An Italian-made accessory for the new Land Rover Defender could turn out to be the catalyst for refreshing a tourism catchphrase from 1984 New Zealand.
A national advertising campaign back then told Kiwis, “Don’t leave town till you’ve seen the country.” It came around the time the incoming fourth Labour Government devalued the NZ dollar by 20 per cent.
The underlying message was, ‘spend your tourism dollars in New Zealand instead of overseas’. That of course is what the tourism industry is saying today in the wake of Covid-19 and its restrictions on foreign travel.
Land Rover wants Kiwis to adopt the spirit of its ‘Go Beyond’ slogan and explore the far reaches of the country. That’s why it and Italy’s Autohome company has fashioned a roof tent for the Defender 110, the five-door model which has just landed in New Zealand.
The British off-road specialist reckons bringing your bed along for the ride on the Defender’s strengthened roof offers a pioneering adventure of sorts.
Of course it’s one thing sleeping in a tent high up on the roof of a vehicle where you risk being buffeted by wind, and quite another bunking down for the night in a tent on the ground and using the vehicle itself as a windbreak. Then there’s the need for toilet breaks …
Whatever, the Defender 110 sets you back between $90,000 and $165,000, depending on four- or six-cylinder engines and kit. The roof tent – one of 170 accessories for the Defender – is listed in the UK at 3085 euros (NZ$5412).
No indication yet what the New Zealand distributors will want for it; they are still working with the Italian factory on pricing.
The tent sits inside a fibreglass shell. It was designed specifically for the Defender 110, the long-wheelbase five-door. The short-wheelbase Defender 90, due in New Zealand early next year, so far misses out on a bespoke roof tent from Autohome.
To set the tent up, you’ll first need the official Land Rover Expedition roof rack assembly, part of the company’s so-called Adventure Pack. After that it’s easy, says Land Rover. All you do is unclip the rear fastening and lift the top slightly for the gas struts to take over to open the tent fully.
You can get in and out of the tent using the telescopic aluminium ladder from either side of the vehicle. Inside, the tent can sleep two adults on a full-size mattress. There are pillows, an LED interior light, a rear canopy, and a storage net. The Autohome rooftop tent is 2.3m long, 1.3m wide, and 1.5m tall.