Three things to love and hate about the new Land Rover Defender

After years of waiting, the covers are off the new Land Rover Defender. But is it worthy of the hype?

By Ernest Richardson

If you have even a passing interest in motoring, you’ll know that Tuesday, 10 September was a big day in the automotive world. After years of waiting, Land Rover finally unveiled its all-new Defender.

The Defender is the stuff of motoring legend. When the original vehicle was discontinued in 2016, it represented the end of nearly 70 years of uninterrupted production on a car that had changed little since its launch in 1948.

    As gutted as many were when the original vehicle disappeared, there was a palpable sense of expectation about its long-awaited replacement.  

Thanks to its rugged durability and go-anywhere credentials, the Defender garnered a huge following. As gutted as many were when the original vehicle disappeared, there was a palpable sense of expectation about its long-awaited replacement.

You won’t have to search too hard to find a walk-around of the new car. Nor will you struggle to identify a variety of reactions to its modern styling and premium pretensions. But just in case you can’t decide what to make of it all, here are three things to love and three to hate about the new Defender.

Three things to love about the new Defender

1) The styling

When BMW relaunched the MINI in 2001, it set a precedent for reinventing motoring legends. The new Defender borrows from that precedent, combining plenty of nods to the old vehicle in a package that is every inch a modern design.

Slab sided, blunt fronted and unapologetically chunky, the new Defender has a commanding countenance. It’s a worthy rival in styling terms to proven off-road heroes such as the Jeep Wrangler and Mercedes G-Class. Indeed, thanks to its contemporary take on the classic Defender lines, it manages to look more up to date than these competitors, while retaining the air of invincibility that buyers in this sector crave.

So the new Defender is a styling hit. It could never be an identikit version of the old vehicle, not least for reasons of road safety. But it’s still recognisably from the same stock, which will please many admirers.

2) Off-road ability

Not many people have had a chance to drive a new Defender in anger, but Land Rover says it will be worthy of its status as the world’s toughest off-roader.

The launch video certainly showcases the vehicle’s capabilities. It features climber Kenton Cool driving across a barren landscape, supposedly running late for an appointment. Notwithstanding the inevitable camera trickery, the vid shows the new Defender wading through deep water, rattling over rocks and blitzing a dirt road.

If Land Rover’s other vehicles are anything to go by, the new Defender will be supremely capable in the rough stuff. And even though the vast majority of buyers are unlikely ever to push the vehicle to its limits, it’s good to know that it retains the doughty character of its predecessor.

3) Nods to history

Anyone who’s driven an original Defender will tell you that it is a motoring experience like no other. While aspects of that experience are unpleasant (the lack of interior space, for instance, has led to many a bruised elbow or knee among taller Defender drivers), the basic feel is unrivalled.

You sit up high, in straight-back seats that give you a commanding view of the terrain. The switches and dials are basic but highly useable, with big buttons and clear displays. There’s a grab handle to help passengers clamber in and out, and also to bring some comfort when the going gets bouncy. You can even hose out the interior after a session in the rough stuff.

All of these features make the new Defender a worthy successor to its iconic namesake. This isn’t just a Chelsea tractor bearing a heroic name. It’s the real deal, and carries on the legend.

Three things to hate about the new Defender

1) The price

The new Defender is a pricey prospect. The starting price for a base speccer is expected to be around £40,000, with flagship 110 models reaching as much as £80,000.

    ...the new vehicle is likely to appeal only to the very well off.  

So whereas the old model was a favourite among Welsh sheep farmers and amateur adventurers, the new vehicle is likely to appeal only to the very well off.

That’s a shame, because the appeal of the Defender brand is that it cuts through class. You’re just as likely to see the Queen behind the wheel of one as you are an East Anglian bricklayer.

The new version looks set to change all that. Expect to see plenty at the gates of exclusive London prep schools. But dry-stone-walling on a Lakeland fell? Not so much.

