- Long-awaited new Land Rover Defender
- Wide range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines
- Loads of optional accessories
- Traditionalists will hate it
- Land Rover doesn’t have the best reliability record
- It’s not cheap...
That explains why we’ve been waiting so long for the latest Land Rover Defender 110. The final example of the last model rolled off the Solihull production line in 2016 - tracing its roots all the way back to the original 1948 Land-Rover Series 1. Since then, Land Rover’s been trying to strike the right balance between old and new. It wants to appeal to its traditional enthusiast and rural clientele, yet also bring in fresh buyers that would ordinarily be buying a Mercedes-Benz G-Class.
The new Land Rover Defender 110, revealed in 2020, will be built in Slovakia and is unmistakably Defender. It’s got a distinctive silhouette, with a boxy outline and a spare wheel on the rear door. It’s more modern than before - much more modern than before - with high-spec models getting matrix LED headlights, 20-inch alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof.
The interior is dominated by a crossbeam running along the width of the car, while a 10-inch infotainment screen sits on the centre console. The Land Rover Defender 110 is more technologically advanced than the old model (which is a bit like saying the Tesla Model 3 is more technologically advanced than a Morris Minor).
Land Rover says its new Pivi Pro infotainment system is more intuitive and user-friendly than previous versions, with instant responses and requiring fewer inputs to perform frequently used tasks. Most models also come with a fancy 12.3-inch interactive driver display which sits behind the steering wheel, allowing the driver to switch between navigation and conventional dials or a combination of the two. Meanwhile, over-the-air updates will ensure the latest Land Rover Defender is always kept up-to-date.
The Land Rover Defender 110 model range is spectacularly complex, so bear with us. There are three trim levels - S, SE, and HSE, but also versions, and not all of these versions can be had in all trim levels. So the basic Defender can be had in SE and HSE, the Defender X Dynamic can be had in S, SE and HSE, but the Defender XS Edition, Defender X, Defender V8 are all standalone versions that come in a single specification. All are well-equipped, with higher-spec models in particular having a much more premium feel than owners of the old Defender could ever dream of. But then, higher-spec models will cost you in the region of £80,000...
Customers will also be able to complicate matters further and personalise their vehicle in more ways than any previous Land Rover with four distinct accessory packs. The Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban packs each give Defender a distinct character with a specially selected range of modifications. On top of this, there are no fewer than 170 individual accessories available - ranging from a side-mounted gear carrier to an electric winch and rooftop tent.
The Land Rover Defender 110 engine range has been updated already since launch. It now offers two diesel options, both 3.0-litre six-cylinder options offering 249PS and 300PS, badged D250 and D300. They also include mild hybrid technology to help save a little fuel.
The Land Rover Defender 110 P400 option is a 3.0-litre turbocharged petrol offering 400PS and 550Nm of torque, while you can also choose a plug-in hybrid dubbed P400E, which offers 404PS and a healthy 640Nm of torque with up to 27 miles of range on pure electric power.
There's even a V8 version now if you're really keen on racking up those fuel bills. With 525PS and 625Nm of torque it's as close as you're going to get to a performance Defender - it can crack 0-62mph in just 5.4 seconds.
Of course, being a Defender, the latest 110 is loaded with clever technology to ensure it’ll never get stuck off-road. All models come with four-wheel-drive, naturally, with Terrain Response - Land Rover’s off-road system which tweaks vehicle settings depending on the terrain (sand or mud, for example).
Air suspension is also standard on the Land Rover Defender 110, along with a 3D surround camera which can provide an augmented visualisation when wading deep water or reversing a trailer.
Is the Land Rover Defender right for you?
The new Land Rover Defender 110 is a very different beast from its predecessor, so if you're a fan of the original you might find its replacement a bit fancy. However, there's no denying that the 2022 Land Rover Defender is an enormously capable vehicle, as spectacular off-road as its bloodline demands but comfortable, practical and modern with it. The downside is the price - there are cars that can perform all the same tricks for less money - but none have the same cache as that Defender badge.
What other cars are similar to the Land Rover Defender?
The obvious rivals include the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Jeep Wrangler. You could also consider the Suzuki Jimny, if you fancy a cute retro off-roader, while more affordable workhorses include the Toyota Hilux, Mitsubishi L200 and Nissan Navara. In truth, the latest Defender is probably more of an alternative to premium SUVs, like the Land Rover Discovery, Toyota Land Cruiser and even the Audi Q7, BMW X5, Mercedes GLE and Volvo XC90.
In terms of comfort, the new Land Rover Defender 110 is a country mile away from the old car. It's as accomodating and quiet in here as similar-sized premium SUVs, and the driving position is lofty to give you the commanding view that makes them such a popular choice.
It's also a little more straightforward inside compared to conventional rivals. That's not to say it isn't loaded with technology, but the touchscreen and the major controls are all grouped high up on the dashboard and the centre console is designed to carry stuff rather than housing a lot of buttons. Despite this, the Defender is no longer the kind of car you'd clean out using a hosepipe.
Quality and finish
The Land Rover Defender 110 has certainly been influenced by the other premium Land Rover models, but it hasn't completely abandoned its practical roots in favour of pure luxury.
There’s a clever dash-mounted gear shifter, which allows space for an optional central front ‘jump’ seat which allows three-abreast seating - just like an old Land Rover, and the design of the interior has been executed with tough conditions in mind. Many of the switches are larger than normal so you can operate them while wearing gloves, and there are plenty of surfaces with a rubberised finish.
Infotainment: Touchscreen, USB, nav and stereo in the Land Rover Defender 110
The Land Rover Defender 110 uses its latest Pivi Pro infotainment screen, which has a 10-inch screen as standard with an 11.4-inch version on HSE trim and above. Most models also come with a fancy 12.3-inch interactive driver display which sits behind the steering wheel, allowing the driver to switch between navigation and conventional dials or a combination of the two.
It's one of the better systems on the market, offering clear rather than overcomplicated graphics and operates in a slick fashion. Meanwhile, over-the-air updates will ensure the latest Land Rover Defender is always kept up-to-date.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are included as standard on all models, while the standard audio offering is an excellent Meridian Sound System with 400W, 10 speakers and a subwoofer. An upgraded 700W system with 14 speakers plus woofer is available as an