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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 12:30 pm 
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A.K.A. Kayak Independent Delivery System = KIDS (?) :)

This topic is following a thread from:

Humvees: I should clarify-- in situations where their width (or weight) didn't work against them, they were great (I've never ridden in one, so I'm just going on hearsay). In a forest, or a narrow canyon, or a number of other situations, give me that Land Rover or Land Cruiser any day.

I have always been curious about Mercedes G-wagons, although their use is very limited (mostly only acquired because they are easily- and well-armored, I think (and if you have a spare quarter million lying around for that-- otherwise you armor your Land Rover/Cruiser)). When I asked an SF guy, I was told the Gs come to pieces.
:-(


I believe Mercedes has gone the same way as most other 4x4 producers; they've sucumbed to the luxury lease market. My personal observation of Mercedes is that their market demographic has changed significantly from the era from which the Mercedes that was cited and awarded "World's Most Durable Car". This was awarded to a 1956 coup w/ over 1 million miles on it's clock in the late '80's.

This is my understanding:
After the war, the average German was interested in an everyman's car that was in reach price wise and would last from 10 to 20 years. Mercedes was still producing new cars, redesigned on pre war chassis well into the 50's; they had lost their market nitch momentum. They came back onto the world scene in 1954 w/ the 300 SL (or Gullwing) after a win at Monte Carlo and later a legendary win of epic proportions at the Panamerican in Mexico.

To punctuate how desperate German auto makers were, Porsche was producing a farming tractor during this time (0-6 m.p.h. in 30 seconds :lol: )

A seemingly small thing also pushed the Germans ahead on the world scene: Technical Representation. German firms were so determined to recapture a market share, that they made sure that their tech support was second to none, world wide. This was so successful, that by 1970, as both British and US firms may have been resting on their laurels so to speak, that German quality came to centre stage. Even as recently as 10 years ago, if one wished to do an overland tour of South America, books such as South America by Road advised using a VW micro van or a Mercedes as the service and parts were second to none.

What seems to have happened lately is that Mercedes' demographic has changed. Buyers no longer buy a Benz w/ the notion that they need to have 10 to 20 years of dependable use. I've known people to trade in their lease cars simply because they couldn't be bothered to have new tyres mounted! It no longer matters to produce "bullet proof" cars if first owners/leasees don't plan to have the car for more than 4 years. Just my thought. :)

When they were both teens, my father and his sister road rallied in Chile and Argentina. My aunt's car of choice was a Volvo, but she now drives a 20 year old Mercedes. My Dad's choice was Mercedes or VW, and later SAAB (depending on conditions). I don't think either of them would choose a modern Mercedes for rallying, it just doesn't have "The Right Stuff".

-Kap'n


Last edited by Kapitän von Klepper on Sun Oct 22, 2006 4:30 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 7:25 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
The best car I ever owned was my 1982 Mercedes 300TD. I sold it to my best friend because it didn't make sense to bring it to Japan. The owner of the Mercedes garage (NOT dealer) that serviced it for me told me not to bother with any Mercedes after 92-93.

Further proof that German industry was desperate after WW2: BMW started making cars!

My family drove Peugeots 1968-2003 (when I sold our 1989 505 V6 :( -- one of the last Peugeots sold in the US). They were great cars, but they rusted on US roads and Peugeot had deplorable technical support in the US (but not in Africa, for instance... go figure), which earned them their terrible reputation in the US.

So... beside the Toyota Land Cruiser and, perhaps, Land Rover Defender, what still has "the right stuff"? Maybe Subaru???

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2006 9:40 pm 
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Location: Astoria, OR
Without question, for serious paddlers looking for access to wilderness west coast (North America, anyway) paddlespots, it would be a 4 x 4 pickup. I've worked my way through a Mazda ('87), a Toyota ('99), and now use a Quad Cab Dodge Dakota ('05). All mine were 2WD, but I have wanted 4 x 4 now and then, for sure.

The first two were canopied, for decent ability to transport boats up top; the last, open bed, with serious Yakima racks off the rails, putting hardshells up top. The Quad Cab will carry four in comfort, with room for one more in a pinch. All the gear goes in back under a tarp or in a lockable truck box. And, at 20 mpg highway (has the larger V6), it's not that bad for economy, considering the load carrying ability.

Oh, yeah, it will two 4800 lbs, also!