2) The electrical wizardry

Let’s confront another Land Rover truism: the manufacturer isn’t renowned for reliability. The Discovery Sport – often regarded as one of the more reliable performers in Land Rover’s stable – came 21st out of 23 in the What Car? Reliability Survey 2019.

All of which makes the new Defender’s reliance on electrical wizardry something of a concern. It is often said that around 70 per cent of all the Land Rovers built remain on the road, but it is unlikely the latest generation of vehicles will keep up that track record.

Of course, there’s a flipside to this: car makers don’t expect their vehicles to be owned for the long term any more. Ownership models tend towards contract hire or contract purchase arrangements, meaning drivers are likely to swap their vehicle within three or four years of buying it.

The losers, then, are the enthusiast buyers who will take on a new Defender at around five years old, just as prices begin to fall. On the plus side, the appeal of Defender ownership has always been the fun of home-brew maintenance. Which means the only question is…

3) Can it be looked after by a DIY mechanic?

Ask any Defender driver what the best elements of ownership are and “looking after it yourself” will feature prominently in their answer. There’s little point owning one of the original vehicles unless you’re prepared to put in some graft in the workshop.

With the new vehicle, though, all that will change. Unless you have a Land Rover diagnostics unit in your shed, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to fix the majority of faults on the new Defender.

Land Rover won’t see this as a problem. It’s clear from the glitz and glamour of the Frankfurt Motor Show launch that it’s after a different sort of customer.

This pretty much sums up the criticisms of the new car: yes, it’s brilliant, and desirable, and great off-road.

But for your average green oval fanatic, it makes the prospect of Defender ownership seem more remote than ever.

Published: 13 September 2019

© 2019 Just Recruitment Group Ltd

If you enjoyed this article, you may like: Just testing: Isuzu D-Max Blade 4x4 Double Cab Auto

You may also enjoy: Just testing: six of the best alcohol-free beers

Jobs currently available

Commercial Manager
Sector: Retail
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910265
About the role

Just Recruitment have a fantastic opportunity for a bright and ambitious Commercial Manager to join an exciting company as they rapidly expand nationwide.

Based in Colchester, Essex, you will be working as part of their supplier negotiation team.

Duties will include:

  • Negotiating purchasing agreements to ensure the best deal for the business.
  • Delivering support to both managers and estimators in their pricing and queries.
  • Providing a point of contact for our suppliers to help deliver their message to our staff and customers.
  • Attending events, shows and exhibitions to network and identify further possibilities for a better deal.
  • Working alongside the Product File team to creating pricing structures to enable our staff to trade competitively.
  • Identifying new product ranges and suppliers that will provide futureproofing for the years to come.
  • Providing direct assistance to the Commercial Director with support from the other Commercial Managers.
  • A good level of competency with Excel is a must. Experience in either a similar role or a related industry is preferred.
  • Key personality traits would be a keen grasp of numbers and an enthusiastic, dynamic, ‘can do’ attitude.
Read more
Maintenance Engineer: Mon to Thur 4.30pm – 2.30am
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: £25,000 - £33,000 per annum
Location: Sudbury, Suffolk
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910254
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an enthusiastic, motivated and talented individual for the position of Maintenance Engineer on behalf of a company based in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Primary responsibility:
The primary responsibility of this role is to lead preventative and reactive mechanical maintenance in order to support Operations

Key responsibilities:

  • Leading preventative and reactive mechanical maintenance to support Operations
  • Assisting electrical support and associated work to support Operations
  • Responsible for leading infrastructure maintenance and upgrades
  • Provide support to the contractor coordinator dealing with external contractors and associated permitting systems
  • Provide support for Project Lead assisting with identifying potential suppliers and equipment, liaising with companies through to installation and commissioning stage
  • Provide support required to maintain the engineering side of SAP with regards to PPM scheduling, PPM job sheets, tracking breakdowns and keeping equipment infrastructure up to date
  • Responsible for ensuring continuous site improvements are achieved in line with Lean manufacturing principles e.g. 5S
  • Facilitate service contract management including regulatory requirements for maintenance-related activities
  • Ensure site engineering documentation and associated training is kept up to date in line with site procedures
  • Responsible for sourcing quotes and raising purchase requisitions to maintain stock levels

