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Now’s a good time to buy a proper Land Rover – like this one. Not for you the lah-di-dah stylings of the marque’s other offerings, the chrome and soft, breathable leather of an Evoque of a Discovery: this is a proper thing. Land Rover will shortly stop selling original ones like this as new cars, which should mean that demand will rise – as will prices.
Defender are tough and built for work, with nothing there that doesn’t need to be. Prices for second-hand ones are already on the steep side and, although it’s knocking on to be seven years old, this one we’ve chosen looks value compared to what else is out there. Defenders come in many forms – everything from a pick-up truck to a van, but the station wagon variant here is our pick, not least because it will seat up to seven grown-ups. This one is offered by our friends at the Pontefract Van Centre.
If you’ve not driven one before a long run in one is advised before you decide to buy. Compared with conventional, modern cars, it’s a wholly different experience. The pedals are heavy the gears are widely spaced and so take some learning, while the steering feels slow and dull-witted. For some, such old-fashioned road manners add to the charm but for others they’ll be a deal-breaker.
Go off-road, though, and you’ll marvel at this vehicle’s ability to churn across muck, rocks and mud. In such conditions, Defenders are nigh-on unbeatable. And this rugged appeal extends into the cabin, where the pedals are big enough to work while clad in big outdoor boots, while the switches are made chunky so that you can work them while wearing gloves.
By the standards of the breed this one is positively luxurious, having remote central locking and electric windows. There’s even a music unit that has a CD player. But in other ways it is delightfully antiquated. To adjust those gigantic door mirrors, you must clamber out and wiggle them by hand. And the door pulls and a few other fixings will be instantly familiar to anyone who’s ever owned a 1990s Rover.
This one looks super-clean in the pics and its mileage is low. However, as when buying any 4x4, we’d peer closely underneath to check for past off-roading damage and, also to ensure that the chassis was rot-free. We would also check that the rear door closed properly because that heavy spare wheel and tyre can cause the hinges to drop.
You may feel that the asking price is a serious outlay. It may be, but remember. Although a vehicle such as this looks back to the 1940s for its original design, it is evergreen – more than half of all Land Rovers ever built are still in use. Look after it and it will be yours for as long as you want it to be. It could even be passed on to your sons or daughters.
That’s not something you can rightly say about many other cars and is why (among many other reasons), we reckon, buying a Defender merits serious consideration.
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