I toyed with the idea of getting one of the last Defenders off the line during late 2015, but as there’s so little difference between new 2.2s and slightly older examples like this, I was much happier saving a few grand – more cash for mods!
So, when the opportunity to own this low-mileage, well cared for 2012 Utility Wagon cropped up, it was too good to miss. I’d only just started looking for potential purchases, and actually fancied a completely impractical white double-cab, but a chance conversation with Bowler Motorsport’s Jon Chester lured me WN62 XSX’s way.
With just 14,000 miles on the clock, it was nicely run in, and still had six months’ manufacturer’s warranty left as a security blanket. Crucially, I knew its last owner, and was confident he’d looked after it too. It was a third car, used for occasional towing and driver training.
Best of all, it came with Bowler’s 170bhp Stage 1 ECU remap, which makes it fly. The 50bhp power increase and extra 67lb ft over standard makes a massive difference, without compromising driveability.
There’s no need to downshift when overtaking, it just digs deep and picks up from as low as 1500rpm. Friends with standard 2.2s can’t believe the transformation either. It’s fast!
Think fuel economy has been clobbered as a result? Not so. It’s reliably returning 25-26mpg. A standard 2.2 TDCi would struggle to beat that. It does prefer full-fat premium diesel, and goes further with the aircon off , though.
I’m loving it, obviously. The D3 is slick – and massive – but the 110 is more characterful. It makes me smile every time I drive it. Yes, I’ve still not got the hang of its turning circle, but I really don’t have an issue with elbow room when twirling the wheel. And, as an XS, it’s actually got more luxuries than the D3: heated halfleather seats, Bluetooth and USB connector, heated windscreen...
That said, I’m not entirely sure all my passengers agree; it is a bit of a culture shock – especially the heart-attack-inducing ‘gunshots’ from the rear, when a stone gets flicked up into the wheelarches.
I’ll soon be able to start modifying the 110 further, so I’m interested to hear what you’d like to see done to it – sounddeadening for the rear floor is definitely on the agenda.