The new facia houses an all-new heating and ventilation system. Cabin airflow is up almost 50 per cent, with new aluminium plate and fin heat exchangers helping deliver impressive performance. In cold weather, the heater warms the cabin 40 per cent quicker than before and can achieve cabin temperatures a full 12°C higher. The air-conditioning system can cool the cabin in half the time of the old unit, and achieve cabin temperatures 7°C lower too. The addition of side window demist vents helps maintain visibility whatever the weather.
Seating is also comprehensively improved. New, taller front seats are designed to improve back support and head restraint ergonomics.
Robust, more supportive second row seats are introduced too. 110 Station Wagon and 130 Crew Cab models can comfortably accommodate three occupants on a new, asymmetrically-split second row seat. A spring-assisted fold mechanism helps when folding the seats for carrying large or awkward loads.
Defender 90 Station Wagon second row occupants benefit from a pair of individual, full-size, forward-facing rear seats. Providing significantly increased comfort and space over the outgoing model, these seats are also available as a third row option on the 110 Station Wagon. Accessed either through the rear door or by folding the second row seats, they can be easily folded and stowed sideways in the loadspace.
Seat trims include durable all-vinyl and cloth specifications; a half-leather option is also available to add a touch of luxury to the new cabin. Three-point safety belts are specified for all seating positions.
Upgraded sound insulation, the common rail engine’s excellent combustion control and the significantly higher top gear all contribute to a substantial overall improvement in cabin refinement. In the words of Gary Taylor, Defender’s chief programme engineer, “For many customers, the step change in Defender’s refinement will be one of the most welcome advances; not only are noise levels significantly lower, but sound quality is transformed too.”
Defender’s unique vehicle architecture has been retained. The chassis frame is available in three different wheelbases, and in both standard and heavy-duty guise (for even greater load-bearing capabilities). A total of 14 separate body styles - from pick-ups and soft-tops to crew cabs and station wagons - are produced on the mainstream production line. Beyond this, Land Rover’s Special Vehicle Operations team offer a range of products from standard drop-side or box-body conversions to bespoke design and build adaptations into ambulances, mobile hydraulic platforms and even airport fire tenders - all of which are covered by Land Rover’s extensive warranty.
All photographs and engineering data in this article are from pre-production prototype work. The specification, design and production of any vehicle shown is subject to alteration without notice.
Some images feature optional accessories.
To read our in depth road test of the Land Rover Defender [ click here ]Published 22 August 2006