Launched in 1983 as a successor to the original Land Rover Series, the Defender remained largely unaltered throughout its life, with none of the three important revisions it received in 1990, 2007 and 2012 diluting its classic, no-nonsense recipe. Currently not available in the U.S. due to safety regulations — the North American version was discontinued in 1997 — the Defender lives on in Great Britain and Europe in many shapes and sizes, ranging from three-door SUVs to double-cab pickups. However, the iconic Defender will cease to exist, when Land Rover plans to axe the vehicle after 32 years of existence. For its final year on the market, the British bid fairwell to their SUV by releasing several special-edition models, one of which is the Heritage Edition.

As the name suggests, this limited-edition Defender pays homage to its past, but the celebration goes beyond 1983, the year it was born. For the Heritage Edition, Land Rover turned to the "HUE 166," the company’s very first Land Rover Series SUV. Born in 1947, the small two-door off-roader registered as the HUE 166 in Britain kick-started the SUV that would remain in production for 38 years. Read on to find out more about this modern take on the SUV that helped Land Rover become the esteemed company we know today.

Click past the jump to read more about the Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition.

  • 2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition
  • Year:
    2015
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    inline-4
  • Transmission:
    6-Speed Manual
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    120
  • Torque @ RPM:
    266
  • Displacement:
    2.2 L
  • 0-60 time:
    14.7 sec. (Est.)
  • Top Speed:
    90 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    30900
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • body style:

Exterior

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 609167
First up is the Grasmere Green metallic paint job, which is complemented by an Alaska White roof

While it retains the boxy design and the overall features of the regular Defender, the Heritage Edition benefits from a host of unique exterior elements. First up is the Grasmere Green metallic paint job, which is complemented by an Alaska White roof — both hues are unique to the Heritage Edition. The bespoke model is also equipped with body-colored wheel arches, a feature that adds distinction to this otherwise rugged utility vehicle. In a nod to the original HUE 166 SUV, the Heritage Edition received a silver front bumper with black end caps, a bespoke front grille, body-colored headlamp surrounds, and body-colored steel wheels.

Other subtle add-ons include transparent turn-signal lenses, Indus Silver door hinges (standard models come with body-colored ones), vintage-style badges front and rear, HUE 166 graphics on the front wings, and Heritage logos on the mudflaps.

Land Rover offers the Heritage Edition on four different body styles, including the 90 Hard Top, 90 Station Wagon, 110 Utility Wagon, and the 110 Station Wagon.

Interior

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition Interior
- image 609258
The latter is evident as soon as you lay eyes on the steering wheel, the gear lever, and the handbrake lever, all of which are wrapped in perforated leather.

While the exterior of the Heritage Edition pays tribute to the company’s first ever SUV, the interior focuses on modern comfort and luxury. The latter is evident as soon as you lay eyes on the steering wheel, the gear lever, and the handbrake lever, all of which are wrapped in perforated leather. The air vents, the clock, the door handles and the door locks are finished in a bright aluminum trim, while the seats are covered in Almond Resolve Cloth with Ebony Vinyl and black. The latter feature the company’s Heritage logo and HUE 166 tags.

Rubber floor mats with the Heritage logo and a padded cubby box with Almond Cloth lid round out the vehicle’s bespoke interior.

Drivetrain

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 609259
The Heritage Edition is motivated by the Defender's standard 2.2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine.

The Heritage Edition is motivated by the Defender’s standard 2.2-liter, four-cylinder diesel engine. The unit is rated at 120 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque, and it enables all versions of the Defender to hit a top speed of 90 mph. The 0-to-60 sprint depends on the model and body style from 14.7 to 15.7 seconds. All versions come with four-wheel drive and a six-speed manual transmission.

Prices

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition Exterior
- image 609261

The Defender Heritage Edition goes on sale from August 2015 from £30,900 in the United Kingdom and from €39,900 in Mainland Europe. The European sticker converts to around $47,200 as of 01/07/2015, but don’t get your hopes up for these special-edition models to arrive Stateside.

