Why does a company with three ranges of luxury 4X4s worry about making its farmers' hack into a luxury 4X4? “It's like dressing your granny in fishnets!” says David Stokes.
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The test defender, a 110 inch crew cab pickup remember, was fitted with alloy wheels, electric windows, heated seats and a radio/CD player and cloth seats.
What a farmer needs is to be able to hose out the truck - and it is a truck - after he has driven it in muddy wellies. The same goes for anyone else who uses this tool: councils, construction workers, gas men, and linesmen.
Muddy wellies abound in these trades and the last thing they need is a stylish, poofy hairdressers' chariot with little discernible substance.
Another thing that in my view ruins the vehicle is either the addition of electric or manually-operated door windows. The old sliding windows rarely went wrong and they did not need a big plastic door panel that steals elbowroom from the driver. LandRover makes the door very thick in section and I was forever bashing my elbow on closing the door.
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Now that apart - it's a 'roughty-toughty' truck and with sliding windows, vinyl seats, rubber or no mats, waterproof switching. If you lost the heated seats, as well as the radio/CD player, (it's hard to hear over the noisy engine anyway) plus the electric windows and put nice steel wheels on each corner the truck would look more like it ran on testosterone than oestrogen.
Perhaps then farmers especially would be able to afford to buy a Landy rather than a Daihatsu? There is also the horrendous turning circle that the new Queen Mary would be ashamed of. In its favour it has a lot more power than its predecessors: the power steering is a welcome modern addition. The checker plate on the top of the wings allow booted feet to tread but the art is knowing when to stop.
Having checker plates screwed onto the side steps (something one could do without anyway) and along the lower edge of the bodywork is a bit of checker plate too far.
In comfort terms it's not a vehicle I would want to drive a long way; Landys do, as we all know, girdle the world with hardy souls spreading the gospel of LandRover throughout the globe, but these are of a different breed than the rest of us.
They thrive on discomfort, they call it a challenge and one can get used to most things including riding in a Defender all day, ask a soldier.
It is a well-built truck and can be mounted with all sorts of interesting bits of plant like cherrypickers, hedgecutters and the like, so councils and the construction industry will find a use for this extremely tough vehicle. There are rumours that LandRover have seen the need for what could be called a 'stripped down, no-frills Defender type of truck'? Well let's hope they are true and we won't see overdressed Defenders masquerading as work trucks.