News : Defender spruced up for 2013

Carole Nash Classic Insurance Specialists

Land Rover has revealed some minor changes to the Defender for the 2013 model year. Are we looking at the final spruce-up for the European market? The refresh includes a new colour pallet, with Barolo Black and Havana being added to the range. But also several options have been added for contrasting roofincluding Fuji White, Santorini Black, Indus Silver, Orkney Grey, and Firenze Red.

On the inside, the 2013 Defender receives some new fabric and leather seats in the front, while Bluetooth connectivity was standardized with an optional Alpine audio system, complete with a subwoofer. The 2013 Land Rover Defender keeps its existing engine option, the 2.2-litre turbodiesel, also used in the Ford Transit. Prices start at £22,350.

Keith Adams

Keith Adams

Editor and creator AROnline at AROnline
Created www.austin-rover.co.uk in 2001 and built it up to become the world's foremost reference source for all things BMC, Leyland and Rover Group, before renaming it AROnline in 2007.

Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...

Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasible adventures all across Europe.
Keith Adams

41 Comments

  1. Only Land Rover could get away with publicity pictures showing a car up to its headlights in muddy water. Respect.

  2. This is a car that, despite being possibly the worst built vehicle in the modern world, somehow manages to remain very appealing, possibly because it doesn’t really belong in the modern world. This is the off-road equivalent of the Hindustan Ambassador- something that ought to be utterly irrelevent in it’s market but somehow still holds its own against much more modern competition.

    I am dreading its eventual replacement judging by the concept that was previewed not long ago.

  3. Chris Baglin is spot on however having spent some considerable time in a brand new one and a variety of other 4x4s, I would say replacement is arriving at just the right time. They aren’t even outstanding in the muck against rivals in the same way they were a decade ago; not in real world situations. The average double cab pick up on the same tyres as a Defender will go to the same places, and if you want to tour the world that bloke with the G-Wagon had the right idea…

    Personally I think they should have knocked them on the head in ’98 and gone out on a high with the 50th anniversary V8s…

  4. Well if you mean L200’s with thier leaf springs that always crack and with rubbish axle articulation ill keep the defender,navaras are always blowing engines or breaking driveshafts and hilux’s break the front diff lock actuatoras soon as it bottoms out.iknow what i would take the pepsi challenge in.

  5. @7 The Real Slim Shady,

    All things said, I’d choose a well-modded Pinzgauer or older Land Cruiser as my offroader of choice if I was going to do some serious off-road travelling.

  6. You could apply just as many and a dozen more faults against Defenders. But thats all part of the “charm”?!

  7. Sadly none of these changes are that ‘new’, despite what the PR blurb tells you. For example, both black paint and part-leather seats have been available on the Defender since 2002; the latter feature on the then new range-topping XS variant.

    However, new colour and trim features are the most effective marketing tool for breathing life into an ageing model, so good luck to it.

  8. +1 on Francis’ comment about Navaras – The D22 is a lemon that Nissan wont acknowledge, loads of reports, including my dad’s work van – blowing conrods. Modern examples have too much chrome and are more of a school run tank than a workhorse.

    Have taken a 110 round an off road course in the Scottish highlands, their ability is uncanny. What looks like driving up or down a sheer slope is dealt with ease, and it is in it’s element up to the wingmirrors in water.

    Someone in work has a 90 wheelbase Defender, we sometimes go for team lunches in. Somehow feels like going on holidays with the inward facing rear seats! (probably memories of a camper van) Shame these had to get deleted for EU safety regs.

  9. I drove my mates works 110 the other day we are/were thinking of a 110 CSW. Whilst Its a lot better thatn the last of the old TD5’s the driveing position kills me just the same as my old series 3. No elbow room to the right..
    Way overdue for replacement

  10. @10 Agreed,but off road the defender is peerless,its not that im snotty about them or anything,we hire out the L200 out to Costains and other large construction groups,and these are only doing site work and are shagged by the time they are due for service,we do about 30 defender 110’s nationwide and the only recurring problem seems to be the pas pump union weeping fluid-bloody tranny engined too!but like i said im not a real fan,too utilitarian for me!

  11. ive been listening for years about how brilliant the japanese competition is so ive tried a few and was very dissapointed.
    i soon went back to a good basic landrover best you can buy, even now… they dont do anything else only 4wds no ponsy cars or bikes.. if you need to check defenders popularity check how well prices hold up against the lesser competition!!! always in demand….

  12. I wonder how many of the army of people that leave negative comment about everything actually have any real knowledge of the subject. A few, granted, but not many…

  13. We had a brand new 11 plate 110SW on site, up and down a mountain every day in the wind, rain and snow to a wind farm. It was a truly superb vehicle for getting into and out of the muddy stuff. By contrast we had a brand new Hilux, which managed to get stuck once or twice, and was pulled out by the LR.

    However… I drove both on the road some distance, and the LR is truly dreadful in every way – bouncy ride, ponderous steering, dreadful brakes, no elbow room at all, door seals that constantly fall off, and NOISY…

    I think the time for replacement has come.

  14. @17,I for one wouldnt use any of them for a long journey,the defender in particular always requires effort, the japenese pickups are tiresome too,have the defender as a tractor and leave the rest to the car!

  15. @17, Doive,

    Whilst a replacement would be welcome, the prototype that was premiered (hopefully no more than a teaser) looked more like a beefed-up Freelander. The Deafener has the advantage of mechanical simplicity, flat panels (easy to repair and to mount things onto) and meccano-like construction. I’d worry that any replacement would be more like the Japanese competition and lose many of its better qualities, although I’m sure it would still be good off-road.

    Makes you wonder why, with recent improvements to the interior, etc, they couldn’t improve the build quality (which is as much a design issue as how well they are built), and why they couldn’t move the driving position inboard a little to give more elbow room.

    Not too sure about the Transit engine either- I had a brand new Trannie dump its coolant on the M5 not long ago.

  16. As long as you’re prepared to take your time on the motorway they’re not too bad. I did Newcastle to Hereford on an old 110 TD5 the other week and it was perfectly acceptable. Nothing, but nothing gives you so much character, confidence, respect and a feel good factor on the roads these days.

    They are essentially a working tool and like all precise tools, they are a pleasure to use when you know how to use said tool. When the lines stop assembling these road going antiques and the Brummies stop bashing these together, it will be a sad day, but ultimately not before time. The flaws, for which there are many are fundermental and while we might enjoy them, time marches on.

  17. Not all of them get respect – and rightly so.

    Too many young drivers in lashed together ones with snorkles on; ‘Monster’ and ‘One Life, Live It’ stickers around for my liking, being thrashed through every gear and belching a cloud of black smoke out behind them.

  18. I give a Landie more respect, even young driver lashed together ones, than if they were in something like a boy racered A3 or VW Boring TDi.

  19. Do I like it? no Do I want one? No

    Is it great? Yes

    That being said, a completely new one that will sell more can’t come soon enough

  20. Having had 2 90’s previously, a V8 and a 200TDi, I can honestly say, they are less watertight than the titanic with a similar turning circle, the heater is less effective than a 1950’s VW Beetle, horrendously noisy, frightening to drive at 80 on a Motorway and uncomfortable on long journeys, and there is always something that needs fixing. But, I love ’em to bits (literally) and I will be getting another one some day…

  21. Agree with Will M re boy-racered Land Rovers, they’ll gain more understanding about how vehicles work from running a jacked-up Landie that they’d ever do with a ‘chavved up’ Civic Type R or Saxo VTS. Of course, they may not always do it well, but that’s how ya learn!

  22. Agree with Chris Baglin, youngster in a Landie I would imagine would be an interesting character, youngster in a boy racered Civic would be the kind you cross the street to avoid.

    LR/Defender is the type of car you buy as a hobby, not as an appliance.

  23. one other point some say they are old fashioned, i say what about all the mitsubushi l200s and nissans still on cart springs? now that victorian!! nuff said…

  24. I actually saw a young female student today driving an unmolested S3 88 inch. Respect is clearly due! Plus she was pretty fit 🙂

  25. Defender is the machine!! easy to fix easy to work on and excellent parts supply its the energizer bunny of motor vehicles. BTW if youre thinking about a Nissan ute….just google… Nisssan Ute cracks in chassis….and also Nissans dont have the excellent parts supply land rovers do…in fact im not sure you can buy parts for many nissans.

  26. @20 when I bought mine (1987 110 3.5 v8 5 speed with 340000 km on the clock) I drove it back from Wellington to New Plymouth (360km). appart from the suspension bushes being shot and no front antiroll bar / poor handling, comfort wise it was quite pleasant. it drove quite happily at 100 km/hr, and even held its speed on the steeper hills. now its got a front antroll bar and new suspension bushes, and it drives not much different to a discovery 1 or classic range rover. the only thing the lets in down are the cabin water leaks, the warn out LT85-5 gearbox and its slightly higher ride height. apparently the newer ones still leak water inside 🙂 I quite like the rwaness of the defender…it is what it is….and the best way to look at it is that its modern vintage, that can do damn near anything (shoppping basket, workhorse, people mover, tow vehicle offroad work, cherry picker, hearse, fire truck, appear in the Italian Job 2, Tomb raider, sex in the city 2), etc…. alex

  27. ladies look sexy in landrovers in my opinion very cool i see one driving a 130 with canvas top, im quite jealous aswell!!!

  28. Shame they can’t fix what’s obviously wrong like the poor driving position and poor quality fittings instead of throwing out the baby with the bathwater and trying to replace it with something different – which, let’s face it, is what the DC100 prototype is.

  29. never forget what they originally were meant to be, a tractor unit with just basic instruments and hose out cabs. no fancy glittery bits and creature comforts!! so in that sense they have evolved beyond all recognition???

  30. @36 ….I think the driving position is quite reasonable, Im 5’9 and average biuld so im neither small or large. but I think If I was 6 foot i would still be comfortable in the defender. you can buy brackets or different seats to make the seats taller(give you more leg room) if need be….and yes ive been in more modern cars which ive not be able to get all comfortable in.Mitzubishi Magna…ford falcon…toyota ute..alex

  31. Alex @ 38, I’m a defender owner who is 6′ and I can get comfortable.

    I reckon company could have radically improved the vehicle quite cheaply? Firstly stretch the 90 to 100 inches and use some of the space in the cabin area.
    Secondly build a new modular cabin to fit the modified existing type chassis, a cab that is modern, more comfortable, doesn’t leak, is quieter simpler and cheaper to build.
    I’m thinking along the lines of a tractor cab, a welded structure with built in roll-over protection which contains all controls and is easily lifted on and off the chassis to simplify maintenance if necessary.

  32. @40, But the front wings are bolted to the Grille panel and bulkhead, the tub to the seatboxes and roof to screen frame etc. What you mean is Discovery?!

    Front wings each £500, bulkhead £700, tub £600. Second hand.

    I see what you are saying,but what would it cost?

    They are easier to repair as they are as well.

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