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New 2.2 v 2.4 Puma, my impressions.


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Decision time for my 3 y/o 110 XS USW, do I chop it in for a new one or hold onto it? With that in mind I've got a demo 2.2 90 CSW on test for a few days and my impressions of the new engine are so far mixed but might be erring on the positive. Compared to the 2.4's I've owned and driven this 2.2 with 4 thou on the clock is a bit quieter and smoother. In the sub zero temps this morning the glow plug light went out quite a few seconds quicker than it does in my 2.4 and the engine instantly settled down into a high but regular tick over. The heater took longer to start pumping out any effective heat but once up to temp is, like earlier Puma's very effective and light years ahead of previous Defender models.

There appears to be less induction roar and the exhaust more muted but whether the latter is down to presence of the DPF I don't know. On shutdown there is no audible chuka - chuka EGR self cleaning noise as per the 2.4.

On the road the throttle feels more responsive but the feature that holds the revs up while the clutch is depressed when changing gear takes a bit of getting used to, it's far more pronounced than on the 2.4's and I gather is designed to facilitate smoother changes with less shock being transmitted to the transmission - I suppose it works for euro box drivers not used to Defender transmissions but I find it annoying as it takes away your own throttle input. Sticking the thing into low box appears to result in an automatic increase in idle speed but from what I've detected so far seems to do away with the rev hold when going through the box.

Talking of the box this example seems to be a good one, selection seems just that bit more positive against mine which only has 21,000 on the clock. The clutch feels a bit heavier, the heater fan in this one is noisier, door seals are good bit it has the usual rattles and squeaks, one of the sliding windows and surrounding trim would drive me nuts in this one - oh and if this were mine I'd adjust all the door catches as all the doors need a stupid amount of slamming to get them to latch properly [the back door catch is especially badly adjusted], that said they might improve a bit once the seals have bedded in a bit more.

Corrosion protection is non existent, some of the nuts and bolts are already red with rust as are one or two bits of the chassis. I just don't buy Land Rover's line that improved production techniques mean no need for any wax protection and it's scandalous that owners who have a mind to keep their vehicles in good condition have to resort to getting the stuff applied to vehicles more or less straight off the production line.

So am I going to order a new one? I'm still undecided. Is the DPF fitted to the 2.2 going to throw a hissy fit and start flashing lights due to the regular short journeys I make meaning I'll have to result to giving it a good blat just for the sake of clearing it. Do I have the patience let alone the time to go back and forward to the nearest dealer 50 miles away to sort out warranty issues due to what can sometimes be variable build quality ....or do I just keep my lathered in Dinitrol from new 110 for another year hoping that the dealer where it is currently for a service is in a good enough frame of mind to see to the corrosion that's started coming through from under the windscreen seal, the inevitable rusty mudflap brackets, headlight rings, side steps, door screws etc.

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Steve - this situation regarding thier attitude to corrosion resistance is appalling. Given how expensive a defender is I would expect a good application of rust preventative in all the vital places.

If you have had your existing 110 waxed, why not hang on to it? Oh but the windscreen frame corrosion...

There really is no excuse in this day and age of paint technology. As their is also no excuse for rattling windows and doors that don't shut easily.

The last time I was in a LR showroom I popped up the bonnet up on a D90 to find my eyes settling on a loose nut sitting on the top of the chassis rail!!! Did it fall off something? Did they forget to fit it in the first place? It's distinctly worrying.

'It's a Defender' is not a valid excuse for any of these short comings. As much as I love the Defender that we all know, these issues do make me realise how much LR need to sort themselves out and get its replacement in production.

I know most of us will probably hate it to begin with, but maybe they'll be able to address a few quality issues at the same time. In this case some progress is sorely needed.

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I'd be interested in knowing what you feel about the gearing - some time back I drove a 2.4 Puma 90 and found the gear-ratios rather ill-matched to my driving style [1st being lower than 1st on my 90TD5 so after a few days I just started in 2nd].

Also, I reckoned they could have raised 6th by about 20% (I'm perfectly happy with having to stir the box enthiusiastically in order to make progress and much prefer a seriously-overdriven top gear to the extent where maximum speed is achieved in one-gear-down-from-top)

Now, why don't LR release a 3-litre TDV6 D90 with an autobox? I'd be round the dealer with my cheque-book in an instant!

--Tanuki

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I just got our 2009 90 waxed at Rustmaster yesterday. I had though the underside looked pretty reasonable for a Defender until the steam clean was complete - half the rear axle and about 20% of the rear chassis brackets were paint-free and surface rusted, and of course I have had to do something about the corrosion on the lower grille and windscreen brackets, which are only part painted by LR.

