Despite common thinking, you needn't have to trade Rubicon-ability for good fuel economy, as today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe diesel Defender proves. You might however, need to be an oil company exec to buy it.
Time heals all wounds, and while 60 years ago we may have been at war with Japan and Germany, today we both join in that Asian nation's grief over its triplet disasters, and at the same time find yesterday's German-built 1981 veggie-benz to be a 75% Nice Price. You want fries with that? In Great Britain, they call fries ‘chips' and they drive on the wrong side of the road. Today's 2010 Land Rover Defender has its steering wheel on the left, where it belongs, and its diesel engine means that you won't be getting letters from Tony Hayward thanking you for buying him a new yacht just from driving it.
Here in America, the Sport Utility supplanted the Cadillac with bull horns on the hood as the official national ride, and their multi-syllabic capabilities made them beloved by everyone from soccer moms to corrupt senators. But then the Ford Explorer gained the reputation for flipping on its back faster than a $10 hooker, while jumps in gas prices made filling any of the thirsty beasts financially painful.
This Defender gives up none of the attractions of the big 4x4 wagon, while its 122-bhp, 265 lb-ft diesel engine adds frugality to the mix. In the 110 Defender, Land Rover claims a combined mileage for the Ford-sourced motor of 28 miles per imperial gallon. Day-um. As this is a Euro-truck it lacks the ubiquitous and efficiency-sapping automatic transmission typical of an American Sport-Ute, and in its place rocks a six-speed manual, operated through a spindly stalk next to the transfer case control stick. That's not the only thing manual in this truck, and despite its pretensions at hoity-toitiness, you're still going to have to crank your own windows and flip your own door locks.
The English are all about slushing through the muck, all the way from their Wellies to their globally renowned trucks like this Defender. And it's not just physically capable, but backs that up with looks that are second only to Lambo's LM002 in testosterone emoting. It's the kind of truck that would make Tim Allen make gorilla noises at the sight of it, that is if he weren't busy plotting his TV return. Black over silver alloys, the big five door is too new to have gained a patina of anything yet, but has had its roo bar cracked requiring a promised replacement before purchase. Inside, its roomier than Albert Hall and sports a set of Land Rover embossed Recaro buckets up front and a leather-wrapped three spoke wheel. Behind the second row there's enough room for a whole pack of hunting hounds, although you might want to add in the nifty set of side-facing fold down seats that are available, and a security detail sporting AK47s and mirrored aviators.
Defenders have been sold in the U.S. over the years, as have their precedent Land Rover Series, although none have been officially offered since 1998. Back then, Scumbag Steve prototype, Brian Austin Green drove a BRG soft top one on 90210, potentially denying future LR fans the pleasure through the unfortunate association. This one - a lefty - is set up for its original destination on the Continent, and not for courting Donna Martin. That means it has a km/hr speedo and lacks either a DOT or EPA approval sticker, making it the kind of illegal alien that has pissed off all those Arizonans recently.
But if you are of the means to make the purchase, you probably will be able to grease the necessary palms in getting a set of plates and the proper paperwork in case you are stopped by John Law. That's because the asking price for this Land Rover is $139,000. Ka-bloody-ching! Ignoring the fact that price is out of reach for most of us - no matter how capable the vehicle we are driving - do you think that's a good value? Or, is that a price that's not just off-road, but off the charts?
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