AROnline Opinion : Why Land Rover has done the right thing
"The Land Rover Defender is a national institution, known and loved by many, many people in the UK, the Commonwealth, Europe and (less so) North America. It’s as recognisable as a Mini or a Volkswagen Beetle, and its influence on car culture far exceeds the number of examples sold. In short, we all love the Defender, and we’ve been waiting for a very long time for the new one to arrive and carry on the classic’s good work. And I don’t envy the task Land Rover has had in doing this. Rather like Rover had been grappling with the matter of replacing the Mini several times since the early 1970s before getting really serious in the 1990s, JLR had been agonising over this one for years.
But now it’s here, and it’s all feeling rather familiar. I don’t mean the styling – yes, that’s not exactly earth-shattering and pretty much what we expected – but the reaction it’s received. The Internet has been alight with criticism and praise for the new car, with many current (classic) Defender owners bemoaning the new car as being too urbane to be a true Defender…
The reason it’s so familiar is that the reaction to the R50 MINI when it was shown in 2000 evoked the same responses. Many traditional Mini owners hated it for being too big, too modern and too far removed from the Issigonis original. ‘Issigonis must be spinning in his grave,’ was the oft-repeated mantra of 2000/2001. I bet if I look hard enough, I’ll be able to find, ‘The Wilks brothers must be spinning in their graves,’ on one of the forums or social media threads."
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