Station Wagon (Hard Top) versus Soft Top - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old March 20th, 2015, 05:33 PM
Rajiv365
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Rajiv Malhotra
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Station Wagon (Hard Top) versus Soft Top

Hey guys

Been looking for 90 for some time now and came close with a couple of deals (thanks to Clary, Brian, Josh and Matt from the forums for all the help). When I first started looking I was set on a soft top 94 or 95 (manual obviously). Then I started to lean towards the station wagons from a pure aesthetic standpoint. I'm not particularly attached to either transmission, if I was it would make the choice a lot easier.

I searched the forums and didn't find a particular debate about this but rather information scattered throughout postings. Can someone comment on the pros/cons of the soft top/station wagon debate? I understant the obvious stuff (noise, security). Curious about leaks etc.

Thanks,
Raj
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  #2  
Old March 20th, 2015, 05:39 PM
javelinadave
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Security with a soft top is iffy at best.
No ST roof rack.
If no A/C then a ST is better in the summer.
I drive a ST and put up with the negatives and prefer it over a SW.
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  #3  
Old March 20th, 2015, 05:46 PM
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Dan Kemper
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you always will want the opposite of what you own. Esthetically I think soft tops with half doors look much better
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  #4  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:03 PM
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Kevin C. Doyle
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A lotta women own soft tops....

Just sayin...
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  #5  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevincdoyle View Post
A lotta women own soft tops....

Just sayin...
Hilarious! lol
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  #6  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:05 PM
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It's definitely an " in the eye of the beholder" issue.
I've owned a st for over 15 years but am converting mine to a sw just because I never truly took advantage of the st lifestyle. I never completely took off my st & at best would just roll up the back windows and leave the top on for shade.
I've upgraded My interior extensively so security has been a big concern as well as rain. Now being able to have a real insulated and completely sealed sw has made my ridiculou$$$$$$ sound system sound so much better.
That being said, I love the look of both but from living abroad I find the sw more like the defender I know and love and it's more practical for me.
If you're the type of guy to take off the top and to really rock the st lifestyle then get one. If you're more with keeping the inside safe secure & quiet then a sw is best.
Good luck.
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  #7  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:08 PM
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ST w/ SW doors is as close as you can get to the best of both worlds................
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  #8  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by taoseno View Post
st w/ sw doors is as close as you can get to the best of both worlds................
qft!
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  #9  
Old March 20th, 2015, 06:36 PM
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Just because you have a station wagon doesn't mean that you stay dry lol
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  #10  
Old March 20th, 2015, 07:07 PM
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Station wagons are known to leak? I wouldve expected that as a problem with the soft top. Also how bad is the road noise?
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  #11  
Old March 20th, 2015, 07:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rajiv365 View Post
Station wagons are known to leak? I wouldve expected that as a problem with the soft top. Also how bad is the road noise?
Um... That's one of the selling point of all defenders... Seriously though they are probably better than St but that doesn't mean they stay dry. Don't know about road noise because never drove a St... And mine is noisier than most...
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  #12  
Old March 20th, 2015, 07:18 PM
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I agree, either one you have, the opposite you will desire. I would only trade my ST for a Arles SW. But seeing that one day I look to move to the coast, my ST is probably the best choice. I hear A/C is a must in a SW in summer, I have never used my A/C in my ST. I would like to have a SW now as my kids are very young and it would be safer, to some extent. In a perfect world, you have both!
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  #13  
Old March 20th, 2015, 08:05 PM
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I own about 6k worth of badger tops and they sit in the only non-oily corner of my garage 95 percent of the time.

I'm soft top all the way, but it's 50-75 degrees year round here. Never understood why people prefer the wagons, but to each his own. If you need to be warm and dry, this may not be the vehicle for you
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  #14  
Old March 20th, 2015, 08:28 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WeBeCinYa View Post
I agree, either one you have, the opposite you will desire. I would only trade my ST for a Arles SW. But seeing that one day I look to move to the coast, my ST is probably the best choice. I hear A/C is a must in a SW in summer, I have never used my A/C in my ST. I would like to have a SW now as my kids are very young and it would be safer, to some extent. In a perfect world, you have both!

An NAS ST has a better SD cage than a SW.

