If you live down under and are in the market for a reliable and capable off-roader, I’ve got some good news for you: Toyota will import the FJ Cruiser into Australia beginning in the first quarter of 2011. I’ve owned one since 2008, and it’s probably the only vehicle I’ve ever purchased that has far exceeded my expectations.
FJ Cruisers come with Toyota’s 259 horsepower, 4.0 liter V6 motor, which gives plenty of go for a truck that weighs in at just over two tons. Zero to sixty comes up in under eight seconds, it’ll tow 5,000 pounds and it’ll give you about 18 mpg city and 22 mpg highway. Of course it won’t do all three at the same time, but it’s a lot more capable than most people think it is, especially if equipped with proper off-road tires.
If Carscoop is correct, Australia will get 4wd versions only. The 4wd with the five speed automatic is RWD and part time 4wd, featuring a shift on the fly high range and a climb-a-tree-if-you’ve-got-the-right-tires low range. Manual transmission 4wd FJ Cruisers are full time AWD, but allow the driver to select low range for when the going gets slippery. All 4wd FJ Cruisers I’ve ever seen come with a rear differential lock, although Toyota supposedly builds a base version without the diff lock.
FJ Cruisers are body on frame trucks, built on a shortened version of Toyota’s Prado platform. FJ Cruisers, like Toyota 4Runners, are built by Hino, Toyota’s subsidiary that specializes in large trucks. They’re best thought of as the equivalent to the old 4Runner, before the 4Runner got huge and stuffed with luxury amenities such as leather seats and automatic climate control. I think they’ll do well in Australia.