Early last year, its maker laid the Land Rover Defender to rest, but it certainly hasn't forgotten about the SUV. In fact, it still lets enthusiasts have a go behind the wheel of the iconic off-roader at its newly-launched Land Rover Experience. 

The brand announced the Land Rover Experience will take place at new "Experience Centers" in California, Vermont, and North Carolina, including the chance for a full- or half-day behind the wheel of a vintage Land Rover Defender. Those interested will have to schedule the "Defender Driving Experience" where they will be able to put the Defender through its places.

Land Rover says trails will include driving across grass, mud, ruts, water crossings, and more. Personal coaching from expert Land Rover Experience Instructors will also be available to help drivers maneuver the old Defenders across various terrains.

The Land Rover Defender Driving Experience, in fact, is one of very few ways to experience a like-new example of the SUV doing what it does best. Though the brand plans a successor, there's no denying the charm and raw appeal of the original Defender. Still, Land Rover doesn't believe the new Defender will disappoint long-time fans. And if you just can't wait until the new one emerges, East Coast Defender builds the next best thing.

The Land Rover Experience programs are now up and running, and fans who want to partake will soon head for Quail Lodge in Carmel, California; Equinox Resort in Manchester, Vermont; or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina. The half-day rate for drive time in a vintage Defender is $1,200, while a full day is a relative bargain at $1,500. We'd suggest the full-day option—and who knows, why not ask about reduced rates for repeat customers?