After 12 months, 50,000km and a host of expenditure it was time to say goodbye to the Fj cruiser. Why? I am glad you ask. Here are some pointers as to why-
Toyota advertise the Fj as a vehicle that has the heritage of the original FJ40. Its not. The original Fj40 has its roots way back in the ww2 Jeep. The original Fj40's were military spec. The currant Fj Cruiser is not.
So what ? You ask. Well here is the bottom line. in 50,000km of outback travel I found that:-
1. The doors began to rattle. and the door configuration is just wrong. Awkward, plus the rear door is hung on the wrong side making loading a real issue. Try loading the rear from the curb, or opening the doors in a confined space e.g. an underground car park.
2.The vehicle is not designed for a bull bar and the ARB bull bar caused all sorts of issues. Even with a revised bar, it continued to cause me problems. Frankly some of the after market designers should be ashamed of themselves.
3. The shape of the roof and styled bodywork means that rear cargo area is an issue as too is a roof rack.
4. The front suspension is Prado. I had to replace suspension bushes every 25,000km.
5. The vertical windscreen means that your fuel consumption varies by a long way. The slightest headwind, (or side wind), resulted in fuel economy going out the window.
6. As a result to windscreen really gets thumped by stones and rocks and replacing it is awkward... some of the plastic around it can be damaged by the inexperienced screen fitter.
6. Fuel tank is way too small and there are issues with fuel leaks from aftermarket units. So what do you do?
7. Gearbox.. Awful. It hangs on in 5th and is reluctant to change down. When it does it thumps back 2 cogs and the engine is left screaming its head off.. This is particularly noticeable in hilly terrain and more so with the cruise control on.
8. The blue tooth and I-pod connectivity is lousy.
Now, I know I have grown up on 60 series, 80 series and 70 series and I know I get into tough outback terrain, so I replaced it with a V8 trayback. Much more suited to my needs.
Conclusion- The FJ Cruiser is a "wash and wear" price point Prado. It has some really nice features and is brilliant off road. Great approach and departures as well as ramp over. It makes really nice vehicle for mountain bike riders, surfers, or the weekend warrior who wants to test their skills down a telegraph gymkhana track, and then head into their inner city pad. However, Its not an FJ40. It will not work on outback cattle stations for 300,000km. So, I have traded some comfort for a live axle, consistent fuel economy and less electronics.. the last of the FJ40/HJ47 line.
At the end of the day its horses for courses.