Square Wheels

Whilst I was in Brighton this weekend I caught sight of what is probably one of the most eye catching cars on the road today; the Land Rover Defender. This was no farmer’s runabout though, this was a special edition ’90’ model (short wheelbase) complete with massive alloy wheels and silver grille (factory modifications though!). It got me thinking about the Top 5 squarest cars on the market…most of which are actually really cool.

Land Rover Defender: When Top Gear had the ‘Cool Wall’, the Defender always stayed in the sub-zero section. Nothing can really overrule heritage of a model and the original Landie has it in spades. Little has changed since the early 1980’s, and even though the current car has a spruced up interior it is still one derived from the previous Ford Transit van and mid-90’s Discovery. Under the bonnet lies a humble 2.2L diesel, which is modern but still fails to move the car with much pace. For years a replacement has been promised, and a concept car was shown a few years ago, but it recent developments seem to suggest that the new Defender will be very much style-focused and targeted at higher end consumers…so basically half of it’s current market then? The only one I’d touch is the pimped out convertible, but it would have to be a second or third car.

Mercedes G Wagen: If there is one model that challenges the Defender for bragging rights it’s the G Wagen. Originally dating back to thte 70’s, Mercedes have taken a different approach in updating their off-road vehicle. Outwardly little has changed besides the modern trinkets like LED lighting and changed bling, but much of the rest of the car is drastically new. A range of powerful (if not efficient) engines provide a supercar esque acceleration experience, and inside the car is very similar to most current Mercedes’. Undoubtedly if I had the money I would have a G350 CDI…but at £80k or so it remains an option for the rich only 😦

Land Rover Discovery 4: Another Land Rover, but ultimately a much more advanced one even if it has a very boxy shape. I really like the current Discovery and I aim to write about it more in depth soon (given that my neighbour has one sitting not 20ft away from  where I sat right now). The Discovery 3 was a stylish car when launched and was very bold in terms of lines. I was not sure of the ‘4’ when it was launched, and is essentially a facelifted version with LED lighting, a new grille and interior. But time has softened my opinions and it is the only Discovery I’d consider; it’s just a shame that I still have concerns over the reliability of all LR models, plus they have priced it so highly that it is more than some German premium rivals!

Nissan Cube: OK so I said that most of the cars in this list are considered cool…and I also said that these cars were available, and the Cube has been discontinued for the UK market, but who can write a list about square cars without mentioning the Cube?! The name pretty much speaks for itself; a very square shape, unusual headlining and a weird patch of pubes on the dashboard, the Cube was never destined for mainstream motoring it seems. But it’s strange because the previous generation was actually imported by some, so it seems Nissan shot themselves in the foot with this new Cube – not that they care, they have the Juke and Qashqai to build!

Jeep Wrangler: The Wrangler sells in very low numbers in the UK…so low in fact that the KAHN versions (pimped out by a Manchester based company) sell more than Jeep themselves! The overall aesthetic of the Wrangler appeals to lots of people though, with it’s military esque shape and optional convertible version. The devil is in the details though, as the UK Wrangler comes with a pig of a diesel engine and the original 2007 interior…not the much improved version in the US market ones. Honorable mentions with Jeep have to go to the Commander and Cherokee, neither of which are sold anymore but were equally square.

It’s nice to see a different aesthetic amongst cars available, even if most of them are abit niche…anyone want to lend me £80k for a G Wagen? 🙂


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