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Land Rover Defender vs Mercedes G-Class vs Jeep Wrangler off-road battle

January 07, 2021 by

The new Defender may have ruffled the feathers of a few Land-Rover purists, but there’s no denying it’s one of the very best off-roaders on sale. Now it faces its hardest test in a series of increasingly tough off-road trials alongside a Mercedes G-Class and Jeep Wrangler. 

Tap the video to find out how it fared.

The Defender we have here is the 2.0-litre diesel model with 240hp and 430Nm of torque. As with all Defenders, it gets four-wheel drive, a locking centre differential, an automatic gearbox and a load of clever software to make sure it won’t get stuck in the mud.

Being a 110 model, it has five doors and a greater distance between the front and rear wheels than the three-door 90 version. This makes it the longest car here, and no lightweight – it tips the scales at 2.4 tonnes. Despite this, it has the best approach, departure and break-over angles of the three thanks to the impressive ground clearance offered by its adaptive suspension. All-in, it’ll set you back from around £56,000, but our car costs more than £61,500.

The £101,965 Mercedes G-Class we have here costs almost double that. But, it does have a more powerful 2.9-litre diesel engine with 286hp and 600Nm. It too has four-wheel drive and an automatic gearbox but chalks up three locking differentials to the Defender’s one.

The G also gets a solid rear axle (for better wheel articulation) and an independent front suspension setup. It’s smaller than the Defender but heavier (it weighs close to 2.5 tonnes) and can’t match its approach, departure or break-over angles.

Finally, we come to the Jeep Wrangler. It’s the cheapest of the three off-roaders – it’ll set you back from around £45,000 in Rubicon trim and our car costs almost £52,000 – but it’s 2.0-litre petrol engine delivers a very respectable 272hp and 400Nm of torque.

Like the G-Class, it gets locking front and rear differentials but the Jeep sports a pair of solid axles. It might be tech that predates the Second-World War, but it’s perfectly suited to off-roading. There’s also a neat feature that’ll let you disconnect the anti-roll bars to maximise grip on undulating surfaces.

The Wrangler is also the lightweight of our trio (it weighs less than two tonnes) and splits the Defender and the G-Class with respect to approach/departure angles and overall ground clearance.

But, which of these three hardcore 4x4s will have the edge on our hard-core off-road course? Watch the video to find out.

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