More mod­els for De­fender

A sales rise in­spires con­fi­dence, writes NEIL McDON­ALD

Herald Sun - Motoring - - News -

THE mighty De­fender is far from de­feated. De­spite a de­pressed ve­hi­cle mar­ket and the dom­i­nance of Ja­panese off-road­ers, Land Rover Aus­tralia has de­liv­ered a vote of con­fi­dence in its trusty of­froader by broad­en­ing the range from two mod­els to eight.

The 2010 line-up in­cludes five 110 (for 110-inch wheel­base) mod­els and three 130s, specif­i­cally tar­get­ing se­ri­ous off-road users and com­mer­cial buy­ers with its heavy-duty four-wheel-drive ute and cab-chas­sis mod­els.

Land Rover Aus­tralia spokesman Guido Schenken says there is strong in­ter­est from the ru­ral, min­ing and tradie in­dus­tries for more vari­ants.

‘‘They’re par­tic­u­larly in­ter­ested in heavy duty car­ry­ing ca­pac­ity,’’ he says.

Prices kick off at $45,990 for the De­fender 110 hard­top and sin­gle cab chas­sis, ris­ing to $53,490 for the 130 crew cab high-ca­pac­ity pick-up (HCPU).

The $48,990 four-door 110 sta­tion wagon, iden­ti­fied by its sa­fari-style win­dows in the roof, has been re­spon­si­ble for de­liv­er­ing a mod­est sales spike for Land Rover over the past 18 months and wagon sales have grown 4.5 per cent this year.

The wagon, which has an op­tional $2000

the seven-seat lay­out, is now joined by the 110 four-door crew cab pick-up.

Both have air­con­di­tion­ing, trac­tion con­trol, al­loy wheels, lock­ing hubs and elec­tric front win­dows.

The new two-door 110 hard­top is based on the sta­tion wagon and gets a sin­gle CD player, air­con­di­tion­ing and elec­tric front win­dows.

Vis­ually it gets a black grille, wheel-arch flares and head­light sur­rounds, white steel wheels and white roof. It also has slid­ing rear side win­dows.

Also new is the 110 sin­gle cab chas­sis, which has the same spec as the hard­top, as well as the 110 sin­gle cab high-ca­pac­ity pick-up (HCPU), which gets a rear canopy.

The 130 crew cab chas­sis car­ries over but is joined by the 130 sin­gle cab chas­sis and 130 crew cab HCPU fit­ted with a well­side body and canopy.

The 130 sin­gle cab chas­sis is fit­ted with heavy duty sus­pen­sion and ex­tended tray that can carry 1500kg with a GVM of 3500kg.

Schenken has not ruled out a re­turn of the short-wheel­base De­fender 90, which was avail­able in South Africa a few years ago. ‘‘We’re con­tin­u­ally looking at it,’’ he says. All 2010 De­fend­ers are pow­ered by a 2.4-litre, 16-valve com­mon-rail four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel shared with the Ford Tran­sit.

The en­gine de­vel­ops 90kW at 2200 revs and 360Nm at 2000 revs.

All mod­els have per­ma­nent dual-range four­wheel drive with lock­ing cen­tre dif­fer­en­tial.

Un­beaten: Land Rover is up­ping the ante on the De­fender in 2010 with (left) the long­wheel­base 130 crew cab pick-up and (above) the 110 sin­gle cab HCPU pick-up.

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