Monday, August 11, 2014

Used Car Review - Land Rover Defender (1997-Current)

This iconic off-road machine can be attainable. Let Myk Belmonte lead you.

1997-Current Land Rover Defender

Land Rovers are usually associated with SUVs that will make everyone stare at you. They are off-road capable vehicles that have luxury amenities to pamper its occupants with. However, the Defender is an antithesis, since it is devoid of luxury amenities associated with Land Rovers.

First launched in 1983, the Defender was initially available in wheelbases worth 90 and 110 inches (it was named as such, without the Defender) with a 127 inch variant followed. It was an evolution of the Series I model launched in 1948, in which the body style remained until today. What we are reviewing here is the model introduced in 1990 where it used the Defender name. Station wagon, pick-up, and hard top versions are available in 90, 110, and 130 inch wheelbases. Due to some safety regulations which would affect the vehicle, the Defender would end production by December 2015.

The Philippine market had the taste of the Defender in 1997 with the 110 five door and 90 pick-up truck made available. It nearly remained unchanged throughout shelf life, until a April 2009 update which had new engines and updated seating layout. 1997-2009 are sold as the SW while 2009 and later ones are designated as the XS.

Value and Costs
This is one of the vehicles that wouldn't depreciate heavily despite its age, with most second hand Defenders being priced above a million pesos. This can be attributed to its limited importation locally, plus its attributes that makes owners attached to their units makes it a gem in the market. There are limited units in the classified block so good luck on hunting one.

Unlike other Land Rover models, you needn't to worry anything about this model since this is one no-frills machine to begin with. A recall in 1998 involving the upgrade of the timing belt was issued plus one must check the vehicle thoroughly since a missing service record can affect its value. If there is any other issue to check at, it would be the air conditioning units which has the tendency to fail because of some faulty electrical wiring or leaks in the refrigerant lines.

Exterior and Interior
Timeless, this is one word to describe the exterior of the Defender since the design would even date the 1940s. While the body is formed of aluminum with steel frame, be wary when the body has corrosion and imperfections especially it will ruin the vehicle's charm.

It definitely goes basic inside especially that there are no power amenities for the pre-2009 models (save for steering), no sound insulation, and an all vinyl cabin. Leather seats became standard later on while all models gain a scratch resistant dashboard. The 90 pick-up can accommodate six people in a 2 front facing and 4 side facing layout while the 110 wagon can fit nine people with a layout similar to a current Mitsubishi Adventure with rear side facing seats. Updated models can only accommodate 4 (90 XS) and 7 (110 XS) with all of them facing front due to safety regulations in Europe. Oh, lest I forget the interior is designed to be hosed down but we wouldn't recommend it.

Two engines were made available locally, in which you might be encountering them on your search. The first one fitted among pre-2009 units is the 300Tdi 2,495cc with 111hp at 4,000rpm and 265Nm at 1,800rpm that can be described as simple, durable, and efficient. For later units, a Ford derived ZSD-424 2,402cc from the Duratorq engine family carrying 112hp at 3,500rpm and 360Nm at 2,000rpm offering you more pulling power when you need it.

Driving Impressions
Driving this one on its intended purpose, it will serve you better thanks to its low range mechanicals that will give aid you when things get rough. Drive this one on the pavement, then you'll complain that the ride is bouncy, refinement isn't a strong suit, plus steering is slow. If you plan to use it on muddy terrains most of the time, then this is it otherwise you'll be fine with rivals.

If off-roading is your forte, then the Defender is the one to get since it can get to your destination without worries. Just make sure you can live with its poor on-road behavior and expensive prices. You have no right to complain, mind you.
The Good:
  • Best when the rough gets rough
  • Easy to maintain
  • Reliable
The Bad:
  • Definitely not the Land Rover you know
  • Crude at its best
  • Basic cabin
The Pick: 110 models

Engines: 2,495cc 300Tdi (1997-2009) and 2,402cc ZSD-424 I4 diesel
Power: 111hp @ 4,000rpm (2.5), 122hp @ 3,500rpm (2.4)
Torque: 265Nm @ 1,800rpm (2.5), 360Nm @ 2,000rpm (2.4)
Fuel Consumption: 7-9km/L (city), 10-13km/L (highway) (*estimated and varies)
Transmission: 5-speed manual (1997-2009), 6-speed manual (2009-Current)
Suspension: Front and rear coil springs with beam axle (1997-2009), front and rear rigid axle with coil springs (2009-Current)

Price (New): P2,000,000 and above (estimated, since brand new prices varies and upon request)
Price (Now): P1,400,000-P3,500,000
Rivals: Jeep Wrangler, Land Rover Discovery, Mercedes Benz G Class, Toyota Land Cruiser
On Sale: 1997-Current

Land Rover Bonifcacio Global City - (02) 856-2277

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