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Land Rover Defender 2008 Review

It may be as basic as a caveman, but this Land Rover off-roader is all class.

This is the modern incarnation of the Land Rover.

It boasts 50 per cent better ventilation and a new integrated dash with an upgraded sound system and new, more comfortable seating. Ergonomics is not a strong point - the Defender's cabin design has little that falls into the category, with an average driving position, oddly placed switchgear - the horn is on the end of the indicator stalk - and the door is too close. But much of that matters little if you're looking to head way off the beaten track, as this machine has all the skills without resorting to electronics.

Low-range, wheel travel and a centre diff lock allows it to climb just about any terrain at which you point its bumpy, square nose.

It all but stops on steep, tricky descents, allowing the driver to pick a perfect path downhill with ample grip from the off-road tyres.

The Defender is powered by a 2.4-litre 16-valve turbodiesel four-cylinder engine that works well with the low gearing off-road, but offers leisurely sealed-road performance. Filling the tank is also something of a low-speed thrill - the near-horizontal filler neck makes pump blow back a regular occurrence - don't even bother with a high-speed “trucker” diesel pump.

You have to admire the courage of convictions in sticking with the Defender in a form that flies in the face of modern design. While it works beautifully in serious off-road environs, many will never experience its rough-terrain abilities; they've been spoiled with modern SUVs and won't put up with the idiosyncrasies.

 


Snapshot

Land Rover Defender 130 cab-chassis

Price: $50,990.

Engine: 2.4-litre 16-valve common-rail turbodiesel four-cylinder.

Transmission: Six-speed manual.

Power: 90kW at 3500rpm.

Torque: 360Nm at 2000rpm.

Performance: 0-100km/h 15.8 seconds. Top speed 132km/h.

Fuel consumption: 11.1 litres/100km, tank capacity 75 litres.

Emissions: 295g/km.

Suspension: Live beam axle, coil springs, dampers, Panhard rod (front). Live beam axle, coil springs, dampers, A-frame, co-axial helper springs (rear).

Brakes: Front and rear discs.

Dimensions: Length 5170mm, width 1790mm, height 2021mm, wheelbase 3225mm, track fr/rr 1486/1511mm, approach/departure angles 49/35deg, ground clearance 314mm, weight 2120kg.

Wheels: 16in steel.

 

In its class:

Toyota HiLux SR 4x4 dual-cab chassis, from $40,890.

Mitsubishi Triton 4x4 GLS cab-chassis, from $51,990.

Nissan Navara D40 dual-cab ST-X, from $45,990.

Ford Ranger 4x4 XL turbodiesel crew-cab chassis, from $36,990.

Holden Rodeo 4x4 LX crew-cab chassis turbodiesel, $41,290.

 

Pricing guides

$20,080
Based on third party pricing data
Lowest Price
$14,200
Highest Price
$25,960

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
110 (4X4) 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $14,200 – 20,020 2008 Land Rover Defender 2008 110 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
110 SVX (4X4) 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $18,600 – 25,960 2008 Land Rover Defender 2008 110 SVX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
130 (4X4) 2.4L, Diesel, 6 SP MAN $15,800 – 22,000 2008 Land Rover Defender 2008 130 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Stuart Martin
Contributing Journalist

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