LAND ROVER Defender 90
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
Apart from its length, number of doors and interior space, the Defender 90 is quasi-identical with its bigger brother, the Defender 110.
In other words, it’s simply a short-wheelbase Defender, no longer body-on-frame like its predecessors but built on a brand new architecture shared with other modern Land Rovers. Re-engineered from the ground up, there’s not much in common between the old Defender 90 and the new one, but that should be held against it.
Part of the Defender trademarks, there is still an upright windshield, a side-hinged rear-door and a spare wheel that’s been mounted externally, but other than the name, that’s where the similarities end. Thanks to the lightweight aluminum monocoque construction of the chassis the Defender is much stiffer, while the ground clearance is up to 291 mm high. Up to six passengers can have a seat inside, with the sixth seat either becoming a center console when not in use or a huge middle blind spot when in use. The short front and rear overhangs translate into an approach angle of 38 degrees, a breakover angle of 31 degrees and a departure angle of 40 degrees.
That was the swan song for the old-school Defender.
A car that was axed from the production line in 2016 and, two years later, it was rebuilt in another 150 units by the factory. It was the Defender Works V8.
The Defender was one of the most iconic off-road vehicles in the world. It was developed after WWII to work the land and to be driven everywhere. In 1948, it was named Land Rover Series I and it changed its name in Defender in 1990. It was the British Willy’s if you want. But even if it didn’t go to too many wars, it was there when peace was signed. After 67 years of production and over two million units sold, the Defender was retired. It didn’t comply with the new safety regulations. But the R&D team started to work on surprising revenge since 2014 when they built the first prototype of the Defender Works V8.
For starters, the engineers took an already built Defender, stripped it down, and installed new technologies in it. For the exterior, they installed 18” light-alloy wheels with a special design and taller, off-road tires. The spare-wheel was kept in the back, outside the car, on the rear door. On the front, a new pair of headlights were added for better light on the road.
Inside, the 70th Anniversary model featured Recaro sport-bucket seats for the front passengers. The rear, side-hinged benches were kept just in case someone would need to stay there. On the center stack, there was a new infotainment unit, with navigation and a better sound system.
The technical department was improved with the implant of a 5.0-liter V8 gasoline unit taken from Jaguar. The 8-speed automatic transmission sent its power to all four wheels. All the 150 units were re-worked Defender.
The Land Rover Defender 90 received its last update in 2012, with the most important change happening under the hood, where a 2.2-liter version of Ford’s Duratorq diesel replaced the 2.4-liter unit that became available back in 2007. Paired to a six-speed manual transmission, the new engine deliveres 122 horsepower and is sent to all four wheels. The other change was the introduction of the soft top body style to the general public, an option available to special orders and military fleet vehicles only until then. In 2016, the Land Rover Defender series got discontinued.
Land Rover updated its rugged off-road contender Defender in 2007, improving the powerplants and the car’s electronic systems.
Its history began in 1948, and the Defender was, basically, the foundation for the Land Rover brand. But what started as a temporary rugged vehicle became a status car. In 2007, Ford already owned Land Rover and tried improving the car with some of its components to cut the costs.
The car’s overall look was still like a box on wheels with two headlights attached to the front fascia. Its flat nose and short overhang allowed the Defender 90 to achieve outstanding approach angles compared to other off-road vehicles. Its grille was slightly pushed outward to make room for the thicker radiator behind it. As for the bumper, it was still metallic with some rubber endings. On the sides, the door handles were built so the driver could use them with gloves on. At the back, the Defender featured a side-hinged door that supported the spare wheel.
Inside, it was the same cramped and unforgiving driving seat close to the door. The new modular dashboard allowed the carmaker to adopt the left or right-hand drive production quickly. Between the front seats, the carmaker added an option for a big storage compartment with a lid and the transmission levers: one for the gearbox and the other for the transfer case. In the back, there was little room for two adults.
Under the hood, Ford installed a new 2.4-liter engine carried over and re-tuned from Ford Transit light commercial vehicle. A six-speed manual was the only option. The only drawback for the 2007 Defender was the lack of a rear differential lock system. Ford engineers thought that an electronic, ESP-based system could do the same thing.
The name Defender was given to the range in 1990 to differentiate it from the Discovery range.
This model of the Defender was first introduced in 1984 and it was called the 90 after its wheelbase of 90 inches, as opposed to the 110 which similarly had a wheelbase of 110 inches. Coil suspension became a standard on the 90 as well, replacing the outdated leaf spring suspension, just like on the 110, allowing for a much smoother ride. With the 1991 model, more modern features were introduced on the inside as well. Comfort features such as wind-up windows instead of sliding ones became standard.