Iconic Defender gets thorough makeover

How does one improve on a legend? That was the task facing Land Rover engineers when they received the green light to produce what has since become known as the New Defender.

Almost 60 years since the original Land Rover made its bow, the legacy of toughness, engineering excellence, unstoppable traversability and a spirit for adventure remain core elements of this latest heir to the pukkah 4×4 throne.

At the same time, New Defender offers a significant package of improvements. While the upgrades to the interior are extensive, the most important changes are to the all-new drivetrain.

As a result, the 2007 Defender delivers better performance both on the road and off the beaten track, as well as greater pulling power, substantially upgraded comfort levels, and much improved refinement.

While New Defender’s aluminium-skinned profile remains instantly familiar, it’s what’s under the metal that matters most. Combined, an all new engine, transmission and transfer case provide the Defender with a completely reinvented drivetrain. Permanent four-wheel drive is retained.

Numerous chassis changes assist in making the New Defender simpler and more rewarding to drive.  Inside, a host of improvements benefit occupant comfort and safety.

These include a completely new fascia, more efficient air-conditioning and heating, and seats that boost comfort and safety.  Refinement has been improved significantly, too.

Says Land Rover managing director Phil Popham: “At Land Rover, we are immensely proud of Defender’s reputation for off-road supremacy. The 2007 changes build on this to provide more pulling power, better driveability and enhanced control.”

But, says Popham, the 2007 programme doesn’t stop there. “We’ve comprehensively revised the cabin, with new seating layouts that improve safety and enhance comfort. The new, ergonomically designed fascia not only looks great, but is also thoroughly practical and more durable than before.

“New, highly effective heating and air-conditioning systems have proved more than a match for the harshest of climates, while a comprehensively re-engineered refinement package provides a step change in cabin sound quality and noise levels too.

“It’s no surprise that in user trials, the new Defender has proved a great success,” Popham added.

The key enhancements to the New 2007 Defender include:

  • Greater than ever breadth of all-terrain capability
  • A new 2.4 litre common-rail diesel engine that boosts fuel efficiency and performance
  • A 360 Nm torque peak for effortless towing, improved climbing, and enhanced on-road performance and refinement
  • Impressive reductions in exhaust emissions
  • A new, six-speed gearbox
  • A lower first gear for greater off-road control
  • A higher top gear for improved cruising refinement and real-world economy
  • Enhancements to Land Rover’s renowned permanent four-wheel drive system
  • Improved refinement thanks to drivetrain enhancement
  • Revised prop shafts to boost refinement and durability
  • New seats, with rear stadium seating arrangement to achieve greater comfort front and rear
  • Three-point seat belts at all seating positions
  • Improved ergonomics from the practical, all-new fascia
  • An all-new heating and air-conditioning system that offers dramatic performance improvements

The New Defender goes on sale this month and is available from authorised Land Rover dealerships countrywide.  A three-year/100 000 km warranty is standard.