Why Was the 1993 Land Rover Defender 110 Added to the NHTSA’s Blacklist?

Different car models are sold in different countries because they don’t all meet the regulations of every country. The United States has rigorous safety and emissions regulations, in addition to other market restrictions. This means there is quite a list of banned cars in the U.S. that also can’t be imported. This list includes some models of the Land Rover Defender 110. While the Defender 110 was on the NHTSA’s blacklist, the 1993 model year was still eligible to be imported.

The Land Rover Defender 110 made the blacklist

An old Land Rover Defender model presented at the 2019 Los Angeles Auto Show
An old Land Rover Defender model | Michael Kovac/Getty Images

The Land Rover Defender has been around since 1983. This four-wheel-drive, off-road vehicle was based on the original Land Rover from 1948. The Defender 110 was first sold in North America in 1993, says Automoblog. However, U.S. regulations required that this version was a modified model.

The Defender didn’t pass the U.S. Department of Transportation’s new safety regulations for 1998, and Land Rover then ended its sales in the U.S. One of its big issues was that it didn’t have airbags or other modern safety features, points out Motor1. Production of the Defender 110 ended entirely in 2016 before returning recently in 2020.

With the Defender 110 only sold in the U.S. for a few short years, there is a lot of interest in importing the vehicle. Vehicles older than 25 years don’t have to meet current regulations, but the NHTSA used to have the 1993 Defender 110 on its list of nonconforming motor vehicles that could be imported even before the model was more than 25 years ago.

What is the NHTSA’s blacklist?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is tasked with deciding which vehicles are safe for use in the United States, says duPont Registry Daily. The NHTSA has a long list of foreign cars that aren’t permitted to be imported, according to HotCars. These vehicles don’t meet the regulations, ranging from everyday cars to luxury sports cars.

There are currently Land Rover models that appear on the NHTSA’s blacklist. The NHTSA says the 2016 Land Rover Defender 110 Adventure, 2013 Land Rover Defender 110 Hunter, and 2000 and 2001 Land Rover Defender 130 are not eligible for importation for show or display. The NHTSA does say that the 2016 Land Rover Defender Celebration Autobiography and the 2016 Land Rover Defender Celebration Heritage are both eligible for importation for show or display.

The new Land Rover Defender

The Land Rover Defender returned to the United States for the 2020 model year. This Defender is still boxy, says Car and Driver, but it is all new. The 110 has four doors, and the 90 has two doors. However, these numbers no longer indicate wheelbase measurements. The design is more practical and utilitarian than most Range Rover models, although the Defender and the full-size Range Rover share the D7 architecture.

The Defender’s primary engine is a mild-hybrid P400 six-cylinder. The system produces 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque, giving it more than twice the output of older Defender engines, points out Car and Driver. It will zip from 0 to 60 mph in 5.8 seconds. Meanwhile, the 2015 model could do 0 to 62 mph in 12.7 seconds.

A 296-hp two-liter P300 four-cylinder turbocharged engine is also available, and it can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds. Buyers in Europe have two diesel engines to pick from as well. The new 2020 Land Rover Defender comes with an eight-speed ZF automatic transmission, and the old manual transmission is no longer available. It features great off-road capabilities with a ground clearance of 11.5 inches and a wading depth of 35 to 43 inches.

While the NHTSA doesn’t permit all Defenders to be imported, some can legally be brought into the United States. That does include the 1993 Land Rover Defender 110. However, the new Defender, introduced in 2020, should be considered since it’s being sold in the U.S.

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