No matter what new car I drive, my 2004 TD5 Defender continues to impress me. It really is a vehicle that epitomises the cliché, “when the going gets tough, the tough get going”. I’ve had it since new, and over eight years it’s performed faultlessly, carrying my family around Australia and me on navigation exercises and recce work around my home state of Victoria. I think what’s most impressive is its off-road ability, as all I’ve done is add a 2inch suspension lift and rear cross-axle locking differential. Land Rover really did get the basic suspension design very much right, and the way it flexes over rough ground is unsurpassed by any vehicle short of a rock crawler. The huge clearances – ramp, approach, departure – and relatively large tyres help too, and while the traction control isn’t market-leading it certainly does give the car an edge over those without.
You wouldn’t think of a Defender as a quick car, but over rough ground it moves with a speedy grace other vehicles cannot match. Drivers of competitors vehicles are loathe to admit it, but other 4x4s need modifications to keep up in the rough with a stock Defender. Then you’ve got the Land Rover’s ability to carry huge amount of bulk, with a payload of more than 1000kg that puts most pickups in the shade, plus the massive cargo area. And if that wasn’t enough there’s also the fact it does all this while just sipping its fuel.
Model: LR DISCOVERY 3, 110
Spec: Discovery 3
Recent costs: Nil
Arrived: March 2012
You can read more about this Land Rover in the December 2012 issue of 4×4 Magazine