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Land Rover Defender 90 Adventure Limited Edition

Click to view picture gallery“The last of the legendary Land
  Rover Defenders will roll off the
  production line in December 2015.
  But eventually a new generation of
as yet unnamed will
  take its place...”

UNTIL THE END of 2015 Land Rover are holding a year-long celebration for Defender with special events and by introducing three limited editions of: Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography. There are no sales limitations in terms of numbers but these 'collectors' models are proving popular as they are the very last of the Defender family line.

The roots of the Defender can be traced back to the earliest production Land Rover model which rolled off the Solihull production lines in 1948. Following on from Series I, II, III, Ninety, and One Ten model ranges, Land Rovers were renamed Defender in 1990 with 90, 110 and 130 derivatives. Over two million Land Rovers and Defenders have been sold in the past 67 years, with current models selling in 180 global markets.

What the next generation of Defender models will be like is open to speculation and the motoring magazines have had a field day coming up with 'photoshoped' images and technical speculation.

“Its tough suspension,
high ground clearance,
500mm wading depth,
high-torque turbodiesel
engine with 4WD and
high- and low-ratio gears
make it ideal for off-road
travel — in that domain
few other vehicles can
better it...
Their view is that the next generation of Defender will be an interpretation of the new Land Rover Discovery but using the latest body construction technologies and their new Ingenium EU6 range of engines.

Will they even be built in the UK? With huge pressure to build more current Jaguar and Land/Range Rover models to meet global demand it might be that one of several overseas new factories planned by Jaguar Land Rover will be used for the next generation of all-aluminium Defender models. Speculation is strong that it could be the proposed new factory in Slovakia.

The hardcore Land Rover and the current Defender models have, through the years, been used by farmers as tractors; they have been family cars; provided transport for the House of Windor; have taken explorers to the most hazardous corners of the earth (and brought them safely home again!); and, of course, they have been used by military forces around the World.

So with a last throw of the dice Land Rover has introduced three special edition models. The exclusive Defender Autobiography Edition promises more performance, luxury and comfort than ever before thanks to its comprehensive equipment list, unique two-tone paintwork, full Windsor leather upholstery and a power upgrade from 120 to 147bhp for its 2.2-litre TD4 turbodiesel engine driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. The Autobiography Edition is produced exclusively as a 90 Station Wagon and priced from 61,845.

The Heritage Edition is inspired by early Land Rover models and mixes nostalgic design cues with modern creature comforts. It can be identified by its distinctive Grasmere Green paintwork and a contrasting white roof. A heritage grille and 'HUE 166' graphics recalling the registration plate of the first ever pre-production Land Rover nicknamed 'Huey', also identify the Heritage model. It should be in showrooms as you read this, priced from 27,800.

The new Adventure Edition is aimed at Land Rover customers who relish the great outdoors and embrace the Defender's 'go anywhere, do anything' character. It comes fitted with additional underbody protection and Goodyear MT/R tyres to boost the Defender's already class-leading all-terrain capability. Unique decals and a leather-trimmed cabin ensure the Adventure Edition stands out from the Defender crowd. Adventure Editions are priced at 43,495 for all versions.

“With its premium seats,
Windsor leather
upholstery and Bright
Aluminium interior trim
the Adventure Edition
delivers quality shelter
from the elements...
My last test drive of the current generation Defender was in an Adventure Edition three-door 90 Station Wagon. A 110 longer wheelbase five-door version is also available, and both will be on sale from August.

The Adventure Edition is designed for bold customers who still want to explore. To enhance the Defender's already impressive off-road credentials with 4WD and high- and low-gear ratios, this version features distinctive new underbody protection for the side sills and engine sump, while Goodyear MT/R tyres can be relied upon to make the most of whatever grip is on offer.

The Adventure Edition can be had in a choice of three striking metallic colour options: Corris Grey, Yulong White and Phoenix Orange. All feature contrasting Santorini Black paint for the grille and its surround, the bonnet, roof and rear door, plus the headlamp surrounds and wheelarches. All also feature the Defender Expedition Roof Rack, Snorkel and Rear Access Ladder. The Adventure Edition models are powered by the 147bhp upgraded turbodiesel used for the Autobiography.

Other distinguishing features of this expedition-inspired Defender include seven-inch LED projector headlamps, clear front indicators, front wing decals ('90' / '110'), and new Gloss Black split-spoke diamond-turned alloy wheels.

The focus of this version is firmly on high-spec inside the Adventure Edition promises to provide quality shelter from the elements. Premium seats with Windsor leather upholstery, perforated leather inserts, and contrast stitching all add that touch of luxury. Complementing them is a leather-rimmed steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever along with Bright Aluminium interior trim.

High quality Windsor leather also covers the passenger fascia and instrument panel, while leather trim on the doors and grab handles, Ebony headlining, and bespoke carpet mats complete the look. AirCon and electric front windows are, naturally, standard-fit items. All very nice but this lush interior might be a job to clean after some serious off-roading...

“The ride is very firm and the steering on the vague side. It is ‘motoring’ from a bygone age — albeit still with legendary off-road ability — and probably that will be the main reason to buy one of these limited edition Defenders...
In truth the Defender is archaic to drive on-road; it remains a 'beast of burden'. Its tough suspension, high ground clearance, 500mm wading depth, high-torque (295lb ft from 2,000rpm) turbodiesel engine with 4WD and high- and low-ratio gears together make it ideal for off-road travel in that domain few other vehicles can better it.

For on-road driving manners the motoring world has moved on, and today's SUVs and double-cab pick-ups are far more sociable and comfortable. SUVs use computer controlled drivetrains and for most conditions these suffice well enough even the workhorse or popular leisure-use double-cabs have proved very capable and durable off-road.

Getting behind the wheel of a Defender 90 I soon remembered just how compact it is for space if you happen to measure six-feet tall; there's little seat adjustment, the steering wheel is far too close for comfort, and the six-speed gearbox has a long-throw coupled with a slow gear change action.

The ride of this last model in the iconic Defender series is very firm and the steering on the vague side. It is 'motoring' from a bygone age albeit still with legendary off-road ability and probably that will be the main reason to buy one of these limited edition models; that and its adventurous, eye-catching styling and equipment additions. Probably 'a keeper' for Land Rover enthusiasts but they'll need to be wealthy.
David Miles

Land Rover Defender 90 Adventure Limited Edition | 43,495
Maximum speed: 90mph | 0-60mph: 14.7 seconds | Average: 27.7mpg
Power: 147bhp | Torque: 295lb ft | CO2 269g/km