Although Toyota South Africa Motors will continue sales of its FJ Cruiser for the foreseeable future, several reports that the model's production run will end in August 2016 will be a disappointment to the niche off-roader's small but loyal following.
The development comes in light of the FJ Cruiser being discontinued in the North American market roughly two years ago, and recent reports by Australian motoring publications state that the model, one of Toyota's most distinctive and characterful products, will disappear from the global automotive market around the fourth quarter of 2016.
Toyota South Africa Motors' product planning manager (IMV), Riaan Esterhuysen, confirmed the Japanese manufacturer has not communicated plans to replace the FJ, of which (on average) 16 units are sold in South Africa every month.
"We have no plans to 'discontinue' the FJ and will continue selling the model until further notice," Esterhuysen said. "Even though the FJ is regarded as something of a niche model, it has proven a very capable off-roader in its own right."
There is only one model on the market and it is powered by a 4.0-litre V6 petrol engine that delivers 200 kW of power and 380 Nm of torque, with five-speed automatic transmission, part-time 4x4, an electrically activated rear differential lock and switchable Active Traction Control technology to maximise off-road climbing ability.
The Toyota FJ Cruiser received a number of updates in 2013, include the addition of a second fuel tank that doubles capacity to 159 litres and a crawl control function (a "feet-off" system that helps take the FJ Cruiser over severe or slippery terrain, helping it climb or descend steep hills, and is also helpful in mud, sand and gravel, and when crossing through water).
The crawl control can be engaged in low range and temporarily disengaged at speeds above 25 kph, or above 10 kph when the rear differential is locked. A speed-selector dial on a new overhead console provides the choice of five speeds. Further, the system automatically maintains a low uniform vehicle speed uphill and downhill by controlling both engine output and brake hydraulic pressure, allowing the driver to concentrate fully on steering.
Standard kit on the FJ Cruiser includes electric windows all round, a leather covered steering wheel with remote audio and Bluetooth controls, integrated audio/CD sound system with 6 speakers and iPod connector, external audio and USB connectors, air conditioning, auxiliary power socket, and cruise control. The FJ also features Toyota’s rear monitor system, which integrates a reverse-view video camera, electro-chromatic rear view mirror and with an integrated video screen.
Toyota FJ Cruiser price in South Africa
R 567 000, which includes a 3-year or 100 000km warranty and a 5-year or 90 000km service plan.