Toyota Australia has confirmed that it will bring the retro-styled FJ Cruiser to Australian showrooms in early 2011, with a 'pre-production' version of the off-roader scheduled to debut at Sydney's 2010 Australian International Motor Show in October.
The launch of the FJ Cruiser comes hot on the heels of the arrival of the 2010 Toyota Rukus, forming part of Toyota Australia's move to enhance and revitalise the brand.
The FJ Cruiser is built atop the Prado’s platform, and utilizes the same independent front and solid-axle rear suspension as the Prado.
Bodywork is entirely different though - the FJ Cruiser’s curvy retro forms designed to evoke memories of the classic FJ40 Landcruiser.
A white roof, round headlamps and big “TOYOTA” script across the front grille all echo the design of the FJ Cruiser’s ancestor, but its rear-hinged back doors are unique to the new model.
While Toyota has not confirmed technical details, the FJ Cruiser is expected to be powered by the same 178kW 4.0 litre 1GR-FE petrol V6 that’s used in the US version of the sporty off-roader (and also in the local Prado). However, being based on the Prado means a diesel may be a distinct possibility for Australia.
Automatic and manual transmissions will likely be offered, with the rest of the drivetrain being either full-time or part-time four-wheel drive (depending on which gearbox is chosen).
To date the FJ Cruiser has only been available in left-hand drive form, but the addition of a right-hand drive variant will allow Toyota Australia to tap into new markets.
The combination of a unique appearance and excellent off-roadability means the FJ Cruiser should boast broad appeal when it arrives, a sentiment shared by Toyota spokesman Mike Breen.
“It’s a very capable off-road vehicle, it’s based on the Prado platform so I think it’ll appeal to a wide demographic,” Mr Breen told TMR.
“I think it will cross over between urban dwellers and hardcore four-wheel drive people.
“If you look at the US you see them in all walks of life, whether it’s in Los Angeles or the Rocky Mountains.”
Its arrival will also give Toyota a competitor to that other retro-styled off-roader, the Jeep Wrangler.
As for a precise launch date, nothing definite has been locked in just yet.
Expect further information and pricing details for the FJ Cruiser to surface towards the end of this year, like at the Australian International Motor Show.