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Land Rover Defender 2007 in South Africa

The new Land Rover Defender Puma that will be available in South Africa was on show at the Auto Africa motor show. As we know there are no major changes from the outside except for the subtle removal of the vents and the raised bonnet. So it was with curiosity that we snooped around the inside to see what was happening there. This is what we found.

Under the bonnet the engine looks a lot less ominous than the outgoing TD5. No big plastic cover hiding everything. It actually looks quite promising especially for the more mechanically minded types who like to see what is going on with the engine. It is a taller engine and hence the raised profile on the bonnet. The Defender was quite an attraction at the show, more curiosity than desire though, although there some droolers around.

Clever designing left the grooves in place for the front air vents. So it still looks like they are there, although they aren't. Sitting in the front seat there does appear to be more room. Mainly because the aircon has been removed from where it used to bang your knee caps, so now there is more space. The dash also sill has the vertical type look so that keeps it out of the way. Some things don't change though, as can be seen from the steering column connection to the dash. It is the same as it was, grey plastic and all, which is not great because it looks a bit tacky and will have a bit of a wobble and squeak after a few hundred kms

All round the seating has been improved, using more modern seats from a comfort point of view as well as folding and fitting. Moving on to the rear where the inclusion of the forward facing rear seats has meant some changes to the wheel arches. In order to fir the seats in and make space for the passengers feet the wheel arches have been made smaller. It is not evident until you lift the rear carpet and see the step up in the once square wheel arch.

 

First Drive Defender 2007

The first new Defender rolled off the production line in the UK with not much fanfare. No new chassis numbers or anything like that. It was pretty much business as usual although the assemblers did stop to savor the moment.

The vehicle is almost on the road in the UK now and the word from those that have driven it is that the improvements are well worthwhile. Unlike the big noise and little change from the Tdi to TD5 upgrade, this one seems to have been well thought out. The Puma engine is apparently significantly quieter, probably a combination of a quieter engine and longer ratio gearbox keeping the engine revs down.

The gearing from the new 6 speed gearbox seems to be the biggest improvement, not only has it increased the cruising speed but it had also reduced the gearing in 1st gear low range. So much so that 2nd gear low is now the old 1st low and 3rd gear low is the new "I can do anything, catch all" 2nd gear low of before. also all these new ratios means that the pulling power through the gears is more spread out so it pulls better in all gears.

A bunch of great engineering improvements has refined the vehicle and made it better off road without losing anything. In fact it now appears to be better off road than before and better on road. That is refreshing because the Defender is the ultimate off road Land Rover so it needs to keep that ability.

More info of the Land Rover Defender 2007/2008
New Land Rover Defender 2007 Test drive Video Reviews

 

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LandyOnline - Land Rovers in Africa  2000 - 2012                   Last updated 08/09/2012