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Dave Kruger
Astoria, OR
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Folbot Kodiak, Cooper, and Edisto; three hardshells; Mothership: Surf Scoter the Bartender; dinghy Little Blue Duck.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:29 pm 
chrstjrn wrote:
The owner of the Mercedes garage (NOT dealer) that serviced it for me told me not to bother with any Mercedes after 92-93.

Further proof that German industry was desperate after WW2: BMW started making cars!

My family drove Peugeots 1968-2003 (when I sold our 1989 505 V6 :( -- one of the last Peugeots sold in the US). They were great cars, but they rusted on US roads and Peugeot had deplorable technical support in the US (but not in Africa, for instance... go figure), which earned them their terrible reputation in the US.

So... beside the Toyota Land Cruiser and, perhaps, Land Rover Defender, what still has "the right stuff"? Maybe Subaru???


Your bench mark is exactly where mine is in regards to Mercedes. I'd pay fair market value for a 20-30 year old Mercedes, but wouldn't give a dime for a '96. I was so devoted to Mercedes, that my 1st CAD project at uni was a '54 300SL.

In one of Dad's wilder adventures, (He had plenty!) he drove a Peugeot 505 from Kodiak, Alaska to Santiago, Chile. According to his journal he'd rather have had a VW micro bus due to clearance. Peugot service is brilliant in South America and you can still see 50 year old cars regularly on the road. When this car was shipped back, we drove it for years. It was our first family car w/ a sun roof and power windows, -We really thought we were in the clover! Service wasn't so stellar in South West, Colorado. :(
Incidently, some of my boyhood heros were Helen and Frank Schneider who drove a WW II Amphibius Jeep From Anchorage to Tierra del Fuego in 1954, -20,000 Miles South In the late '50's they island hopped in the same Jeep in Indonesia. They were featured in Nov. '64 National Geographic (Churchill Cover) when they drove the Great Rift Valley From Lebenon to Kenya in a Series I.

One of the more interesting cars Mum and Dad had was a Messerschmit K200, speaking of desperate post-war German firms (Fighter planes). I think they may have paid US$200 for it in '64 in Germany. When they returned to Chile, it was probably the only one in all of S.A. I wish I still had it. My last E-bay search showed them going for US$20K! There's one of these classic "bubble cars" in the Forney Museum in Denver. It's just big enough for 2 adults and an AE II on the luggage rack!

What has "The Right Stuff"? According to my brother, if you asked the Australians, they'd tell you Toyota Land Cruiser, even over Land Rover and far ahead of Subaru Outback :o . The first people I ever knew that had Subarus were the Doyle Irvine family, see National Geographic Rural America. This Colorado ranching family had a fleet of them. On breaks from school, I'd help them muster their cattle. You can laugh at me, driving cattle from a Dressage saddle! But this wasn't nearly as funny to me as the Irvines driving those Subarus into the most unlikely places! -It just sort of shatters all images of what "cowboys" should look like! They were a real testimony to Subarus!

I have to agree w/ Dave that at least Toyota truck makes a serious contender for trekking considerations. Though I have some cowboy friends that wouldn't give him 2 cents for his Dodge, -they're deeply devoted to Ford. -No offence intended, Dave.

My SO and I have this discussion from time to time. She's devoted to Toyota, and I (Like Paul, I believe) believe that Landy makes "The Best 4x4 by Far". However, I think Land/Range Rover are headed well down the same road as Mercedes. :(

I insist that SAAB made the first SUV. They were an impressive rally contender from the 50's into the 70's. Can anyone have any doubt w/ Blomqvist's (airbourne) victory on snow and ice in the '79 World Championship Rally? That's the sport end, the utility end is the hatchback, the SAAB Turbo hatchback, -the first SUV! :lol: Unfortunately this car is being ruined by GM :(

-Kap'n


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 3:00 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
This was a discussion just last week on one of the builders forums. I was a SAAB fan for many years, and in the mountains it was a premier winter car. I've owned a 3-cyl 95 wagon, and 2 99's. All were built like tanks, but overall reliabilty was questionable. Perhaps the 900 and newer models were better in that regard.

My favorite trucks, both for reliability and kayak carrying capability are far and away the smaller Toyota 4X4 pickups. Small enough for easy kayak loading on top, a 6ft span between racks, and plenty of room inside the shell/bed. I've owned both an 1984 and 92, and still rely heavily on the 92. My other truck is a 2000 Ford 350 Diesel. It's ok, but if Toyota made a 350 Diesel I'd drop the Ford in a heartbeat.

