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This Adventure model is one of three special-edition Defenders released to celebrate the end of the iconic 4x4's 67-year reign

Our Verdict

Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender is an institution and unbeatable off road, if crude on it

What is it?

It's yet another special-edition Defender. There have been countless since its introduction in 1990, featuring everything from exterior cages and custom colours to unique alloy wheels. There was even one that made you look like Tomb Raider.

The final three are arguably the most notable, largely because the Defender's 67-year run, which started with the original Land Rover, is coming to an end in January next year. Those are namely the back-to-basics, rose-tinted spectacles Heritage, the luxurious (for a Defender) Autobiography and this, the rugged Adventure.

Only 600 Adventure Defenders will be produced, in a combination of 90 and 110 Station Wagon forms. Neither is cheap, because both cost a considerable £43,495, despite being based on XS trim which costs closer to £30,000 in both regular forms. 

For that you get the choice of grey, white or orange paint all with contrasting black bonnet, unique interior and exterior Adventure badging, leather seats, LED headlights, a snorkel, roof rack, rear ladder, diamond-cut alloy wheels and some serious underbody protection. The 90 version also gets a power and torque upgrade from 120bhp to 148bhp, and 226lb ft to 295lb ft.

What's it like?

Not quite like climbing into HUE 166, the original Land Rover, but not far off. True, the cabin materials and home comforts have moved on somewhat since 1968, but when compared with today's SUVs, even from Land Rover itself, the Defender feels frankly ancient.

There's a tiny amount of fore and aft driver's seat adjustment and the steering wheel is set solid, so you either fit or you don't. If you fancy giving your right elbow a rest, you'll need to open the window, while the clutch pedal has the feel of a gymnasium's weights machine. 

The second row will sit two children in comfort, but not two or three adults. Weirdly, further back in the third row, the sixth and seventh seats are arguably the most comfortable of all. The Adventure's leather surfaces, perforated leather steering wheel and floor and roof lining do at least create a sense of quality.  

Driving a Defender quickly on the road requires nerves and large biceps. The steering gives some feedback but it's extremely heavy and its lack of self-centring can catch you out at T-junctions if you're not paying attention. So too can its leaning body.

The Ford Transit-derived 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine is better news. It pulls hard from low revs, and the six-speed manual transmission - aside from its short first gear - gives you room to build speed quickly in its lower gears. The gearshift itself is stiff and notchy, though, while the noise and vibration at high revs are something to behold.

Ride quality is far from comfortable, but the 110 manages to feel more composed than its shorter-wheelbase counterparts due to its axles having slightly more time to regain composure between lumps and bumps at a cruise. Even so, its old-school chassis still takes no prisoners on particularly rough surfaces at low speed. 

There it is, then. Not surprisingly, given that this car that has barely changed mechanically in decades of being sale, it isn't particularly fast, dynamic, refined or comfortable. But for the people that use them properly, use them for what they were and are designed to do, that simply won't matter. Those are the people giving you a knowing smirk and a nod from their Defender as they bounce past. 

More importantly to them, for traversing moors, collecting feed, transporting animals, rescuing climbers and pulling trailers off-road, few 4x4s will provide the sort of strength and assurance that a Defender will. The Adventure's upgraded protection and practical Accessories will only make it even more useful in this respect. 

Should I buy one?

As mentioned, you'll have to be quick. But I'd wager that if you're in the market for one and you're aware of the downsides of running a Defender, you won't give a hoot. If you intend to use it properly, the Adventure will be a faithful servant, and throw in a little luxury for good measure.

Even so, of the three Defender run-out editions, the Adventure seems to make the least sense. While the Heritage offers a possible future collectability, and the Autobiography a level of luxury never before seen in a Defender, the Adventure is essentially a Defender with leather seats and some accessories thrown in. 

It might make more sense to buy a standard XS, add the relevant accessories, stop pretending this is anything other than an honest, simple workhorse and skip the leather seats, and save yourself a heap of cash in the process. Of course, for the 600 people who'll inevitably clamber over each other for one, that would be missing the point. 

