With the Defender, you will never get stuck

Thursday January 28 2021
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By Roland D. Nasasira

Isaac Onyango

I love my Land Rover Defender because it compliments my travelling lifestyle and I can drive it anywhere, even through hard-to-reach areas.

For spare parts, there are several areas in Kampala City Centre where they are available. For those that I cannot buy locally, I import from the UK. Apart from usually having to replace movable parts such as belts, I have not Isaac Onyango

love my Land Rover Defender because it compliments my travelling lifestyle and I can drive it anywhere, even through hard-to-reach areas.  For spare parts, there are several areas in Kampala City Centre where they are available. For those I cannot buy locally,  I import from the UK.

Apart from usually having to replace movable parts such as belts,  I have not had many issues with this car. Usually, the belts cost approximately Shs10,000 to Shs40,000. I remember a time I lost the belts upcountry but to get to the nearest garage, I improvised with maize mill belts that I attached to the car and was able to get to a garage where the belts were replaced.

On average, I spend Shs300,000 on service. I visit the garage thrice a year because I use the Defender as my daily car. I have owned a Toyota Avensis, Corolla and Probox but comparatively, the Defender is much easier to handle. Even when it has mechanical issues, I am able to drive it until I get money to take it to a mechanic.

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I live in Mutungo and work in Kololo (a distance of about 6.5km) and I spend approximately Shs50,000 on fuel every week. A full tank will cost me Shs200,000 and this will take me for a month. The Defender’s 2500cc diesel engine is very fuel friendly.

It is an all-time wheel vehicle with a seating capacity of six. When I do not drive to office, I engage in farming and I use my car to carry garden merchandise and farm equipment. I sometimes transport goats to Kampala and  because my car is easy to clean, I do not worry at all.

Ronnie Kyazze

A I love the Defender because it is suitable for safaris. I also customised mine to suit my needs. For instance, I changed the fuel tank to take in more fuel. This way, I avoid the possibility of running out of fuel or moving with jerrycans. I also changed some parts in the double differential and the gearbox to improve on the ratios. I changed the entire interior to cater for a pop-up roof because I use it for long safaris.

I buy spare parts from different suppliers around Kampala City Centre and some others through the Land Rover Club. When I fail to get a particular spare part, I order for it online or from Kenya. It is a 200Tdi Defender 1994 model that still runs intact.

Service of the Tdi is dependent on the fault. With the advent of more friendly oils, I spend approximately Shs350,000 on basic service and approximately Shs500,000 to replace parts such as brake pads. A Land Rover is a sturdy car. There is no other car that can handle safaris like a Defender since you can drive it even through  terrible road conditions.

The Defender is a hardened car built like a war tank.  This makes it durable and strong to handle visceral conditions through visceral driving.  If you get a problem, a Defender is easier to get off the road because it will still move even with a mechanical condition.

Its fuel consumption is friendly and it will give you a minimum of 10km on one litre in town and between 13km to 14km using one litre on the highway.

My particular model is a fulltime four wheel drive vehicle. I modified it to be a six-seater; two at the front, two in the middle row and two at the rear. It gives space for both luggage and passengers but it also has a roof-rack.  

Haroon Kakembo

A Land Rover Defender is the first car I drove. Since then, I have owned a couple for which I have been offered money and let them go and switched to other Land Rover models or even gotten a Defender again. I acquired my current one (1994 Defender 110, 300Tdi) two years ago after I was offered cash for my Range Rover Classic.

The thing about Defenders is that you can customise it to what you want. It can be a daily driver (work to home), family car, adventure car, and a recovery car too.

When I need quick common parts such as service parts, I get them in Kampala city from different dealers. When I need something specific that I cannot source locally, I order from South Africa, UK, USA or Australia.

Given that I run a workshop, I service the car myself or ask my staff to do it. On average, servicing a Defender 300Tdi costs approximately Shs450,000. This cost varies, depending on the type of oil and the filters used. Once serviced, it can give me 4,000km until the next service.

When I had just bought it, I did not have its service history. I did a full service and changed the filters, engine oil, gearbox oil, transfer box oil, brake and clutch fluid, differential fluids and steering fluid. This cost me approximately Shs890,000.

Since the defender and the Range Rover Classic have a similar drive train (engine, gearbox and differentials), their service cost is more or less the same. But the beauty about the Defender is that I have extra load space and I can easily find replacement body parts, which was not the case with the Range Rover Classic.

On average, the Defender gives you 9.5km to 10km per litre of diesel. Refuelling many times depends on your movements. It is a full-time 4WD with a nine-seater capacity.

I removed the boot space seats and converted it into a five seater. I use it for farm work, or even tow a stranded car out of trouble, among going for road trips and game drives.


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