News24 Motoring contributor Tyrone Paulsen spends some time with the Land Rover Defender 90 and reckons it is a modern-day remake of one of the world's most loved off-roaders.
When the current generation Defender was unveiled in 2019, many die-hard fans were unhappy with it. They didn't like the look, as it "strayed away" from the original design; other reasons were that it had too much tech, didn't have a V8 version and looked too premium.
Fast forward to 2022, and many nay-sayers have accepted what the car is now, a modern remake of a classic for today's tech-savvy connected world.
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This year Land Rover finally introduced the much-anticipated V8 version, and our test car is the 2022 Defender 90 V8, which produces 386kW with 625Nm of torque from its supercharged 5.0-litre engine. In its test state, it really is a head-turner of note, with its completely blacked-out exterior, sporting 22-inch black gloss rims with blue brake callipers. The interior is in a similar black blend of leather & suede, with exposed bolts and a boxy interior, which is a Defender signature; it gives a blend of modern luxury and classic utilitarian style.
Its digital Interactive Driver display includes a heads-up display, an 11.4-inch touchscreen, 360-degree cameras and safety features. These include lane-keeping assist, all-round parking sensors, oncoming traffic and blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control and many more extras; it's a safe and comfortable place to be.
The Defender 90 is 4.583mm long, which is relatively short for a car with a height of more than 2 meters (in its highest raised suspension state), making it feel like a much larger SUV. It can easily seat four adults or two adults and three children, which unfortunately compromises boot space with only 297-litres capacity.
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Overall, it's a modern-day remake of one of the world's most loved off-roaders, which puts it right into the premium car bracket with a sticker price of just over R2.3 million. It has transformed itself into a car not just loved by 4x4 enthusiasts but by those who want the heritage of the moniker, Defender, matched with class, style, comfort and needs of the modern connected generation of the 21st century.