Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 2°C

Search

Buying used: Land Rover’s Defender of the faith

PUBLISHED: 16:25 20 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:25 20 November 2015

Land Rover Defender: Warhorse, workhorse and iconic 4x4.

Land Rover Defender: Warhorse, workhorse and iconic 4x4.

supplied

Thinking of buying a used Land Rover Defender? Al Suttie offers advice in the 80th anniversary edition of GEM Motoring Assist’s Good Motoring magazine.

The original workhorse and warhorse, the Defender can trace its ancestry back to the first Land Rover of 1948.

Due to be replaced in 2018, production finishes at the end of this year but it remains one of the most versatile and able off-road vehicles you can buy. Not the most refined but definitely the original go-anywhere 4x4.

While its rugged charm holds the key to much of its appeal, Land Rover fettled and finessed the Defender throughout its life. The best models are the most recent, delivering reasonable on-road manners alongside legendary terrain-busting off-road ability.

For most buyers, a May 2007-on Defender is the best choice as it received a 2.4-litre turbo diesel engine, from then-parent company Ford, and a six-speed manual gearbox. It’s a Transit van unit producing 120bhp and 266lb.ft of low-down shove for pulling the car through mud. A 2.2-litre unit replaced it in August 2011 with lower emissions and improved economy. Defenders with these engines are identified by the extra bonnet bulge.

What to look for

Defenders are hard-working and many will have been used off-road. This takes a toll on the most hardy 4x4. Get underneath to check the chassis for dents, scrapes and possible rust. While there, inspect the engine, transmission and differentials on front and rear axles for oil or fluid leaks.

The suspension will feel quite firm on road but this is normal. So are a few creaks from the bodywork and interior, but check both are in good condition. Defenders are often used for towing, so make sure the brakes work smoothly and stop straight.

Towing puts strain on the clutch and gearbox so check every gear, including reverse, engages easily. Accelerate hard in lower gears to be certain there’s no slip from the clutch. Engage the low-ratio transfer box to make sure it works properly as it is key to the Defender’s superb off-road driving skills.

Both engines should pull strongly without any stutters. A diesel particulate filter was fitted from 2012, so make sure the exhaust is free of black, sooty smoke and avoid any car used for repeated short journeys as this destroys the filter.

Which one to buy

There’s nothing to choose between the two diesel engines on offer, so it comes down to condition and which body style best suits your needs. For off-road work, the shorter Defender 90 is more nimble and can still tow up to 3.5 tonnes of braked trailer.

The longer Defender 110 provides much more cabin space and seating for up to nine. This is an alternative to a multi-purpose vehicle with the advantage of a huge load area. Other body styles include pick-ups and crew cabs but these are likely to have been commercial vehicles.

How much to pay

A 2007 Defender 90 with rear windows and seats will start from around £12,500 in good order, while a 110 model is another £1,000. A nearly-new model, with all the bells and whistles, comes in at up to £40,000. Uprated versions from the likes of Kahn or Twisted can fetch up to £80,000.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Ipswich Star visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Ipswich Star staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Ipswich Star account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Former Ipswich Town stars Matt Holland and Russell Osman captained the teams in the annual ITFC Legends charity match, held at Bury Town’s Ram Meadow stadium on Sunday.

A planning inquiry into proposals to build 300 homes in Kesgrave has stalled after it was ruled that a key report on housing needs in Suffolk was needed for a fair decision to be made.

Hospitals across the region have been dealt extra funding to cope with pressure on emergency wards over the winter months.

An intrepid Ipswich man will drive more than 10,000 miles through rough terrain in a clapped-out banger this summer as he attempts one of the world’s most gruelling motoring events.

A 22-year-old Suffolk woman who is living with a debilitating spinal condition has told of her agonising wait for a diagnosis and how the disease’s impact on her body rocked her self-confidence.

One of Ipswich’s biggest primary schools has celebrated after Ofsted inspectors rated the school as ‘good’ in its latest inspection, completing a remarkable transformation in its fortunes in the last five years.

A group calling itself the Suffolk EU Alliance is out to cause a political stir in Suffolk by tactically voting, en masse, for hand-picked candidates in the forthcoming county and general elections.

A 24-year-old man accused of driving at speeds of more than 100mph during a police chase will be sent to Ipswich Crown Court for trial.

University of Suffolk student Lauri Love has been granted permission to appeal against his extradition to the USA where he would face charges of alleged computer hacking.

Many places will close on Bank Holiday Monday next week but no matter how prepared you are, there will always be unexpected circumstances which could prompt an urgent need to head to the shops.

Most read

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Topic pages

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24