Rumor has it that in 20008 there will be a 1-ton Hybrid Tundra. If they increase the bed size, the Ford is history.

The big favorite here is Colorado are the Subaru's. Both the Outback and the Forester. Mucho horespower, and super snow vehicles. When driving in the Rockies, every other verhicle seems to be a Subaru, and that is a very strong indication of their popularity and suitability.

In fact, some of the SAAB's are now Subaru's. The 92X for sure, I'm not sure about the 97X.

Regards,

Tom


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:03 pm 
I've owned a '63 95 wagon, three 99's (Model #s, not years!) and I'm on my 2nd US based 900, -a '94 Turbo convertible -somewhat short on the utility end, but still the "best 2 x 2 by far" on snow! I'm currently in the market for a second '93 Turbo hatchback for my photography + KIDS :wink: needs.
Unfortunately SAAB's only rep in Chile is in Santiago and the only owner brave enough to be away from local service lives 4 hours south in Linares. -I'm another 12 hrs south. SAAB (Scania's) trucks and buses are conversely well respected all over S.A. and Africa.
On another note, FACH -Chile's airforce was recently trying to decide between SAABs, Tomcats and Phantoms to update their birds, -they went w/ Tomcats.

Yes, the 92X is a SAABaru. I would consider a Subaru, but not a SAABaru! Worse, the 97X is a thinly desguised Cheverlet Tahoe -built in USA, but priced like an import. :(

20008 is longer than I have to wait! :wink:

Regards,
Kap'n


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:41 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
20,008 is the year that GM and Ford will finally have a car worth owning.

Love the looks of the older SAAB Dragen and Viggen. Can't say the same for my 1965 SAAB 95. :)

When you return to Denver , I'll have a new Baidarka for you to try.

http://www.yostwerks.com/NewAkunC.html

Regards,

Tom


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 4:51 pm 
Copy you on that!

What about the SAAB 91? The only aircraft in history to start production as a prop and finish as a jet? Also making SAAB 92 the only car I know of that's model number was sequential to an aircraft. The ejection seat was invented by SAAB to clear pilots of the rear mounted prop.

Kap'n


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 7:14 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2005 4:47 pm
Posts: 1712
Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
Amazing that Phantoms are still in the running. Talk about having "the right stuff" ;)

Hybrid Tundra: I dunno. I think the jury's still out on hybrids. What's wrong with diesels??? What is it with us Americans?

My next car is likely to be a Turbocharged Forester (for Switzerland, etc.). A real sleeper, as far as I can see. I could use a bit more interior space, but I need the fuel economy and if you compare the interior dimensions of a Forester to an Outback, they're not as far apart as they should be. The Tribeca is an underpowered gas hog (right?).

I had a 1975 Peugeot 504. If you've driven those, you know why they were they were the international rally champions for a few years in the 70s. Superb controlability when crossed up and moving sideways, high clearance, long travel and enormously comfortable suspension, great traction... must have been designed by a Frenchman who had grown up in their colonies! My father had much preferred his '68 (approximately) 504, and his favorite was a '67 (again, approximately) 404. My 504 was a hand-me-down I got when I was in college. The car we never let him sell was a '67 split-window VW Camper. We still have it, in mint original condition, with 72K original miles! My parents bought it new in '67, picked it up in Paris, drove to Morroco and back (I was born in 1966-- my first big trip). 4o years later, my father still hasn't forgiven my mother for forcing him to buy the bus instead of a Morgan 4+4 :). We wouldn't have let him sell that, either! I've always known that, if I ever hit the lottery, I would buy him his Morgan (and get the Lotus/Caterham I've always wanted for myself, and hope the Morgan doesn't come back to me for a very long time!).

My brother had a Toyota 4x4 pickup. So did a whole bunch of Somalis, with an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back. ForeRunners are essentially the same vehicle, no? I'm going to get away from using Afghanistan as my gauge (they held up better than most, there, but not as well as Land Cruisers/Rovers (as far as I could see)), and admit that that's a vehicle the has got "it".

I'm curious about the new Mercedes R-series, as well...

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 8:36 pm 
lord high faltbotmeister

Joined: Fri Apr 15, 2005 8:44 am
Posts: 553
Location: Colorado
>>Hybrid Tundra: I dunno. I think the jury's still out on hybrids. What's wrong with diesels??? What is it with us Americans?

Not sure what you mean ? F350 Diesel / Dual rear wheels = 13mpg and the most expensive fuel at the pumps.

