The FJ Cruiser mixes modern four-wheel drive mechanicals with a body that reprises the FJ40 LandCruiser that did duty on the Snowy Mountains Scheme.
After we completed our drive program, the chief engineer at the Toyota Technical Centre Australia showed us the types of off-road tracks the FJ Cruiser is capable of tackling.
The incline on the part of the course shown in the previous photo was at least 30 degrees.
The car that created the aura of invincibility around the LandCruiser badge, the FJ40, is here perched next to the car it helped inspire stylistically.
While the FJ40 is a two-door, the FJ Cruiser features four. The rear doors are on the small side to help preserve the illusion of a modern-day two-door FJ40. To help ingress and egress, the car does without the usual pillar between the two sets of doors, and the rear doors are hinged backwards.
The rear seats split-fold and tumble forward to provide a nearly flat loading space. The FJ Cruiser's floors aren't carpeted so they can easily be washed down.
With the front windscreen being rather wide and exceptionally short, three wipers are required.
Jin Kim (pictured) designed the exterior of the original FJ Cruiser concept. He became interested in car design after watching Asphalt Man, a '90s Korean TV serial about a young car designer.
The interior's not quite as appetising as the exterior, but with big knobs and switches everywhere it's claimed that it can be easily operated even if you're wearing big, thick, heavy gloves.
The FJ Cruiser comes with switchable part-time four-wheel drive system that can be shifted between high-range two- and four-wheel drive on the go.
There's a low-range four-wheel drive mode available for extremely rough tracks. The FJ Cruiser collected a few scrapes on its accessory nudge bar at the bottom of this descent.
Available in a single specification, the FJ Cruiser's sole engine is a 4-litre V6 with 200kW of power and 380Nm of torque. No diesel is available as the FJ Cruiser was initially developed with the US in mind.
That chunky gear lever operates the standard five-speed automatic transmission.
Priced at AU$44,990 before on-road costs, the only factory option for the FJ Cruiser is metallic or mica paint. A number of accessories are available, including roof racks, nudge bar and the like.
Nine exterior colours are available on the FJ Cruiser, and all come fitted with a white roof.
The rear door's glass window pops up separately, allowing shopping bags to be thrown in without pulling open the heavy rear door.
If only our luggage was as easy to clean as the FJ's interior.
Without an off-roader we mightn't have been able to capture this view of the Wilpena Pound. Stay tuned for CNET Australia's full review of the FJ Cruiser soon.
Derek Fung travelled to South Australia as a guest of Toyota Australia.