Wednesday, 16 October 2019

The New Defender ...

Last month, we saw the first footage of the 2020 Land Rover Defender. Since then, there have been many, many questions flying about, though they all boil down to two:

  • Does the new Defender strike the right tone with its loyal fans?
  • In the 2020 4x4 market, where does the new Defender belong?

As an icon of rural life and rugged adventures for the best part of seventy years, the 4x4 ceased production in January of 2016. The decision was made following new legislation that made the legacy style, in a technical sense at least, dangerous. We saw a similar reincarnation when the Mini was reborn in 2000. The trouble with making rather drastic design alterations to an iconic car, is that people are VERY resistant to change. Especially when they've fallen in love with an idea, shape or concept and other people make the decision to change the very thing for which they have so much affection. 

Aesthetically speaking, JLR have tried hard to recreate the simplistic, functional interior of a classic Land Rover. There are nods to the tough, utilitarian style of the former model, such as checker plating on the bonnet but, let's be honest, it does't serve the purpose for which is was originally intended – so why is it there?

The vehicle of the past's appeal was that you could transport a newly born calf in the back, or a 50-gallon drum, and hose it all down afterwards – not something that could be said of the new Defender. Even if one could wash the interior, the bright, cream coloured trim of the demo models certainly doesn't assure anybody that it won't get stained in an instant. 

With a price tag of £40k, on paper it could possibly be considered affordable. However, like most high-end car dealerships, JLR dealer's money is made on the customisable upgrades, of which the new Defender is certainly not short. Official add-ons, such as a variety of pet packs, a portable rinse system and an integrated air compressor, show that JLR have obviously considered at least some of the needs and wants of their loyal customers. 

With the option of four distinctive packs – called Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban – to apply to your Defender, and more than 170 individual accessories that can be added to suit your individual needs, it's no wonder that the cost can easily rise to £100k+. However, the augmented value of a purchase from such an auspicious manufacturer as Jaguar Land Rover, such as aftercare and dealership services also make up the entire value of a Defender. 

A huge selling point of the original was ease of maintenance. Now no parts or panels are the same as any other Land Rover made previously, which means that the parts that could be salvaged from a scrapheap or fabricated on earlier models, can no longer be used by the home mechanic – something that kept maintenance costs down. Given the appeal of low-cost home maintenance, if a customer still owns a traditional Land Rover, which works perfectly well, why would hey buy a 2015 model? Why would they even consider replacing their old workhorse when it still serves its purpose so well?

Are you a fan of all things Land Rover, and want to know more about how their designs and uses have changed over the years? Land Rover Design – which has been shortlisted for The Royal Automobile Club's Book of the Year Award – charts the many design changes that have occurred over its 70 year history, whereas Land Rover Emergency Vehicles shows that the much loved Landy is more than just a farm vehicle. If you're looking to purchase your own classic Land Rover, we have a range of Essential Buyers Guides, plus our expert guide on the Land Rover Series I-III

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