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Gone But Not Forgotten: The Iconic Land Rover Defender

On Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

Ask any American what they think is an iconic off-road vehicle and they will tell you one name: Jeep. Across the Atlantic, the same question has a different answer: the Land Rover Defender. The British vehicle has been a familiar sight not just in the UK but across the globe for decades.

2015 Land Rover DefenderIn fact, the first Land Rover Defender model got built at the firm’s Solihull plant back in 1983. Enthusiasts will tell you the model got based on the older “Series” models that date back to 1948. Jaguar Land Rover announced a while back that production of the Defender was to end. The last brand new model, a soft-top “90”, got built just two months ago.

The company decided to stop building the iconic model not because of poor sales. In a nutshell, they had no choice in some ways due to EU emissions directives. The engines used in the Defender just weren’t “green” enough!

It’s likely the Defender’s replacement will feature a heavily revised design and eco-friendly engines. But, what is it about this decades-old model that has a won a place in many people’s hearts? Here’s why the Land Rover Defender is a vehicle that we will never forget:

They are recognisable four-wheel drive vehicles

Let’s face it: the Land Rover Defender isn’t something today’s vehicle manufacturers would design. It got developed many decades ago out of necessity. The end of 2015 also saw a significant milestone for Land Rover as the two millionth Defender got built in the UK!

The Land Rover Defender is a capable off-road vehicle used for many different applications. They get used by the military, not just in Britain but all over the world. Defender models are also popular in agriculture and with search and rescue organisations.

These days, you can’t go anywhere without spying at least one Land Rover Defender on the road!

They became just as comfortable and luxurious as their siblings

We all know that the Land Rover Defender isn’t a luxury vehicle. That’s where the Range Rover marque and the newer Land Rover Discovery models come in.

Still, that doesn’t mean the Land Rover Defender is just a utilitarian design! Over the years, the vehicle has had some big cabin and suspension upgrades. The result is the Land Rover Defender became a popular choice for all kinds of new target markets.

These days you are likely to see people from all walks of life driving around in a Defender. Land Rover has built many special editions over the years to appeal to various niche markets. One can easily say there is a model for everyone.

They come in a range of body styles

You might not think it, but the Land Rover Defender was available in various body style options! We all know about the hardtop and station wagon versions. But, I bet you weren’t aware of the pick up and double-cab chassis options!

There’s no denying the Land Rover Defender is a versatile off-roader. Anyone could adapt these vehicles to suit their needs. And that’s perhaps the main reason over two billion models got sold over the years.

Land Rover Defenders have even become style icons

For luxury and fashion, off-roaders like the Defender might be the last thing on one’s mind. Still, it somehow became a trendy 4×4 among thousands of enthusiasts!

Take a look at the impressive examples at Saxton 4×4. The ones they offer are just as desirable as their line-up of Range Rover models! Many companies have even created aftermarket versions of the Defender. They get decked out with a full leather interior, top of the range infotainment systems and more.

You would never think that the Land Rover Defender would ever become such a style icon. But, it has!

They can tackle extreme gradients

One of the most notable facts of the Land Rover Defender is how it can climb almost anything in its way! Official figures claim the off-roader is capable of driving up 45-degree gradients. As you can imagine, that’s quite a statement to make!

You don’t have to spend much time to prove that is the case. For instance, YouTube has plenty of videos demonstrating how this is possible. Even Top Gear have put those claims to the test and verified them as correct.

It’s clear to see how it became the mainstay of military and emergency services groups. The Land Rover Defender is a dependable and capable 4×4. And it’s one that many of its competitors aspire to be like. Even other models offered under the Land Rover marque!

They help other vehicles out of trouble

Land Rover says the Defender has a braked towing weight of 3.5 tonnes. That means it’s more than capable of pulling out any vehicle stuck in mud or snow.

In many parts of the world, the Land Rover Defender gets used as a tow truck of sorts. It pulls vehicles out that can’t otherwise get themselves out of trouble. And it can tow them to safety, even over a considerable distance.

Many decades ago, Land Rover Defenders had a reputation for being unreliable. Since the British Leyland days were over, the vehicle underwent transformation. It’s now a reliable and hardy vehicle that passes safety and QA checks all over the world.

People can drive Land Rover Defenders on any terrain

It doesn’t matter whether you take a Defender on or off the tarmac. It will drive over any terrain and not complain about it. People have used the Land Rover Defender on muddy tracks and icy roads. They even got driven in parts of the world with extreme weather conditions.

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