The Land Rover Defender, the no-frills favourite of farmers and the armed forces, is back in production.
“By the time production of the long-running Land Rover Defender ended in 2016, there was no shortage of people mourning the loss of the company’s seminal rugged off-roader,” says Paul Hudson in The Daily Telegraph. Stricter emissions and safety standards had consigned “the go-anywhere original to the history books”, says Siddharth Vikram Philip on Bloomberg. It was a sad end for a car that began production in 1948. Now, it is back. One of the hottest launches at last month’s Frankfurt Motor Show was not a million-dollar supercar, but the new Defender, an updated version of the “no-frills favourite of farmers, explorers and the military”.
“Crucially,” those emissions standards are no longer a problem, says Jim Holder in Autocar. The new Defender has been “engineered to meet global car regulations”, including those of the world’s two biggest markets – the US and China. That will help to increase the appeal of this British brand around the world. The two-litre version of the car will manage up to 25.1 miles per gallon – not “bad for a petrol engine in a car that weighs more than two tons”, says Sunday Times Driving.
That’s nice, but you don’t buy an off-road vehicle to prowl shopping plazas, says Sean Szymkowski on CNET’s Roadshow. “No, you take the darn thing off the beaten path.” And the new Defender will excel off road just as its predecessor did. It has been fitted with Land Rover’s new “Wade” driving programme, which allows it to drive through up to 900mm of water. There is even word of new technology in development that will one day allow you to hop out, scout an obstacle in your path, and then steer the Defender by remote control. It promises, says Driving, to be “just as brilliant a mud plugger as its back-to-basics predecessor”.