Mr Defensive

Land Rover is back badder than ever with its new range of bullet-proof Defender models.

SLIDING into the mud pit at the bottom of a rutted out decline, a bizarre request is asked by Defender doyen and drive guide Jeff Shields as I prepare to hit the accelerator.

“Take your feet off the pedals,” says Shields as we drive through the back of wine country on a purpose-built all terrain track at Mt Cotton.

Bemused, I do as I’m told, despite the natural tendency to drive the new Defender up the muddy bank by executing downward pressure on the accelerator.

One of the key features of the cracking new Defender range is an anti-stall mechanism.

The idea is to illustrate this as we start climbing the wall. We’re in second gear, low range and inch by inch the vehicle torques its way up the 45 degree ravine. My feet are planted on the floor as we idle, incredibly to the top of the bank.

When Land Rover took the covers of its extended Defender range to announce a triumphant return in July, loyal owners of the model scrutinised it like mad professors on the cusp of scientific breakthrough.

A number of new derivatives that cater for both lifestyle and commercial buyers have been introduced. The 09MY Defender model line up now includes five 110 wheelbase and three 130 wheelbase variants, offering features that apply to off road users or heavy duty payload seekers.

Pricing and specifications for the 110 station wagon remain the same and the wagon is still available with a seven-seat option.

With the new expanded Defender range, Land Rover now presents users with a strong and highly differentiated alternative for the heavy duty 4WD pickup sector: permanent 4WD, two wheelbase offerings, efficient 2.4-litre common rail engine, six-speed manual transmission and use of alloy body panels.

Defender dates back to 1948 when the Land Rover Series 1 was launched. In the 60 years since its launch, Defender has developed an iconic profile and has become the authentic vehicle of choice for extreme conditions. Almost 1.9 million units have been sold to retail customers, utility service providers, armed forces and NGOs in more than 100 countries.

Defender customers worldwide value its legendary strength, robustness and performance alongside its class-leading blend of towing and load-carrying versatility.

Land Rover Australia general manager Roger Jory, says it’s the unique combination of these attributes that accounts for Defender’s exceptionally high levels of customer loyalty.

“Land Rover is immensely proud of Defender’s reputation for off-road supremacy and dependability, it will get you there and back, regardless of climate or terrain. Now with this extended range, Defender offers even more specialised variants to better suit the off road and load carrying requirements of our customers,” he says.

Sales manager at Bruce Lynton Landrover Scott McGrath, says the badge still carries plenty of weight among the die-hard Defender army with a range of new models now awaiting delivery.

“The 100 wagon and 130 crew cab are immensely popular and orders for the new range have been pouring in,” he says.

“People buy Defender because it’s a ‘go anywhere’ car. It has been built for the last 60 years and there’s a reason why 40 armed services around the world continue to use the vehicle.”

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