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Land Rover claims this is the best off-roader it's ever made - enough said?

Land Rover Defender 90 (20 on) - rated 0 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £38,460 - £74,805
Fuel Economy 23.1 - 32.2 mpg
Road tax cost £150 - £475
Insurance group 27 - 42 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Promises brilliant off-road ability
  • Should be excellent on-road too
  • Looks purposeful and desirable

CONS

  • Will be cramped for six adults
  • Rear-seat access requires agility
  • Not a cheap vehicle, but not poor value either

Land Rover Defender 90 rivals

Written by Keith Adams on

Land Rover has brought back its legendary Defender in two versions – the longer, more family-friendly Defender 110, and this, the Defender 90. If you're wondering, the numbers refer to the distance in inches between their front and rear axles.

Shorter and fitted with just two passenger doors, the 90 should have the most complete set of off-road talents thanks to its reduced wheelbase, which is better for climbing and manoeuvrability.

Although Land Rover has announced prices for the Defender 90, and you're now able to spec the new model, deliveries won't be taking place until later in 2020. At the time of writing, the entry price for the 90 is £40,290, which is around £5,000 cheaper than the larger Defender 110.

What you get for the money

For that price tag, buyers will be getting an incredibly capable off-road vehicle. Land Rover’s worked very hard to ensure the new Defender 90 is every bit as proficient on the rough stuff as its legendary predecessor.

The Defender 90 will be the one to go for if you're after the ultimate off-road ability thanks to improved approach and departure angles as well as less chance of dragging its underside over crests.

In fact, Land Rover calls it ‘the most capable Land Rover ever made’ – a fine accolade.

It rivals models such as the Jeep Wrangler, the Toyota Land Cruiser and, to a lesser extent, the far cheaper Suzuki Jimny. Just bear in mind that if you want a new Jimny, you're probably already too late as there's a waiting list, and it goes off-sale in the UK at the end of 2020.

Trim levels from utilitarian to luxurious

Stepping up from the unnamed base trim, S models add alloy wheels, more adjustment for the seat, digital dials and some extra leather. SE models get front foglights, more sophisticated LED headlights, keyless entry and Land Rover’s ‘Clearsight’ digital rear view mirror.

Land Rover Defender 90 (2020) interior view

Above this sits HSE, which adds a fabric sunroof to 90 models in addition to adaptive cruise control, a heated steering wheel and ventilation for the front seats.

Range-topping X models, meanwhile, add walnut veneer to the dashboard, a gloss black bonnet, an exterior styling pack, surround sound and a glut of off-road technologies. Adventure, Explorer, Country and Urban packs can be added to any of these cars to customise them further.

There will also be a Land Rover Defender Commercial van based on the 90 platform, for people who need a tough, off-road capable goods vehicle.

Petrol and diesel engines available

The Defender 90 has the same engine line-up as its larger sibling. The entry-level engine is 2.0-litre diesel, but even this has 200hp. Above this you can choose between a 240hp version of the same diesel engine or a 300hp 2.0-litre petrol, both priced at an identical £43,345 at the time of writing.

The range-topper is a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder petrol with 400hp. It’s available only in the very top trim level, though, giving it a hefty price tag of £75,475 – before options.

All Defender engines are paired to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. A plug-in hybrid version is set to join the range later in 2020, using similar technology to the recently-launched Land Rover Discovery Sport and Range Rover Evoque PHEVs.

Speaking of options, Land Rover says more than half of buyers of the 110 have opted for one of four optional ‘Accessory Packs’ – we’d expect to see this pattern mirrored for the 90.

That’s not to say the trim levels themselves are poorly equipped, as all models are come with all-round LED lights, heated seats and windscreen, a 10.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system and dual-zone climate control.

Defender 90s also come with a central ‘jump seat’ in the front, making this one of the smallest six-seater cars on the market, ideal for big families. Order books are open now.

We've yet to drive the Land Rover Defender 90, so please check back to see how we rate one of 2020's most hotly anticipated new cars.

Further reading:

Read on to see whether we recommend ordering a Land Rover Defender 90

Land Rover Defender 90 (2020) rear view

Land Rover Defender 90 rivals

Other Land Rover Defender models: