How Practical Are NAS Soft Tops?

Eliot

Member
Question - I’ve never driven a soft top before. How bad is the wind noise? And what’s the usable temperature range? Are they drivable in winter weather when it gets down to -20 or -30?
 

chuckc4

Well-known member
Well, this is a loaded question... I would say the wind noise is really not much worse than a hard top unless you are on a highway for extended periods.

You will get wetter in a soft top if it is raining/sleeting than a hard top.

-20F in a land rover is going to be cold, regardless of top. A soft top with a fume curtain is going to be warmer than a hard top.

I am not the first person who has said this: You have to be committed to driving a Land Rover Series / 90 / 110. As Unfrozen suggests, dressing accordingly is key!
 

chris snell

Administrator
Callsign: NW5W
Staff member
I drove a NAS 90 soft top for about six years, including three living in Park City, Utah. It wasn’t always the most comfortable but it’s doable. The V8 puts out enough heat to make the cabin livable. I parked my truck out on the street.

Here’s a photo. The CB antenna and the Jeep tires make me cringe now. LOL. Max rookie.

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It is lovely for summer in the mountains, however. Nothing beats rolling the top sides up and taking the door tops off. So fun.

Ultimately, I sold the truck because a 90 is not practical for me. There just isn’t enough space to pack gear for anything more than a few days in the desert. The 110 suits me better. I drive a soft top 110, for what it’s worth. Don’t drive it much in the winter, though.

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Eliot

Member
I drove a NAS 90 soft top for about six years, including three living in Park City, Utah. It wasn’t always the most comfortable but it’s doable. The V8 puts out enough heat to make the cabin livable. I parked my truck out on the street.

Here’s a photo. The CB antenna and the Jeep tires make me cringe now. LOL. Max rookie.

View attachment 20645

It is lovely for summer in the mountains, however. Nothing beats rolling the top sides up and taking the door tops off. So fun.

Ultimately, I sold the truck because a 90 is not practical for me. There just isn’t enough space to pack gear for anything more than a few days in the desert. The 110 suits me better. I drive a soft top 110, for what it’s worth. Don’t drive it much in the winter, though.

View attachment 20646

Thank you Chris!
 

lordhelemt

Well-known member
I’ve owned a few other cars during my defender ownership but I’ve basically DD a NAS soft top and/or my NAS 110 for the last 20+ years. I drove the 90 for the first 10 or so years then picked up the 110 when I started the restoration in the 90. Drove the 110 as a daily for about 6 years while I restored the 90 (I know, I work slow) then flip/flopped between the 2 for the last few years. Parked the 110 earlier this year in anticipation of starting the restro on that truck and have been DD the 90 since then.

The 90 now has CarPlay heated seats, windshield/mirrors, which all makes the ride more enjoyable but it’s still loud and hot in the summer. Winters are fine but I’m in DC so it seldom gets really cold and certainly not as cold as your winters. My biggest complaint is the the small fuel tank. Long trips are a pain in the arse, filling up every 175 miles.

My 110 has a 4.6 which makes for better highway driving, the range is a little better due to the extra fuel capacity, but not much quieter. It’s been as far north as canada, south to Miami, and west to Wisconsin. I do wish it had CarPlay and Waze like the 90 so those will be added during the rebuild.

There are certainly more fuel efficient, more comfortable cars fi these longer hauls and I’ve even tried a few but none of them scratch the itch for me. So I’ll continue to subject myself to the heat, cold, and noise of the Defender until I find a suitable replacement. But I doubt that will ever happen.
 

ionfender

Well-known member
Question - I’ve never driven a soft top before. How bad is the wind noise? And what’s the usable temperature range? Are they drivable in winter weather when it gets down to -20 or -30?
I don’t think the wind noise is all that bad (for a Defender), regardless of whether you have the top on or off. Doing longer trips at Hwy speeds with the windows out/top off I will sometimes wear ear plugs because it can get to be a bit much after a few hours. Worth it though…it’s tough to beat driving a soft top Defender

If your legitimately going to be driving regularly in -20 degree weather it’s probably worth looking at an aux. heater. You may find that the toughest part about those cold temperatures is keeping the windscreen defrosted.
 

rocky

Well-known member
I confess to buying a plug in seat heater that straps on the seat. It’s a nice extra. Think the coldest I’ve experienced with the Defender is single digits degree f. Coldest in any Land Rover was -40 which is about the same temperature reading in C and F. But that was. Gen 1 Discovery.
 

Eliot

Member
If your legitimately going to be driving regularly in -20 degree weather it’s probably worth looking at an aux. heater. You may find that the toughest part about those cold temperatures is keeping the windscreen defrosted.

How effective is the heated windscreen?
 

chuckc4

Well-known member
How effective is the heated windscreen?
I am in upstate NY so we get some very cold snaps (a few weeks of steady, below 0 temps) plus freezing rain, snow, moist air conbined with cold temps, etc... I would not drive a Defender in the winter without a heated windscreen again having had to scrape interior ice off with an ice scraper while driving at night a few times. The heated screen makes a huge difference to keep the windscreen clear, inside and out, in varied conditions. Well worth the money IMHO.
 

D901560

Active member
Comfort is generally ok. Noise was only an issue at highway speed and as others said the small fuel tank is annoying. For me a big drawback as a DD was security. I had to plan errands so I didn’t leave anything too valuable in the back and I always worried about my gear in the back on road trips when the vehicle was unattended. Even if you lock the doors it’s easy to unzip the top or slash it to get in.
 

1of40

Well-known member
IME, it’s great when the tops off and the weather is good. It sucks once the honeymoon is over and you stop putting in the effort of taking the top on and off. For passengers getting in the back it’s not easy, especially for kids. I sold mine 17-18+ years ago for these reasons and bought a SW which solved everything for me and I use it year round on a daily basis. The tops can’t last forever and they’re not cheap. $3k a pop at a minimum is also a buzz kill.
 

chris snell

Administrator
Callsign: NW5W
Staff member
The auxiliary tank options are a hack. If you want to do long range trips in remote places, the 90 ST is a massive pain in the ass. I was bumming gas from guys in my group on the last big trip I did in mine. Never again.
 

Eliot

Member
The auxiliary tank options are a hack. If you want to do long range trips in remote places, the 90 ST is a massive pain in the ass. I was bumming gas from guys in my group on the last big trip I did in mine. Never again.

The hard top has a bigger tank?

I would definitely be getting out on the boonies. But fuel would probably be an issue for me in daily driving. There are stretches of eastern Montana where you can go 150 miles between gas stations.
 

JimC

Super Moderator
Staff member
I put an under seat tank in mine, doubling the fuel capacity, but i also switched it to diesel so the passenger is not actually sitting on 14 gallons of gasoline.
 
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