Last time we saw you, Reju, you had a modified Mustang with a Roush bonnet and performance exhaust. Do you still have it?
Yes, I do still have that car — I think of it as my best buddy. It’s so much fun to drive and has a powerful V6, it also gets a lot of attention. I think I will be keeping hold of my Ford for quite some time. It’s just a bit nicer than the very first car that I ever had, a Maruti…
You’d worked on the Ford quite a lot — have you done anything else to it since we last you?
I always have big plans for it but have only added a set of low-profile tyres, louvres for the rear window and side scoops. I must say it looks lovely!
So lovely that you decided to buy a second car and keep the Mustang for special events, it seems! Tell us about your new FJ Cruiser…
Well, first of all, I have to admit that I don’t think I will enjoy any other car more than a sports coupé. These are my favourites and always have been ever since my passion for cars started when I was kid. I have to say, living in the UAE has been the best thing for a petrolhead like me as we get all the latest sportscars and supercars, and our roads are littered with everything here.
Anyway, I was looking around for an SUV and a saloon to give me a bit more practicality — but as I also have a passion for off-roading, the new car needed to be a bit of an all-rounder. That’s when I decided to give the
FJ a serious look, as from all the reviews that I had seen about it in magazines and online, it seemed to strike the perfect balance of being able to venture off-road but also doubling-up as a comfortable family hauler, which could be driven daily on the highway and around town.
It didn’t take you long to get busy working on it, right?
You got me! I have only had my FJ for two months, I bought it new, and immediately set about customising it a little by giving it a matte wrap, adding a desert antenna to help me navigate in the dunes and modifying the exhaust like I did with my Mustang. Although it doesn’t quite sound as throaty as the Ford, it does have a nice hum of its own.
Mine also has a GPS and a built-in air compressor, which is very handy for the desert, but the thing that I like most about this model is its similarity to the classic FJ40. That and its reliability, performance and its value for money, too.
You seem quite pleased with it but you almost bought a totally different model didn’t you?
That’s right, I was close to snapping up either the Patrol or the Wrangler, however, as my wife would also be driving the new car she felt the Nissan was too big and I found the Jeep too small. So in the end the FJ won out as it met all our needs and we both liked its retro style.
I am glad we went for the Toyota as it is proving to be very enjoyable to drive — especially in the desert what with its short wheelbase and a capable 4.0-litre V6 engine mated to a five-speed automatic gearbox sending the power to all four wheels. It makes 270 horsepower and that is proving more than enough for my desert drives. Funnily enough, in the short time that I have owned it, it has come to the rescue of a bunch of other drivers that had gotten their cars stuck in the sand, so I guess you can say my FJ is a bit of a hero!
So, is that the end of the buying?
No, I have my eyes on a few other models; I would love to own a Subaru WRX STI someday and since I was blown away by the Nissan GT-R that I drove once, I’d love to own that, too. But my dream car is still a Range Rover Autobiography.
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