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Thoughts and musings on the new defender


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Some sales figures for the new Defender.

Source:

https://carsalesbase.com/

 

Europe

June - 1373

July - 1262

August - 602

September - 1362

October - 1231

 

USA (I can only see figures for two months)

June - 600

September - 1300

 

 

For comparison.

Europe (June thru Oct)

Wrangler - 793, 979, 694, 872, 591

Discovery 5 - 560, 792, 311, 1127, 551

RRS - 1610, 1589, 827, 2184, 1514

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It’d be more interesting to see the full year figures, and last year’s too, for the D5, RRS and Wrangler.  I suspect you’d see a significant dent in the D5 figures and a bit in the RRS, but very little in the Wrangler from June.  The D5 numbers don’t look good at all - they do in isolation as they are imply that the new Defender is taking sales from Discovery, like many of us predicted.

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Well, as has been noted so often that we're all sick of it, the new Defender is functionally a Discovery.  Given that the Defender version conveys the sort of rugged image that old Discoverys used to convey, and the fact that not a lot of people are complimentary about the style of the new Discovery, it would have been amazing if the Discovery was outselling the Defender (though pricing might have an impact - I'm far too lazy to see how they compare).

Edited by deep
Grammar
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Umm, makes the vehicle look rather incomplete. You should be able to see the lower A-arm pivot. Obviously how LR have designed the front end, you are somewhat limited in what you can achieve. Maybe it'd look better in person, but for it looks a little 'exposed' and a bit homesprung.

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1 hour ago, Chicken Drumstick said:

Umm, makes the vehicle look rather incomplete. You should be able to see the lower A-arm pivot. Obviously how LR have designed the front end, you are somewhat limited in what you can achieve. Maybe it'd look better in person, but for it looks a little 'exposed' and a bit homesprung.

Makes it more like an original Defender with more suspension stuff showing :P 

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That's dealt well with two of the vehicles biggest off-road issues: lots of low-slung plastic up front and marginal tyre size.  Probably protects the radiators better too.  It does look a little weird, seeing that complex suspension being exposed but so what?  It's not a fashion show - or is it?!  It couldn't be hard to fit a guard if something was vulnerable in there anyway.  I hope it's genuine and legal because it gives hope...

Odd choice of tyres though.

Edited by deep
tyres
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Pirelli Develops Special Tire For Land Rover Defender: https://carbuzz.com/news/pirelli-develops-special-tire-for-land-rover-defender

 

"... the Italian manufacturer has partnered with Land Rover to produce a special tire just for the new Defender. Pirelli says that the new tires offer best-in-class rolling resistance, which is always a benefit when you're trying to make vehicles as efficient as possible. ...

Pirelli says that its new Scorpion Zero All Season ultra high performance tire is "designed to deliver excellent levels of comfort and safety" and reduces noise while providing maximum performance throughout any season, whether the road surface is dry or wet. New materials were used for the structure and compounds of the tire, and to ensure optimal performance, Land Rover tested the new tires "both uphill at a constant speed as well as sideways across the slope in order to assess lateral grip on wet grass."

A new shoulder design and a double tread block help improve traction on mud, grass, and snow - something that Landy enthusiasts will surely appreciate.

To ensure that the tires are truly capable in all conditions, a series of laboratory tests were followed by an outdoor program that consisted of tests in the UK's Malvern Hills, where the tires were tested on 66 miles of varied terrain. Following this, snow and ice testing took place in northern Sweden. Land Rover's Gaydon facility in England was then used to test soft handling and comfort while high speed and wet handling testing took place at the Nurburgring and at the Applus and Idiada facility in Spain. Pirelli's own Vizzola test track was also made use of. ... "

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On 12/20/2020 at 8:32 AM, Naks said:

Pirelli Develops Special Tire For Land Rover Defender: https://carbuzz.com/news/pirelli-develops-special-tire-for-land-rover-defender

 

"... the Italian manufacturer has partnered with Land Rover to produce a special tire just for the new Defender. Pirelli says that the new tires offer best-in-class rolling resistance, which is always a benefit when you're trying to make vehicles as efficient as possible. ...

