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Thread: I'm Buying a New Defender. Any Views?

  1. #1
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    Exclamation I'm Buying a New Defender. Any Views?

    Hello Friends

    I posted this elsewhere and thought I should give it a go here too…


    I’ve recently decided to buy a Defender 90 Station Wagon TD5 with Freestyle alloys. Friends and family will probably think I have a slate off, but my long-suffering wife is happy as long as she “can get from A to B”. So that’s the real challenge sorted.

    I spent a month or so doing my homework online, at the showroom and perusing any magazine I could get my hands on, making sure the Defender was indeed for me. But sifting through all the available information was another challenge.

    Official Land Rover spiel brought a wry smile with allusions to “effortless driveability for relaxed crusing” and an “improved windscreen wiper system” that “quietly and efficiently” clears “melted snow and ice”. That’s basically water to you and me. And I can look forward to feeling “…the wind roar through as Defender makes pace – be in touch with the outside.” Yes… Quite.

    Generally, the older Defender seemed well liked if a little thirsty and expensive to maintain. So what is the new TD5 version like? Well, it depends who you ask, of course.

    I see the Defender as a scaled down truck so we should forget about creature comforts. It’s unashamedly rugged and tough yet some test drivers are clearly disgruntled, to say the least, after spending even a little time within the admittedly basic cabin design. It’s cramped, they say. The optional AC unit is a joke. There’s no room for your right elbow and not much for your legs either if you’re 6 foot plus. Unless you drive the County version you will have limited space to recline your seat due to rear bulkhead restrictions. And so on…

    Having driven a lamentably basic Ford Ka over 700 miles from Belfast to the Dingle Peninsula and back in one day, I have to say none of the above comes even close to rattling my cage.

    So, comfort aside, what can we find out about performance?

    Some spit out their dummies because the 122bhp output lags behind the 136 (138?) of the Discovery, but it’s still a 13% improvement over the Defender of 10 years ago. It’s worth noting too that the torque of the electronically injected, 5-cylinder turbodiesel engine has been improved by 17.5%.

    One harassed reviewer thought the performance of the latest engine was “at best miserable” while another enthused, “Performance is great.” Acceleration, says the former, is less than acceptable but, the latter reviewer happily reports that, “Acceleration between 40 and 70 mph is impressive even in 5th and the vehicle effortlessly picks up speed…” 0–60 is rated at somewhere around 16 sec.

    The electronic throttle comes in for abuse and praise too: “No good” off-road and when you come into a corner but it makes for “a smoother drive and less wear on all that expensive metalwork.” Somebody needs to think again.

    The optional Electronic Traction Control seems to assist some drivers while aggravating others. Never “let Mr Land Rover convince you of his ETC…” we read.

    Conflicting judgments and advice will only make your head spin. Generally though, in my opinion the most recent incarnation of the Defender is genuinely robust and reliable. If I wanted a glorified car l’d buy the Freelander. The Defender 90 TD5 is mainly a utility vehicle without girly frills, and to be sure, road handling is barely adequate at best. Off-road it appears to be a very capable machine indeed, versatile and powerful, second to none.

    Fuel consumption is OK at around 25mpg and with 12,000 miles between each oil change and service there is little to complain about compared to earlier models. (Would more frequent oil changes be useful?)

    If any of you would like to comment, your views would be welcomed and thoroughly mixed with the wide range of opinions I have already gathered.

    I will be visiting my local dealer next month. Delivery in January? I think I want it in black…




    Sam

  2. #2
    Engineer fisha's Avatar
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    depends on what you'll be using it for really i suppose.

    you get about 27 - 28 mpg on average going by what others say. the Td5 is more refined - noticably smoother and more powerful than the 300tdi

    Defenders are not everones bag - which is why there are mixed opinions on it - you have to think what you want and not what others say about it

    Although the newer defenders are nice and shiny, smooth drivetrain with no clunks - they will eventually wear down and be prone to the usual LR pitfalls of bad metal insulation leading to rust in pockets, clunks etc etc . Get a seat in one a few years old to see how you'll like it then after its worn down somewhat.

    The aircon in a defender only generates cold air - the warm air comes fron the normal method of using the warm engine coolant to warm the air. In reality it takes my 300Tdi 4 miles worth of driving at 300revs for it to fuly warm up and a further 2 miles for the cab in a 90 to become warm.

    defenders are utitilty type vehicles and while they have some creature comforts -personally i'm starting to find i occasionally get weary of mine and wishing for a more refined ride.

    the lack of elbow is never bothered me - i'm 6' 1" and i fit fine into and am happy going long journeys - its just that i would like a little more plushness now.

    how much is a new 90? - have you compared it against an import disco 3? if i had that money - i would be pushing for a new import disco, but thats my personal view.

    If you want it, go for it. I love mine overall..... but i want a disco 2 or a rangie soon
    -----------------------------------
    V8 or nothing - nuff said.
    ORRP Admin.

  3. #3

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    I can't compare with previous Defenders but I do have a new 90 CSW (Limited Black).

