Defender air-conditioning kit

We recently featured the CoolAir Logan air conditioning system being fitted to our Td5 Defender 110 station wagon.

We recently featured the CoolAir Logan air conditioning system being fitted to our Td5 Defender 110 station wagon. This is a unique system because it features a separate unit for the rear passengers, housed in a bespoke centre console. The front system is similar to the standard Land Rover unit. After five months of testing, it’s time to pass on my own, and others’, opinions of the system

Engine bay 

The air conditioning system takes up minimal under-bonnet space, using similar components to those of the standard factory installation. The exception is Coolair Logan’s slim-line condenser matrix mounted in its own frame ahead of the engine radiator. Its narrow section eliminates the need for the forward-extending front panel seen on Defenders with factory-fitted systems.

Cab space 

Some motoring publications complain of reduced knee room caused by the full width air conditioning console across the bulkhead of factory-fitted vehicles. But, at 5 feet 11 inches tall, I haven’t even noticed the presence of the console when climbing in or out, or while driving. The only con of the console is that it restricts access to the screen wiper motor. The centre console, housing the separate rear air conditioning unit, sits between the front seats, replacing the middle seat or the traditional cubby box. It has far less storage space than the cubby box. On the other hand, the new unit incorporates two adjustable arm rests with opening lids sufficiently sized to store sunglasses, cash, compass or phone. The forward section provides twin cup holders and a cross-slot which allows handy storage of OS maps. Partly opened maps slide underneath the arm rests, where they stay secure over rough terrain, and are immediately to hand.

Do we need this?

Air conditioning is now a basic requisite in ordinary cars, but has always been debatable for a Defender, especially in the UK. But, after using it for five months I’d hate to be without it, and here’s why. De-misting: The system removes moisture from the incoming air, so the resulting dry air absorbs condensation on the inside of the screen and windows, enhancing the effects of the standard demisting system. Motorway speeds: You don’t need the windows down to keep cool on hot days, so high-speed driving is quiet (for a Defender). Drying out: When wet kids, walkers, mountain bikers and dogs come on board after bad weather, the air con system helps dry everything rapidly, especially with the rear system fitted. And the cab doesn’t have to be cold – the heater can be run simultaneously to maintain the desired temperature. So it’s useful in the UK winter. Hot weather: Cool is comfortable. Air con also reduces drowsiness. I found the front system adequately cools the cavernous 110, but with eleven people on board in hot weather, the rear system was a boon for the guys on the rear bench seats. A handy USB port is fitted in the rear of the centre console, but there isn’t one in reach of the front seat occupants.

Operation is simple and manual, devoid of climate control complications.

CoolAir’s slim refrigerant condenser allows the standard front body panel to be retained

The rear passengers’ view of the centre console housing the rear aircon unit.

Useability

The air conditioning master control is at the driver’s end of the front console, along with the air flow switch. The master switch provides three levels of cooling, and an off position which also stops the blowers. The blower switch offers three airflow rates through four easily adjustable vents. Twin circular adjustable vents in the rear unit are positioned low down and close to the rear passengers’ legs, though they can be aimed steeply upward where the cool air is needed. Cooling here, is controlled from the driver’s switch, but the rear passengers have their own blower control.

Reliability

After just five months we wouldn’t expect any reliability issues. Despite driving some harsh rocky off-road terrain, no rattles or squeaks have developed in the interior consoles.

Effectiveness

Switch on, and the cool air arrives in seconds. The switch settings and vent arrangements make the temperature and airflow fully controllable. 

Costs & VAT

Front: 300Tdi £1695, Td5 & Puma £1595 (£200 fitting) Rear: 300Tdi, Td5, Puma £1295 (£200 fitting). Both systems incl fitting: 300Tdi £3100, Td5 and Puma £3000.

The effect on fuel consumption has been minimal. Normal servicing costs are similar to any other aircon system.

Recommended

Land Rover Defender review
Land Rover Defender driving
Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender review

Land Rover has aced the latest Defender, which combines rugged go-anywhere ability with new levels of civility.
15 Apr 2021
New Land Rover Defender 90 D250 2021 review
Land Rover Defender 90 D250 - front
Land Rover Defender

New Land Rover Defender 90 D250 2021 review

Is the smaller Land Rover Defender 90 the pick of the range? We sample it in D250 guise to find out...
19 Mar 2021
New 518bhp Land Rover Defender V8 joins range
Land Rover Defender 90 V8 - front
Land Rover Defender

New 518bhp Land Rover Defender V8 joins range

Land Rover’s new 5.0-litre V8 engine has made this the fastest Defender yet, with a 0-62mph time of 5.2 seconds
25 Feb 2021
Limited edition Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy unveiled
Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy - front static
News

Limited edition Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy unveiled

Just 25 examples of the 399bhp Land Rover Defender Works V8 Trophy will be made
10 Feb 2021

Most Popular

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased
Volkswagen Transporter

New 2021 Volkswagen Transporter T7 van teased

Next-generation Volkswagen Transporter T7 will break cover later this year with a new plug-in hybrid powertrain
14 Apr 2021
New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750
Audi Q4 e-tron - front
Audi Q4 e-tron

New 2021 Audi Q4 e-tron on sale now, priced from £40,750

Two body styles, three powertrains and four trim-levels confirmed for Audi’s compact Q4 EV, including a 295bhp quattro option
15 Apr 2021
New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review
Skoda Enyaq iV 80 - front
Skoda Enyaq

New Skoda Enyaq iV 2021 review

The new Skoda Enyaq iV is the Czech firm’s first bespoke electric car and it brings a practical outlook to the EV ownership experience
13 Apr 2021