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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Smithology: The Land Rover Defender asks the Jeep Wrangler to STEP OUTSIDE! | Hagerty Media

Last year, I went to the high Sierra to chase low-flying military jets for this website. Photographer Camden Thrasher and I took a 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 and a 2020 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Ecodiesel into the mountains near Death Valley. We spent several days perched on remote hilltops, watching the skies.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/opinion/smithology/smithology-the-land-rover-defender-asks-the-jeep-wr...
15 REPLIES 15
MeJ
Intermediate Driver

That was cool. At first I thought Defender. As I read and looked at the pictures and got all caught up in heritage, I leaned towards the Jeep. My real issue with Jeep is quality. I think I remember frame welds that were breaking? Anyone remember that? Anyway, I think I would ultimate have to choose...
The new Bronco!
Flashman
Advanced Driver

As always, rife with little gems here and there. As always, a pleasure to read.
tedwhite
New Driver

The Wrangler WAS available as a two-door model, 4 door only now...
cdkrek
Intermediate Driver

Wrangler still available as a 2 door
ATLpaul
Pit Crew

I think I get a Wrangler Sport trim, with the Pentastar V6. Then over time add more to it. You can get a lot of basic goodness for $40,000 out the door, and then build it up over time. I think that's the beauty of Jeeps even now.
SwedishMouse
New Driver

And why do we have a a Defender 110? Because 2021Ford Bronco. The Defender looks like a Bronco. I’ve never owned a Jeep, but a Jeep has always been a Jeep. Land Rover, since Ford took ownership, has only rebadged, warmed over, and overpriced its Land Rover line up. Spare me, please.
Dieseldude
New Driver

FYI - Land Rover has been owned by Tata Motors (of India) since 2008. And I think the Chinese may have a stake in this brand. Ford had it previously; as did BMW, British Leyland and others. I think my great aunt Gladys owned it for awhile in the 1970's when she bought two boxes of tea.
This dog has been kicked around for many years. I truly hope things will get better but there is no indication of that happening anytime soon.
Tim
Detailer

There are two categories of after-market: those that fix failures and shortcomings in the product that never should exist and those that improve on the use of the product. Jeep has a strong after-market in both categories.
Tim
Detailer

Land Rover did a great job of making the Defender appear ready for far more than parking on the pitch at the polo grounds. They knew all along that to its customers, off-road means little more than that.
HHCO
Intermediate Driver

Great read,I have 2018 wrangler unlimited with 3.6 gas,would be afraid of diesel for lack of reliability and afraid of discovery for the same.
HHCO
Intermediate Driver

Sorry defender
Dieseldude
New Driver

Step outside? The only thing these vehicles will be heading towards is the mechanic's shop. Both suffer from horrible reliability issues and have for years. Jeep has done a remarkable job selling poor quality and bad drivability to the young and uninformed while Land Rover chases the country club & private school crowd.

Both rely on their ancient history pedigrees which left around the same time as the last dinosaur.

I believe that's why the Bronco is eagerly anticipated - people are hoping for some of the 'built Ford tough' engineering.

Me? I am very happily sticking with my old Land Cruisers. And if I were in the market for a new mall crawler - I'd stick with a 200 Series or go all out for a LX570. Both still have reliability & capability running through their veins. Neither have the panache of the latest trends however they will be around a lot longer than the vehicles mentioned in this article. Maybe I'm looking at vehicles all wrong . . . . I still think practical & reliable should trump fads & trends.

I'm somewhat surprised that an article in a collector car forum runs a story on vehicles that have little chance of ever becoming one.

Don't mean to be rude - I just have a hard time understanding the notion of spending big money on something that will certain yield a poor return on investment.
brb
Advanced Driver

So, I just returned from Death Valley. I hauled a KLR650 out there for some early spring exploring, only to cut a tire on the first day, sidelining the bike. That left my 2005 GMC Sierra 2500HD 4X4 to explore in.

Based out of Beatty, NV, on Wednesday I drove a 300 mile loop comprised of the following roads: Titus Canyon, Death Valley, Lone Pine, Eureka Dunes, Saline Valley. The lower sections of these roads are washboard hells. My question to you is this: How do the Wrangler and Defender perform on badly washboarded roads?

P.S. F-18's were running low level passes down the Eureka Valley and around the dunes.
Sam_Smith
Hagerty Employee

Right on. (Had a KLR for several years. Such great anvil bikes.)

We were in the same region, obviously. And know the type of washboarding you mention. The Wrangler—especially the Rubicon, which is generally softer in damper—tends to be a bit less abusive on that stuff and comfortable than the Landie, and doesn't seem to mind it. Doesn't love it, but doesn't mind it. Especially when the Land Rover has any ride height cranked into it. Both are pretty quiet and rattle-free, but it definitely feels like the Jeep cares less about that sort of thing. Less cowl shake in the Land Rover, but then, that's expected and nothing beyond an annoyance in the Jeep anyway. You can tell when the dampers in each get hot; the Jeep's seemed to warm up and lose a bit of control first, but the Land Rover's weren't far behind.

Actual grip and steering stability on that stuff are of course heavily tied to tire, and the Jeep wins there, at least in stock form; it tends to come with more aggressive rubber. But YMMV.

Generally speaking, the Land Rover just feels lighter-duty. But then, that's in keeping with what they were aiming for, for what it's worth.
brb
Advanced Driver

Thanks for the update. Nice pictures in the second article. For your next adventure, may I suggest traveling from the highest paved road in the US in Rocky Mountain National Park to the lowest in Badwater Basin. I available if you need a co-pilot.