Judean desert: A needed adventure after the coronavirus lockdown

A drive in the desert with the 3-door Defender 90 was the medicine we needed.

A drive in the Judean desert with the 3-door Defender 90. (photo credit: RONEN TOPELBERG)
A drive in the Judean desert with the 3-door Defender 90.
(photo credit: RONEN TOPELBERG)
 It was a cold and crisp clear morning, the kind that lures you out of the house and calls for a long drive out in the fields, or the mountains or, as in this case, the magnificent desert.
We were guests of Land Rover Israel and we were heading to the Judean desert in a brand new three-door Defender 90 that had just landed in Israel last month. 
After a successful launch of the five-door Defender 110, Land Rover introduced Israel to the three-door Defender 90, and it is as exciting as we had hoped it would be.
The new Defender is in a class of its own. It’s tough enough to take on serious adventures, and very comfortable as a luxury road-car, offering space, technology and style.
With the three-door Defender 90, Land Rover resurrected its legendary nameplate. The new Defender 90 captures the original’s adventurous essence, but incorporates the latest in contemporary car engineering and technology.
True, the price tag is steep, but what a treat. 
We drove past Beit Shemesh heading toward the Dead Sea, but most of the way, not on asphalt. Driving through the enchanting views of the desert we passed an old Jordanian Police post with a deserted camel stable. We drove up a cliff with an ease most cars cannot master, and stopped for lunch near the ancient Uziyahu flood well. Along the route we had to overcome some pretty tough obstacles, including very narrow passes filled with rocks that had fallen after the recent floods. We had to climb steep hills and carefully maneuver down slippery slopes. In short, the Defender 90 showed us what it was built for and we enjoyed it like little boys. It seems the Defender 90 can tackle anything and everything. 
Boulders scattered across the muddy track. There were fallen rocks and steep slopes. It was especially daunting after sundown getting out of a canyon that was recently covered by floods. But we got out. True, we had a lot of help from excellent guides, but also from the Defender’s ClearSight ground view. Maneuvering around any obstacles, this feature displays a camera view of the front underside of the vehicle on the large central touchscreen. Land Rover’s unique transparent bonnet provides the driver with a see-through augmented reality view of the terrain ahead, virtually making the front of the car “invisible” from inside the cabin. 
Obviously, many will be attracted to the car’s distinctive silhouette and character, but the interior – well there is nothing rough or tough about that. As with the five-door 110 model, once you get back on the road, the drive is smooth and comfortable as one expects from a luxury car. 
The Pivi Pro multimedia system presents information about music, navigation, climate control, the surface and the drive. Equipped with a 360-degree camera system, the driver can get warnings about the rear (helps with parking in the city) and sides of the car. 
Going over Land Rover Defender technology, let us only mention that 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.
I loved driving it as much as I did sitting next to my co-driver when he was driving. I have to admit that the Land Rover Defender 90 has more capabilities than any car I have tested. More than that, it is the most fun car we have driven in a long time.
The writer was a guest of Hamizrach Vehicle Importers.