Parkers overall rating: 4.7 out of 5 4.7
  • Diesel and petrol only, no hybrids
  • Refined and capable
  • Brilliant off-road

The Defender 110 gets 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.

Diesels are expected to be the most popular of the initial powerplants. Both are 2.0-litre four-cylinder motors producing 200hp in the D200 and 240hp in the D240. The P300 has a 300hp petrol motor the same configuration as the diesels, while the punchier P400 features a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol, with – you guessed it – 400hp

All Defender 110s come with an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with low-range capability and – unsurprisingly – four-wheel drive as standard. Performance figures are as follows:

Defender 110

  • D200: 109mph top speed, 0-62mph 10.3 seconds
  • D240: 117mph top speed, 0-62mph 9.1 seconds
  • P300: 119mph top speed, 0-62mph 8.1 seconds
  • P400: 119-129mph top speed, 0-62mph 6.4 seconds

What's it like to drive?

  • Highly accomplished off road...
  • ...and very impressive on it
  • Almost unlimited traction and driver assistance settings

Our drive took place in Namibia. The vast majority was off-road but there was some on-road, too. The main test car was a £51,750 D240 110 diesel, although we also sampled the pricey top-of-the-range £78,800 P400 X 110 that uses Jaguar Land Rover’s new mild-hybrid straight-six petrol engine. This powertrain is mostly aimed at the US market.

Both on- and off-road the new Defender 110 is highly impressive. On the rough tracks of Namibia, the sophisticated electronic traction controls, permanent four-wheel drive, active centre and rear diff locks, low range, supple height adjustable air suspension, short overhangs and long wheel travel all combine to produce a car that has truly astonishing capability.

Better off-road than an old Defender 110? Yes, but the improvement is mostly in the ease with which the new car conquers the toughest terrain. The sophisticated traction systems mean the new car needs considerably less driver input and skill to traverse the roughest tracks. It can also climb rocks, sand and sludge with much greater precision and deftness.

Massive improvements over the old Defender 110

The aluminium body, a toughened version of the one that the latest Discovery and big Range Rover are based upon, is much stiffer than the old Defender 110. As a consequence, the whole car feels much tauter. The independent suspension also absorbs bumps with more ease than the old Defender’s rugged but primitive set-up.

The upshot is that on gravel or corrugated roads, the new car can be driven much faster and with much greater confidence, comfort and stability. On road, the new car handles more precisely than a big Range Rover or Discovery, reflecting its smaller size.

It’s sharper and more involving. Its square style and high driving position – more ‘command view’ than the recent Land Rover or Range Rover norm – also makes it an easy car to thread through town and to park. The latter is helped by various external cameras that also help off-roading. These include a clever piece of tech that effectively allows you to see through the bonnet.