Published on May 17th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
Toyota Brings FJ Cruiser to an End
Toyota is set to bid a fond farewell to the FJ Cruiser, a retro-inspired rugged off-roader that became an instant classic when it was launched. The FJ Cruiser will end its production run in August.
Drawing its rugged DNA, inspiration and design cues from Toyota’s famed FJ40, the FJ Cruiser was developed as a basic, capable and affordable vehicle aimed specifically at serious off-roaders looking to push the limits.
The thoroughly modern FJ Cruiser updated the classic FJ40 theme in a contemporary way. The front grille with two round headlights recalls the FJ40’s frontal styling. Other heritage design cues include the bonnet and wheel-arch contours and a rear-mounted and exposed full-size spare tyre.
The FJ Cruiser design offers plenty of functionality. Side access doors open 90 degrees in clamshell fashion for easy access to and from the rear seats. A swing-up glass hatch is incorporated into the side-hinged tailgate, opening independently and also useful for accommodating longer items.
It is powered by a 200kW, 380Nm 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine with five-speed automatic transmission, part-time 4×4, an electrically activated rear differential lock and switchable Active Traction Control technology to maximise off-road climbing ability.
FJ Cruiser has the best approach and departure angles in the Toyota 4WD range – 36 and 31 degrees respectively.
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.
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.