LR's attitude to the Defender and their owners is dire. They don't have to redesign the vehicle or replace it to have a real seller - Defender sales are low because they have a dreadful reputation for quality, and at well over £30k for a new 90, and the thick end of £40k to a 110 station wagon XS, there is no excuse for corrosion appearing on show room examples. I have just had to realign the front wings and trims because LR can't build them straight and also had a game of hunt the loose bolt when a nut fell of from behind the interior trim - it turned out to be from the bracket which secures the hard top to the tub capping, and the corresponding nut on the other side was loose too.

Most of us don't want DC100s or other more complex replacements, we just want Defenders to be built correctly, and that includes a proper paint and corrosion resistance scheme.

It's interesting to read that the performance differences seem small. LR claim the exact same torque and BHP from both versions, but that doesn't seem credible. It's also nice to know what that little noise on shut-down is!

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I'd be interested in knowing what you feel about the gearing - some time back I drove a 2.4 Puma 90 and found the gear-ratios rather ill-matched to my driving style [1st being lower than 1st on my 90TD5 so after a few days I just started in 2nd].

Also, I reckoned they could have raised 6th by about 20% (I'm perfectly happy with having to stir the box enthiusiastically in order to make progress and much prefer a seriously-overdriven top gear to the extent where maximum speed is achieved in one-gear-down-from-top)

Now, why don't LR release a 3-litre TDV6 D90 with an autobox? I'd be round the dealer with my cheque-book in an instant!

--Tanuki

You are right, 1st in a Puma is lower than 1st in a TD5. TBH unless I'm towing or starting off on an incline I have generally pulled away in 2nd in my own Puma's. I find cruising at the speed limit in top to be a much more pleasant experience in a Puma and find the thing generally man enough not to warrant too much pudding stirring with the gear stick.

I reckon with the end of the Defender as we know it within the next few years improvements to the current old model are only going to be minor. In order to keep some private customers interested I foresee a continuation of umpteen "special editions" from the factory which in reality are limited to no more than cosmetics such as combinations of body, roof, wheel arch spat colours, different grilles, wheels and trim with very little change to running gear and "performance". Perhaps near the end of production they might produce something akin to the 50th which might be noteworthy.

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I reckon with the end of the Defender as we know it within the next few years improvements to the current old model are only going to be minor. In order to keep some private customers interested I foresee a continuation of umpteen "special editions" from the factory which in reality are limited to no more than cosmetics such as combinations of body, roof, wheel arch spat colours, different grilles, wheels and trim with very little change to running gear and "performance". Perhaps near the end of production they might produce something akin to the 50th which might be noteworthy.

I'd settle for something built to last a decade... :(

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You are right, 1st in a Puma is lower than 1st in a TD5. TBH unless I'm towing or starting off on an incline I have generally pulled away in 2nd in my own Puma's. I find cruising at the speed limit in top to be a much more pleasant experience in a Puma and find the thing generally man enough not to warrant too much pudding stirring with the gear stick.

It's a shame that LR don't offer a choice of transfer-box ratios on Defenders: having driven a couple of TD5 Discos I'd be happy with the same [or even 10% longer] gearing in a Defender.

I really think LR are missing out on producing a "fast" Defender option with a big engine and long gearing: the big engine would by itself overcome the pulling-away-when-heavily-loaded issue by virtue of more low-speed torque, specially if it was an autobox.

Even if they were to offer manual-only, I don't mind having to change down to 3rd to maintain 70MPH up Shap Fell when towing...

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Just hit 6,000 miles in the company 2.2, no problems to report. Engine pulls strongly and doesn't feel any different to the 2.4. So far no problems with the DPF despite lots of short/thrashed journeys around town.

Gearing is slightly odd, first is basically pointless but I feel you need to slip the clutch too much to pull away in second on anything other than downhill inclines. Sixth gear is nice and tall and she'll blat along at 85-90mph if you are prepared to suffer the fuel economy.

Built quality? Well it's a Defender, they aren't going to bother changing now with only a few years to run. Either buy one and put up with it, or don't and buy a Warrior/Amarok etc. I've got mine from J I Likes in Hereford, we have dealings with their parent company and they seem well clueded up on the Defender.

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[snip]

Now, why don't LR release a 3-litre TDV6 D90 with an autobox? I'd be round the dealer with my cheque-book in an instant!

--Tanuki

Naa, they need the 3.2 five pot as used in the Ranger and BT50 for those of us in the rest of the world that are used to engines with larger swept volumes and better off idle torque.

I wouldn't mind betting fuel economy might actually improve ith the bigger engine too.

What the hell am I talking about, I couldn't afford a new Deefer even if my business doubled in turnover :D

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