Most fascinating SUV-Truck of 2013: Land Rover Defender

Back in October, even as the motoring press buzzed about the abilities of the Defender Electric research vehicle, Land Rover quietly conceded that the end credits were soon to roll for its long-serving and immeasurably accomplished utility vehicle.

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.

Fascinating Cars of 2013

Editor Matthew Phenix and deputy editor Jonathan Schultz revisited the most fascinating cars of the year. Click here for a full list of honorees.

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