Ford and GM want you to think the verdict is still out because ,as usual, they missed the boat. I'm hoping that the electric portion of the Hybrid gets dominant and the gas engine becomes nothing but a battery charger. Electric 's have super torque, lineral power curve, and of course no gasoline consumption. It's way past time to stop relying on oil. Batteries are getting much better, and brushless motors are awesome powerplants.

>>I had a 1975 Peugeot 504. If you've driven those, you know why they were they were the international rally champions for a few years in the 70s.

Puegot and Citroen are still winning on the World Rallye Circuit. They've sort of taken over from Subaru, at least as of last year.

My brother had a Toyota 4x4 pickup. So did a whole bunch of Somalis, with an anti-aircraft gun mounted on the back. ForeRunners are essentially the same vehicle, no? I'm going to get away from using Afghanistan as my gauge (they held up better than most, there, but not as well as Land Cruisers/Rovers (as far as I could see)), and admit that that's a vehicle the has got "it".

I had a Land Cruiser ( FJ-40). Cool, Crude, old truck and better than the Land Rover's.

Regards,

Tom


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 1:20 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 359
Location: Spruce Head, Maine
Similar to others, I also grew up with Peugeot's. Our family had a 504 and a 505 at different points. My first car was a used 505 turbo. What a great car that was.

In terms of maintenance and reliability the Japanese mfrs probably have the best reputation.

No one has mentioned the Nissan Patrol, which has an excellent reputation in many parts of the world. It is a very popular 4x4 here in the Middle East and Australia. They don't sell this model in the US. Only the Land Cruiser is more popular over here.

The Grand Cherokee is a very good, do lot's of things well type of truck. It cruises well on the tarmac and is very capable off-road. Having driven one for 8 years my complaints would be lack of cargo space and reliability. I've spent too much in repairs, but have driven much in the desert, which can be very hard on a 4x4. This year Jeep went to an independent front suspension which will compromise it's off-road capability.

The Santana PS-10 is no highway cruiser but what it lacks on the pavement it makes up for off-road. Plus it gets 25 mpg, can go 600 miles before refueling and it can be hosed out on the inside! Positive attributes are a solid axle, very good ground clearance and a torquey turbo diesel engine. I think these are the basic characteristics that make the starting point for a good 4x4: solid axle, good ground clearance and a good, strong engine with lots of torque at low revs.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 5:51 pm 
Brotherhood of the Golden Paddle
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Location: Arlington, VA (i.e. Wash DC)
I saw lots of Nissan Patrols in more challenging environments, but never see one here in Japan (!).

The Santana gets 25MPG? That's quite good-- I was looking at the MPG figures for the LR Defender, which are in liters/100km... I should track down a chart to convert, because I can't do much with those numbers! It looked to me like it gets around 10MPG...
Who makes the engine in the Santana?

From what I've heard, the FJ40s were the best Land Cruisers. You still see some on the road in Japan-- and the Japanese are fanatical about throwing away their cars after 10 years or so (or selling them to the Aussies and the Russians).

_________________
Chris T.
~'91 Klepper A2 w/ BSD schooner rig.
'64 Klepper Passat/Tradewind and T12 restoration projects.
Non-folding: '84 Hobie 16; early '90s Old Town Canoe.
Previously owned '04 Pakboat Puffin II and '05 Swift.


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 Post subject: Santana in U.S.?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 9:18 pm 
Anybody imported one of these vehicles to the U.S. or Canada? How hard would it be to get one repaired if need be?

C.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 05, 2006 11:56 pm 
It's amazing what little things can make a difference in fuel economy.
I had a 1963 SAAB 95 wagon in Colorado for my school holidays. It got 50+ m.p.g. but had only a stock 3 cylinder 2 cycle (hamster excercise wheel) 33-hp motor. It had a top speed of 75 m.p.h. down hill or with the wind behind it. :wink: But fuel cost was set back a bit by the quart of marine 2 cycle oil I had to put in each tank! -But hey! No oil changes, just clouds of blue smoke following where ever I went! + asinine comments about how it was time to change my motor!

I symultanuosly had a 1974 SAAB 99 in Switzerland. One of the most awsome cars I ever owned. This car was unstoppable in snow, literally. I remember going through one freakish blizzard plowing 20+ cm of snow w/ the lower motor cowling! -No chains on its tyres! It had the largest most powerful motor SAAB had equiped any standard production model to that date, -new back in 1972, the 1985 cc 110-hp motor. This motor had no emission contol nonsense, got what I roughly calculated to be just above 40 m.p.g. -on one road trip to Berlin to visit my uncle. I managed just below 160 k/h 97 m.p.h., wind, hills, etc being equal.

