod Millen
Description: More than a concept vehicle, it was a running prototype that combined the bodywork of an FJ40 LandCruiser from the 1960s with a contemporary LandCruiser chassis and V8 engine. It successfully drew attention to the potential for a vehicle with FJ heritage styling cues and modern mechanical components.

Model: Rugged Youth Utility
First seen: 2003 North American International Auto Show (Detroit)
In brief: FJ Cruiser concept
Description: It was developed as a basic, capable and affordable off-roader, exploring new possibilities for a next-generation SUV aimed specifically at young buyers with active outdoor lifestyles. A thoroughly modern vehicle, it adopted several styling cues from the original FJ40 including the wide and narrow grille, round headlights, upright windscreen, white roof and wrap-around rear corner windows. The cabin was designed specifically for basic functionality and flexible utility.

Model: FJ Cruiser
First seen: 2005 Chicago Auto Show
In brief: Public demand leads to production
Description: The overwhelmingly positive response to the FJ Cruiser concept prompted Toyota to launch a production version – a capable, affordable and durable vehicle that is youthful, fun-to-drive, aggressive and tough. Retaining many of the design details of the original concept, it is the modern interpretation of a Toyota classic, combining Toyota heritage with modern safety and refinement.

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