Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Uncluttered, easy to use dashboard
  • Much improved infotainment system
  • Great all-round visibility

Inside, the Defender 90 shares its dashboard layout with the larger 110 – this is a good thing. It looks and feels practical with a multitude of slots and cubbies for all of your belongings without feeling unnecessarily bleak or agricultural.

Various finish options allow it to feel a bit more luxurious, with two-tone leather and wooden veneers if that’s the kind of look you’re after.

Ahead of the driver, the 12.3-inch instrument display is clear, as is the head-up display when fitted – the graphics certainly look sharper than we’ve experienced in other recent JLR cars.

Controlling the infotainment is a new 10.0-inch package called Pivi Pro. Although the interface looks similar to older models’ InTouch system, it operates much quicker, running off its own electrical system so that you don’t have to fire-up the ignition to boot it up. Naturally, it’s compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Most of the interior plastics for buttons and switches feel of a good quality and operate in a reassuringly robust manner – it’s only really the flimsier materials around the airvents on top of the dash that feel cheap on a car of this price.

Excellent vantage point

From the driver’s seat you have a commanding view of your surroundings, while also being very aware of the Defender 90’s perpendicular extremities, making it easy to place on the road.

Those sheer extremes can be a hindrance when parking in tighter urban confines or traversing tricky off-road routes, though, so Land Rover’s provided a suite of exterior cameras to help you out.

A pair pointing down from the door mirrors show where the front wheels are, while the ClearSight Rear View turns the interior mirror into a display screen showing what’s going on behind without being impinged by the spare wheel or narrow window aperture.

Even more impressive is the ClearView system for the front: displaying on the Pivi Pro screen, it makes the bonnet appear invisible, further enabling you to move the Defender with pinpoint accuracy.

Is the Defender 90 comfortable?

  • Lots of space for passengers front and rear
  • Can feel claustrophobic in the back depending on options
  • Air suspension and opening roofs worth considering

For five people, the Defender 90 is a comfy SUV in which to soak up long on-road journeys or more adventurous ones off the beaten track.

Combined with the air suspension package – standard on the 90 X, optional on all others, but something we’d recommend going for – the cushioning effect is appreciable, without making the ride quality wallowy or nausea-inducing.

The front seats have a wide range of adjustment and are both comfortable and supportive whether you’re negotiating a steep incline or the M25 on a grim Monday morning, but the optional middle jump seat is more compromised.

You have to be of slender build and not especially tall to fit into it and have space for your legs – small adults and younger teens are best suited to it – but depending on your family’s needs it could prove useful to have for occasional use. It’s also set back compared with the driver’s seat, so theoretically there shouldn’t be any shoulder rubbing if it’s occupied.

Roomy in the back, but daylight could be at a premium

As mentioned previously, there’s an enormous amount of rear legroom for Defender 90 passengers which, combined with the flat roof, ensures that taller occupants will be comfy as there's plenty of headroom.

When in standard form, the side windows provide an uninterrupted view of the outdoors, amplified by the slim Alpine windows above, mounted where the roof joins the body.

However, when the side-mounted gear carriers are fitted along with the body-coloured square decor panels that mimic the ones that feature on all 110s, it feels very dark in the back. Ensure you sample both before you sign on the dotted line.

Defender 90s in HSE and X specifications also come with a glazed roof, the front panel of which opens. This is optional on less expensive trim levels, while all versions can be fitted with an electrically operated fabric roof. It’s not a full convertible, rather the material concertinas towards the rear of the car making it feel much more open, further heightened when off-roading and you can hear mud squelching and branches snapping as you progress.