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Jamie_grieve

Thoughts and musings on the new defender

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11 hours ago, Ed Poore said:

Looking at that particular photo if the suspension is in standard height I'd have said that at worst it has the same if not better ground clearance than a standard "Defender Classic", remember there's not a huge amount of clearance under the diff. If you hit something hard off-road in the classic Defender you're likely going to hit the diff and in standard setup smash in the diff housing. In the new Defender you'll hear a crunch as you break some plastic and then likely a whump as you hit a sub-frame. I know which is more likely to drive away in that scenario.

When I compared my L322 and Defender side-by-side the L322 in normal ride height had more ground clearance than the Defender. I can't see JLR making the new Defender have less clearance than a Range Rover. Lifted up to it's off-road setting on the air suspension it was a far cry from "stiff as an empty cattle truck and very unpleasant at any sort of speed". It certainly wasn't diff, as you approached the limit where it would drop the suspension (30mph if I remember correctly) then it was unpleasant, not because it was stiff but because it was so god damn high off the ground and body roll was substantial.

Hands down if you're comparing show-room spec to show-room spec the newer Land Rover offerings (talking proper line-up such as RR Vogue, RR Sport, Disco and lets face it almost certainly the new Defender) will absolutely trounce a "Defender Classic" off-road. The only place I can see the daddy of them beating them is on width and (at least to begin with) cost of repair.

On the subject of air-suspension, again my personal experience, I don't any major downside to it.

But what do I know I haven't owned a modern Land Rover and taken it off-road the same places as I've taken a Defender, a decent chunk of forum members can corroborate that :rolleyes:

Lots of words but you're wrong.  I downloaded the data for the new Defender, then got under my trusty 110 with a tape measure.  Lowest point on my 110 is the (very strong) Salisbury diff (later models have more clearance there).  The measured height is only exceeded by the new Defender when the suspension is substantially raised from standard.  Further, apart from the diff line, the new Defender never comes close to the clearance of my standard 110 and we all know you can avoid rocks etc. easily enough and take advantage of that extra clearance off the diff line.  And we all know how stiff a lifted air sprung vehicle is.  Not much movement in the suspension at all.  Remember when Top Gear tried to make a Skoda Yeti look good by tattooing someone in the vehicle while it was driven around a paddock, then doing the same thing in a Range Rover in the off-road setting?

There are two more downsides to air suspension.  1) electronics, which have let a lot of people I know down and 2) I've witnessed how they can explode when pushed off road.  Air bags have their place but it's generally on a road vehicle or one owned by a rich person and used close to help.

None of which is to say the new Defender doesn't have a measure of toughness or capability - but that picture isn't lying.

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4 hours ago, geoffbeaumont said:

Not if they've designed the air spring pistons correctly - the pistons are normally shaped so that the spring rates drop as the bladder is extended. I.e. the suspension becomes softer not harder as it is raised. That's not true of some early systems, but it is true of most (all?) modern ones.

Is the bladder not extended by pumping more air into it?  How can it possibly become softer if you do that?  I'd love to know how it's done!

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47 minutes ago, deep said:

Is the bladder not extended by pumping more air into it?  How can it possibly become softer if you do that?  I'd love to know how it's done!

It’s because the volume is also expanding as it’s pumped up. Unlike a balloon that stretches as you add air, an air spring of the likes used here rolls over itself so it just extends as it expands. 

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1 hour ago, deep said:

Is the bladder not extended by pumping more air into it?  How can it possibly become softer if you do that?  I'd love to know how it's done!

With a p38 that is the exact problem. Low rise height very soft suspension. Raised ride height very very hard bouncy suspension. Arnott offer some Gen 3 air springs that should offer the reverse. In simple terms image an inflated ballon. If you poke it your finger it is still quite soft and deforms. Now use the palm of your hand and the same inflation level the ballon will no deform much at all. This is all due to surface area. The Arnott springs work on this principle. At lower ride heights they have to have less air in them. But the piston has a large surface area. Which gives a comparable spring rate to a fairly stiff spring. At raised ride heights the air spring has more air in it to lift the vehicle. But the shape of the piston means when raised the surface area is much smaller, which gives an equivalent spring rate to one being softer than in the lower position. 
 

I assume there are limits to how much variance can be achieved. And I’ve not personally driven with the Arnotts. But I believe the more modern LR’s such as the D3 onwards use a similar principle. That said, I have watched vids of high riding D3’s practically bouncing off road. But suspect they may have been in the ultra extended mode that you can’t normally select and is usually activated when the vehicle becomes beached. Or has been modified. 

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So on that photo, to be fair the ground clearance isn't quite as low as it seems,  it looks like they are in the pans in the north of Botswana and quite often the ground is impacted, rocky and gravelly,  and rather than a rut and centre track we get in the UK you get a curved bow shape on the track.  And a tweek of the air suspension knob and up they go, so problem solved,  and there are plenty of unavoidable rough and corrugated sections en route which they will have done, unless they were taken on a flatbed, which wouldn't entirely surprise me.   The majority of buyers are never going to be bothered with that aspect though, or use them offroad, or for work, or to drive through Botswana - more use will be made of the climate control, motorway crash safety, better roadholding, power, fuel economy etc.

But as for the marketing, I notice they are mob handed though and maybe don't entirely trust their machines on a solo trip through the bush - and probably for good reason. It's a long walk home.    On the way up there and into Kalaghadi  national park there are always  plenty of flatbeds coming the other way with Disco 3/4, range rover, Toyota, VW Amorok  on the back , and you invariably see the odd abandoned modern 4x4 on a remote track that's going nowhere till it meets a diagnostic tool.  Still, plenty of people do chug round there and back happily enough in modern stuff with creature comforts - but it's the one place I genuinely feel superior in my old 2a or tdi defender.

