Tackling the urban jungle

The Defender you’re seeing today is seen and heard by high school students and teachers at coaching centres all across Dhaka. The sticky heat of the forests of the Congo have been replaced with the sticky heat that emanates from hormonal teens scared of professing their love for one another. The swamps and the waterlogged savannahs have been traded for impenetrable traffic jams and impassable potholes. Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to what might be one of the few daily driven Defenders in Bangladesh – that too, an open top, black as the night piece.

We caught up with its owner, Navid Neel, high school kid and old-school enthusiast, and asked him what it’s like owning a daily driven Defender.

Why do you like the Defender?How often do you use it? What is it like driving on Dhaka roads?

Tackling the urban jungle

Photos: Farhan Ahmed

“I love the Defender because I saw one being used on the farm in Shaun the Sheep, a cartoon I grew up watching. I’ve wanted a Defender ever since. I do all my classes everyday with the Defender and roam around the city with my friends on weekends. Potholes are never a concern when driving an off-road legend, and I have to say it really is fun driving such a car in Dhaka.”

Is it better to have an open top Defender or a closed shell one? What are the mechanicals?

Tackling the urban jungle-02

Photos: Farhan Ahmed

“Soft top Defenders are head-turners, especially on roads filled with Prem-allions. Currently it has a 2.5 litre 300 TDI diesel engine with 5 speed manual, worked on by SujanHannan at MARM Automobiles.”

What is the maintenance cost like? Fuel costs? What breaks down most often?

“Zero. Literally ZERO. Gives around 5-6 kmpl inside Dhaka. The clutch plate is the only thing that requires regular replacement, along with the basic maintenance which doesn’t cost much at all.”

What accessories are necessary for daily driving an open top Defender?

“Shades are a must. Always need to carry clutch oil (DOT4 brake oil).”