In automotive terms, the Defender is older than the hills it has so deftly climbed all these years. Barely altered since its arrival as the Ninety and long-wheelbase One Ten in 1983 (the Defender name did not debut until 1990), the current models will be unable to satisfy increasingly stringent European safety and emissions regulations beyond 2015. Confirmation of its demise was inevitable, but that didn’t make the news any easier to hear.
The Defender, conceived with agrarian intentions, is one of those vehicles whose legend has, in the decades since its entrance, far surpassed its abilities – which, admittedly, are not inconsiderable. Need proof? Soak in the mad-dash chase sequence through Istanbul that opens the last James Bond film, Skyfall, in which a square-jawed Defender Double Cab accomplished feats of derring-do worthy of a much younger SUV. So yes, the end is nigh, and though plans for a successor are sketchy for now, the Defender will live on long after the last one rolls down the line at Solihull. Ever the hero.
Second Opinion: 2015 Chevrolet Colorado
A pickup truck handsome enough for non-truck people to love? That’s the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado, the biggest threat yet to Toyota Tacoma/Hilux hegemony. – Jonathan Schultz