The Off-Roaders Corner: Ammar’s 2013 FJ Cruiser

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Name:
Ammar Batardouk
Nationality: Syrian
Occupation: Sales and Marketing Director
Vehicle: 2013 FJ Cruiser

In Dubai, it’s common to find FJ Cruisers on the roads, getting people from A to B as they go about their daily lives. Ammar Batardouk also has an FJ, which he purchased in 2013 with the aim of using it solely as an off-road vehicle. Find out about his choice below, and discover the modifications he has made…

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Tell us the background story of the car…
I worked for a Toyota distributor in Saudi Arabia for 19 years, so I’m aware of the performance and durability of Toyota vehicles, and I had a 2008 FJ Cruiser in Saudi Arabia as a second car. After I moved to the UAE in February 2013 I purchased the same car as a second car (again) so that I could join in with all the off roading activities in the Emirates.

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What modifications have been made, performance and cosmetic wise?
In principle, an off road driver shouldn’t start modifying their car unless they know their needs and what exactly they’ll be using the vehicle for, performance wise. Since the FJ Cruiser is a really powerful vehicle I made only a few essential modifications:

1. Nitrocharger sport shock absorber from ARB
2. H/T Discoverer tries from COOPER
3. Aluminium front skid plate
4. Back hitch with hitch ball mount
5. Front electrical winch brand TJM
6. Special designed roof rack brand TJM
7. Front 4 light (2 spread and 2 pencil) brand TJM
8. Rear LED light

Cosmetic:
1. Back drawers
2. Folding back bed
3. Side awning brand TJM
4. Back ladder to the roof rack

Do you have something that you consider to be a ‘special feature’ of the car?
The hidden electrical winch behind the front bumper.

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What were your other options before you bought this car?
None actually, the FJ Cruiser was my targeted vehicle.

How often do you use your car, and what activities do you take part in?
I use the car almost every weekend, and I’m a member of ALMOST 4X4 off roading club. When the weather is good I go with the team to camp in the desert on a Thursday night and we drive together on Friday through a pre-organised route in the desert based on the driver’s level and skills.

We also have many activities out of the country such as our annual trip to Salalah in Oman as well as frequent trips to places like Liwa and all over the UAE.

Are you planning any future modifications?
Yes, I’m planning for front and rear steel customised bumpers.

What 4×4 do you dream of owning?
My dream off road car is actually a 6X6 not 4X4 – the Mercedes-Benz G63 AMG 6X6.


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