Land Rover Defender - Which One is Cooler: New or Old?

Psychologists strongly recommend that if you compare yourself with someone, then only with yourself but in the past.

If so, we decided to compare the new Defender not with competitors but with its past self. And don't yell, like, this is incorrect, different cars and everything like that. We already know that these are completely different cars but all questions to Land Rover's marketing managers.

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When the first information about the new Defender appeared, the community of impassable wilds regulars wailed and let out a tear: the car lost its frame — the primary sexual characteristic of any serious SUV. This can hardly be considered a disadvantage: the body has become load-bearing, but the torsional rigidity now reaches 29,000 Nm/deg against 3,000 Nm/deg of the predecessor. It means that it has become tougher – attention — nine times! Formally, the new Def is built on the D7u architecture, which is based on the latest Discovery. Do not rush to irony, the current Defender is not just a disguised «Disco»: its platform was redesigned by 95% and even the name was changed to D7x, so that the car has its own reinforced insides, as befits an SUV.

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Continuous axles, dependent spring suspension, minimum electronics and maximum ‘steel’ — yes, you will not find all this in the new Defender. Previously, it had three pedals and two transmission levers — this is all that the driver manipulated off-road. To assess the road situation on the move, you had to lean out of the window and look under the wheels. You don't even need to stick your head out at the wheel of the new Defender: a 3D omnidirectional camera with a transparent hood provides a 360-degree view around the car and a panoramic view of the surrounding area. What do you think about this feature?

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Now, it has a thick instruction manual for the Terrain Response system in the glove compartment. The system is so smart that it will probably learn how to make coffee in the next update. Seriously, in addition to the Auto mode, when the electronics analyze the terrain and adjust the optimal transmission modes, the response to «gas» and the work of assistants, it is possible to choose one of the preset scenarios. Fans of old-school tools will immediately snort: bah, some electronics will decide for me! In practice, Terrain Response is a protection «from the fool». After all, when you previously kicked a little into high gear or preselected the wrong one, you were already walking in the direction of the nearest tractor…

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There is now only an 8-speed automatic ZF transmission with a low-range distributor. The old Defender could only be blocked by the center differential, while the new one received a rear differential lock. Unlike the Discovery, the both locks can be forcibly activated on the Def.

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The new model is also good with geometric cross-country ability. The old Defender famously rode on gullies, thanks to short overhangs and incredible articulation of suspensions. The front overhang of the successor is 845 mm, the rear one — 1,151 mm. The angles of approach and departure are 38 and 40 degrees, respectively. The overhangs of the old Def are 649 mm in the front and 1, 196 in the back. The angles of approach and departure are 47 and 27 degrees, respectively. In other words, the continuity is evident.

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The new Def has an air suspension. The standard ground clearance is 216 mm. The car will sit down on 50 mm for a more comfortable landing. That's not all. You can count 291 mm under the keel in the Off-Road mode, but this is not all. If the clever Defender understands that the case is rubbish and there is a prospect of «sitting on the bridges», then the electronics add an additional 35 mm to the clearance. Finally, if this is not enough, then you can manually add 35 mm more. So, the Defender's total ground clearance is 361 mm. The old Def had a clearance of 314 mm, and it was considered impressive.

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The fording depth of the younger model is 900 mm (400 mm more than that of the predecessor), and this is really an impressive figure. The only thing that is recommended before bathing is to activate the corresponding mode in the Terrain Response system: the electronics will close active radiator shutters, lift the body into the Off-Road mode and reconfigure the response of the throttle.

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The old Defender had a 2.4-liter turbo diesel Duratorq borrowed from commercial Fords. It’s nothing special, if you look at its power output (122 hp), but its torque was fine (360 Nm). In any case, there was no alternative. The engine line of the new Defender includes three engines: two diesel I4 units (200 hp or 240 hp / 430 Nm) and a 3-liter I6 (400 hp / 550 Nm). It is unclear what the latter engine is for, but why not?

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Fans of the Defender tell a story that when Queen Elizabeth saw the new Defender, the flag over Buckingham Palace was lowered: the 94-year-old has been a fan of this rarity for more than a decade since WWII and often drives her vehicle around the flowerbeds of Buckingham Palace. Whether this is true or not is unknown: many rolled their eyes when Land Rover introduced the new Defender. The problem with the new model is not that it is does not have a frame and full of electronics but that everything is radically new and it still has the old name. People always perceive new things with hostility. They'll get used to it. And as a car, the new Defender is definitely cool, perhaps even cooler than its predecessor.

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