Toyota FJ Cruiser

Date:4 October 2013 Tags:, ,

“Play with it,” our guide said. So, we edged warily up the crumbling, rutted incline with nothing more than 4L engaged. And we nearly made it, too. Then, right on the crest, it was wheelspin time.

And then it wasn’t. Back off the throttle, reach up to click in the diff lock, and normal upward service resumed. It was almost too easy. We didn’t even need the full suite of aids that we were able to call on from the new overhead console.

Actually, Too Easy is a description that fits Crawl Control, also new on the FJ. Point your FJ, pick your speed (one of 5 set speeds) and you’re headed inexorably towards the summit with no driver input needed except steering. Works on the downhills, too. It’s so capable, it’s almost creepy.

The retro-style FJ blends attitude with some serious off-road cred, but around town it’s no more taxing to drive than any other softroader. For 2013, the FJ gets the previously mentioned traction aids, plus other goodies such as a massive sub-tank that more than doubles total fuel capacity to 159 litres. Potential range, says Toyota, is more than 1 000 km.

Fortunately, though the squared-off slit-like view out makes you feel vaguely like you’re observing the world from a blockhouse, it doesn’t mean that the FJ stints on creature comforts. The usual high-end toys are there, from sound system blended into the roof lining to multiple connectivity options and upscale finishes. Standard powertrain is a 200 kW/ 380 N.m 4-litre V6 petrol, fivespeed automatic transmission, part-time 4×4, power-operated rear diff and switchable Active Traction Control tech.

Crawl to the top. Accessible only in 4-Low, Crawl Control works up to 25 km/h (10 km/h with rear diff locked). It automatically keeps the FJ going at one of five set speeds, by controlling both engine output and brake hydraulic pressure. Result: less strain on your steed. And you get to look like a pro.

Drivetrain: 4-litre V6, part-time 4wd

Output: 200 kW/380 N.m

Transmission: 5A

Economy:11,4 litres/100 km

Price: From R462 200

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