Off-road Test: Time warp to 1997 with Land Rover Defender 110 – Leisure Wheels

14 Mar 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on Off-road Test: Time warp to 1997 with Land Rover Defender 110 – Leisure Wheels

Land Rover: #8220;Defender of the

Land Rover#8217;s venerable has been given a new lease of with the fitment of BMW#8217;s high0torque M52 engine. The latest performer has now cleverly been re-positioned in a of the image-conscious lifestyle market it was never previously represented

The but thirsty 3,5 litre V8 is no more, but the bonnet of the latest petrol-powered Rover Defenders and you#8217;ll the same superb BMW 2,8 litre 24-valve in-line six that the Z3 sports car, 328i and

And the surprise South African which is attracting widespread from a number of other Rover markets around the comes at a time when you have been forgiven for that the Defender was nearing the end of its life.

After all, it is no that the venerable workhorse traces its origins back to the original, is unlikely to be re-engineered to impending American crash which requires things as airbags.

But there#8217;s life in the Old yet. Not only is the Defender an vehicle for Third World that value simplicity and dependability, but Land Rover Africa has cleverly positioned the petrol-engined performers in a sector of the lifestyle market where it was previously represented.

Features and Equipment √ √ √

The latest 90 and 110 County models not only the muscular Bavarian power-plant, but a of enhancements including disc all round, a standard BMW immobiliser and system, specially developed Trac 235/85 tyres on dished alloy rims, a new and revised interior trim.

R192 950 buys a vehicle any other 4#215;4 in the world, inevitably would-be buyers in price range will consider the likes of the Jeep (R174 000 to R197 475), Pajero (R204 990), Sani (R178 492).

may also have a potential list that includes double cabs and even Audi A4, BMW 3-series and Merc models. It#8217;s a question of and lifestyle we#8217;re talking

Included in the price of the 2.8o is a player, air-con, centre box between the front seats, seat belts for the inward-facing seats, tinted glass, and rear steps, mudflaps, and a

Accommodation √ √ √

Seating for nine and load space, if you don#8217;t use the seats, are obviously major but there#8217;s lots to fault in a that has changed little the years.

the dash is out of the dark ages, but the now feature better illumination, the air-conditioner has been improved, the radio speakers that to be bolted to the roof.

Despite the age of the front seat passengers are with the bonus of loads of space either in the huge console box between the seats or in the that runs the length of the There#8217;s also a useful beneath the driver#8217;s seat is big enough for tools, a tug strap and a spotlight.

Move back to the bench seat and things quite as cosy. You#8217;re to wish for more legroom our toes up against a bulkhead if you#8217;re taller than your view of the scenery is by blindspots that are only relieved by skylights in the roof.

the flip-down seats in the cargo  aren#8217;t ideal for long although kids seem to them on shorter hauls. But do make for terrific seating hardly eating into the area when they#8217;re not in The load space is also squared off to conveniently swallow all the kit for Botswana expedition, with a fo approved options that a huge roof-rack.

If you do visit the Kalahari in mid-summer be grateful for the improved air-conditioner, like the heater, it isn#8217;t up to the standards of the 4#215;4 estate

Nor is the fit and finish. Truth is, the Defender is like a giant Meccano set yawning panel gaps are prone to wind, water and leaks. Could it be otherwise in a of this vintage?

Performance √ √ √ √

as we loved the brawny character of burbling V8, there#8217;s no denying the of the BMW six-cylinder unit. Not only is the unusually neat and well out, with the air filter out of harm#8217;s way, but the smaller engine boasts superior power, torque and fuel

While there has been computer remapping to suit the specific needs, power and peaks are unchanged at 142 kW at 5 300 r/min and 280 Nm at  3 950 The good news is that builds strongly from more than tick-over with the six bettering the old V8 throughout the

Compare it ot the optional 2,5 litre Tdi turbodiesel and it is no less impressive, the oil credited with 83 kW at 4 000 r/min and Nm at 1 800 r/min.

Obviously the character of the Tdi and is vastly different, with the power-plant appealing strongly to the recreational buyer seeking performance and refinement.

Rev it hard and the are little short of startling, the storming off the start line and to the 6 500 r/min red-line with an rare in an off-roader in any market Certainly it has created something of and Hyde personality for a vehicle associated with images of in the most inaccessible parts of the

The engine and exhaust note is right too, sounding and potent without being as as in early prototypes.

Despite the brick-like aerodynamics, it is possible to effortlessly at 140-plus, with a 152 km/h top speed at Highveld

And when the tarmac ends are no serious compromises either. its diesel-equipped Tdi stablemate, it will over the most daunting at idle speeds, responding to demands for more power a Tdi can momentarily hesitate as the turbo boost. Although peak power is developed at nearly 4 000 the Vanos variable camshaft swells torque at low revs, maintaining top-end potency.

And where Land Rovers are known for some drivetrain when suddenly accelerated or the tendency is masked by the sophisticated management system#8217;s anti-surge

In keeping with the uprated there are disc brakes all which do a commendable job of pulling the up sharply on demand. ABS is not offered.

On- or it is a classy act.


All 4x4s are a compromise, and the Defender is biased in favour of off-road How could it be otherwise with a long travel coil suspension designed to ensure comfort while keeping the in touch with terra when lesser vehicles be lifting wheels and wheel-spinning over rough ground. In its bundu habitat it is exemplary, and traction does become a there#8217;s the added safeguard of a locking differential that is by shifting the stubby transfer box sideways, instead of fore and aft to go high and low ratios.

The downside, of course, is that the Defender is indomitable over ground, it displays considerable roll when bieng into fast open bends. With familiarity, it handle on-road situations adeptly, the new Continental tyres both quiet and wonderfully They#8217;re certainly a big step in refinement.

On- or off-road, there#8217;s no away from the Landy#8217;s turning circle, which it a pain to park in tight and sometimes cumbersome to thread rocks and trees out there on the

There#8217;s also an agricultural to the controls, with care to shift gears smoothly. One driver immediately criticised the clutch and awkward shift but others were kinder. men actually enjoy the feeling of all that heavy-duty machinery

Verdict √ √ √ √

If it is absolute quality, and slick controls you#8217;re look elsewhere to more designs. But if you are serious about off-roading and need a large wagon with exemplary capabilities, then your is over. In its latest guise the has never been better, and arguably the most charismatic of them all.

For many the choice will be petrol or

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