Pirelli says that its new Scorpion Zero All Season ultra high performance tire is "designed to deliver excellent levels of comfort and safety" and reduces noise while providing maximum performance throughout any season, whether the road surface is dry or wet. New materials were used for the structure and compounds of the tire, and to ensure optimal performance, Land Rover tested the new tires "both uphill at a constant speed as well as sideways across the slope in order to assess lateral grip on wet grass."

A new shoulder design and a double tread block help improve traction on mud, grass, and snow - something that Landy enthusiasts will surely appreciate.

To ensure that the tires are truly capable in all conditions, a series of laboratory tests were followed by an outdoor program that consisted of tests in the UK's Malvern Hills, where the tires were tested on 66 miles of varied terrain. Following this, snow and ice testing took place in northern Sweden. Land Rover's Gaydon facility in England was then used to test soft handling and comfort while high speed and wet handling testing took place at the Nurburgring and at the Applus and Idiada facility in Spain. Pirelli's own Vizzola test track was also made use of. ... "

I wonder if this is a bit of a retaliation against the Grenadier gong with BFG for its "custom" tire.

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One of the stranger motoring articles in the Telegraph:  https://www.telegraph.co.uk/cars/advice/fashion-functionland-rover-defender-accessories-demystified/ It is behind a (slightly lax) paywall, so I copied and pasted the text. I guess that much of it is infomercial, but some of it triggered some thought.

 

"It's easy to spend a small (or even a large) fortune on extras but you must choose wisely to avoid wasting money – or even ruining the car

 

Apple’s accessories department reportedly turned over $6.5 billion in only 12 weeks this summer. Little wonder then that when Land Rover launched the new Defender it made sure that almost any accessory you might conceivably want, and maybe ones you never knew you wanted or needed (inflatable tent, anyone?), were also Land Rover-branded products.  

But, just like the iPhone, not all accessories for the new Defender are best just because they come with the manufacturer's name on. With the old Defender there was an ecosystem of aftermarket manufacturers whose bolt-on equipment was as durable as the host machine. Fitting kit from established names such as Safety Devices and ARB meant that you knew your Gobi from your Grantham.

I have just swapped an old-shaped Defender for the new one. Having been on six Camel Trophy off-road challenges and led Land Rover expeditions to China and across America, I know what a Warn winch can do or when to use a snatch strap. 

However, my new Defender spends most of its life between muddy lanes and London streets and carries a family of four, three dogs, two mountain bikes and associated paraphernalia. My aim is to discover what usable extras are worth adding to a vehicle that is already being given five stars and countless awards.  

I bought mine, a longer-wheelbase 110 model D240 HSE in Santorini black, from stock. It had most of the things I wanted; a resalable colour, the 400W Meridian sound system (music is one of my things) and various driver safety and comfort extras. Superfluously, it had leather seats and Range Rover-esque 22-inch wheels.     

Complete with blacked-out windows, it looked like an urban assault vehicle; a look many owners looking for personalisation seem to be going for. According to the Pistonheads.com website, the most expensive all-the-options Defender sold for £105,000 and new Defenders occupy the driveways of the style leaders such as the Beckhams.

“The initial modification trend for the new Defender is for ‘pavement princesses’ – big wheels and a more road car-ish look,” says Dara King of accessory supplier Tuff-Trek. “But we are starting to see orders for more utilitarian things like roof racks and tents. Coming out soon are lockable drawer units for the boot.

Chelsea Truck Co. and others have been quick off the mark and will sell you modified Defenders, but they are akin to turning a practical Barbour outdoor jacket into a Balenciaga one and don’t offer any real practical accessories.  

On my car, the first thing I changed were the wheels and tyres. The No Road Club offers wheel brands like Bowler and Tuff Ant but I needed larger rims to accommodate the brakes and so opted for some matching black Range Rover wheels and BF Goodrich All/Terrain tyres – good on the road but a step up from the standard rubber in the mud.   

Apparently, even Land Rover dealers are going to No Road Club for more bespoke wheel/tyre options. Dealers such as Guy Salmon in Coventry are also jumping on the personalisation bandwagon, with its huge potential. 

