It’s been a while since the offroad powerhouse from across the pond underwent a major update. The latest Defender’s unibody construction and looks became the most polarizing points among enthusiasts. But no matter what camp you belong to regarding these matters, one thing is for sure: Land Rover Defender is one of the top-of-mind offroad vehicles. Which puts it on the shortlist for the folks who mean business.
You can choose between a 2-door version called Defender 90, or a 4-door version called Defender 110. There are two petrol engines available in the US: 4-cylinder turbocharged delivering 296 bhp, and 6-cylinder turbocharged offering more substantial 395 bhp. The 518 bhp V8 will hit the dealerships soon, so if you are into the big guns, this will be the way to go.
Land Rover Defender is available in Standard, S, SE, HSE, and X trims. You can also choose between Explorer, Adventure, Urban, and Country accessory packs. Prices start at $50 000.
Having rid its brick-like styling, Land Rover Defender looks quite civilized. It might not be the sweetest eye-candy at first sight, but it tends to grow on you in time. Photos don’t do it justice, one has to see it in real life. And if you get the chance to put it next to the predecessor, you might spot some not-so-obvious similarities. Yes, it is a new design, but it gives due to its heritage.
Get inside a Land Rover Defender, and you’ll have little doubt about its intended purpose – going off-road. Though rugged materials dominate all over the place, it all looks surprisingly nice. And safari windows – those are the coolest thing the interior has to offer. It is roomy and comfortable inside. You can opt for three seats at the front row or two extra seats at the third. Unfortunately, you can’t have both, which is a bit weird.
There’s a lot of headroom everywhere, but quite cramped at the third row. Most likely two kids will feel ok there, but adults won’t enjoy the ride so much. The infotainment system is intuitive and easy to use. The central control area is clean and functional, as well as the steering wheel controls. One should opt for the rearview mirror camera, which will make life so much easier, mostly due to the spare wheel at the back rear visibility is not a strong point of the Land Rover Defender.
On- And Off-Road
Thanks to the plethora of options, Land Rover Defender can be more road or off-road-focused. Don’t get it wrong, either way, it will be good in both situations. When it comes to tackling rough terrain, there are great options to consider, like wade sensing, so you’ll be able to drive through water barriers with peace of mind. Land Rover Defender has air suspension as standard for Defender 110, (the 90 can opt with coil or air suspension), which works its magic on all surfaces. This vehicle is surprisingly good on the road. It handles well, though it is not a sports car. But it shines when you take the unbeaten path. Some even say that with all new driver aids it is even better than the old one!
Elephant In The Room
All mentioned above sounds quite juicy and can make you want to reach for the wallet. Before that, however, there’s an important thing to consider – notorious Land Rover reliability issues. One might say this is not a big deal, since the owner will enjoy a 4-year or 50 000 miles warranty, whichever comes first.
Even more, you can opt for an extended warranty which will last for 7 years or 100 000 miles. But this does not solve the problem of the vehicle breaking down while serving its off-road purposes in the middle of nowhere. And besides that, taking your car to the dealership and spending time without it while it’s getting repaired still is quite a frustrating experience.
Summing Things Up
Though it might not be a soccer mom’s first choice, it is a rather practical car for the whole family. It is decent on the road and great off-road. It can tow up to 8,201 pounds, which is not the most impressive figure, but still a great one. But if the risk (even a small one!) of getting stuck somewhere in Arizona because of a malfunction is too much, you might have to think twice.