Jeremy Clarkson Reviews 2020 Land Rover Defender, Prefers the Ford Ranger Raptor

When Land Rover approached Jeremy Clarkson to review the all-new Defender, the 60-year-old journalist and presenter was determined to dislike the luxurious SUV with unibody construction. But as it often happens to J.C., his assumption was eventually turned upside down.

Writing for The Sunday Times, the tallest of the three amigos on The Grand Tour“was never a fan of the old Defender.” Jeremy Clarkson isn’t particularly smitten by the die-hard fans who prefer the body-on-frame model and the Land Rover Series, and I totally see where he’s coming from.

Take, for instance, the Wrangler. Over the course of four generations, Jeep didn’t change the essentials, but did improve the breed in ways that actually make sense. A more comfortable driving position, better steering, improved ride quality, even a plug-in hybrid; Jeep did all that but didn’t dare switch from a body-on-frame 4×4 to a luxed-up sport utility vehicle.

Land Rover, by comparison, abandoned the good ol’ ladder frame even though it wasn’t necessary. Even Ford tapped into the Wrangler’s segment with the pickup truck-based Bronco because there’s a lot of money to be made in this market. As for the all-new Defender, well, Richard Hammond believes that Land Rover should’ve named it Discovery and call it a day.

Turning our attention back to Clarkson, he’s most impressed by the interior, technological trickery, and off-road capability of the short-wheelbase model he reviewed. The “pointlessly visible screw heads” on the door cards are not to his liking, and the price tag left him baffled at 62,000 pounds sterling. A well-equipped spec with a six-pot engine soars past 80,000 pounds sterling, and that’s a big no-no because it’s full-size Range Rover territory.

“Excuse me, but if I want a vehicle to cart around bales of straw and sheep — and I do, by the way — why would I spend £50,000-plus on a Defender?” Clarkson further wrote for The Sunday Driving Times that his tester was bonging hysterically at him when maneuvering near blades of grass, and I’m pretty lost for words about that. An off-roader is scared of grass, really?

Two more problems Jeremy has highlighted are the wind noise on the motorway and “the sort of constant diagonal pitching motion.” The verdict? Well, J.C. likes the brand-new Defender, but he “can’t see the point of it.”

He says the Range Rover is a much better alternative for well-to-do people who commute every weekend to a nice estate in the British countryside, though surprisingly enough, Jeremy Clarkson would pick a very different type of vehicle to call his own. Instead of the Defender, J.C. would rather have the “cheaper, more tax-efficient, and more practical Ford Ranger Raptor.”


Article Credit: Mircea Panait
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