Given the Rangie’s many amenities, it’s no surprise that it makes off-roading a sweat-free affair. Equipped with Land Rover’s second-generation Terrain Response system (which works by electronically managing the differential settings, torque delivery, traction control and anti-lock brakes), the Rangie has the potential to conquer just about any surface on terra firma.
Terrain Response offers five modes (General Driving, Grass/Gravel/Snow, Mud/Ruts, Sand and Rock Crawl) that can be selected on-the-fly, but most Rangie owners will probably leave it in “Auto” and let the SUV do all the “responding”. From the comfort of the high and mighty Range Rover cockpit, the wealthy “ranger” can relax and utilise the Surround Camera System to monitor the goings-on outside the vehicle.
There are no such visual aids for the Defender “trooper”, who must do a recce on foot to decide whether he needs to engage the Defender’s four-wheel-drive. Unlike the Range Rover, the Defender’s 4×4 can only be selected when the vehicle is stationary. The Defender’s system has four modes: 4H and 4L (high-range and low-range), plus 4H and 4L modes in which the differential is permanently locked for more challenging surfaces.
Getting the Defender to this shoot location (just off Warwick Road) was a delight. The 2.5-litre turbo-diesel powerplant growled and diesel fumes filled the air as the vehicle flattened the tall grass and clambered over the muddy inclines. Balancing the heavy-duty clutch was a workout, but all told, it was a more engaging experience than in the detached Range Rover, whose hushed cabin and equally refined 5-litre V8 drivetrain made me feel more like a bystander than a participant.
The Range Rover and the Defender take different paths in bringing their drivers to the end of the world and back, but they both rove the land in the same, inimitable Land Rover way.
Land Rover Range Rover 5.0 (A)
ENGINE 5000cc, 32-valves, V8, supercharged
MAX POWER 510bhp at 6000-6500rpm
MAX TORQUE 625Nm at 2500-5500rpm
GEARBOX 8-speed automatic with manual select
0-100KM/H 5.4 seconds
TOP SPEED 225km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION 7.6km/L
CO2 EMISSION 322g/km
Land Rover Defender TD5 2.5
ENGINE 2495cc, 10-valves, inline-5, turbo-diesel
MAX POWER 122bhp at 4200rpm
MAX TORQUE 300Nm at 1950rpm
GEARBOX 5-speed manual
0-100KM/H 16.8 seconds
TOP SPEED 135km/h
FUEL CONSUMPTION 8km/L
CO2 EMISSION Not available