Getting away with the Israeli Land Rover Club

After months of lockdown in the city, an invitation for a drive on the slopes of the Golan Heights was exactly what the doctor ordered.

 (photo credit: ARIEL ZUKERMAN)
(photo credit: ARIEL ZUKERMAN)
After months of lockdown in the city, an invitation to join the Israeli Land Rover Club for a drive on the slopes of the Golan Heights was exactly what the doctor ordered. The day trip turned up to be exactly what we expected (and then some),  but the real attraction was the chance to test-drive the new Land Rover Defender, already praised the world over.
Led by Eldar, the club’s knowledgeable guide, the short but beautiful trip gave us a real opportunity to check for ourselves if the much-hyped new model can replace one of the most recognizable cars of the 20th century (If you watch The Crown on Netflix, you know Queen Elizabeth drives one).
After (regretfully) returning the car to the showroom, we felt we had driven the car of the future. This 4X4 makes sure that drivers have everything they need to overcome any obstacle – from large rocks to sand, mud or water – with safety, while providing the driver the ability to see every angle of the car without having to step out or rely on others. The whole picture is available from cameras that are placed under the car and on the sides and back.
Without getting into too many details, the bottom line is that it passed every test with flying colors. Land Rover has managed to build a completely new type of vehicle with all the off-road capability one could ever need, combined with luxurious on-road comfort. In both respects, this car is the epitome of form and function. But then, that is expected from the Land Rover Defender, given that three decades have passed since the previous model was launched.
For us, it was a new driving experience, and we consider ourselves veterans of off-road driving. This ultimate off-on road vehicle represents 70 years of tradition with 21st-century cutting-edge technology and comfort.
Before we delve too deeply into how it drives, it’s worth catching up on a little Land Rover Defender technology. The body is made of a lightweight aluminum platform that was developed to have a structural rigidity that is three times stiffer than its rivals. In real terms, this means the Defender withstands serious loadings, as reflected in its off-road ability and on-road poise.
To cite some tech points from Landrover’s manual, the approach angles are 38 degrees front and 40 rear, and it can climb a 38-degree angle and descend a 40-degree one. Wading depth is up to 900-mm. deep, compared with 500 mm. for the old Defender. The electrical system is tested to the IP67 standard, so the electronics should be able to withstand being submerged in water for up to an hour without damage.
Land Rover’s electronic architecture is significantly faster than before and now features over-the-air software updates, plus an infotainment system that’s swift and responsive.
Inside, the Defender offers luxurious comfort, mixing elements of the original’s functionality with the tech and equipment you expect of a modern car, combining an aura of quality with just enough toughness.
Being a modern car, it also has padded armrests and soft-feel surfaces, as well as touches such as height adjustable air suspension for lowering the car to help climb in, along with more fun features.
There are storage areas throughout the interior, with deep door pockets and a dashboard shelf that’ll take most of your gear on the move.
The new infotainment system is a cinch to use, being both quick and intuitive. It also syncs up and works with smartphones if you wish to listen to your music provider or personal playlists, for instance. Other nice touches include the Clear-Sight rearview mirror and Clear-Sight camera that allows the driver to virtually see through the bonnet via the infotainment screen for super-tough off-roading sessions.
The new Defender is in a class of its own. It’s tough enough to take on serious adventures, and very comfortable as a family car, offering space, tech and style.
It does what previous Defenders haven’t done: work very well on the road.
Replacing an iconic 72-year old car model was a tough task, but Land Rover has done it well. The new Defender has all the off-roading prowess of the wonderful old classic and more. At the same time it presents impressive on-road comfort and everyday usability.
Landrover Club Israel holds tours throughout the year offering members exciting day trips with professional guides. For more information go to