ADVENTURE TIME

Land Rover Defender 90 Heritage (Defender 110 Adventure)

ENGINE DOHC 16-valve 4-cyl turbo-diesel CAPACITY 2.2L (2198cc) POWER 90kW @ 3500rpm TORQUE 360Nm @ 2000rpm GEARBOX 6-speed manual 4X4 SYSTEM Full-time dual-range with lockable centre diff CRAWL RATIO 62:1 CONSTRUCTION separate chassis FRONT SUSPENSION live axle/coil springs REAR SUSPENSION live axle/coil springs WHEEL/TYRE SPEC steel (alloy)/235/85R16 KERB MASS 1815kg (2038kg) GVM 2750kg (3050kg) PAYLOAD 935kg (1012kg) TOWING CAPACITY 3500kg SEATING CAPACITY five (seven) FUEL TANK CAPACITY 60L (75L) ADR FUEL CLAIM 10L/100km (11.1L/100km) ON-TEST CONSUMPTION 10.5L/100km (13.9L/100km) TOURING RANGE 520km (489km) PRICE $54,900 ($68,510) DRIVEN LAND ROVER DEFENDER 110 ADVENTURE LAND ROVER has developed three limited edition Defenders to celebrate the end of the vehicle’s 67-year production run – Heritage, Adventure and Autobiography – but the company’s Australian branch decided to bring only two of them to our shores. The reason for this, according to James Scrimshaw, Land Rover Australia’s senior public affairs manager, is: “We decided not to bring in the AB [Autobiography] version and to concentrate on the two derivatives that we feel would have more appeal in Australia.

“Any ABs we would have taken would have reduced our numbers on the Heritage and Adventure Limited Editions.”

The Limited Editions are, after all, limited editions.

So, in addition to the 69 examples of the Heritage, Land Rover Australia managed to get its hands on 71 Adventure models, with a split of 40 Defender 90s and 31 of the bigger Defender 110s.

The vehicle on the press fleet is a Defender 110 Adventure, and driving it back-to-back with the Defender 90 Heritage highlighted just how much more comfortable the longerwheelbase variant is on the road. With much less fore/ aft pitching, ride quality is far superior in the 110, and it also offers better directional stability, particularly at highway speeds on bumpy roads.

The other big difference between the Heritage and the Adventure is the latter’s far superior noise suppression. It’s amazing how a bit of quality carpet and a nice headliner keep engine, road and wind noise levels down to an acceptable standard.

Although available in three colour options with a contrasting Santorini Black roof, the Adventure model tested here is finished in striking Phoenix Orange, which makes it somewhat reminiscent of the G4 Challenge Vehicles from the mid-noughties. If you’re an attention seeker, this is the colour scheme for you.

As well as the aforementioned carpet, the Adventure scores some other goodies more suited to a lounge room than an off-road track, such as leather trim on the seats, doors, door handles, passenger facia panel, instrument binnacle and steering wheel, and carpeted floor mats. While none of this kit would be particularly easy to clean after an outback trip, in the city it certainly gives the Adventure a classy feel.

Externally differentiating the Adventure from run-of-the-mill Defenders is a unique ‘90’ or ‘110’ decal on the nearside front panel, Heritage logos on the front and rear badges and rear mud flaps, seven-inch LED projector headlights, clear front indicator lenses and white rear lenses, along with a special ‘Atlas’ font for the ‘Defender’ logo on the bonnet.

The Adventure also scores Gloss Black split-spoke Diamond Turned alloy wheels wearing Goodyear MT/R tyres, and an under-body protection pack that incorporates aluminium bash plates at the front and sides.

Unlike the 90 Heritage, we were given free rein to take the 110 Adventure off the road – so naturally we did.

While the longer wheelbase variant of the Defender doesn’t have the ramp-over of the shorty, it still has plenty of ground clearance, and the reassurance of those beefylooking bash plates. But perhaps it was these bash plates that lulled me into a false sense of security, because I managed to get the Adventure stuck on a rock in the middle of a creek crossing.

It was at this point I discovered that there weren’t any recovery points fitted to the Adventure; just shipping hooks, and the two at the front couldn’t even be accessed, due to the design of the bash plate.

One slightly dodgy recovery operation later, I continued the off-road test and the Adventure conquered everything thrown at it. Sure, the electronic traction control may not be as effective as more modern examples of this technology, but the longtravel suspension made up for its shortcomings, as did the excellent low-range reduction and bountiful low-rev torque.

The rest of the 110 Adventure package is pretty much the same as any other Defender, which means you get a cavernous cargo area, onetonne payload and 3500kg braked towing capacity. It may have been designed several decades ago but the Defender is still one of the most effective outback touring wagons on the market. But, like the Heritage, chances are that many of the 71 Adventures sold in Australia will be consigned to a life of luxury.

After all, these Limited Edition models will likely command a hefty ‘collectible’ price tag in the future. At the moment you can snap the 90 up for $61,896.31 and the 110 for $68,510 assuming there are any left, of course.

It may have been designed several decades ago but the Defender is still one of the most effective outback touring wagons on the market.