Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Santana - a Land Rover Alternative...

The image of a Land Rover Series or Defender, dusty from the plains of Africa, conjurer up expedition images. The ruggedness of the vehicle, the availability of expedition equipment, plus the notoriety of their reliability make choosing a Land Rover as your expedition vehicle a tough choice.
The Santana PS-10 (image from dr-uf-loitsch.ch)
But what about an alternative?  Keep the shape, but change various elements to improve on performance, reliability but leave majority of the bodywork - Introducing the Santana PS-10.


In 2002 Santana introduced the PS-10 into its fleet and licensed the vehicle to Iveco which was named the Massif.  It is fitted with the Iveco 3.0l common rail diesel and the ZF 6spd manual gearbox and LT230 transfer box for selectable rear wheel / 4wd options. The vehicle has parabolic leaf spring suspension rather than coil sprung like the Defender.

The website of Thomas & Beatrice (uf-dr-loitsch.ch) lead me to start thinking about the Santana as an alternative to the TD5 & TDCi (Puma) Defenders.
Fully overland prepared (image from dr-uf-loitsch.ch
I like the Land Rover Defender as an overland vehicle - it offers decent interior space with perfect horizontal and vertical angles (makes equipping the rear very easy).  Equipment availability is endless - long range fuel tanks, dual battery systems, water tanks, roof racks, snorkels... Plus the vehicle is very easy to work on and negates the need to send it to an expensive workshop to get the job done -admittedly there are a few jobs you don't want to do at home.
The Land Rover boffs talk about the electronics in the TD5 and Puma engines as a weak point on the vehicle but with the right computer interface, majority of the issues can be diagnosed.  I could not find any information relating to the PS-10 and Iveco Massif which indicated that the engine had full computer diagnostics which means that its a plus for the PS-10.

The vehicle of Thomas & Beatrice was very neatly prepared and brings .  Here are a few more photos from their website:

Additional Reading:
Thomas & Beatrice - http://www.uf-dr-loitsch.ch/