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Toyota FJ Cruiser hands on

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.

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Derek Fung
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1 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Three-wheeler

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.

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2 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Steep

The incline on the part of the course shown in the previous photo was at least 30 degrees.

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3 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Hi, pa!

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.

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4 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Don't call 'em suicide doors

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.

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Doing the splits

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.

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Party trick

With the front windscreen being rather wide and exceptionally short, three wipers are required.

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7 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Inspiration

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.

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Chunky for a spunky

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.

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9 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

4WD, Part I

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.

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10 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

4WD, Part II

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.

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Big V6

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.

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Grab it

That chunky gear lever operates the standard five-speed automatic transmission.

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13 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Model catwalk

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.

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14 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Colour me

Nine exterior colours are available on the FJ Cruiser, and all come fitted with a white roof.

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Chuck it in

The rear door's glass window pops up separately, allowing shopping bags to be thrown in without pulling open the heavy rear door.

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16 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Red dust dreaming

If only our luggage was as easy to clean as the FJ's interior.

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17 of 17 Derek Fung/CNET Australia

Pounding it

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.

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