QOTD: Land Rover Defender Vs. Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon – Pick Your Poison

qotd land rover defender vs mercedes benz g wagon 8211 pick your poison

Let’s say you had around $50,000 to spend on a vehicle purely as an indulgence. In this indulgence, you desire a somewhat rare SUV that’s basic, yet carries substantial prestige. In the same way, your SUV of choice would be very capable off-road, but you’d never take it there (as it’s simply too valuable). This vehicle would be for around-town jaunts on sunny days only.

A tough and specific decision for you, as imaginary well-heeled buyer of this used SUV. But never fear, as we’ve narrowed the choices down to two for today’s QOTD.

So, between the Land Rover Defender and Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon, which do you choose to lighten your wallet?

This isn’t the first time we’ve presented the B&B with a Pick Your Poison Question of the Day. The inaugural honors go to the Lincoln versus Cadillac QOTD. But before we cover the two options, let’s go over the very simple rules of this engagement — there are only two this time.

  1. The Defender or G-Wagon are your only two choices today, and you must choose one of them.
  2. Suggestions of “neither,” or of any vehicles outside the two outlined below are invalid. Consider yourself warned.

Option One: 1994 Land Rover Defender 90

This short wheelbase Defender has around 78,000 miles, and is for sale right now for roughly $56,000.

As we detailed previously, the Defender was on sale in the US for just a handful of years — 1993 to 1997. It has a 3.9-liter V-8 engine hooked to a manual transmission, seats two on cloth buckets, and is in excellent condition.

Used Defender prices have increased ever since its cancellation, and the asking price for this clean example is not outside reality.

Option two: 1990 Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon

The two-door G-Wagon you see here has travelled 38,000 miles in its lifetime, and is on offer for just under $55,000.

It has a small four-cylinder gasoline engine, a manual transmission, and seats five on simple cloth seats. This G-Class was never actually on sale through Mercedes dealers in the United States. It was a popular grey import vehicle, however, brought over in limited numbers in the 1980s and 1990s through importers via legislation loopholes. On these shores, customers were eager to pay top dollar (think six figures) for these rare vehicles. Prices started out high and have stayed there ever since.

This two-door model was never officially sold in North America at all. Mercedes, keen to put the grey guys out of business, began selling the G500 version of the G-Class in North America starting in 2002, but it always had four doors and a luxurious interior. The example above harkens back to a simpler time for the SUV.

Same color(ish), same concept, different execution. Which is your poncy poison SUV of choice?

[Images via eBay]

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  • Shortest Circuit Shortest Circuit on Aug 25, 2017

    G-Wagon on the account that I have more Merc dealers around town. G500 as the diesels moved on from the reliable CDI to these funny blueTEC motors.

  • Hawox Hawox on Aug 26, 2017

    50.000$ for a defender??!! why don't you buy 10 defenders here in europe? G class no doubt

    • Bumpy ii Bumpy ii on Aug 26, 2017

      The USDM Defenders cost $50,000 because they were only imported in low numbers for a few years. Euro-market ones have to be 25 years old before they can be imported into the US, and most of those have been used up or exported to Africa already. There are some good-quality survivors, but you're not getting those for $5,000 out-the-door.

  • DenverMike When was it ever a mystery? The Fairmont maybe, but only the 4-door "Futura" trim, that was distinctively upscale. The Citation and Volare didn't have competing trims, nor was there a base stripper Maxima at the time, if ever, crank windows, vinyl seats, 2-doors, etc. So it wasn't a "massacre", not even in spirit, just different market segments. It could be that the Maxima was intended to compete with those, but everything coming from Japan at the time had to take it up a notch, if not two.Thanks to the Japanese "voluntary" trade restriction, everything had extra options, if not hard loaded. The restriction limited how many vehicles were shipped, not what they retailed at. So Japanese automakers naturally raised the "price" (or stakes) without raising MSRP. What the dealers charged (gouged) was a different story.Realistically, the Maxima was going up against entry luxury sedans (except Cimarron lol), especially Euro/German, same as the Cressida. It definitely worked in Japanese automaker's favor, not to mention inspiring Lexus, Acura and Infiniti.
  • Ronnie Schreiber Hydrocarbon based fuels have become unreliable? More expensive at the moment but I haven't seen any lines gathering around gas stations lately, have you? I'm old enough to remember actual gasoline shortages in 1973 and 1979 (of course, since then there have been many recoverable oil deposits discovered around the world plus the introduction of fracking). Consumers Power is still supplying me with natural gas. I recently went camping and had no problem buying propane.Texas had grid problems last winter because they replaced fossil fueled power plants with wind and solar, which didn't work in the cold weather. That's the definition of unreliable.I'm an "all of the above" guy when it comes to energy: fossil fuels, hydro, wind (where it makes sense), nuclear (including funding for fusion research), and possibly solar.Environmental activists, it seems to me, have no interest in energy diversity. Based on what's happened in Sri Lanka and the push against agriculture in Europe and Canada, I think it's safe to say that some folks want most of us to live like medieval peasants to save the planet for their own private jets.
  • Car65688392 thankyou for the information
  • Car65688392 Thankyou for your valuable information
  • MaintenanceCosts There's no mystery anymore about how the Japanese took over the prestige spot in the US mass market (especially on the west coast) when you realize that this thing was up against the likes of the Fairmont, Citation, and Volaré. A massacre.