The gents over at The Fast Lane Car have a separate channel dubbed The Fast Lane Off-Road, and it’s chocked-full of great content. Recently, in part two of a three-video series, they had to rescue their brand new Land Rover Defender, but not because it was lacking in off-pavement prowess.
TFLC has been on YouTube for a long time and features a lot of entertaining and useful content. They especially dig on all-things off-road, including some budget-minded approach content, as well as stuff like this. They live in Colorado, they certainly ought to cover this kind of stuff! Oh, and they seem to have a soft spot for old Land Rovers, too… you can see why I’m stoked on writing about them.
Anyway, they’ve started a comparison series between their brand-new Land Rover Defender 110 P400, a new full-size Ford Bronco, and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Part one shows off the chops of all these platforms quite well. However, stuff goes south pretty fast for the poor Landy. This wasn’t due to anything off-road tech-or-design-related, but rather how its rubber met the trail. The Defender has massive, twenty-inch wheels and tires as standard for its off-road package. There’s a lot of pressure and not a lot of wiggle room along the tires’ sidewalls. Crawling up an immensely menacing rock garden, they end up slicing two tires’ sidewalls. With only one spare bolted to the rear door, they were unfortunately out of luck for getting it back down the hill.
This is nightmare fuel for me, by the way. I had a scary experience going up a rock garden in a brand-new Range Rover recently and luckily got out unscathed.
Luckily, their local Land Rover dealer lends them two spare wheels to bring up to the marooned Defender the following day. They cart them up in a base Wrangler Sport, put one on, have the other on-hand for another potential sidewall slice, and proceed to make the trip back down without issue.
But the trip back down is a nail-biter in itself and requires some real patience and skill to negotiate. It’s a testament to how good the new Defender truly is, and how much skill the driver has. They also make light of the fact that a Toyota Tacoma with all the off-road kit in the world had issues crawling up one particular section, whereas the Defender had no issue in stock form… slightly before its tires got Sweeney-Todd’d.
Moral of the story: the Defender rules, but maybe do what you can do get more sidewall under its arches if you plan to buy one and take it up some gnarly, rock-covered climbs.