What’s the Story?
Let’s just skip to the end. If you’re thinking of buying a Defender, the first incarnation of the TDCi is probably the one you should buy. Obviously it’s not within everyone’s budget, but they are now cheaper than many Td5s.
Why is this? As Defender models roll into the ‘getting hard to find a good one’ category, prices start to rise. This is true with the Td5, with the newest ones now approaching eight years old.
As with every model before it, we all start to get misty-eyed about how that model was the last true great Defender. If you can wake up and smell the diesel you’ll see that the TDCi has a great deal to offer, with a like-for-like Td5 costing about £1700 to £2400 more. Have you tried buying a 50,000-mile Td5 90 recently?
With Defender production grinding to a halt as we know it, prices of good, used Defenders will go up in 2015.
The Td5 will continue to command higher-than-predicted values for another couple of years and then it’ll be the turn of the currently unloved TDCi.
Buy now, look after it and in a couple of years depreciation will be almost nil. No other vehicle in this price bracket can boast such promising residuals.
Our Favourite Bit?
If you’ve owned a Defender before, the TDCi is a pretty similar animal. It’ll behave better on-road than what you’re used to and off-road it’ll be just as capable. As a daily driver it’s not as physically demanding as older models. The clutch is lighter, the gears are easier to find, so convincing the other half to buy one as a family vehicle will be a lot easier.
And the verdict?
In the rough stuff, you don’t get such a connected feeling as to what’s going on under the wheels. You do feel decisions are being made for you, with engine management, anti-stall and the ABS working to establish grip. But once you give yourself up to this new way of tackling tricky terrain, you’ll be taking on more technical trails than before. Just remember to use that low range to preserve your gearbox.
The full story can be found in the March 2015 issue of LRO. Download a digital issue, or order a back issue by calling 01858 438884.