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Test drove a Defender this weekend

Defender SE P400.
Defender SE P400.
Image: Me, myself and I

My initial thoughts? It’s REALY nice and feels solid, the best way I can describe it is that it rides like an H2 but is a 1000lb’s lighter.

Interior:

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  • Comfortable, I don’t see much driver fatigue on long trips like you would have in an old Defender or Series Landie.
  • Quiet
  • You’re no longer sitting on top of the steering wheel and peddles so my knees were thanking me.
  • You don’t have to worry about destroying your elbow on the door when turning the wheel. (although side effect is the elbow out the window isn’t as comfortable.)
  • Dashboard looks more to be inspired by a Series III dashboard than a Defender/110 dashboard.
  • Heated AND cooled seats, it was 32C and humid when I drove it and the cooled seats were HEAVENLY.
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Exterior:

  • It’s bigger than you expect and it has a lot of presence.
  • Either you love it or you hate it (I don’t hate it).

Over all thoughts:

I went in knowing I was going to like it but I was caught off guard by how much I do like it. I wanted to put a deposit down on one then and their but luckily my wife was the cooler head and voice of reason.

The Defender rides like an H2 without feeling lumbering, it has a solid truck feel but with none of the rattles the old Defender had.

I’m waiting on a Tasman blue P300 to come in this week or next because that’s closer to what I want (P300 comes with 18" wheels where as P400 is 20") and hopefully it isn’t sold before I can poke around it.

Final thoughts:
I think Land Rover has a winner on their hands because these are selling before or as soon as they hit the sales lot. Anyone who thinks it’s not a real Defender needs to either test drive one or keep quiet. This is a brilliant piece of machinery that will embarrass a stock old Defender both on and off road.

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