Knowledge, skills and abilities:

  • Advance modern apprenticeship, BTEC Level 3 in engineering or HNC in Engineering, or equivalent
  • 17th (current) edition wiring regulations certification preferred but not essential
  • IPAF access license 3a and 3b qualification preferred
  • PASMA tower qualification preferred
  • Experience working in a busy manufacturing environment
  • Experience in change management and driving continuous improvement
  • Troubleshooting and problem-solving skills with high attention to detail
  • Excellent communication skills with the ability to effectively communicate various organisational levels
  • Ability to understand and manage Engineering SAP system
  • Ability to understand and use procurement purchasing system
  • Good working knowledge of health and safety requirements including permitting systems
  • Ability to respond and react quickly to changing production demands.

Hours of work:

  • Hours of work are 40 hours per week with overtime as required to support production demand - Monday to Thursday 4.30pm to 2.30am.
Read more
Industrial Engineer
Sector: Engineering & Technical
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910249
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for an Industrial Engineer for a medical device manufacturer based in Sudbury, Suffolk.

Industrial Engineers are key within their newly created team whose primary responsibility is to deliver continuous improvement initiatives across all levels/functions of the business.  

Ideally, you will be an accredited Lean Six Sigma Green / Black Belt practitioner, with some experience within a manufacturing engineering environment.

You will be the driving force behind fostering a culture of sustainable change through the creation, coaching and embedding of LEAN methodology, its tools, and the supporting framework to deliver business transformation.

This is a great opportunity for development.  If you're great at coaching and motivating others we'd love to hear from you.

Responsibilities include:

  • To identify and deliver improvement activities across the business through employing process improvement methodologies and the application of innovative thinking
  • To work with key business stakeholders to build a Continuous Improvement environment to support an on-going programme of change
  • To lead, facilitate and coach LEAN/process improvement based workshops or Kaizens to drive ideas and solutions
  • To support the delivery of better value and greater efficiency through the identification and elimination of unnecessary complexity within business processes and identify better ways of working
  • To identify trends and process variations as part of establishing a Continuous Improvement monitoring system
  • To assist in the development and implementation of 'best-in-class' Continuous Improvement strategy
  • To take ownership of change initiatives from evolution/efficiency identification through to project delivery via internal governance and controls
  • To ensure the business impact and project objectives/dependencies are identified, reported on and managed at all times
  • To set up programs, deliver coaching and run projects across all functions
  • To complete post implementation reviews to ensure successful delivery has been achieved and to ensure that improvements can be made for future projects (lessons learned)

Suitable applicants will ideally have some work experience in the medical device industry or other regulated industry.

  • Accreditation in Lean Six Sigma Green/Black(preferred) belt as a minimum
  • Experience in Manufacturing / Engineering is essential
  • Significant experience of hands-on implementation of Continuous Improvement programs and LEAN solutions
  • Ability to operate and communicate within a cross-functional team made up of both technical and non-technical members
  • Manage time efficiently to meet reactive business demands
  • Ability to set-up, facilitate and lead improvements/Kaizen sessions with a range of business stakeholders
  • Strong understanding of how to interpret business needs and translate them into operational requirements
  • Project management skills highly desirable
Read more
Senior Mechanical Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Saffron Walden
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910231
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Senior Mechanical Engineer for a leading manufacturing company specialising in the design and assembly of mechanical and electromechanical products.

The role will involve leading and overseeing the engineering and design activities from the development of existing solutions or generation of new designs.

You will be carrying out technical research, testing and engineering analysis as well as generating test and technical documentation.

You will also be overseeing R&D activities, ensuring compliance with internal/customer requirements and UK as well as international legislation.