The leather interior of my Defender is sublime but our 32kg retriever is less discerning, so I bought Land Rover’s own nylon seat covers from Rimmer Brothers (genuine, but without Land Rover’s dealer fit costs). They have stopped him tucking into the cowhide but passengers complain that the shiny nylon is like sitting on a bar of wet soap, so they will be replaced by South African brand Melvill and Moon’s canvas covers.    

Protecting the interior is an investment and Land Rover’s own rubber footwell protectors are excellent. Less so the boot liner. It fits badly; I await a better aftermarket option.

The first of the established aftermarket brands into the new Defender arena is another South African company, Front Runner. The first accessory it made for the new Defender is an impressive roof rack. The one I have is full length and has its own mounting system, although a shorter one fits to the existing Land Rover roof rails.

The Land Rover Expedition roof rack is plenty good enough for most needs. Front Runner’s has the advantage of a claimed increase in weight carrying, universal mounts for a wide selection of roof tents, awnings (I have a Tuff Trek side awning), fuel carriers,  showers and sporting toys from other existing and respected 4x4 aftermarket brands.

Other toys on my Defender include an Outback-proven Engel fridge and a 1-UP USA double bike rack. It is American and has an adaptor for UK tow bars but there are many bike-carrying options to suit all budgets.  

I took the Defender to see old friend Bob Ives – 1989 Camel Trophy winner and the man Clarkson, Hammond and May turn to to lead their Grand Tour expeditions like their new Madagascar special.

“The new Defender would have coped with Madagascar fine,” reports Bob, an early adopter of Land Rover’s latest. His Hampshire farm is our playground. 

“Land Rover has always been individualised, originally for work but now mainly for leisure. As a lifestyle vehicle, with all these accessories, you can personalise it quite nicely,” he says as we light a fire under the “spare wheel BBQ” – the metal grille that covers the rear door-mounted spare doubles as, well, a grill. 

“Buyers won’t want Land Rover on everything so they can go to the likes of Front Runner who produce excellent kit. And in a year or two there will be more kit from more brands.  

“That will be a sign that the new Defender has been accepted.”

 
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  • 2 weeks later...

I can't help thinking that conversations like these rippled away when they brought in the weaker all synchro gearbox, introduced the new fangled Series 3 plastic dash, dropped wire grilles and replaced them with plastic, and a plethora of other things over the years / decades.

I'm invariably struck for the need to mention off road gear as if it was an automatic kudos generator.

So what if you buy a vehicle, use it solely for commuting,  pulling a caravan or boat or whatever?.Not every 4x4 owner feels the need to equip their respective vehicles for an extended conservation safaris to help save the lesser Packham tree fewit that once roamed Bushey high Street in vast numbers.

Life can potentially be just too short.

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22 hours ago, Happyoldgit said:

 

So what if you buy a vehicle, use it solely for commuting,  pulling a caravan or boat or whatever?.Not every 4x4 owner feels the need to equip their respective vehicles for an extended conservation safaris to help save the lesser Packham tree fewit that once roamed Bushey high Street in vast numbers.

Hmm.  There is a HUGE range of vehicles available if that is all you want to do.  The Series/Defender point of difference was that it was primarily designed to work and being a road commuter was a secondary thing, hence the off-road aspects have always been very important issues for many owners.  It's got nothing to do with "kudos" (while acknowledging there will always be people who waste their lives trying to portray some image or the other).  

For better or for worse, the new Defender has flipped the other way.  They made a road car and added complexity to it to enable it to travel off road, with some competence.  One could accuse them of pandering to image first and practicality second.  Apparently, that is where the money is found.

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2 hours ago, deep said:

Hmm.  There is a HUGE range of vehicles available if that is all you want to do.  The Series/Defender point of difference was that it was primarily designed to work and being a road commuter was a secondary thing, hence the off-road aspects have always been very important issues for many owners.  It's got nothing to do with "kudos" (while acknowledging there will always be people who waste their lives trying to portray some image or the other).  

For better or for worse, the new Defender has flipped the other way.  They made a road car and added complexity to it to enable it to travel off road, with some competence.  One could accuse them of pandering to image first and practicality second.  Apparently, that is where the money is found.

Sorry I am hardly new to the history and ethos behind the various models so you are lecturing the wrong person.

I'm too tired to dance around on the head of a pin though, therefore I  will thank you for your comments will let my pearl's of wisdom can stand.

 

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