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This car is not an X5, an ML 270, or a Cayenne/Toe-rag/Q7. If you’re after that level of comfort, road-holding, performance, build-quality, design-integrity, etc, then please go and spend your dosh elsewhere. Land Rovers are an industrial/agricultural piece of kit, with the build quality of a pack of 10 Senior Service. Or Camel’s, if you’re French.
This is not a Chelsea-tractor for one of those slimy hairstylists with the stupid diggers and a penchant to look cool and rugged as he prittle-prattles down the rat-runs to his spanking new boutiquey-salon. This crate will ruffle his feathers too much, and he’ll end up getting rid of the b*gger after a few weeks, as his hair-product won’t be able to cope with the whip-lash. And this car goes like stink,…literally. When it goes, it stinks! 0 to 60 takes about 13 weeks, and you’ll be lucky to squeeze more than 25 mpg out of the lump of metal that passes for an engine. Top speed is always achieved by throwing the bloody thing off the top of a cliff, with an 8 man squad of prop-forwards sat on the back door.
Remember, it’s got the aerodynamics of a cheap B’Q garden shed (overlap, obviously), and the road-holding of a Somerfields 3 wheeled-trolley.Cornering requires 3 sick-bags. One for the tension built-up just thinking about it. The second for the actual event. And the third when you recall the nightmare, and wonder how the hell you managed to crawl out without calling the Fire Service. For this reason you should always carry jerry-cans full of listerine, as breathing on people afterwards is a no-no. Well, what did you think they were for? The electrics were installed by an Albanian plumber with no thumbs, who’d seen a wiring diagram but thought it was a map of how to get to Britain. Obviously they work. Well,….sometimes.
It’s a constant adventure wondering, and then finding out what’s going to work today. And the heated front seats. Blimey. They’ve only got one setting; Roasted A*se! The shut-lines have got room for a Yellow-Pages to be run up and down comfortably without snagging. In fact in most of them, you can add a Thompson’s directory as well. Braking is best done 2 days, and 3 countries out from the junction. This gives you plenty of time to manoevre onto the pavement and avoid the lamposts. This is a 4×4 after all. There’s no point in having all this ability, and not using it. Why park on the roof of the car-in-front, when a shopwindow is at ground level? Rain,..well, that’s an adventure all by itself. Make sure you’ve subscribed to PADI Weekly or BSAC Monthly, and you’ve got a new pair of Aigle’s to go with your Barbour. You’ll need them. The 3 inches (or 7.5 cm’s for you youngsters that don’t know old money) of pure organic H2O that’s washing around in your footwells will at least keep your mats clean. And the carpets (for this, please read felt,…or nap,…or much better, lint), soaks up mud like a cheap Body-Shop sponge. And you thought they were always cacky-brown? The paint finish looks like orange-peel. Or at least, that’s what it looks like they used to apply it.
Oh, and the wipers. Well, they’re made of a substance which seems to resemble a 7 sand to 1 portland ratio, and work best when you breathe on them first. They’ll take nearly an hour to wipe that fly off the bottom of the screen, which didn’t die because of the road-speed, but your halitosis when you sidled past last week (remember to keep swilling the listerine). This is one obvious advantage of Defender ownership. You’ll never have to worry about speed cameras. Oh, and the heated front-screen has a pattern on it which resembles the crazy paving which was also laid by your Albanian buddy. But because you didn’t pay him, he left chips and cracks all it over to remind you he’ll be back with 9 of his mates. Also, please remember the aluminium panels are a bit bendy. Your Aunty Mabel leaning on the wing (to adjust her big-pants and stockings) just left a ding the size of the Sea of Tranquility. And you’ll have to re-jig the blighter, after a squirrel decides to launch its face into the front bumper.
And finally, make sure you never, ever touch the roof-lining, ‘cos the next time you brake, you’ll think you’ve gone blind when the whole damn lot falls over your head. It makes the ensuing swerves on the pavement (around the mums with their prams) ever so difficult.
You think I’m joking?
This warning is here for a reason. These cars are for afficianado’s only. This is my fifth Defender, and while I might be selling this XS (to help pay for my new house-build, commencing in March), I’m keeping my 1991 110 2.5 n/a diesel. And I’ll never be without one…..ever! But there’s a price to pay for Landie ownership. And if you’re new to this I will point out some pertinent facts. It’s cheaper to service my wife’s Boxster at a Porsche dealership, than this Defender. Land Rover Dealers think they’ve got a God-given right to rip you off! And they’ll show you the invoices to prove it. You’ll spend a fortune constantly trying to solve/fix/repair/mend your machine. And this can start just minutes after you take delivery. This message is the same whether you’ve ordered a brand new car, or collecting a second-hand vehicle. Don’t expect Merc build quality or reliability, ‘cos it ain’t a reality. Squeaks and rattles come fully fitted with every Defender, new or old, and you’ll have bundles of fun working out where the mice/rats/hamsters and snakes live.
But the pay-back?
Well, it ain’t ‘The Best 4×4 by Far’ for nothing