King o’ the Hill: The Classic Land Rover Defender (1948-2012) Review

The classic Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic vehicles in British motor history as one of the world’s most capable off roading beasts. Little has changed over the years, especially in regard to style, but underneath the gruff exterior it’s actually a pretty advanced machine. A new 2.4ltr diesel engine boosts its already remarkable credentials.

Front View of 2012 Land Rover Defender

(1948 – 2012) Classic Land Rover Defender

Originally designed by Maurice Wilks, chief designer at Rover, when his Willys Jeep broke down and he couldn’t get replacement parts from America. Cue the chance of a lifetime: to make a better, British off-roader. And he succeeded so well that the Land Rover is still going strong today. Well done Maurice! It’s like a vehicular Swiss-army knife with a versatile range of uses from tractor to people carrier, from van to mobile power source. Not much has changed from its original uber-utilitarian design.

Get into the high commanding driving position and you’ll be treated to the proper classic Land Rover Defender 4×4 experience. It has to be said – this is what it is. It compares to absolutely nothing short of a challenger tank when tackling the great off road. With hefty 45 degrees in approach and departure angles plus the ability to wade through water of up to half a metre – this is an astounding machine in this respect and all other 4×4’s flounder in its wake. In a more general sense, you’ll find yourself banging the window with your arms as you manhandle the massive steering wheel when ploughing on with confident solidarity and a powerful presence. The suspension is very firm and turning circle is comically large so don’t expect to be undertaking to much fiddly inner-city parking in one of these bad boys. A new 122bhp 2.4 diesel engine (taken from the Ford Transit) replaces the noisy old TDS so that it can offer better performance, better emissions and a 6-speed gearbox. The artificially limited top speed of 85mph has been set while allowing for a healthy 260Nm of torque, which is crucially available at low speeds for working your way through muddy slopes or pulling up to a colossal 3500kg. On the roads it is, as expected, a rather noisy machine but it’s still an improvement drive-wise.

Rear View of 2012 Land Rover Defender

(1948 – 2012) Classic Land Rover Defender

The classic Land Rover Defender is as characteristic boxy and rugged as ever – little has needed to change over the course of half a century or so. The bonnet may have become raised to house the larger diesel engine, but that’s about it. The Land Rover Defender is pretty frills free to match its old school appeal, and as such there is a distinct lack of features you’d assume to be standard these days such as airbags, adjustable seats/steering wheel and heated wing mirrors. Inside is a lot smarter due to some lent parts from the plusher Land Rover Discovery. The heating system is incredible too – blasting out semi-volcanic heat of arctic tundra temperatures to fill the cabin surprisingly fast. There are 2 body styles which can vary your seating arrangements for up to 7 people.

The back seats are refreshingly forward facing and fold away to the side when not in use to allow access to a large boot area. All in all, what’s the lowdown with the classic Land Rover Defender? This is by no means a family 4×4. This a 100% rugged beast of a machine that is totally worthy of its mantle as one of the world’s most capable and surprisingly cost effective off-roaders. Sure it could be a little more refined but that would be getting away from the original Land Rover spirit. Since health and safety/emission regulations have become more and more strict, vehicles of this calibre will soon become a thing of the past – so best get in and enjoy it now!

If you want to get hold of the classic Land Rover Defender then don’t hesitate to leave us a message on our contact us page or give us a call on 01903 538835 to find out about our Land Rover lease deals.

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