Competition

Mercedes-Benz G-Class

2013 Mercedes G-Class High Resolution Exterior
- image 448948

The G-Class may have become more refined since it received its first major makeover in 1991, but its predecessor was as rugged as the Defender. Now a luxurious rig with great off-road capability, the G-Wagon is the other boxy hauler of the SUV market, remaining true to its roots — at least visually — 36 years as of 2015. Although U.S. consumers have access only to the high-spec G550 and G63 AMG models, British and European customers can also purchase a diesel variant in the form of the G350 BlueTEC. Equipped with AWD as standard and powered by a 3.0-liter V-6, the G350 comes with 211 horsepower and 398 pound-feet of torque on tap, providing drivers with a more efficient alternative to the range-topping V-8.

A lot more powerful and better equipped than the Defender, the G-Class does have a few downsides. Firstly, it starts from £86,435 in the UK, a sticker that’s downright massive compared to the Heritage Edition’s £30,900 starting point. Not to mention that the regular Defender retails from £23,100. Secondly, the Merc comes in only one size, with no short-wheelbase or pickup versions available. But as I said from the very beginning, the G-Class is aimed at a different crowd, one that places luxury above hauling capabilities. Needless to say, it’s interesting how these two SUVs evolved over the past two decades.

Conclusion

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 609257

2015 is the Defender’s last year on the market and it’s only natural for the British automaker to roll out as many special-edition models as possible. I must confess I did not expect to see a version that pays homage to the HUE 166 prototype and I have to give Land Rover a big hand for celebrating its first ever SUV with a limited-edition model of the highly acclaimed Defender. Sentiments aside, the Heritage Edition is the kind of dressed up SUV you wouldn’t take off the road, especially with that fancy, candy-like exterior. Sure, some customers will likely put it to good use, and this Defender is suited to tackle the great outdoors, but the Heritage Edition seems more of an asphalt queen designed to preserve the rich history of the Defender and its ancestors.

  • Leave it
    • * Not for U.S. consumption
    • * A bit expensive when compared to the regular model

Press Release

The Heritage Edition evokes the history of the Defender as a modern interpretation of the famous HUE 166 Land Rover - the first pre-production Series I vehicle, nicknamed ’Huey’, which dates back to 1947. Traditionalists will appreciate the Grasmere Green metallic paintwork, Alaska White roof, heritage style grille, headlamp surrounds and heavy-duty steel wheels. Other nostalgic additions include the silver front bumper with black end caps while clear indicator lenses and Indus Silver door hinges also set the Heritage Edition apart. Body-coloured wheel arches and mudflaps bearing the Heritage logo also feature.

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 609167

Externally, the finishing touch comes in the shape of aluminium heritage style badging to the front grille and rear bodywork, which is inspired by the designs fitted to the Series I and II models. Evocative HUE 166 graphics also adorn the front wing panels.

While the exterior pays homage to the earliest Land Rovers, the Heritage Edition features a host of modern creature comforts and luxurious finishes inside. They include perforated leather outer steering wheel rim and gear lever, Bright Aluminium trim for the air vents, door handles and door locks, and Almond Resolve Cloth seat facings bearing the heritage logo and detailed with HUE 166 tags.

Durable rubber floor mats and a padded cubby box between the front seats ensure the Heritage Edition is as functional as it is distinctive.

2015 Land Rover Defender Heritage Edition High Resolution Exterior
- image 609168

Heritage Edition models will be available in both 90 and 110 bodystyles.

Summary

Indicative pricing: from £30,900 (€39,900)

On sale: from August 2015

Bodystyles: 90 Hard Top, 90 Station Wagon, 110 Utility Wagon, 110 Station Wagon

Key features:

Unique Grasmere Green metallic paintwork with body colour wheel arches
Unique Alaska White roof
Silver front bumper with black end caps
Heritage style front grille and headlamp surrounds
Body coloured heavy duty steel wheels
Clear indicator lenses
Indus Silver door hinges
Heritage style badges
Heritage logo mudflaps
HUE 166 graphics
Bright aluminium finish clock and air vent bezels
Aluminium interior door handles and door locks
Perforated leather outer steering wheel rim, gear knob and handbrake lever
Almond Resolve Cloth upholstery with Ebony Vinyl sides and backs, with HUE tags
Padded cubby box with Almond Cloth lid
Heritage logo rubber floor mats

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