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Land Rover still defends

 

By BRENWIN NAIDU

It’s up there with stalwarts like the Porsche 911, Volkswagen Golf and BMW 3-Series: these models keep evolving, and with each refinement, the car-loving public grows fonder.

Compare the current Land Rover Defender to those first, early Land Rovers – there’s no drastic change, but a subtle progression. The Defender retains those boxy styling styling cues and that rugged, sqaure-jawed countenance.

The year 2007 saw the Defender undergo significant changes – but the nip-tuck jobs were mostly under the skin. It received a new, more modern looking interior fascia, and added a bit of comfort to the usually spartan interior many Defender owners were used to. To improve interior ergonomics, a new “centre stack” was integrated in the fascia to house switchgear and other controls. Derived from its sister, the Discovery 3, is a four-gauge instrument pack with LED illumination. An improved ventilation system that claims to have increased cabin airflow by 50 percent means you’ll be less flustered when tackling off-road conditions in the sweltering heat.

The Defender also received a new 2.4 litre common-rail diesel powerplant that sees employment throughout the range. It produces a whopping 360 Nm torque, geared at making strenuous applications like towing and off-road rock climbing a breeze. But the new engine also has a reduced emissions output – important in these times of increased environmental awareness.

For 2011, the Land Rover range consists of the 110 Hard Top, 110 Truck Cab, 110 High Capacity Pick Up and the 110 Multi Purpose. All models are powered by the 2.4 litre four-cylinder common-rail diesel engine. A power assisted steering system and the all-terrain Anti-lock Braking System and Electronic Traction Control is standard on all models in the Defender range. In terms of comfort, all Defender models are equipped with an air-conditioning system, a cubby box in which to store things, two cup holders, and driver and front passenger sun visors. The seat upholstery on the 110 Hard Top, 110 truck Cab and 110 High Capacity Pick Up is of a vinyl variety. While the seats on the 110 Multi Purpose are upholstered in cloth fabric.

The 110 Multi Purpose also comes with an audio system as standard, with CD player and radio. But buyers of the other Defender models will have to be content with singing or investing in an aftermarket speakers and radios, as they are not equipped with audio systems. 110 Multi Purpose buyers also get front electric windows as standard. Thankfully, an alarm system with an immobiliser is standard across the Defender range.

The Land Rover Defender is a vehicle that speaks for itself. Having proving its mettle over almost six decades, it has established a reputation as a formidable off-road tool. It might not be as curvy as a sports coupe, but the Defender has a certain aesthetic appeal despite this – personally, I like its bulky squared dimensions.

One thing is unequivocal, though: if you want to be a part of the serious off-road fraternity, you need to look at getting a Defender.

 

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