4.5 out of 5 4.5
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

Brilliantly re-imagined icon is epic both on- and off-road

Land Rover Defender 110 (19 on) - rated 4.5 out of 5
Enlarge 41 photos

At a glance

New price £49,665 - £106,320
Lease from new From £661 p/m View lease deals
Used price £40,640 - £99,080
Fuel Economy 18.7 - 85.6 mpg
Road tax cost £480 - £490
Insurance group 31 - 49 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Awesome off-road ability
  • Excellent to drive on the road
  • Civilised, with mass-market appeal

CONS

  • Tick too many options and it gets expensive
  • Fewer configurations for hard work
  • Doesn't come with seven seats as standard

Land Rover Defender 110 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
G-Class
3.6 out of 5 3.6

Written by Keith Adams on

Is the Land Rover Defender 110 any good?

The original Defender may have been around since 1990, but it was a glacial evolution of the first Land Rover launched way back in 1948. Replacing what is probably the world’s best-known off-roader, was always going to be tough. That’s why it took Land Rover so long. But rugged off-roaders are no longer big sellers – what's needed is comfort and sophistication, on and off road.

And that's why today's Defender is a smooth, sophisticated – and expensive – off-roader. Its rivals are a selection of SUVs including the Toyota Land Cruiser, Volkswagen Touareg and even the significantly pricier Mercedes-Benz G-Class. But it offers more choice than most, available in two guises: the long-wheelbase 110 and the shorter 90. The Hard Top commercial version went on sale in 2020.

The good news is that the Defender is a consumate all-rounder – an off-roader that can climb any mountain pass and comfortably cruise up the M1 equally well. Just how well, you can find out by reading on...

Read the Land Rover Defender verdict

What's it like inside?

Inside, the Defender has LCD screens for the instrumentation, a state-of-the-art infotainment system dubbed PiviPro, and access to a suite of electronic wizardry to make driving on- and off-road a cinch. Yet you can still possibly hose down the cabin if it’s clarted with mud after a day of cross-country adventuring.

It's a roomy five seater, but you can optionally equip it with a pair of additional rear pews, to make it a seven seater. But beyond that, you can also choose an additional place up front, in the form of a convertible storage box, to make eight. That makes the Defender 110 uniquely adaptable in its class.

Read more on the Land Rover Defender interior

Land Rover Defender 110 (2020) dashboard view

What's it like to drive?

The Defender’s engine range consists of turbocharged, mild hybrid straight-sixes, with a plug-in hybrid and a powerful V8 bookending the efficiency and performance offerings respectively. On the road, it's comfortable and surprisingly agile for a car of its size, and has brilliant steering and handling – an astonishing achievement.

As you'd expect, the Defender is Land Rover’s most capable off-road vehicle, too. It rides 20mm higher than other models in the range and is very agile off-road, able to traverse sharp inclines with ease. Suspension travel of up to 500mm ensures the Defender can maintain four wheels on the ground in all but the most extreme circumstances.

Coil springs are standard for the independent suspension, but an adaptive air sprung system is optional, making the on- and off-road experience more sophisticated. Not only can the air springs elevate the Defender by 70mm over tricky terrain, they can lower it by 50mm to make passenger entry and exit less of a climbing exercise.

Read more on how the Land Rover Defender drives

What off-road tech is there?

Other familiar features such as All-Terrain Progress Control – effectively a slow-speed off-road cruise control and ClearSight Ground View to render the an on-screen image of what’s going on underneath the car are combined with the new Defender’s ability to wade through up to 900mm of water.

Drivers can vary the slip levels of the differentials using the Pivi Pro touchscreen system, affording a much greater degree of precision to maintain traction in the trickiest of conditions.

The Defender can also be left to its own devices leaving the Terrain Response 2 system in automatic mode, where it determines what kind of surface is being driven on and varies the throttle response and traction control accordingly.

What models and trims are available?

The Defender 110 starts at £45,240 for the most basic version before the extensive range of 170 extra-cost options is plundered. The shorter 90 sister car starts at £40,290, with the Defender Commercial kicking-off from £35,000 plus VAT.

Elsewhere, the cheapest plug-in hybrid 110 starts at £65,195 and the entry price for a performance-orientated V8 model is £101,220.

There are five trim levels on offer in the regular range, with increasing levels of equipment and visual differentiation starting at the base Defender, progressing through S, SE and HSE before reaching the range-topping X.

What else should I know?

Land Rover has chosen not to trek along the same path Mercedes-Benz did with its latest G-Class, a model that was also new at launch in 2018, but which slavishly followed the styling template laid down by the late-1970s G-Wagen.

Instead the new Defender 110 is an utterly modern SUV that pays homage to the original in some of the detailing, such as its upright silhouette, the strong shoulder line and the side-hinged tailgate-mounted spare wheel.

But there are plenty of twists that herald a new era, not least those body coloured panels seemingly mounted in the rear side glass, that have practical applications, too.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the Land Rover Defender including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

Land Rover Defender 110 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
G-Class
3.6 out of 5 3.6

Other Land Rover Defender models: