They had no reason to. The Defender came from a company well known for making capable SUVs, so the pedigree was there. With best-in-class figures almost across the table (approach, departure, and break-over angles, max wading depth), it checked the theoretical side of things too. So, what could possibly stand in the way of success for the new Defender?
Well, two things: one is the second reason Land Rover is famous for, which is reliability – or rather lack thereof. The second, however, only became obvious a bit later when people who bought the car were complaining about the lack of customization options as well as how difficult it was to install even the most basic equipment, such as a winch.
Another big problem for the model was its wheel size. With 18s being the lowest you could go (those are the steel model only available on certain trims), fitting beefier off-road tires was a problem since there was no room left under the wheel arches. One way to solve that would be to do away with the arches, but owners were probably reluctant to chop off parts of their expensive SUV.
Luckily, one company came up with a better solution. Instead of doing anything drastic, you can now lift your Land Rover Defender by two, four, or even six inches, turning it into the off-road beast it always had the potential to become. The great thing about this kit is that it keeps the vehicle’s adjustable air suspension intact and functional, giving the Defender an enviable maximum ground clearance.
Put together, the British SUV can get up to 17.5 inches (44.5 cm) of ground clearance (11.5 inches base plus a maximum of six from the lift), which can be further enhanced by installing 35″ tires, which is possible without any other intervention starting with the four-inch lift. Thinking about what all this must do to the vehicle’s already impressive off-road parameters is quite scary, but also exciting.
Unlike its predecessor, the new Defender is an expensive car, and that means modifying it can get a bit pricey too. The price for the lift kit starts at $5,700 for the two-inch option, but since it’s the same principle and the same amount of work, we suppose the other two options shouldn’t be that much more expensive.
The sooner the people understand and accept the old Defender is gone and that this is what we have now, the better and easier life is going to get for them. Examples such as the 90 in the Instagram post below should only help make that transition easier for everyone by showing the new model can be just as rugged, even if a lot more reliant on technology.