Test drove Land Rover Defender

Columbus104

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I’m no expert but doesn’t the ‘unibody’ construction mean that they couldn’t easily have a removable roof?
Interesting question. I hope a structural engineer or automotive engineer weighs in on this.

My initial hypothesis is that they could've made a unibody convertible Defender, as pretty much all other convertibles for sale today (except for the Wrangler, Gladiator, and forthcoming Bronco) are unibody. The difference is that they'd probably have an exposed roll cage instead of the active rollover protection system that most convertible cars use.

But most non-convertible SUV's and crossovers have roll cages. So I don't see why they couldn't just have an exposed one instead of having it covered by body panels and sheet metal.

But I'm not an engineer and would welcome the expertise of someone who is.



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Toycrusher

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Interesting question. I hope a structural engineer or automotive engineer weighs in on this.

My initial hypothesis is that they could've made a unibody convertible Defender, as pretty much all other convertibles for sale today (except for the Wrangler, Gladiator, and forthcoming Bronco) are unibody. The difference is that they'd probably have an exposed roll cage instead of the active rollover protection system that most convertible cars use.

But most non-convertible SUV's and crossovers have roll cages. So I don't see why they couldn't just have an exposed one instead of having it covered by body panels and sheet metal.

But I'm not an engineer and would welcome the expertise of someone who is.
When you consider what these engineers have accomplished in the way of crumple zones and crash safety, and convertible unibody isn't a big deal. LR just totally missed the mark. The top-off 90s Defender is the image most people dream of (not that they would drop the top any more than Wrangler owners do) but by skipping that critical design element, they have just another land rover that hard to distinguish from the Discovery/LRxxx series.

I had a Disco II and liked it a lot, but reliable wasn't a way to describe it.
 

Columbus104

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When you consider what these engineers have accomplished in the way of crumple zones and crash safety, and convertible unibody isn't a big deal. LR just totally missed the mark. The top-off 90s Defender is the image most people dream of (not that they would drop the top any more than Wrangler owners do) but by skipping that critical design element, they have just another land rover that hard to distinguish from the Discovery/LRxxx series.

I had a Disco II and liked it a lot, but reliable wasn't a way to describe it.
Agreed. I live in a fairly affluent area, where many of my neighbors can afford to have a weekend third vehicle for fun. I've noticed a trend over the past 5-10 years, where there is a dramatic shift from people buying small 2-seater convertible sport cars (BMW Z series, etc) to more and more Wranglers. These often spend the entire summer with the top off (and often doors removed), and just stay in the garage on rainy days but get driven extensively when the weather is nice.

Mine is a DD, but there are many in my area that use it just for fun. And I imagine some portion of these buyers will shift to the Bronco once it comes out. But none of them would consider a non-convertible Defender. So LR is just sacrificing this entire segment of the customer base.
 

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Hmmm... nah, it actually has really good hardware. Problem is you can't fit decent tires without throwing away everything Landrover engineered into it. It's capable but not without significant body damage
OK..so you are agreeing with me then? THe point is that it has no off road cred, and not being able to off road w/o significant body damage means its no more capable than your average unibody AWD crossover. Sure it has a few more computers, that will fail, but otherwise, its functionally a unibody minivan soft-roader. And the "posers" who its supposedly made for won't buy it because they get no off road cred by owning it.

This thing is a giant swing and a miss.
 

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OK..so you are agreeing with me then? THe point is that it has no off road cred, and not being able to off road w/o significant body damage means its no more capable than your average unibody AWD crossover. Sure it has a few more computers, that will fail, but otherwise, its functionally a unibody minivan soft-roader. And the "posers" who its supposedly made for won't buy it because they get no off road cred by owning it.

This thing is a giant swing and a miss.
I guess I sort of am? It's got lockers and hydraulic sway bars and other good stuff to put the power right where you want it, which is incredibly important off-road. It's held back by small tires and the fact that the tires are inside the body rather than extended beyond like on a Wrangler. It doesn't seem there is going to be terrific ways to rectify those shortcoming either.

It could be way more capable than most anything else out there, but it's handicapped by the body design
 

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The ‘posers’ the Defender is aimed at are urban hipsters and school run mummies. It doesn’t need off road abilities. There’s no demand in the U.K. for the Wrangler (Jeep sells only a few hundred Wranglers a year here) so there’s no reason for LR to create a competitor.
 

kre62

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The ‘posers’ the Defender is aimed at are urban hipsters and school run mummies. It doesn’t need off road abilities. There’s no demand in the U.K. for the Wrangler (Jeep sells only a few hundred Wranglers a year here) so there’s no reason for LR to create a competitor.
The point is that those posers buy things like the g wagen because it is known that they are legitimate, true, military grade beasts. In every review I've seen of the Defender, they have mentioned that its cool that its unibody and stylish because "the owners wont go off road anyway" . So from day 1 its understood that the new defender is not a true off road vehicle, its a reinforced minivan that was designed from day 1 to be a poser-mobile. The posers will reject that - they want to siphon off the credibility of the vehicle.

I think after an initial surge, sales will drop like a rock, and then Land Rover will explore "returning to the roots" with body on frame vehicles. Seen this many times before. BMW going through it now - killed their driving dynamics in 2012, now fighting hard to reclaim their glory as a true driving machine, while being eclipsed by all rivals. And they did it in the name of increasing volume (watering down to appease the masses - sound familiar?)
 

Rudolph Hart

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The point is that those posers buy things like the g wagen because it is known that they are legitimate, true, military grade beasts. In every review I've seen of the Defender, they have mentioned that its cool that its unibody and stylish because "the owners wont go off road anyway" . So from day 1 its understood that the new defender is not a true off road vehicle, its a reinforced minivan that was designed from day 1 to be a poser-mobile. The posers will reject that - they want to siphon off the credibility of the vehicle.

I think after an initial surge, sales will drop like a rock, and then Land Rover will explore "returning to the roots" with body on frame vehicles. Seen this many times before. BMW going through it now - killed their driving dynamics in 2012, now fighting hard to reclaim their glory as a true driving machine, while being eclipsed by all rivals. And they did it in the name of increasing volume (watering down to appease the masses - sound familiar?)
You’re misunderstanding the U.K. market. That’s OK, there’s lots I don’t know about the U.S. market!
 

kre62

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You’re misunderstanding the U.K. market. That’s OK, there’s lots I don’t know about the U.S. market!
What you are describing is already served by any of the other soft roader unibody land rovers, plus a ton of other wanna be cute utes. I dont think this Pretender is a significantly novel offering to get even the UK buyers attention.
 

Rudolph Hart

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What you are describing is already served by any of the other soft roader unibody land rovers, plus a ton of other wanna be cute utes. I dont think this Pretender is a significantly novel offering to get even the UK buyers attention.
We don’t have any ‘off roading’ culture for buyers to aspire to. A tiny minority of us go ‘green laning’....using ‘heritage’ routes that are historical rights of way, there is nowhere that we can stray from these routes. We are increasingly being demonised by other users of the countryside who don’t think the leisure use of powered vehicles is appropriate.

I agree that LR are offering a lot of models which seem to compete with each other but contemporary vehicle manufacturers don’t gamble when they launch a model do they. They will have extensive market research drive their decision.

In the past series Land Rovers and Defenders were bought to work, by farmers, utility companies and the landed gentry. They’ve all moved on to Japanese pick ups because they’re cheap, reliable and take abuse. Very few of these are going to be interested in the new model at the prices LR need to achieve. So the market for a capable off roader like our Wranglers simply doesn’t exist here.
 
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Rudolph Hart

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There’s no need for the ‘ass clowns’ thank you
 








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