New Land Rover Defender?

I have been long anticipating, the release of the new Defender’s short wheelbase model, to be able to cover it in my blog. The Land Rover Defender is one of the most iconic SUVs on the market. Sadly, however, production of the original Defender ceased in 2015; I was fortunate to be present at the auction of the last vehicle.

The Defender was undeniably a great SUV, it was designed for a purpose, and it performed really well. It failed to offer however, a three-differential lock set up, hence, you had to rely on the centre locking differential. This limitation was a contradicting side of the Defender, in my opinion. It was designed for a harsh, rugged, off-road experience and this was how it was marketed. It never featured an option of rear and front locking differential. Conversely, the Toyota Land Cruiser, Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon were successful in providing the invaluable three differential lock set-up. The first-generation VW Touareg and even the Porsche Cayenne had a limited number of three differential-locked versions.

Based on my observations at JLR, the justification for this was that it was essentially an internal politics of avoiding the rear-differential lock.

The new Defender looks a bit awkward and is designed more for the smooth and pristine roads of Mayfair, rather than deep inside the Sahara dessert. On the other hand, you will have the option to manually switch between ‘on’ and ‘off-road’ settings. Finally, you can lock differentials manually. Notably. these were not available in the previous version.

You can have an ugly, long, wheelbase or a cool, short, wheelbase. The short wheelbase is always the optimal choice for off-road as it provides better angle and navigation of obstacles. SUVs with longer wheelbases typically get stuck whilst going over obstacles.

The pricing starts from £40,000 to an eye-watering this £80,000. I think the mid-version is the best and if you can, try to avoid the large wheels. Ensure you choose the option with the latest tech for on-road usability.

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Photo Credit // Jaguar Land Rover


The Last Land Rover Defender?

It sounds like the movie The Last Samurai; however, the last Land Rover Defender does not seem to be happening. In November, Land Rover auctioned the 2,000,000th Defender at Bonhams, and the product will be finalised in February 2016. When I visited the Land Rover Stratstone Mayfair dealer, they told me (in March) that this is the last Defender.

However, I saw another Land Rover Defender a few weeks ago, and they said the same thing: this is the last one. I think Land Rover wasn’t really good with their numbers and couldn’t manage to stop production of the Defender.

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The 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender Auction at Bonhams Mayfair, London

The 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender was sold for £400,000 at Bonhams charity auction Mayfair, London. Check the video for the action!

It is sold to an unnamed bidder! The auction was like a real life eBay bidding but more fun.

I was very lucky to witness this unforgettable and emotional event. Land Rover Defender is the old mass-produced vehicle, 67 years. Unfortunately, Land Rover decided to end its production due to the high costs of implementing new EU regulations. My suggestion is that Land Rover does not wish to produce utilitarian-looking vehicles anymore.

That’s why I love the Land Rover Defender; it was the last Land Rover that had the DNA of being a Land Rover. I managed to attend to the auction at Bonhams. The event was amazing and I wasn’t planning to be there on that day. I was at the right place at the right time. In addition, Mr. Land Rover was present with other Land Rover directors and the CEO.

The 2,000,000th Land Rover Defender was built in Solihull, England (very close to Birmingham). The money collected from the auction will be donated to the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the Born Free Foundation.

It was a very sad moment, but I was very, very lucky to witness this unforgettable moment, and Land Rover was very kind to invite to me the after party, but I had to get back. I should have bought an open return ticket!

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Land Rover Defender London Taxi

The last Land Rover Defender is now a London Taxi. Land Rover Defender’s product will be ending soon (at the end of December 2015) due to costly safety revisions. Maybe design director Gerry McGovern doesn’t find the Defender cool enough. Despite this, the Defender is the only Land Rover I really wish to own.

Anyway, Land Rover has decided to create a campaign to honour the Defender before its production comes to an end and created the Land Rover Taxi. Actually, it is an artificial taxi. Unfortunately, no one is able to book it! However, the campaign’s best catching point was the driver, Mr. Land Rover (Roger Crathorne). (I was lucky enough to have met with him a few years ago, and also I did an interview with him.).

Keep in mind, the Land Rover Defender is also manufactured in Turkey by Otokar!

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Photo Credit | Land Rover


A Trio of Final Land Rover Defender

2015 will be the last time you can order a Land Rover Defender. The iconic Defender will not be manufactured after December, 2015 due to EU regulations that cannot be applied to ageing platform of Defender. However, Land Rover did not wish to stop the production without making unforgettable versions.

Land Rover decided to draw a huge (1 km sized) Defender sketch of the original Defender on the same beach (Red Wharf Bay in Anglesey, UK) that was drawn by Maurice Wilks. Six different Land Defenders were used to make this massive sketch and each Defender was representing its generation.

The sketch took 4.52 km in total and Land Rover is going to release three different limited editions to celebrate the Defender. As you expected there will be Autobiography Edition, Heritage Edition and Adventure Edition. Just ignore the Autobiography Edition because, Defender is not a Range Rover.

Defender is the only Land Rover product I really like. Unfortunately, the existing Land Rover vehicle range departed far away from its utilitarian DNA to luxury on road territory. They do look beautiful but I cannot see the utilitarian DNA of Land Rover on any Land Rover vehicle.