Land Rover Defender 110 Adventure Station Wagon

Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £43,495; Engine 4 cyls, 2198cc, turbodiesel; Power 120bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 266lb ft at 2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 2125kg; 0-60mph 14.7sec; Top speed 90mph; Economy 25.5mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 295g/km, 37%

Join the debate

Comments
9

30 July 2015
how badly designed it is by the indentations left in the rear seats after they have been folded away, in a car of this price, its unforgivable..

289

30 July 2015
.....£43+k, now they are just taking the pxxs.
This just shows how gullible people with large bank accounts are. This is just a clear up of accessories during run-out, turning the car into a juke box. Since most of these 'special editions' will end up in Londoners hands, (no countryman would be seen dead in this), boy, are they are in for a big shock the next time they drive into a multi storey car park!!
We have had a rash of mainly banker types settling in our village lately....the first thing they rush out and buy is a Defender 110...usually Black and very shiny, so you can spot them a mile off.....especially when their wife is trying to turn the thing around, (with the turning circle of a super tanker its a 20 point turn!)
Good sport though.

30 July 2015
289 wrote:

.....£43+k, now they are just taking the pxxs.
This just shows how gullible people with large bank accounts are. This is just a clear up of accessories during run-out, turning the car into a juke box.

JLR's Land Rover division has long known the art of taking large amounts of money off those who simply must have the most expensive SUV/4X4.

 

I'm a disillusioned former Citroëniste.

31 July 2015
289 wrote:

.....£43+k, now they are just taking the pxxs.
This just shows how gullible people with large bank accounts are. This is just a clear up of accessories during run-out, turning the car into a juke box. Since most of these 'special editions' will end up in Londoners hands, (no countryman would be seen dead in this), boy, are they are in for a big shock the next time they drive into a multi storey car park!!
We have had a rash of mainly banker types settling in our village lately....the first thing they rush out and buy is a Defender 110...usually Black and very shiny, so you can spot them a mile off.....especially when their wife is trying to turn the thing around, (with the turning circle of a super tanker its a 20 point turn!)
Good sport though.

The resentment and sheer envy is overwhelming here. What utter bollocks from someone who drives a 90s Merc and knows all about crap cars.


289

1 August 2015
...do you think you will EVER make a useful comment about VEHICLES WC?

Is that a remote possibility...I mean, I don't believe I have EVER actually seen one!.....and yet here you still are - infecting these pages!
What IS your opinion on this 110 Special Edition?

It would make a change from your constant deriding of individuals you don't know, & have never met. Making assumptions about their knowledge, or even in this case their current vehicles. Been peering into the old (cracked) crystal ball again WC?
FYI, (not that my opinions are any business of yours), Resent Bankers...Yes definitely - created a two speed economy and we are paying the price.
Envious...never - I reckon a car dealer has more credibility - in comparison he earns an honest pound!

30 July 2015
You're just being picky, @citytiger. I'd be more worried about the longevity of the diamond-cut alloys which to my mind have no place on anything that is designed to go off road. Even without off-roading, a few winters will see them in poor shape.

30 July 2015
Citytiger wrote:

how badly designed it is by the indentations left in the rear seats after they have been folded away, in a car of this price, its unforgivable..

Not *Defending* the price [snigger], but I think this is more the case that whoever last folded the seats flat didn't rotate the seatbelt sockets round to their horizontal positions first...? From the photo I would say it looks like that's what you're supposed to do.

30 July 2015
First the Paul Smith Land Rover and now the car equivalent of Charles Hawtrey in a safari suit. When and how did Land Rovers get so ridiculously camp?

31 July 2015
...it's really simple. Farmers chose instead to buy Nissan Terrano, or alternatively a Land Cruiser, if they were better off farmers. There was also a craze for the Ssangyong Musso - when that thing arrived at very reasonable prices. The rich - purchase the G-Wagen. Who want a comparable vehicle at much loftier prices. The Land-Rovers remaining are very old ones predating the 80's, have become now an extremely rare sight indeed. If one see a modern Defender, one can assume quite safely - that some tourist brought it, and is using that to enter the highlands. And shall leave on it, once his tour is over.

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