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Land Rover Defender 2007 Test Drives

New Land Rover Defender Views

The new Land Rover Defender Puma is available now in SA with the Defender 90 costing a whopping R 309 000. Judging by the reviews the new vehicle has some real improvements over the outgoing Td5 model. But you have to wonder if the pricing isn't getting a bit ridiculous for what you get. Irony is that many Defender owners want a fairly standard vehicle without too much flash and electronics. While the more discerning buyer is looking for all the features and some comfort, and comfort is not the strong point of Defender. But then it is not supposed to be, it is a utilitarian vehicle isn't it. So it seems to be placed in the middle now, too fancy for the Defender boys and too uncomfortable for the bakkie brigade. That brings us back to the price R350 000 for a D110 to drag through the bush and drill holes into to fit accessories.

You have to love the Defender, it just does not want to die! This despite dodgy service from dealers, apparent lack of understanding of target market from Land Rover and really bad press around the brand. So just hang around for a while until they come onto the use market and pick them up for a more reasonable price.

Land Rover Defender 2007 Advert

 

New Land Rover Defender 2007 drive video reviews

New 2007 Land Rover Defender Review Part 1
New 2007 Land Rover Defender Review Part 2
New 2007 Land Rover Defender Review Part 3
New 2007 Land Rover Defender Review Part 4

 

 

Land Rover Defender 2007 Test Drive

This test drive was done by Autocar.co.uk - we don't have these in SA yet, although they are expected in show rooms by September 2007.

From the outside youíll tell it from the car it replaces only from its raised bonnet (required to clear the new engine) and the fact that the vents beneath the windscreen, one of the most iconic signposts of Landie design, have been deleted.

Itís happened because they could not fit into the new interior package and the new ventilation system means theyíre not needed, however much they may be wanted. Inside youíll find not only new eyeball vents, but a whole new dash, new seats, Disco-derived dials and, at last, reasonably sensible switchgear. The short wheelbase Defender will now only sit four (it used to house seven) and the long one has lost its congestion charge-busting nine seat layout and is now limited to seven.

Mechanically thereís a 121bhp, 2.4-litre four cylinder engine new to the Defender but very familiar to Ford Transit drivers, complete with its six speed gearbox and spring and damper changes to improve ride and response on and off road.

Whatís it like?

Better at all the things a Defender needs to be good at, namely getting you places youíd otherwise need some combination of a machete, rope ladder, crampons, Sherpa and pith helmet to reach.

The new engine has no more power than the five cylinder motor it replaces, but it now has so much torque, it actually has to be electronically restricted during extreme downhill descents off road to stop the car going so slowly the tyres start to lock. A first gear some 32 per cent shorter than the old one helps too. All the old ground clearance and axle articulation remains and it will still wade through half a metre of water without the need for a raised air intake.

Land Rover has also paid a lot of attention to improving ride and refinement on and off the road so that now it not only offers a more comfortable vantage point from which to view the mountain youíre scaling, it is also rather less wearing on the journey from base camp back to the local town.

Do not, however mistake it for a car youíd do long distances in by choice. For comfort and quiet, a Discovery has more in common with a Rolls-Royce Phantom than this Defender. Yes itís no longer excruciatingly crude at speed (with a top speed of 82mph, I use Ďspeedí as a relative term) but it will still take you longer to reach your destination and deliver you in a more frazzled state than almost any other car on sale.

Should I buy one?

If youíve always wanted an original Landie, this is your last chance. Sometime between 2010 and 2014, forthcoming legislation will kill the Defender (it already canít be sold in the US) and one of the longest lived, and globally loved and iconic cars will cease to exist.

Designed as a short-term stop gap to combat the Willys Jeep, its iconic angular shape came from the fact that its life expectancy was so short it was not worth investing in tools that made curves. And that aluminium body which ensures that, even today, 70 per cent are still on the road, came about not through thoughts of corrosion resistance and light weight, but because, after the war, there was so much scrap around it was the cheapest material to hand.

This car will, of course, be replaced. Land Rover already sells 25,000 a year without having to try very hard, but however good is the new one, it will not be a Defender.

Buy it also if you need an SUV but donít wish to be targeted by the off-road haters. Sian Berry, who speaks on matters motoring for the Green Party, spends a sizeable chunk of her time slapping fake parking tickets on SUVs, but sheíll never put one on a Defender. Even the greenies understand this car and its unimpeachable place in the nationís heritage.

Itís not cheap, some of the interior materials are still shocking, itís slow, noisy and not very comfortable but, to my eyes at least, itís still the greatest off-roader of them all.

More info of the Land Rover Defender 2007/2008
New Land Rover Defender 2007 in SA

Top Gear - Land Rover Defender Reviews

 

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Land Rover Discovery Defender  Workshop Manuals 
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