LIFE

The World’s Best Motoring Journalists Label Land Rover’s Latest Defender ‘Pointless’

gray suv on brown field during daytime

The Defender is undoubtedly one of the most famous cars of all time. The Defender was first introduced in 1983. It saw 33 years of production, with very few significant changes. It was a devastating blow to many automotive enthusiasts when production ended in 2016.

gray suv on brown field during daytime

Land Rover had been working on a replacement for the Defender as early as 2012, and in 2020, they finally brought it to market. Although the new Defender, officially called the L663, shares the name of the older model, it has very few similarities: it features no components or technology that is similar to its predecessor; an aluminum unibody construction instead of a frame-on-body construction; and is more luxury-oriented than the old model.

So it came as a surprise (and somewhat of a relief) when Land Rover announced plans to reintroduce a ‘Hard Top’ commercial variant of the L663. Land Rover’s Defender and the original Land Rover series were popular commercial vehicles. Farmers and traders around the globe loved the pickup and panel van versions of the Defender.

But according to Jeremy Clarkson, the world’s most prominent motoring journalist and now a gentleman farmer, the new ‘Hard Top’ doesn’t hold a candle to the commercial Defender models of old. He thinks it’s quite pointless.

He was initially enamored of the vehicle’s looks, especially its steelies. However, he soon realized that it wasn’t living up to his expectations.

His first complaint? Pricing. He explained that Defenders weren’t the cheapest on the market but they were a popular choice. This situation only gets worse when you add optional extras.¬†However, $92,500 is still a great deal when compared to Land Cruisers right now.

silhouette of 3 men standing near white van

Dual-cab utes with canopies like the Ranger or purpose-built vans proper like the Toyota Hiace dominate commercial fleets these days. If you really want one, you can still find poverty-spec G Classes with a tray rear, and you still have plenty of Land Cruisers for sale. But you are starving for 4×4 commercial vehicles in the same vein that the Defender.

Indeed, three-door SUVs are also somewhat of a dying breed, with the new Defender, Wrangler and (currently USA-only) Ford Bronco the most notable remaining flag-bearers. It is quite remarkable that the L663 can be purchased not only as a 3-door SUV but also as a panel van.