Crude and noisy, but fun to drive and fantastic off-road.

Our Verdict

Land Rover Defender

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

20 August 2005

What’s new?

The iconic Land Rover receives cosmetic tweaks to begin a limited edition run of 300 cars, available in 90, 110 station wagon and 110 double cab variants. It costs £400 more than the range-topping Defender XS, but styling extras such as black chequer-plate, an A-bar at the front and a set of driving lamps more than compensate. There’s also a CD player, half-leather seats, a sump guard and a tow-bar.

Do the changes work?

The combination of silver paint and black trimmings do, but the interior extras sit rather uncomfortably with such a vehicle’s purity of purpose. They don’t make it any more refined, either. It’s noisy, ventilation is basic, and there’s not much legroom because of the minimal seat adjustment. But it’s surprisingly fun to drive, has real character and is, of course, exceptional off-road.

Should I buy one?

Essentially, this is a working vehicle, so you need to decide if you can put up with the relative crudity. But if integrity off-road takes precedent over refinement, the Defender remains the only choice.

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