Land Rover Defender Review
This all-new Land Rover Defender represents the biggest shake-up in the model’s 72-year history. It comes packed with more tech than ever before, but it’s also rather expensive.
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
What's not so good
Land Rover Defender: what would you like to read next?
If you think your job is stressful, imagine what it must have been like for Land Rover’s designers working on the all-new Defender – a modern interpretation of one of the most iconic cars of all time, beloved by many and with a cult following to rival that of the Beatles. No pressure, then…
At a glance, it looks like they’ve done a pretty good job. Rather than subtle changes like those on the latest Mercedes G-Class, the Land Rover Defender looks bang up-to-date while still harking back to the very first Land Rover from 1948.
Depending on which model you pick, you can get glossy metallic finishes – just the thing for stalking the streets of Kensington – or a rough-and-ready satin wrap that’ll fend off the worst some overgrown moorland can throw at it.
As with the iconic original, the new Land Rover Defender can be had in 90 (referring to the distance in inches between the front and rear wheels) or 110 guise, and with a plethora of optional accessories from protective body panels to a swamp-spec snorkel air intake.
Inside, the new Land Rover Defender retains its predecessor’s bench-style front seats – so even the shortest 90 model can accommodate six people – and practical rear load bay. The new Defender’s reinforced chassis means it’s even capable of carrying 900kg of luggage – that’s the weight of a small car!
If you’re looking for a seriously capable off-roader that won’t look out of place parked outside a five-star hotel, the Land Rover Defender is well worth a look.
It’s not all about load-lugging, however. You’ll spot plenty of high-tech upgrades designed to make this new Defender easy to live with every day. The central infotainment display gets Apple and Android smartphone mirroring and a reconfigurable digital driver’s display takes the place of conventional analogue dials.
Land Rover’s engineers have kept themselves busy under the new Defender’s bonnet, too. It comes with two diesel engines and two petrol engines (one of which comes with a fuel-saving mild-hybrid system), an eight-speed automatic gearbox and – you guessed it – four-wheel drive as standard.
All this means the Land Rover Defender can tow a 3,500kg trailer and wade through water 90cm deep – that’s more than even the uber-rugged Jeep Wrangler can manage.
You also get plenty of high-tech driver-assistance systems that’ll help a complete novice tackle tricky off-road trails like a seasoned pro and a suite of active safety systems designed to help prevent avoidable collisions on the road.
If pottering around town rather than storming through mud-covered woodland is more your bag, you’ll soon be able to buy a plug-in hybrid Land Rover Defender that’ll be capable of slinking along almost silently for around 30 miles between charges.