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The New Land Rover Defender Seems Fantastic On Paper

After years of waiting, the latest Land Rover Defender has finally been revealed — and I think it’s fantastic. The basic gist is that it’ll be offered in 2- or 4-door varieties, with 4- or 6-cylinder engines, with pricing starting from around $50,000 here in North America for the 4-door — with the 2-door expected to arrive about six months after the 4-door, which goes on sale this spring.

Of course, the reveal of the Defender touched off the usual slew of comments from the "purist peanut gallery," insisting that the new Defender isn’t what the old one was, and absolutely won’t be — it’s not a V8, it’s not a manual, it’s not a big, lumbering thing like the old one was.

Well, as someone who daily drives an old Defender — a 1997 soft top model with a big, inefficient V8 — I’m proud to say I love the new one. Love, love, love it.

First, let’s cover some reality here: Land Rover was never going to remake the old Defender in any way that satisfied the purists who love the old model. Automotive construction has come enormously far in the last few decades, and it doesn’t make sense to build body-on-frame, inefficient, old-fashioned vehicles like that anymore. I mean, come on: The V8 in my Defender makes a total of 184 horsepower, which is truly abysmal. It was never coming back.

But the new one does a great job modernizing a legend. The new Defender can wade comfortably into up to 35.4 inches of water, which puts the Wrangler’s 30 inches to shame — and its ground clearance of 11.8 inches is over an inch more than the Wrangler’s 10.5. The new Defender also boasts up to 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque with its 6-cylinder engine, along with a claimed 0-to-60 time of around 5.7 seconds for the 4-door model. That’s amazing.

The best part is probably the pricing: As I mentioned, the 4-door version starts around $50,000 here in North America, which is about $10,000 more than a 4-door Wrangler Sahara. Yes, sure, most of them will probably be in the $65,000 to $75,000 range when equipped with all the goodies you want — but it’s still a huge amount cheaper than a new G-Wagen, which starts around $120,000.

All in all, I think the new Defender is fantastic — at least on paper. I can’t wait to get behind the wheel and check it out in person. Find a Land Rover Defender for sale

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