4.7 out of 5 4.7
Parkers overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 4.7

An off-road great, re-imagined for the 21st century

Land Rover Defender 110 (19 on) - rated 4.7 out of 5
Enlarge 18 photos

At a glance

New price £43,725 - £80,090
Lease from new From £567 p/m View lease deals
Fuel Economy 22.6 - 31.7 mpg
Road tax cost £465
Insurance group 31 - 44 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Awesome off-road
  • Rugged and appealing style
  • Surprisingly refined on the road

CONS

  • Pricey
  • Won’t be the working vehicle that the old Defender was
  • Shame it’s not built in Britain

Land Rover Defender 110 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
G-Class
3.6 out of 5 3.6

Written by Gavin Green on

The original Defender may have been around since 1991, 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. The changing 4x4 market also made things more difficult. Rugged off-roaders are no longer big sellers. The world wants family friendly ‘soft’ SUVs.

The world’s changed enormously since the original Land-Rover debuted in 1948, and the new Defender 110’s arsenal of on-board technology reflects that. Like its legendary predecessor, its hardcore buyers demand that it’s peerless off-road, but today's customers also expect refinement, performance and efficiency when on the asphalt. Land Rover promises that the new Defender 110 will deliver.

Set to rival other capable SUVs such as the Toyota Land Cruiser, Volkswagen Touareg and even the significantly pricier Mercedes-Benz G-Class, the new Slovakian-built Defender comes in two guises: the long-wheelbase 110 and the shorter 90, which you can order now. A commercial version will go on sale later in 2020.

Modern styling with a nod to the original

Land Rover Defender 110 (2020) side view

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, 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.

Brought up-to date with a bang

Inside, the new Defender is utterly contemporary with LCD screens for the instrumentation, an updated infotainment system dubbed Pivi Pro, access to a suite of electronic wizardry to make driving on- and off-road even more of a cinch, yet you can still hose the cabin down if it’s clarted with mud after a day of cross-country adventuring.

Depending upon the colour paint you choose, you can even have a factory fitted protective film applied to the bodywork to ensure the Defender’s better able to stand-up to the rigours of a rough and tumble life.

From launch, the Defender’s four engine options – two each of petrol and diesel – all feature turbocharging and a mild-hybrid system for efficiency and performance. Other than confirmation it’s coming, there are no official details yet on the Defender plug-in hybrid set to go on sale during 2020, but expect a 1.5-litre three-cylinder engine supporting the electric drive.

Off-road prowess assured

Land Rover Defender 110 (2020) dashboard view

The new Defender looks set to be the company’s most capable off-road vehicle. It rides 20mm higher than other Land Rovers and combined with moving the battery and other ancillary components to higher locations, as well as mounting the spare wheel on the body rather than under the car, it promises to be very agile off-road, able to traverse sharp inclines with ease.

Coil springs are standard for the fully independent suspension, but an adaptive air sprung system is optionally available, making the on- and off-road experience even more sophisticated. Suspension travel of up to 500mm ensures the Defender can maintain four wheels on the ground in all but the most extreme circumstances. 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.

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. Of course, 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.

High-tech kit to help on all surfaces

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.

The technology behind many of those off-road advances, combined with everything else Land Rover’s engineers have finessed over the past 71 years will ensure the new Defender is significantly superior to its predecessor on-road, too. Precisely how good will become clearer when we’ve had the opportunity to rigorously test it.

How much does it cost?

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's yet to be confirmed, but expect them to kick-off from £35,000 plus VAT.

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. Additionally, for the initial 12-month production run, there will be a gussied-up First Edition as well.

Land Rover Defender 110 (2020) rear view, driving

Read on for the full review of the Land Rover Defender 110, and to see how it drives in the tough terrain of Namibia

Land Rover Defender 110 rivals

Mercedes-Benz
G-Class
3.6 out of 5 3.6

Other Land Rover Defender models: