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I remember as a young child visiting the local British car dealership while my dad inked the deal on a new Jag (which I dearly miss to this day). I was busy checking out a big red Land Rover Defender 90. Sitting there next to the polished Bentleys, Rollers, Jags and Range Rovers, the Defender stood out in its primitive, bare-bones essence, the inside of its doors exposed so you could see the latch cable and its fenders covered in industrial diamond-plating. That's the same basic experience people have been enjoying for nearly sixty years, that's how long the Defender has been in production. Every so often, Land Rover gives it some new features, but the outer extremity of the utility off-road market is the one place left in the industry where you don't mess with success: nearly two million Defenders have been sold to date, despite the tiny market of off-road enthusiasts that would even consider buying one.

The 2007 model is about to hit the market in the UK, and comes with a new list of equipment. There's a new 2.4-liter common-rail diesel driving all four wheels through a revised six-speed with taller ratios. The new engine is rounded out by an integrated front fascia, new seating setup and an improved A/C system.

Even before specially-built versions like ambulances and airport fire trucks are taken into account, the Defender is offered in no less than 14 distinct body-styles, including various configurations of the Defender 90, 110 and 130, all produced on the same assembly line. Among its varied customer base, NGOs love the Defender, despite the atrocious carbon emissions levels, for which a unique tax is applied in the UK. The Defender starts at £18,645 and ranges all the way up to £26,605, and that's before any special equipment is added into the mix.

The "updated" Defender hits the road – and the road less traveled – as a reminder of a time when SUVs were mud-playing beasts, like when the Defender first hit the market, or like when I was a little boy. And, the occasional minor tweak notwithstanding, I (for one) hope it stays just as it is.

Follow the jump for the press release.

[Source: Land Rover UK]

PRESS RELEASE

ICONIC DEFENDER IMPROVED FOR 2007

Gaydon, Warwickshire, 20 March 2007 – The new 2007 Land Rover Defender goes on sale in the UK on 16 April 2007, featuring comprehensive upgrades to make it better-equipped to meet modern day needs.

The iconic Defender, a vehicle whose roots date back to 1948, benefits from a new 2.4-litre common rail diesel engine, six-speed gearbox with wide ratio spread, a fully integrated facia, new seating configuration and high output heating, ventilation and air-conditioning system. These enhancements ensure improved on- and off-road performance, comfort and refinement.

Prices will start from £18,645 for the Defender 90 Pick Up and rise to £26,605 for the XS Double Cab Defender 110, with an average price increase of only £400. The Defender 130 starts from £22,655 and will be available from Land Rover dealerships in July.

"Defender remains a significant contributor to our business, with on average 6000 units sold year on year in the UK and we already have over 800 pre-orders for the new 2007 model," says John Edwards, managing director, Land Rover UK.

"It is also a symbol of our 4x4 heritage, a reminder of our roots and it plays a vital role in the lives of the 25,000 customers from all corners of the globe that buy one. Farmers, aid-workers, NGOs and explorers the world over value Defender's versatility, its extraordinary strength, robustness and capability. The unique combination of these attributes helps account for the model's exceptionally high levels of customer loyalty."

In spite of the improvements, Defender's unique vehicle architecture remains the same. The chassis frame is still available in three different wheelbases, and in both standard and heavy-duty guise (for even greater load-bearing capabilities). A total of 14 separate body styles – from pick-ups and hard tops to crew cabs and station wagons – are produced on the mainstream production line. Beyond this, Land Rover's Special Vehicle Operations team offer a range of products from standard drop-side or box-body conversions to bespoke design and build adaptations into ambulances, mobile hydraulic platforms and even airport fire tenders – all of which are covered by Land Rover's extensive warranty.

New for 2007 is a 'Utility Pack' which is a no cost option on the Defender 110 SW. The pack replaces the rear side windows with panels to create a versatile 5 seat utility station wagon.

As with all models in our product range, a cost for offsetting the carbon emissions for the first 45,000 miles is included in the on-the-road price. Administered by Climate Care, an independent provider, the programme ensures that the average amount of CO2 produced by a Land Rover is offset by investments in a mixed portfolio of projects, including renewable energy, technology change and energy efficiency initiatives.

Land Rover Defender has sold 1,900,000 units globally in over 140 countries since production began in 1948. It consistently sells on average 25,000 units globally year in and year out.

To book a test drive of the 2007 Defender or for more information regarding the Land Rover range, please visit your local Land Rover dealership or log onto http://www.landrover.co.uk.



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  • 18 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is a nostalgic memory many gearheads share, only differing by geography. My memory, as the son of a new car dealer, was of the rawness of the early CJ Jeeps. They had grease on most exposed surfaces that rotated, and seemed to be a mile off of the ground. I remember sneering to myself that surely a flathead four couldn't possibly get out of its' own way, but for where it would go, it was perfect. They still haven't gotten it right ever again.
      • 7 Years Ago
      must be serendipity that I was just browsing some listings for Defenders online (http://www.landroverexchange.com/) and drueling over them.

      If they returned to our shores, I'm positive they would have a market. Not just for the 4x4 crowd (who has to spend loads of aftermarket dough just to get a good 4x4 that's non-Wrangler ), but don't forget the always-willing-to-drop-duckets on a ride "look at me" crowd, who would gladly pay a lot of money...for anything that costs a lot of money. *sigh*
      • 7 Years Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      @yacoub

      There is no comparison, an off the lot Defender will thrash a Jeep and Hummer (on mountain trails at least....desert, edge goes to the Hummer) hands down. I used to own an old 1985 Land Rover 90 (precursor to the Defender which came out in 1990) and it would demolish anything in its path. Shame I had to get rid of it but I will find her again one day and reunite myself with my first love.

      In other news....Noah...please check your facts. Defenders have NOT been around for 60years. The "90" was created in roughly 1982/3 and went into production/sales late 84' as an 85' model. The cars you speak of are all the same variation of the original Series I that was used primarily by farmers and has kept true to roots (what company can say that in this day and age!) even today as rural, utilitarian vehicles loved by outdoor enthusiast, farmers, military, etc...
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think they would sell a ton here in the states if the price were right (low 30's). Personally, I'm disgusted with what passes for a 4x4 today: we have a ton of tarted up mini-vans apparently referred to as "crossovers" which is intended to somehow make them less horrifically bland, a bunch of oversized, bloated boat-UV's with atrocious visibility and chrome rims, and finally a few passable 4x4's that miss the mark by either being too plasticey (the new wrangler, what are those wheel wells?!?) or being too plasticey and bizarrely over-designed (the FJ Cruiser.) And all of the above (even the wrangler to some extent) suffer from our modern car designer's inability to put the spline tool down and let a straight line suffice when a straight line will suffice.

      A solid, straight-axel, bare bones, frame-on-body, diesel 4x4 that gets mid to upper 20's gas milage and that retains its authentic, historical look? I'd take it in a heartbeat. But we won't get it. Instead, we will get what we deserve: cream-puff-UV's that come with ten cup holders, oversized seats for our enormous asses and giant pacifiers.

      Yes, I do loath the american auto market. Why do you ask?

      Cheers,
      prat
      • 7 Years Ago
      The original SUV, this truck is amazing and I can't wait to own one someday. I really wish they would make this conform to US safety laws though, what a huge seller this would be here in the Northeast.
      • 7 Years Ago

      Truly a timeless classic.
      • 7 Years Ago
      We were just talking about the old Landies yesterday and the TV show that really showed them off - Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom!

      I have just three words for this new update - TOO...FREAKING...COOL!
      • 7 Years Ago
      I own a NAS 94 Defender and I love it. I don't think they will bring it back here anytime soon. There is no market for it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Mark -- Defenders have not been around since 1948.. Land Rovers have been though.. Starting with the Series I, then Series II/IIa throughout the 60s & 70s, then Series III 70s/80s, then Stage One late 70s/80s [which was a V8, coil sprung, 'defender' front clip], then in 1983 LR introduced the '110' ... you were correct that they didn't name it 'Defender' until late 80s/early 90s... but the Defender as we know it, has been around for 24 years.

      [Yes, I know I missed a ton of different specialty models]
      • 7 Years Ago
      But the REAL question is...Is it going to conform to US airbag and safety rules and be sold over here??
      • 7 Years Ago
      I disagree Dan, I think that you can look at the current success of the new body style wrangler as proof of that. There is a 0 day waiting list for the unlimited. The Unlimited is outselling the 2 door by 2-1... and people said there is no market for it. Many, many, many people were willing to purchase the Gladiator had it been produced. And 4 door trucks, as pictured above, are still a hot commodity. The success of the G-wagon was also unexpected. I feel there is a large market for the full range of defenders here, including the workhorses and ambulances, not just the luxury models. For instance, I am absolutely enamored with the C&C H2 that GM made for the transformers movie, I think there is a need in the marketplace for a capable, dependable C&C. All the body styles that there is a need for here, have already been developed for Europe. Saying there is no market is simply not true.
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