Skills and qualifications:

  • Educated to degree standard (or further, Masters, PHD etc.) in Engineering subject.
  • Understanding of technical requirements capture/compliance matrix, clause by clauses.
  • Solid engineering knowledge and background should have previously held a position of Senior Engineer or Principle Engineer, design skills desirable and 3D CAD capable (Catia V5 preferred).
  • Ability to both generate and present, technical presentations and documents.
  • Working understanding of design review / New Product Introduction process.
  • Practical FMEA / FMECA / Risk Engineering experience.
  • Basic understanding of reliability and safety analysis.
  • Ability to perform structural calculations (hand calculations).
  • Working knowledge of LV directive, IEE regs, appreciation of standards and legislation.

Technical zeal, engineering diligence.

Read more
Mortgage Advisor
Sector: Accountancy, Banking and Finance
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Sudbury
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910240
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Mortgage Advisor to join an established mortgage company based in Sudbury.

As part of a local group who have been operating for over 20 years, our client has a great reputation in the local area. Their office is rapidly expanding and they are looking to take on someone with a real hunger to succeed within the industry.

You will have:

  • A CeMAP qualification
  • Experience within mortgage broking or financial services
  • Great communication skills
  • A detail-oriented nature
  • Experience of dealing with clients, both in-person and over the phone
  • Strong market awareness
  • Great knowledge of Microsoft packages and be generally computer literate

In return, you will receive a competitive base salary plus commission.

Read more
Part Time Environmental, Health & Safety Advisor
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Braintree
Role: Part Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910239
About the role

Just Recruitment is recruiting for a Part-Time Environmental, Health & Safety Advisor on behalf of a company based in Braintree, Essex.

  • To act as the Competent Person for health and safety matters relating to manufacturing, cleaning and grounds maintenance, across the organisation
  • Develop, maintain and deliver plans to ensure compliance, including audits, inspections and the closure of actions for the implementation of ISO 45001
  • Provide advice and support on safe working practices and safe systems of work to managers and supervisors responsible for repairs & maintenance and to managers responsible for any manufacturing-related areas of work, so that they are aware of their respective obligations in terms of Health and Safety in the workplace
  • Advise managers and team leaders on legal requirements and changes in legislation as necessary
  • Ensuring all necessary Health & Safety procedures and guidance are in place and available to managers and employees and that these are reviewed aa well as updated
  • Complete and review risk assessments and COSHH documentation as required
  • Produce reports on Health and Safety issues for Managing Director as required
  • Manage uniform and PPE orders


  • NEBOSH Diploma or IOSH Managing Safety Certificate
  • Experience in a safety role in a manufacturing environment
  • Experienced with ISO 9001, ISO 14001, ISO 45001
  • Excellent verbal and written communication
  • Compliance with workplace policies and procedures for H&S, risk assessment and risk control
  • Active participation in activities associated with the management of workplace health and safety
  • Identification and reporting of health and safety risks, accidents, incidents, injuries and property damage at the workplace
  • Correct use of appropriate personal protective equipment
Read more
PCB Design Engineer
Sector: Engineering and Manufacturing
Salary: Discussed on application
Location: Colchester
Role: Full Time
Contract: Permanent
Job ref: 910227
About the role

Due to the expansion of our client’s product range, Just Recruitment is recruiting for a PCB Design Engineer to join their team.

The job:

Based in Colchester, Essex, you will be responsible for designing complex multi-layer SMT and PTH PCBs using the latest Cadence Allegro PCB design tools. The PCBs are typically 16 or 18 layers with high-speed signals and high component densities, including BGAs. The position will also involve part creation and library maintenance, the generation of PCB assembly documentation and data and liaison with production to ensure the products are designed for manufacture. The position is particularly suited to a self-motivated person who can use their initiative.


You should ideally have at least an HNC and experience of the following with the first being mandatory:

  • Using Cadence Allegro PCB design tools, including Design Entry HDL.
  • Designing mixed technology multi-layer PCBs.
  • High-speed logic PCB design rules.
  • Producing assembly documentation.

In addition, the following skills are desirable:

  • Use of Microsoft Word and Excel.
  • Use of TurboCAD for 2D drawings.
  • Use of Polar Speedstack for impedance calculations.
Read more