Engine: 2.2 litre four-cylinder turbo, 90kW/360Nm
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Fuel economy: 11 litres/100km
Emissions: 295g/km (Euro5)
Equipment: What? On a Defender?
Safety: Unrated by NCAP/ANCAP
Factory warranty: Three years/unlimited kilometres
Little else on the road polarises opinion as much as a new Defender. One local website suggests the British off-road icon is so awful and so lacks safety features that it should be banned. Others regard it with near reverence and, as the firm’s own advertising used to say, the best 4×4 by far. Off-road, the Defender is indeed one of the best as it rolls off the showroom floor and some modifications will make it even better. On-road, it offers an ambience unlike any other vehicle – one that has a certain irresistible appeal to a certain kind of person. What do you call a company with three Defenders in the parking lot? An advertising agency. It offers more than its unique cachet; the view of the traffic ahead is unparalleled among SUVs; and depending on their size, the driver and front passenger will find a Defender very comfortable, although not so much if they have long legs. The wagon has been upgraded over the years, most recently in 2007, and now has a decent van engine of 2.2 litres, producing modest power and reasonable torque, but mated to a six-speed manual that forever needs changing, although it’s pleasant enough to use. Oh for an automatic, but Land Rover seemingly won’t have a bar of it. Its large turning circle and heavy steering can make the 110 a chore in town. A completely new dashboard with integrated air conditioning modernised the interior, but the aircon is only average. The main problem with the Defender is that it has been developed too far. It’s just too old a design for well into the second decade of the 21st century.
Ambience on wheels, a weapon off-road
Not so good
Developed beyond its potential