Land Rover Defender Adventure

3 years ago

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Land Rover Defender AdventureCar Specification

Engine

2.2 litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel

Torque

148bhp with 295 lb ft @ 2,000rpm

Transmission

Six-speed manual

Fuel

27.7mpg (combined)

Acceleration

0-60mph: 14.7 seconds

Emissions

269g/km

Price

£43,495 as tested

Tax

Band M: £1,100 first year tax then £530

Born from a line drawing in the sand of a Welsh beach, the iconic Land Rover Defender finally ceased production last month (Jan) after an amazing 67 year life span.

Obviously it won£€™t be the last Land Rover to wear that proud badge but all the special edition versions to commemorate its unusually long history were all £€˜sold£€™ in advance and are being tipped as investments.

Some specialist dealers already have heritage models up for sale for £10,000 over list.

More than two million Land Rover Defenders have been built at Land Rover£€™s Solihull factory near Birmingham and the two millionth, a bespoke version, was auctioned to raise money for Land Rover£€™s humanitarian partners including the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.

It is rare for last models not to be kept for a company£€™s own museum.

The Autobiography version had a list price of £61,845, but fetched £400,000.

It was assembled by 33 Land Rover brand ambassadors and enthusiasts including Virginia McKenna OBE, founder of the Born Free Foundation and Stephen and Nick Wilks, the sons of Maurice and Spencer Wilks who created the Defender.

It was back in 1947 that Rover engineering director Maurice Wilks sketched the shape for the original Land Rover in the sand at Anglesey while suggesting the idea for the vehicle to his brother Spencer, Rover£€™s managing director.

The Wilks family owned land on the Welsh island and Maurice wanted a versatile vehicle that could double as a light tractor and off-roader.

Distinctive finishing touches include a map of Red Wharf Bay, Anglesey, where the design was drawn, are etched into the special model£€™s exterior.

Inside, the leather and cloth seats feature a graphic of the bay and £€˜2,000,000£€™ logos stitched into the seat headrests.

A special plaque has the signatures of those who built the Defender.

As a reference to the first pre-production Land Rover, which had the registration HUE 166, the Defender 2,000,000 has the registration S90 HUE.

I have been driving one of the last Land Rover Adventure models and though it is a new car it is like stepping back in time.

The driving position is tight and cramped, the pedals are high and near and the side windows unusually close.

It isn£€™t like a modern car that does virtually everything for you.

With a Defender you have to concentrate and really drive it; and that of course is a big part of the appeal. It shows owners have commitment.

You can feel every bump in the road and often need to use the steering, which is vague, to keep it heading in generally the right direction.

The driving position is cramped and sit up and beg with little concession to modern safety concerns.

The engine musters only 148bhp from its 2.2 litre turbocharged diesel engine and at times it was difficult to keep up with modern traffic.

Off road of course it would be a totally different story. Hardly anything will go where a correctly prepared Defender with a good driver can get.

In CO2 terms the car is not £€˜green£€™ with emissions of 269g/km.

The Defender£€™s charisma is huge with the depth of character that is only matched by cars such as early air-cooled Porsche 911s.

The six-speed gearbox had a far smoother changed than I expected, but it still delivered a slicker, change if you double-declutched and most SUV owners would not know what that is.

Yes, there are creature comforts like a heater and air conditioning but park next to a heavily used Landie on a Shropshire hill farm and you can see the common ancestry.

Verdict You love them or you don£€™t. Motoring history.