Land Rover's latest incarnation of the Defender will certainly get heads turning... and quite possibly a few stomachs. I saw the SVX soft-top at the Geneva motor show and instantly felt that the Defender’s timeless concept - the flat panels, front and rear beam axles, minimal electrics and hose-clean interior – had been Islingtonised. It’s like finding your local pig farmer has taken to wearing high heels, a tiara and pearls.
Few Land Rover drivers would unflinchingly defend the standard seats and driving position from criticism, but if Recaro buckets are the answer, then I’d love to know what the question was. Yes, sat-nav and iPod connectivity are excellent cabin additions that will have wide appeal; similarly, a bit of damping refinement will be appreciated by anyone who drives in town, where the combination of speed bumps and poor road surfaces presents most 4x4s with their greatest challenge. But what is the point of putting an high-end sound system in a four-wheel-drive soft-top, where you’ll struggle to hear it above 30mph?
I’m delighted that the four-pot Transit engine has proved popular – rightly so – but how does losing a cylinder fit with installing the best part of £10,000 of upmarket kit? I suspect that under Tata’s ownership a ‘UN-spec’ Defender will soon appear. If it’s a soft-top with wind-up windows, I will be the first to rejoice. Even if it's only for overseas consumption.