    We tend to refer to it as "The Truck" so you can guess what it is like.... Utilitarian.

    The engine seems powerful enough and it wisks along. My wife who is learning to drive finds it quite easy to drive.

    Engine noise is still present but at less than 50 the radio easily compensates.

    The ride is "Hard" which also makes the CD player unusable.

    I have not done any serious offroading (yet) but it has been on muggy banks and through a stream. The traction control makes it all reasonably refined and there is still Difflock to select… so the best of both worlds. The ABS also makes it stop in the wet.

    The aircon works well - cold only. The heater works well (new venting into foot wells) but it takes around 5miles/10minutes to warm up. It does not warm up ticking over on the drive. Misting occurs when wet people get in and only the Front & Rear windows will clear.

    Build quality is still Defender level. I have a leak in the driver side someplace that drips onto the floor mat. Trim & finish is crude but you expect this in a Defender. If it were another car that cost £25K then you would be ranting at the dealer.

    With the bulkhead deleted (CSW) there is ample room, though I am only 5'9". This is helpful for the passenger who has the Aircon in their foot well.

    I have some minor niggals such as the rear door wheel hits & breaks the right hand lamp guard if you decide to fit it.

    In summary, the Defender has good and bad points. IMO these give it character and I love it to bits.

    I did have an H-reg Disco for 8 years & >100K miles. The Defender reminds me of that but a lot but more sturdy. So it is probably more refined that some of the older Defender models.

    Oh and electric windows and central locking are probably new refinements.

    Pete

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    ‘Fisha’

    Thanks for the reply – I appreciate it. You make a lot of sense.

    You’re wise to point out that “you have to think what you want”, because that really is the bottom line. I’m just trying to get a picture of what the Defender means to those who own them and how they feel about reliability and so on. I’ll shortly be forking out £21,000+ so it won’t do any harm to keep listening to ‘old hands’ like yourself.

    I’ve learned a lot this last 2 months. A theme that keeps coming up is corrosion while another general consensus among owners is dependability – they do keep on going, especially if they are well maintained, properly serviced and don’t spend a lot of time off-road. So it’s a machine that tends to rust eventually, clunk and leak a bit, no matter what you do, but usually keeps on going to 80,000 miles+ without serious bother. Would you agree with that?

    Another key point is depreciation. They definitely sell well after several years and lots of miles. So if I kick the bucket the missus hasn’t too much to fear.

    Does it suit my purpose? Well, I plan to travel around Ireland, mainly, taking photographs, and in the past my journeys have taken me well off the beaten track. My cars just weren’t up to it! So am I right to see the Defender as an investment? I think so.

    I hope you get your Discovery or Range Rover soon! Personally they don’t do it for me in my present situation, but I‘ll tell you what – they’re popular!

    I wonder if anyone out there is sorry they EVER bought their 90! If so, sound off – there’s two sides to every coin.

    Thanks again, mate.




    Pete,

    Thanks for the info about your Defender Limited Edition – lucky you! Initially I thought about it but felt I couldn’t justify the price tag. Mind you…

    I think I’m right in saying that the basic SW does not have traction control and ABS. Although this is not a big issue with me (I tend to really ‘rough it’ anyway in my outdoor travels) do you feel it would significantly improve performance? I won’t be off-road a lot. I know that the basic version retains the bulkhead, but it really doesn’t matter too much no matter what way I look at it.

    You tend to echo my own conclusions when you say “the Defender has good and bad points. IMO these give it character”. If you don’t mind me asking, how do you feel about the fairly widespread corrosion gripes? Are they justified? It wouldn’t worry me but it seems to be such a regular complaint. But for most of us, if you drive it, it rusts!

    Incidentally Pete, are you the bloke that had the trouble with tinting his windows? I may be thinking of someone else – the mag isn’t handy just now. If you are I hope everything turned out Ok for you. The Black looks lovely!

    Thanks for the input. I’m encouraged!

    Sam

  5. #5

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    Paul is the chap who had trouble tinting his windows and runs the www.defenderblack.co.uk site. His user name on here is "Defender BLACK".

    The £25k tag for the Black seems steep but it is less than the cost of adding the same components to a standard 90. I did look at a new Disco but it was too refined and not engaging enough.

    ETC & ABS are options on the standard. My old Disco would skid down the road if you even looked at the breaks in the wet. So I was not prepared to get a Defender without it.

    I looked at 2nd hand ones but as they don't depreciate I figured I might as well buy a new one... then the wife spotted the Black.

    As for corrosion I can't say as mine is not yet a month old. The underside is covered in some sticky stuff though.

    Pete

  6. #6

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    Defender...haa, now your talkin. I drove the Disco II for a long time, sold it, drove a saloon and sold that, now driving the 110 Defender Black.

    The Defender feels like a 'real' 4x4 compared to the much smoother and more luxurious Discovery. Be very honest with yourself and make sure you really want it and really wouldn't mind the little crampedness because once you put the cash down your stuck with it for a while. The Discovery is the better everyday drive comparing the 2.