Photos Credits
Land Rover

Land Rover Defender in Animation: Land Rover Italy

Land Rover Defender is one of the toughest proper SUV or four by four vehicle on the market. Defender looks simple and functional, does its job properly!
And recently Land Rover Italy created some videos that are representing the abilities of Land Rover Defender in four different funny animations. 
I really loved the sense of humour and the way Land Rover Italy showed the functionality of Defender in such a nice way.
Don’t forget to watch all four videos in the playlist :)


Cars in James Bond Skyfall

James Bond Skyfall, I have just watched the movie and I wanted to write about the cars in the movie. Because, there are more cars placed in Skyfall that you imagine.
The list starts with Land Rover Defender and Audi A4. Then JaguarXJ as you expected, then we Range Rover as usual. China sequences starts with Mercedes S500 (S550 for US market) and the taxi was a Volkswagen Passat. And we saw Land Discovery 4 as police vehicles and as a normal vehicle. I totally forgot the wrecked Volkswagen Beetles in the Turkey.
The London Police was driving Kia Optima, Sportage and Opel/VauxhallAstra. I really don’t know whether the London Police drives Kia or not! And the fire trucks were Dennis, a British classic. Later on, Bond left the Jaguar XJ and moved away with the Aston Martin DB5.
If there are more cars, I will update the post later. It was quite hard to keep up with in the Skyfall :)

Land Rover Defender
Audi A4
Jaguar XJ
Range Rover

Mercedes S-Class
Volkswagen Passat
Land Rover Discovery 4
Volkwagen Beetle
Kia Optima
Kia Sportage
Opel / Vauxhall Astra
Aston Martin DB5
Pictures’ Copyrights
United Artists, Land Rover, Kia, Audi, Mercedes, Jaguar


Land Rover Defender: Off Road

Land Rover Defender; for many people Defender is an ugly, out-dated, heavy, overpriced, useless vehicle. I do had adverse opinions about the Defender but not that much, however I never thought Defender would offer one of the best off road capability on the market.
I have driven many different off road vehicles and I can say one thing, nothing can stop a Land Rover Defender. I drove the Defender in a tough off road and there is nothing can stop. The chassis is excellent, engine is very powerful, low-range gearbox is superb, anti-stall function allows to drive like an automatic car, steering wheel is accurate and response. All these features are crucial for off road terrain, unfortunately electronic gadgets cannot help you all the time. Especially, the anti-stall function in Land Rover Defender is a state-of-art technology and Land Rover does not promote it (This is another case).
Finally, if you want a proper off road vehicle and do not wish to pay lots of money, go and buy a Land Rover Defender. You will not be disappointed! 
Technical Details
• Engine 2.2 litre diesel engine – 122PS@3,500rpm & 360Nm@2,000rpm
• Transmission Manual 6 speed
• Fuel consumption 
Urban 20.8 mpg – 13.6 l/100km
Extra urban 29.1 mpg –  9.7 l/100km
Combined 25.5 mpg – 11.1 l/100km
• CO² Emissions 295 g/km
• Capacity 
Obstacle Clearance – up to 314mm 
Wading depth – max 500mm 
Maximum gradient – 45˚
Off-road approach angle – 47˚ 
Off-road departure angle – 35˚ 
• Optional extras
Tow ball drop plate & electrics – £305
(on this vehicles)Under ride protection bar – £80
• On the road price £29,500 – inc vat, exc. extras as listed above


Land Rover Defender

During the Jaguar Land Rover Event, I had opportunity to explore the legendary Land Rover Defender. My experience was all about the car, not just driving or off road. For many years, I was trying to get inside one of these cars and I had to wait for quite long time. Defender is not that easy to spot nowadays, they are not placed in every dealer. So, you either run after to see one or wait until to see one. I preferred the second one! Hopefully, I didn’t wait for that long, like a graduate trainee waiting to buy a Louis Vuitton bag! Land Rover PR team provided the Defender during the event and explored this oldie.
Unfortunately, there is no ergonomics inside the Defender. Everything is designed for its purpose and you are supposed to adjust your body for adapting to vehicle. This starts from the entering to Defender, you should be really careful and know how to get inside, otherwise you may hit your head. The gear lever is huge long plastic, the clutch is really heavy, the steering is the same, hand brake is placed really low, the engine sound can be felt inside your stomach, indicator switch is really outdated, windscreen heater’s plug is front of you (You may unplug it by yourself), dials and switches are designed to last forever but with sense of comfort.
In general, Defender is the last car you should buy if you are planning to drive it inside a city. It will be a really headache for you but all of these criticisms I made is there for a reason! This car is designed to cope with the toughest terrains on earth. All of these ugly and outdated switched can run and work under artic cold to desert hot and at same time you can be driving to your destination. This car is really unique piece automotive engineering and it is sad to see that product lifecycle is coming to end!


Interview with Roger Crathorne (Mr. Land Rover)

Yesterday I attended to Jaguar Land Rover’s PR Event. I had the opportunity to experience with various Jaguar and Land Rover models. However, and the most important moment was meeting up with Technical PR Manager of Land Rover, Roger Crathorne (as known as Mr. Land Rover). Roger has been working in Land Rover for 49 years; he started from the junior level and worked in different positions in Land Rover during the years. His nearly half a century of experiences made him the most experienced off-road specialist and engineer in the business. All those years, he worked as engineer for the first generation Range Rover, and developed the four-wheel drive system, transmission and drive train. Later on he was involved with the Discovery project and also took important roles during the development.
He has a well-respected experience and knowledge on four-wheel drive vehicles and currently works at PR department to explain the Land Rover’s technologies to us. You will find more details during the interview. We talked about why Land Rover never introduced front differential lock, the details of the journey from Birmingham to Geneva with the first generation Defender and 1.000.000th Discovery 4, how he perceives the contemporary SUV market and experience at Land Rover. We didn’t skip the Mercedes G-Wagon, Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6!