 

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And tyres of a size that don't exist and you can't purchase anywhere.  Makes a great idea to be in the middle of nowhere.

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Yup - modern low profile 4x4 tyres shred nicely on gravel tracks - that's why they're carrying two per car I guess. 

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It is not just that.  They chose a size that does not exist.  You can't buy a tire of that size anywhere.

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39 minutes ago, Red90 said:

It is not just that.  They chose a size that does not exist.  You can't buy a tire of that size anywhere.

What size are they?

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some more photos, including a plot of their route:

 

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ERMgisGWsAAAGBW.thumb.jpg.074ecf19f56b24c4198ab53fa877b3b5.jpg

ERMymjqXsAIHTpy.thumb.jpg.0bc218df9e2cb719e6ccb003b781bf4d.jpg

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some 'spirited' driving, shall we say

 

 

Edited by Naks

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The odd tyre sizes seem to be a common thing. My wifes X1 has a tyre size which can only be got in run flats at £190 per tyre. If I want to go away from run flats I have to change all 4 tyres to a different size. A guy at work has a mondeo with the same problem. 

Spirited driving indeed, just like I used to do when I was 17 in my Fiat Uno. 

I think for most people it will be fine, I think people who want to trek across Russia should buy something local. 

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via @mmmotorsports


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I don't mind the front, the sides are ok, and the outline looks nice. What looks like a rear sunroof on those last photos look great.

The hypothesising about the engineering is getting a little tiring, but I am sure it is up to snuff, at least more comparable to other manufacturers that seem to sharing technology more and more. I'm sure people will just drive their defender within vehicle limits, just as everyone on here does ;)

The things I just can't fathom are the storage box on the side, and the stupid rear end light setup -no idea what they were thinking there.

 

 

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41 minutes ago, Bowie69 said:

I don't mind the front, the sides are ok, and the outline looks nice. What looks like a rear sunroof on those last photos look great.

The hypothesising about the engineering is getting a little tiring, but I am sure it is up to snuff, at least more comparable to other manufacturers that seem to sharing technology more and more. I'm sure people will just drive their defender within vehicle limits, just as everyone on here does ;)

The things I just can't fathom are the storage box on the side, and the stupid rear end light setup -no idea what they were thinking there.

 

 

I wholeheartedly agree.

Mike

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1 hour ago, Bowie69 said:

The things I just can't fathom are the storage box on the side, and the stupid rear end light setup -no idea what they were thinking there.

TBH it looks like they designed the "inboard" lights on the back and then someone realised the rules require lights to be further out, so they added the little repeaters as an afterthought.

Does suggest they were thinking about damage though - the rear quarters wrap around so if you ding the rear/side it's just one panel and the (main) lights survive.

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Perhaps, doesn't stop them looking a bit iffy!

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On ‎2‎/‎20‎/‎2020 at 7:34 AM, Naks said:

ERJPF_DX0AAaIKi.jpg.1ed5d0eb10f84e28c0d9159524ad51cd.jpg

 

Is it just me or is the storage box right in the mirror view?

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2020 at 4:33 PM, Chicken Drumstick said:

 

We are both diehard Land Rover fanatics too. And own older proper Land Rovers. But it is a shame that our favourite marque seems completely uninterested in wanting offer vehicles we’d like to purchase. Instead they seem obsessed with having the biggest range of essentially the same SUV just in different sizes and price points. 

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I recently read a review of Which? magazine of the new Suzuki. The verdict was to avoid it all cost: bad road manners due to prehistoric suspension, bad fuel consumption compared to your average SUVs, lots of body roll and a very basic interior spec. So basically all the ingredients of a proper off roader. So the consensus of the average motorist is not to buy a proper off roader any more, basically.

So perhaps land rover has got it spot on with the new defender. Time will tell.

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I'm not a fan of the side storage boxes, and the front end looks 'odd' to me with the strange perforated panels lower down. Other than that it looks very capable and about right for what they are evolving their range into. I'd have one if money was no object.

Remember that despite the marketing they were never trying to build something for the market that the old utility Land Rover was for. They simply cannot compete there against the other much bigger players and they can make more money at the premium end where volume of sales is a smaller part of the picture. Engineering wise it is adequate for 95% of the 'off road' driving that actually happens in the developed world, just like all the Jap pickups out there with independent front suspension and cart springs on the back.

The commercial variants will be interesting to see, dependent on pricing of course. Fleet buyers can get a Hilux for £20k - so the Land Rover will always be a premium product.

 

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I think things like the ladder and side boxes are to make it look offroad ready for marketing purposes. Make people feel they are buying something roughty toughty. I doubt many owners would have them and use them. 

I dont like the rear lights, or the rear end, the rest of it's fine. 

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7 hours ago, Retroanaconda said:

I'm not a fan of the side storage boxes, and the front end looks 'odd' to me with the strange perforated panels lower down. Other than that it looks very capable and about right for what they are evolving their range into. I'd have one if money was no object.

Remember that despite the marketing they were never trying to build something for the market that the old utility Land Rover was for. They simply cannot compete there against the other much bigger players and they can make more money at the premium end where volume of sales is a smaller part of the picture. Engineering wise it is adequate for 95% of the 'off road' driving that actually happens in the developed world, just like all the Jap pickups out there with independent front suspension and cart springs on the back.

The commercial variants will be interesting to see, dependent on pricing of course. Fleet buyers can get a Hilux for £20k - so the Land Rover will always be a premium product.

 

That I do not understand, why, if LR needed to build a new factory, could they not make the Defender more utilitarian? Surely, they could sell, say, Defender pick up for much more premium price as a hilux, even for fleet buyers.

Yet, they chose to make another Discovery.

 

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More money in more pricey vehicles.

Simple business.

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