Officially discontinued in many global markets four years ago, the retro-styled Toyota FJ Cruiser has continued to be part of the brand’s local line-up in spite of being 16 years old.
Originally earmarked for the North American market, where it was phased in 2014, the FJ made its South African debut towards the end of 2011 in a range spanning four models; base, Cruiser, Trail and Sport.
Less than four months later, both middle models were removed with a mid-life facelift following in 2015. By February 2016, the range had been cut down to a single, unbadged model that remains on sale till today.
In addition to South Africa, the FJ Cruiser has prevailed in the Middle East with the sole power unit being the venerable 4.0-litre normally aspirated V6 that makes 200kW/380Nm. As it was designed for the States, a turbodiesel engine was never considered.
While offered with a six-speed manual in its principle market, South Africa, the Middle East and Australia, where it was discontinued in 2016, only had the option of a five-speed automatic with the standard four-wheel-drive system being a part-time configuration with low range.
Despite its age, dated interior and niche appeal, the FJ Cruiser has continued to sell in impressive numbers with sales last year of 221 units. The first two months of 2022 meanwhile has yielded sales of 46 units.
Although a low-volume seller, Toyota, responding to The Citizen about the FJ Cruiser’s future, confirmed that an update is being planned for the middle of this year.
While the exact nature is unknown, the automaker did confirmed the availability of a new infotainment system with likely touchscreen functionality in place of the current double-DIN Bluetooth and USB enabled audio that still features a CD player and iPod jack.
Also likely, but unconfirmed, is the steering wheel from the Hilux and Fortuner, upgraded materials and possibly a reworked colour chart.
An official announcement regarding the changes is yet to made, but expect this in due course along with a likely price bump from the R752 500 sticker.