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9 Things to know about Defenders

1. Introduction

The phenomenon that is Land Rover began in 1948 when the Series I was released with the advertising slogan "go anywhere"; Sixty eight years later, what began as a post war project to keep the Rover Car Company afloat has developed into a British motoring legend and over two-thirds of Land Rovers sold in the last half century are still in use today.  

Now known as the Defender, Land Rover's iconic off-road vehicle is the benchmark for all modern four-wheel drives and is often described as the 'hero' of the Land Rover range.

We hope the following information will assist you in your Defender adventure, and that one day soon we may be sharing the adventure with you! Don't forget to sign up for our newsletter below and feel free to contact any one of our Pioneers for real life feedback.

2. Safety - Defender and your family

Not only do you and your family get yourselves anywhere but you get there in statistically one of the safest vehicles on the planet!

Road accident statistics on a model-by-model basis from the UK's Department of Transport show that the Land Rover Defender and Land Rover Discovery are the safest cars on the UK's roads (measured by chance of death in an accident) - between three times safer than the safest Volvo models, and twice as safe compared with the Jeep Cherokee and Toyota Land Cruiser!

3. Engine & Wheelbase

Confused about the many options available in the Defender range? You're not alone!

The overwhelming majority of Defenders have 5 or 6 speed manual, 2.5-litre diesel engines. The vehicle comes in 3 different wheelbase options: 90, 110, or 130 (the numerical tag describes the number of inches between the front axle and the rear axle i.e. the Defender comes in 3 different lengths).

Between 1987 and 1991 Defender was fitted with the 19J Turbo Diesel engine and then up to 1998 Land Rover fitted a TDi engine; between 1998 and 2006 they fitted a TD5 engine, and since 2007 Land Rover have fitted the TDCi (Puma) engine. A mighty all-aluminium V8 gasoline motor was coupled to Defender between 1983 and 1994. If you can manage the average 18mpg, then there is nothing that compares with the mighty roar of the Rover V8.

4. The Different Models

The Defender is an incredibly versatile machine that has been adapted by Land Rover for a broad range of different applications.

Commentators sometimes use a bewildering array of terminology but throughout this website we describe the variations of Defender models as follows: 'Station Wagon' refers to the style of vehicle that has both windows and seats towards the rear. 'Hard Top' refers to the style of vehicle that has no rear windows (kind of like a van!). 'Pick Up' refers to a vehicle that, in place of the rear cabin area, has a flat exposed bed for loading and unloading of materials/goods. 'Crew Cab' or 'Double Cab' refers to those vehicles that have a completely isolated storage compartment/cabin on the rear. And, finally, a 'Utility Wagon' is the 110 variation with a second row of seats but a Hard Top style rear load area.

Of course, the Defender wouldn't be the Defender without a number of highly sought-after limited edition models. These attract a bit of a passionate following and each has a number of unique design criteria. Limited edition variants include the X-Tech, the 50th Anniversary V8, the Tomb Raider, the SVX and the Black.

Is all of that clear? Gulp.

5. Specification & Trim Models

There are 3 specification levels that are present across the entire Defender range: 'Standard' (a Station Wagon, for instance), 'County' (a County Station Wagon, for instance), and XS (a County Station Wagon XS, for instance).

The Standard is a simple, no-thrills machine. It comes with vinyl seats, a steering wheel, and a gear stick! Although unusual in today's gadget packed auto-design context, a Standard Defender has sparse mod-cons for good reason: there's less to go wrong when you're half way up Kilimanjaro or chest deep in the Euphrates.

The County provides a little more comfort. The County introduces an improved trim... you can look forward to floor carpets, cloth upholstery, interior moulding that helps insulate the vehicle, privacy glass, and -depending on the age of the vehicle - some extra technology such as an alarm, immobiliser and a central locking system.

Finally, there is the 'top of the range' XS. The XS builds on the County spec to include air-conditioning, heated seats, traction control, ABS, and leather upholstery. Although it still has the 'go anywhere' spirit of lesser specified Defenders, the XS lends itself well to family life or day-to-day transportation needs.

At Arkonik of course, there is the chance for you to customise any aspect of your interior trim and exterior finish; you dream it up, we make it happen.

6. Fuel Consumption

Defenders are not quite as thirsty as you might think!

TDi & TD5 variations will achieve between 25 to 30 mpg depending on use. TDCi variations will achieve between 24 to 28 mpg depending on use. The next closest thing to a Defender, in relation to capability, is probably an M1 Abrams Battle Tank. The Abrams weighs in to the debate at 0.6 mpg on average (although the Defender, somewhat disappointingly, does not yet benefit from the roof mounted heavy artillery). Given the many practical benefits of the Defender over other 'gas-guzzlers', and the comparably low maintenance costs of a Defender vs. the majority of its competition, Land Rover has created a machine that won't force you to re-mortgage for the drive down to Florida each summer.

7. Maintenance Costs

Unlike the posher, technology-packed Range Rover or Discovery models, Land Rover's Defender model is basically an engine and seats bolted to a great big steel ladder chassis; maintenance costs are therefore lower than you might imagine.

If you buy a Defender from us, we carry out an extensive, preventative range of works equating to approximately 300 checks, inspections and part replacements that will minimise the need for any maintenance during your first 12 months of vehicle use. After that, you will need to budget an average £1,000 per annum to meet the costs of servicing, MOT'ing, and maintaining your vehicle. As a guide: with variable costs such as service type and tyre replacement that will be determined by your specific use of the vehicle, some years will cost as little as £300 and some years will cost as much as £1,500.

8. 4x4 & Off-Road Use

The Defender is the archetypal off-road machine. 

Unlike many of the Defender's competition, the vehicle is permanently engaged in four wheel drive. The Defender has class leading ground clearance and is a little wider than a small family hatchback. The engine is designed to deliver maximum low end grunt and to give you manual control over the differential lock and the gear range: although you'll never win a sprint in a Defender, you will struggle to find something with better torque and traction. 

These design features make Defenders the class leading off-road machine. Mountains, rivers, rocks, sand, and winter blizzards are where a Defender feels most at home. Even if your Defender is destined to spend its days loyally ferrying the kids to school and back, please remember that you have a moral obligation to free the beast at least once a year: It will enjoy the experience almost as much as you.

9. Lifestyle Choice

The vast majority of Defender owners are practical, common-sense adventurers. The Defender provides a no-nonsense approach to getting from A to B whilst also offering unrivalled off-road, towing, storage and bums on seats capacity. The vehicle is a robust, safe, and simple machine that is suitable for farmers, mums, or international adventurers alike. The vehicle is not as large, heavy or difficult to use on a day-to-day basis as it might first appear; the majority of our customers, whatever their original aspirations for the vehicle, find that their Defender becomes an unrivalled aid for family shopping excursions, getting the kids to football, chucking muddy mountain bikes in the back, or finally taking 'all that crap' to the local rubbish dump. 

You don't have to be chasing the Camel Trophy to enjoy a Defender. Go anywhere. Speak to us today about creating your very own bespoke Land Rover Defender!