    Personally, it's the best vehicle I have ever owned! I wouldn't trade my truck for 2 Discoveries, well, maybe not yet

    With the 90 the space in the back is a catch 22. If you put people in, you can't get lugage in and vica versa. I think it does park a lot easier though so if your gonne be driving it round the city it might be better than a 110.

    The TD5 motor is fantastic. Very smooth, powerful and not that bad on consumption. No complaints there. If you want even more power have it chipped for apparently 25% more power.

    Hope this helps

    Sniperfish

  7. #7

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    I have found that the 90 is the best car I have ever, ever had for parking, reversing etc..

    And I have had a few..

    You know exactly where all four corners are, and it fits nicely into parking bays. Must be smaller than most saloons.

    Pete

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    The Defender is by far the most versatile vehicle I have ever owned and I love it to bits. However its not without its faults and these include water leaks into the cabin, wind noise, and a firm ride. Also you must realise that any journeys will take longer as the cruising speed will be that much slower than an ordinary car. If you can live with this then go get it and enjoy the best 4x4xfar but dont think that it will be as cheep to run as a ford KA or even as quiet. When you get it you must go off-roading and just be blown away by just where it will go.
    Terry
    Somerset

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    I was also looking to buy a new 90 Station Wagon, but when I went to the dealer to get a brochure and some info on specification I realised that the standard car is VERY basic everything is an extra.

    When you go through the specs your lucky to be getting five wheels! Its a wonder they dont charge you extra for paint.

    If you haven't put your order in yet , take a look at this website. It's Lloyds TSB Motor Direct you don't have to bank with them, I found there prices were £3000 less than the main dealer and all cars are UK supplied through the dealer network with full UK warranty. The price includes delivery to your door.

    http://www.motordirect.lloydstsb.com...asp?Ref=logoff

    Bry...

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    One thing...the 'new and improved' wiper system is a lot of things but it isn't quiet!

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    I bought a new defender 110 with a country pack, air, traction control, ABS, if you could get it I did.

    I live on the South island of New Zealand and it can get very hairy when you go off road.

    I drove on a terrible track for 40km, that took me 7 hours to do. Ruts and water and mud 600mm deep for 300 meters at a time.

    Streams, rivers swamps, you name it we did it. My truck never missed a beat!!! It is fantastic, more than I ever hoped for.

    It goes 100km per hour on the hard road (the speed limit).

    Make your own decision, but if you want a truck that goes anywhere with almost ease, buy a defender.

    Sure it is a truck, but thats what I wanted and thats what I got.

    I love it.

    Best of luck

    Bill

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    Buy a hat....and some binbags to put on your seat!


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    Default Re: I'm Buying a New Defender. Any Views?

    Well I bought a new 110 defender this sept. and by the 1st october the turbo blew up on the m6(soory to all those stuck with the smoke) the handbrake needed to be adjusted, i needed two new indicator pods, water was leaking over the dashboard.


    besides that I love it and the dogs and kids and missus 2.
    we had the roof rack, side steps, safari intake, blackout windows, alloy wheels and the driving lamps all fitted to it. it looks the muts in java black, was told i looked like a drug baron.

    we were advised by land rover not to go for the etc and abs, i still kind of miss the abs i think, but have not had anyneed for it yet.

    what i did find suprising was that land rover insurance was competitive and if u take into account it covers u for off roading it is good. we took it out and it was only 80 quid a year more than tescos.

    we get everyone looking at it as we go by. told the missus they were looking at her.lol

    the ride is basic, the car is basic, but i think you have bought character and history.

    i polish mine for hours every week.

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    Default Re: I'm Buying a New Defender. Any Views?

    Bought my TD5 110 County Double cab last June, it had always been my ambition to own a Landie, and I love it to bits.

    We took it down to Bordeaux last summer during the heat wave when thousands died in France, and despite no aircon we still loved it. It did 28-30 MPG provided I kept under 70 MPH on the motorways and didn't notice the 2 adults, 2 15 year olds, loads of camping stuff, 2 surf boards, etc., etc.,

    Over a year on and I still prefer driving it rather than my brand new company Passat TDi 130.

    It leaks, and is noisy, but we still love it, and it looks the business.

    We're moving house, so I needed some cash, so I sold my Caterham 7 and kept the Landie !!!!

    Although it's the County, it's year 2000 and it has no aircon, ABS, or ETC, but we STILL LOVE IT.

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    Default Re: I'm Buying a New Defender. Any Views?

    IO got my TD5 110 Hardtop earlier this year and love it, at that time i was driving a nice refined brand new Leon, climate control etc etc!!

    I love the defender, it leaks a lot, but other than that its not too bad, i dont find it noisey and i have a CD player and extra speakers fitted so thats no problem, I also have numerous mods fitted, including Allisport Intercooler and Chip (www.allisport.com - Tell em Simon Oldfield sent ya!) and this masively increases performance with 185ish BHP and 40-50% more torque as well.

    No Air con or ABS here either....but its still great

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