Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5
  • 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.

There's also a plug-in hybrid model on the way, which promises increased efficiency with no compromise in off-road ability.

Diesels are already proving 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

New diesels and plug-in hybrid for 2021

Though the Defender hasn't been on sale for long, Land Rover's already ditching the four-cylinder diesel engines it launched with in favour of a new inline-six diesel in three power outputs. Cars thus equipped will be on sale from 2021.

The new diesel will be offered as a D200, D250 and D300 - with 200hp, 250hp and 300hp respectively. 

A plug-in hybrid model will also be offered. Badged P400e, it uses the same combination as other Land Rover hybrids - a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine paired to an electric motor. They combine for a total of 404hp, and the Defender is capable of covering up to 27 miles on electric power alone.

We'll drive both of these new engines soon and update this page with our impressions when we have.

What's it like to drive?

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

Based on a reasonable amount of on-road miles, as well as some serious off-roading at Land Rover's famous facility at Eastnor Castle, we can confirm that the Defender is a huge step over what came before, and is capable enough on-road to make a great job of tacklingfamily car duties as well as adventuring across Africa. We tested the D240 S 110 diesel, and found its 240hp engine more than capable of delivering swift acceleration as well as impressive low-speed pulling power.

On the rough, rutted and supremely muddy test course, 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. The traction and controllability on offer, working in unison with the impressive Terrain Resonse system, mean that even inexperienced off-road drivers can confidently tackle the roughest of obstacles you'll typically find in the UK.

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 and huge ground clearance (that's improved by air suspension that can be raised when needed) 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.

Land Rover Defender 110 (2020) off-road driving, from rear