Don't get me wrong I dig them both BUT us Arles ST owners are a rare breed and have to represent

------ Follow up post added March 20th, 2015 08:35 PM ------

Quote:
Originally Posted by taoseno View Post
ST w/ SW doors is as close as you can get to the best of both worlds................
My door tops are off from late spring - late fall. I wouldn't want SW doors. To each his own, I suppose.
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  #15  
Old March 20th, 2015, 08:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drdread View Post
It's definitely an " in the eye of the beholder" issue.
I've owned a st for over 15 years but am converting mine to a sw just because I never truly took advantage of the st lifestyle. I never completely took off my st & at best would just roll up the back windows and leave the top on for shade.
I've upgraded My interior extensively so security has been a big concern as well as rain. Now being able to have a real insulated and completely sealed sw has made my ridiculou$$$$$$ sound system sound so much better.
That being said, I love the look of both but from living abroad I find the sw more like the defender I know and love and it's more practical for me.
If you're the type of guy to take off the top and to really rock the st lifestyle then get one. If you're more with keeping the inside safe secure & quiet then a sw is best.
Good luck.

Years ago 2002/2003 ish my Bestop got cut up by a thief's knife and my cd player stolen. I wonder if I had my fiberglass HT on if a window would have been broken....
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  #16  
Old March 20th, 2015, 08:52 PM
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Prefer the SW

I prefer the SW. I bought a ST last year thinking it could replace my old SW. It didn't, so I just bought a SW. So now the ST will be up for sale. The SW seems to be more solid with less rattles, maybe because it is a bit quieter.
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  #17  
Old March 20th, 2015, 08:56 PM
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I vote ST. I run sw doors and LOVE it. You have an LR3 for the days you need a top
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  #18  
Old March 20th, 2015, 09:54 PM
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Rajiv Malhotra
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamkraig View Post
I vote ST. I run sw doors and LOVE it. You have an LR3 for the days you need a top
Good stuff, Kraig how could I forget to mention you in the beginning! Sorry buddy!!
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  #19  
Old March 21st, 2015, 03:11 AM
Greg S
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I've got to jump into this one.
My history is with Series but for the last 3 1/2 years I've been driving a ST 90. It is Ex military and has no interior and a CANVAS top. My S2A that I drove for almost the previous ten years had a SW top (with the tropical roof). I have been in and have friends with less poshly appointed Series vehicles so I have a bit of experience with different tops.
I was surprise how quiet the canvas top is compared to an echoing hard top with no sound deadening like a stock Series truck. The un insulated Series aluminum box of a top simply cooks you in the summer and in the winter spring and fall is soaking wet due to all the condensation dripping from overhead.
The SW top is much better due to the insulation and roof top vents. No roof top vents available on a Defender! Damn, you miss out on a great thing.
The canvas top is incredibly HOT in the summer time. Can't believe it! I drive with the sides rolled up and find it much better but now even less secure. It DOES NOT leak through the fabric bit there are a couple leaks at the door trim pieces when you're parked.

A Defender HT in fibreglass probably doesn't suffer as much condensation and you could put a liner in it for insulation for summer and winter. Still don't get that tropical sheet and vents though. Canvas soft top is hotter than you would think in the summer and warmer than plain aluminum in winter. Quieter too.

I really dislike driving with the top removed; wind, dust, dirt, wet, wind, breeze, pulled hair from the wind, stuff gets in your eyes, ears and nose/ mouth. The noise is a bit much too, not mechanical noise but wind noise. "What?"
I really like driving with the sides rolled up! Left side, right side or both. But leave the back flap down to eliminate the buffeting while retaining the airflow, especially with the doortops removed. The other possibility is to roll the top back from the windshield to the first hoop so it is like a sun roof. Great for sight seeing in forests or mountains like this but you need the sides rolled down for this.

The best top? A Series tropical roof with the second skin and four vents. Better than a/c in my opinion. Insulated so quiet and doesn't drip condensation. Still get some leaks around the sides and inside at the gutter though. LOL probably wetter than my canvas top. It also has big side windows that open and gives a good level of security and roll over protection. (Yes it does!) Not as good as a roll cage but better than a ST. You can also mount a roof rack and ladder, lights and antennas.
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  #20  
Old March 21st, 2015, 07:04 AM
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Raj, I think it really depends on how often and when you plan to use the truck the most. Beware the ST is not a quick tear down. I drove a ST for 5 years and like others have said I eventually wanted a SW when the kids came along. I've been driving SW's for about 15 and It hurts the most on summer nights. IMO the best time for ST.

Clay
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