Photos: Reviler's One Year Anniversary
by Jon Behm · Published · Updated
Mother of Fire
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I HADN’T EVEN unlocked the Land Rover Defender in the airport carpark before Sara had named it: “Daktari” (Swahili for “doctor”, by the way).
The Herald on Sunday (Auckland, New Zealand) June 8, 2008 I HADN’T EVEN unlocked the Land Rover Defender in the airport carpark before Sara had named it: “Daktari” (Swahili for “doctor”, by the way).
It’s not just an acknowledgement of the Landie’s massive personality, but also an indication of what kind of warm feelings the Defender engenders. here land rover defender
While most long-running off-roaders carry military connotations, most people seem to associate the Defender with jungle jaunts and peacekeeping missions. A quick military stocktake might tell a different story but, hey, image is everything.
And long-running it is. There have basically been four different generations of the Defender since 1948, and there probably won’t be another – forthcoming crash-test regulations will render the current Defender obsolete in the next five years.
Still, the latest is the most modern yet. It has a new, cleaner five-cylinder diesel engine borrowed from the Ford Transit van. It has a six-speed manual transmission.
It has a proper dashboard, better-quality plastics, decent air conditioning and a set of folding, forward-facing third-row seats (both features carried over from the Discovery).
It even has a stereo-auxiliary plug for your iPod, not that you’ll hear the music above the wind/road noise.
Despite 700 claimed changes, the new Defender looks much like the old Defender, and every other Defender that’s ever been. The only real giveaway is a subtle bulge in the bonnet, required to house the new engine.
Off-road, the Defender is widely acknowledged as an awesome beast.
On-road, it’s still hopeless. While other road-users look on in admiration, the driver has to endure a racket from the diesel engine, a bouncy ride and handling that’s approximate at best.
Nor is it particularly comfortable. The “command” driving position might suit city driving, but visibility is poor and the driver’s right arm is jammed into the absurdly narrow gap between the steering wheel and door trim. landroverdefendernow.net land rover defender
The new Defender does have anti-lock braking and electronic traction control as standard, which helps take your mind off the fact that there’s nothing so much as a crumple zone or airbag to save you in a crash.
The Defender is more modern than ever and a lot more driveable than the last one, thanks to a 60Nm increase in torque over the previous model. But it’s still hopelessly, willfully out of date. That’s the biggest problem. That’s the biggest attraction.
And it’s not especially cheap. Our seven-seat 110 lists at nearly $70k, which seems like rather a lot to travel back to the time of the postwar Pommie. Even the cheapest Defender, the 90 two-door, is $65k. Those 90/110 numbers refer to the wheelbase measurements. In inches, naturally.
There are other off-roaders with heritage behind them. There are other off-roaders that combine almost as much mud-plugging ability as the Landie, but with a lot more on-road refinement. There are countless better vehicles around, in other words.
But I bet your girlfriend wouldn’t want to nickname any of them.