land rover defender

Photo: JLR Asia Pacific

Who needs a well-paved, immaculately laid asphalt road when you’re behind the wheel of a Land Rover Defender? Even as a mere front-seat passenger, its Air Sprung Independent Double Wishbone suspension successfully softens every tumble and sway over the most rugged terrain.

While we’re fortunate that Singapore roads are generally predictable and safe, to truly experience a small taste of the Defender’s capabilities, a brisk 48-hour road trip to Desaru proved to be a fitting choice — putting its Terrain Response and Hill Descent Control to the test.

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land rover defender
Favourable weather on the drive up to Desaru. (Photo: JLR Asia Pacific)

This year marks Land Rover’s 75th anniversary, commemorating an exclusive Limited Edition that comes in two- and four-door models — equipped with 90 or 110 trimmings. The cars are equipped with a turbocharged inline-six engine of 2,966 cc that can reach a top speed of 191kmh. While its revving capabilities are a consideration, it’s good to note that parking in odd corners or awkward, tight spots won’t be much of a hassle.

3D Surround Camera with ClearSight Ground View coupled with 360° Parking Aid provides clear, concise guides to ease any difficulties you may face while handling the almost-2.5 ton vehicle — whether it’s your virgin all-wheel drive experience or an all-terrain pro. One of the highlights of this ride is its Terrain Response System which can be easily engaged with a press of a button, with options such as Eco, Comfort, Mud & Ruts, Gravel, and Snow.

While fun can be had experimenting with the various modes and its spec sheet looks impressive, it’s the feel of the ride that’s going to be the real seller. And that, it certainly did.

Up the hills it goes

land rover defender
Enjoying a slow climb uphill without hesitation or worries. (Photo: JLR Asia Pacific)

We were fortunate to have clear skies and the sun beating down on the roads of Johor as we effortlessly manoeuvred the machine past narrow immigration lanes. The route to Desaru took us through several fun, hilly terrains that allowed us to put the Mud & Ruts mode into play.

It didn’t matter that it was the first time we’d driven a Land Rover; the car handles like a dream, with ease of steering and handling — which lends to quiet confidence sitting tall behind the wheels of a beast like this.

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land rover defender
Drive in comfort over long distances in the Land Rover Defender. (Photo: JLR Asia Pacific)

Sitting in the co-driver seat is just as comfortable — if not more so. The front passenger is able to stretch out to almost a metre in legroom, while the raised seating allows you to enjoy the panoramic view idly.

Bouncing or tilting on long highways is negligible, making this car an ideal machine to go from city roads to unpredictable dirt lanes. 

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No worries about the weather

land rover defender
Wet weather won’t stop an unforgettable off-roading experience. (Photo: JLR Asia Pacific)

While the journey home didn’t bless us with sunshine, it certainly granted a different — but still exciting — challenge. Desaru saw heavy downpours in the early morning, requiring precise navigation through the oil palm farms and their slick, winding roads.

The morning made for an eventful drive back, but not before we made sure to muddy the car sufficiently as a badge of off-roading honour. With the Mud & Ruts mode in gear, the tyres did an excellent job of cutting through the mud to find traction on the firmer ground below. It’s safe to say that the grey weather did the opposite of dampening our spirits; it gave us a last lick of fun before heading back south.

land rover defender
Photo: JLR Asia Pacific

Getting the opportunity to handle a Land Rover Defender was thoroughly enjoyable — from the perspective of someone who won’t pass on an adventure, no matter how brief. The robust frame and mighty engine set the drive up for comfort and peace of mind.

Its ability to adapt to varying terrains quickly and seamlessly makes the Land Rover Defender’s 75th Limited Edition a true ode to the “Load up, Go anywhere” mantra of the 110 series. In short, the Land Rover Defender is made for adventure.