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.
Photo Credit // Jaguar Land Rover