Last day with the Defender and mixed emotions. Sad that this is pobably the last time I will drive a ‘new’ model of the old kind – happy to look forward to a new Audi A6 Avant in the morning!
However much kit to attach to a Defender it is still a basic Land Rover underneath. No different to what you see on farms and towing trailers to the market.
Buying a Land is an emotional choice for many people – something I totally understand having one myself. But really and truly this is NOT a car for everyday use in the new millennium.
The bling of the Black Pack and features like heated seats and a thumping stereo just can’t hide a serious lack of refinement. It will annoy the hell out of most 4×4 drivers but will has a special place in my heart because it is, first and foremost, a Land Rover.
Driving the Defender is like stepping back in time. Yes, the top spec XS on test at Car Couture does boast electric windows, heated windscreen and bum warmers but there are few creature comforts to make life more bearable.
It’e even equipped with one of those CD/radios featuring a front panel you have to remove for security. Our test car has a radio upgrade, which means the unit features Bluetooth and a aux in jack. However, despite the beefed up speakers, I was forced to turn the system off at 70mph on the M40 because it was too loud in the cabin with engine and road noise!
As a Land Rover owner, I’m fascinated to see how the replacement for the Defender will fair. It’s said to be aimed just as much at urbanites as country folk – I bloody well hope they don’t turn it in to some twee machine aimed at lifestyle buyers.
The key point is that it will be a whole lot better than what we’re driving this week. Complete with eight-speed automatic gearbox and an aluminium, monocoque chassis. It can’t come soon enough…
Another Mazda6 driver flashed his lights at me today. Is there some Masonic bond going on with 6 drivers that I don’t know about it? Took me totally by surprise I can tell you!
I get fellow Land Rover drivers waving to me when I’m out in the Series III – that’s people in ‘proper’ Land Rover Defenders, not mums on the school run in a Discovery or Range Rover Sport.
I’d like to think that there was a special bond between Mazda6 drivers, if only because the saloon lacks any real character of its own. I’m going to Google Mazda 6 Owners’ Club in a moment and see what I’m missing.
It’s hard not to like the 6, it does everything it should. If only it had a little bit extra to send the pulse racing, apart from fuel economy and uber reliability…
It’s lashing down in the Cotswolds – it must be to mark the arrival of our Subaru SUV. Summer ended last week and I’m mightily happy to be splashing through the ever-deepening puddles in the Forester.
This is definitely the sort of car that lives and breathes bad weather. You could say it looks better splattered in mud than clean – even the interior seems to have been designed for bad weather too!
There are loads of storage spaces and cubby boxes, many of them with practical rubber linings that are easy to clean. Our XC has fabric seats but any dirt seems to disappear easily enough. Not sure it’s worth going for the more expensive leather option.
The XC does have some luxurious, like the electric driver’s seat, a USB socket, 17-inch alloys and obviously air con.
In fact, I’d say there’s little point opting for a more expensive Forester, unless you want the leather and sat nav. This is one SUV that, rather like a Land Rover Defender, is better for being basic.