By the time I started uni, SAAB was a firmly acquired personal taste. Not wanting to drive a left handed on left sided roads, I acquired a 1976 99. This car had a 118-hp motor, but I didn't dare max the speed out, I think my student visa would have been revoked on the roadside! (Chileans don't often get a lot of credit!) I believe it may have had something holding the fuel economy back; I never remember getting more that 38 m.p.g. on even the best days.

For a couple summer holidays back in the States, I acquired a 1977 99. Sadly this wasn't the highly sought after 99 EMS turbo coup! It was plenty powerful, but alas it had the "California" emissions control package. I never managed more than 34 m.p.g. I also had to curb my speed, as I was still a "guest" in Colorado as well.

After I finished uni, I started my studies with the British Horse Society. My '76 99 had given up the ghost, so I bought a 1988 4 door 900s. This was the 1st and only car I ever willingly bought w/ an automatic, (Gearbox made in UK, -any coincidence?). I was regularly getting what I calculate to be 28 m.p.g., but this may have been due to petrol and congestion as I once regularly got 34 m.p.g. on the continent.

My mother had worn out my/her '77 99. The 1988 900 turbo she bought to replace it that was virtually identical to mine in the UK, -except that it was a different colour, a manual, a turbo, had AC (and of course, left hand drive.) She only got 28 m.p.g. w/ this in almost all circumstances. Oddly, the AC belt gave out and she suddenly got 32 m.p.g. I came and borrowed it once, petrolled at a different station (Texico) and got an amazing 36+ m.p.g. consistantly, despite her nagging me not to fuel up at such an expensive station!

My current SAAB is a 1994 turbo convertible (classic body). Get this! W/ the top up, I get 28 m.p.g.; down, I get 33 m.p.g. :o The AC doesn't work, so I'm tempted to remove the belt as well. W/ fuel prices the way they've been, I've installed a switch to keep the power arial down since radio signals don't come in at all, on my rural road trips. I haven't really been able to test the results, as I've been away for awhile. I really like this car as it really kicks! It easily leave Audis behind (In 5th gear!) on my climbs up the continental divide! (-With the AE II in the boot of course.) If anyone has anymore fuel saving ideas, I'm all ears! As mentioned before it's high on the sport side, low on the utility.

Regards,

Kap'n


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2006 2:05 am 
knight of the folding kayak realm

Joined: Sat Apr 16, 2005 1:06 pm
Posts: 359
Location: Spruce Head, Maine
Defenders with a V8 get about 13-15 mpg.
Defenders with a Td5 (5 cyl turbo diesel) get about 25 mpg.

Chris, I think you're right about the older Landcruisers being far better off road vehicles than the newer ones. I think the newer Lancruisers don't have the solid axle, have a more cushy suspension for highway cruising, and they put the spare tire underneath the car (which would get chewed off pretty quickly when the going gets tough. This can be changed by retrofitting the wheel to the rear door). The older Landcruisers won't be nearly as comfy on the highway...one of those darn trade-offs. Still, even the new Landcuisers seem to be pretty capable 4x4s. These are probably the most popular vehicle out here (that or Mercedes), in the land of expensive cars.

The Santana has very little hope of ever peeling around on US soil. No air bags and things like that. This is the reason (or one of them) Defenders are no longer sold in the US. I've heard that LR is redesigning the Defender to include airbags & improve driver ergonomics, and get it back into the US....but that may not be til 2008. The other thing is that these cars are just plain expensive. A new Td5 costs $35k over here! A used Td5--3 years old with 27k miles--was being sold for $25k at the dealership! This is a lot for a car that's going to take the abuse that off-road environments dish out. Todays Defenders have a lot (some say too much) in the way of sophisticated electronics, things like state of the art electronic traction control, etc. These things add to the cost but also make the engine more difficult to fix when something goes wrong in the middle of no where. I've heard many LR afficionados complain that the Defender has too much electronics and has become too expensive.

The Santana is a much simpler beast. It is extremely spartan. No radio. No electronic traction control or things like that. It's traction control comes from keepin the wheels on the ground via good articulation. Best of all, I was able to get mine for a third of the price of that used Defender, and mine has only 12k miles and it's one year newer!


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