Land Rover Defender Review 2023

Written by Andy Brady

heycar ratingRugged 4x4 with modern twist
  • 2020
  • SUV
  • Petrol, Diesel, Plug-in Hybrid

Quick overview


  • 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...

Overall verdict on the Land Rover Defender 110

"In this Land Rover Defender review we're looking at a car that has been a long time coming, and given the terrifying loyalty some customers had for the original, it was inevitable that some people weren't going to be happy. The reality is that Land Rover has done exactly what you would expect any sensible company to do - push it upmarket, make it easy to live with and highly desirable and make sure it's still one of the world's best off-roaders."

Land Rover Defender 110 Review 2023: exterior front three quarter photo of the Land Rover Defender 110 on the road

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.

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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.

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.

Comfort and design: Land Rover Defender 110 interior

"The new Land Rover Defender 110 manages to combine modern touches with a rugged approach to interior design. Land Rover says that structural elements and fixings usually hidden from view have been exposed, with the emphasis on simplicity and practicality."

Land Rover Defender 110 Review 2023: interior close up photo of the Land Rover Defender 110 dashboard

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.

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.

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 option, and is standard on the Defender 110 V8.

The dimensions of the Land Rover Defender 110 make it 4758mm long and 1996mm wide, although it's worth bearing in mind that having the exterior spare wheel carrier on the tailgate pushes the length up to 5.0m - this is quite a large vehicle. Land Rover diehards will be disappointed to learn that the Defender 110's wheelbase is no longer 110 inches as the name suggests.

Those sizeable exterior proportions translate into excellent interior space, helped by the relatively boxy design. Those in the front have all the head, leg and shoulder room they could reasonably wish for, with an excellent view out to boot. Go for the optional 'jump seat' in the middle of the front row and you can seat six and still have all the boot space, but it's an occasional seat at best.

It's a similar story in the second row, where three adults can sit comfortably without bashing elbows all the time. Go for the 5+2 seating option and you have two seats in the third row that fold into the floor. Even those chairs offer good headroom, although legroom isn't as generous as the second row. There are better seven seat options if that's what you're looking for.


The Land Rover Defender 110 offers a loadspace behind the second-row seats of up to 1075 litres, and as much as 2390 litres when the second row is folded, which puts it up there with decent-sized vans for carrying capacity.

Handling and ride quality: What is the Land Rover Defender 110 like to drive?

"The good news is that the 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 is absolutely nothing like the original Defender when it comes to the driving experience."

Land Rover Defender 110 Review 2023: exterior front three quarter photo of the Land Rover Defender 110

As you might expect, for the most part driving the Land Rover Defender 110 is a similar experience to other Land Rover SUVs, rather than the agricultural experience of the original Defender.

It's worth remembering that this is an SUV that is designed for serious off-roading rather than being a road-biased SUV, so if you're stepping into a Land Rover Defender 110 from one of those it might come as a bit of a culture shock. It behaves perfectly well out on the road, but there is a little more bodyroll than car-like SUVs, and it isn't ideally suited to be hurried along country roads either.

Driven sensibly, like most drivers will most of the time, and the Land Rover Defender 110 is undemanding, comfortable and assured. Despite its size it is not an intimidating car to drive, which is a testament to the ease of the driving experience.

There's actually a broad range of engine options available here, although you may find that one of the two diesel options are the most suitable.

The 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel is available in 250PS D250 form and also 300PS D300 spec, both matched to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The Land Rover Defender 110 D250 is perfectly fine and has enough grunt to keep up with traffic and haul all your kit. The D300 option is nice if you can stretch to it, but it's far from essential.

The P400 option is a 3.0-litre six-cylinder petrol that offers up a serious 400PS and 550Nm of torque, enough for it to reach 0-62mph in just 6.1 seconds. It's a fun option but needs to be revved harder than the diesels in everyday driving, and will also deliver borderline terrifying fuel consumption.

The other petrol option is the Land Rover Defender 110 V8, which gets you a 5.0-litre petrol engine with 525PS and 625Nm of torque. Think of this as an alternative to cars like the Mercedes-AMG G63 and you won't be far off - it's enormous fun with so much performance but with official fuel consumption of 19.1mpg you can expect to be filling up often.

There's also the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e plug-in hybrid option, which combines a 2.0-litre petrol engine with an electric motor to offer 404PS and 640Nm of torque. It's fast too, although the official combined economy of 109.5mpg will be hard to achieve.

One useful advantage of the choosing the Land Rover Defender 110 over the shorter 90 model is that air suspension comes as standard, and this plays a significant part in its ability to smooth out poor-quality roads. It's a very comfortable car to travel in wherever you're sitting, although it is worth bearing in mind that tyre choice will affect it's on-road performance - off-road tyres are obviously less happy on-road.

It's also a relief to report that in terms of noise levels the Land Rover Defender 110 is light years ahead of its predecessor. Despite the chunky exterior wind noise is well contained, and there's little in the way of engine rumbles getting into the cabin regardless of which engine you choose.

Land Rover Defender 110 Euro NCAP awarded the Land Rover Defender 110 the full five stars when it was crash tested, which is what you would expect to see from such a new vehicle.

Even the most basic Land Rover Defender 110 you can buy comes with Lane Keep Assist, Autonomous Emergency Braking, Traffic Sign Recognition and Adaptive Speed Limiter, plus nice extras such as a 3D-surround camera, adaptive cruise control and a 360 degree parking aid. SE models add a Blind Sport Assist Pack, while HSE versions add a Rear Collision Monitor into that same feature pack.

MPG and fuel costs: What does the Land Rover Defender 110 cost to run?

"Even the most frugal of the non-hybrid Land Rover Defender 110s can't crack 40mpg, so expect fuel bills to play a significant part in overall running costs."

Land Rover Defender 110 Review 2023: exterior rear three quarter photo of the Land Rover Defender 110 off road

There's not much to choose between the D250 and the D300 in terms of WLTP consumption figures - the latter giving an official figure of 32.0mpg compared to 32.1mpg, and in the real world it will come down to how carefully you drive rather than necessarily choosing one engine over the other.

The Land Rover Defender 110 P400 and V8 versions will be significantly more expensive to run, even allowing for the price difference between petrol and diesel, with official figures of 24.2mpg and 19.1mpg respectively. Unless you're being very careful expect both to regularly return less than 20mpg or, dare we say it, single figures in the V8 if you really use the performance.

The Land Rover Defender 110 P400e gives an official WLTP consumption figure of up to 109.5mpg depending on specification, but in reality its economy will depend largely on how much driving you can do on electric power. If you're covering big miles rather than lots of short journeys one of the diesel options will likely prove cheaper in the short and long term.

It's still relatively early to tell as the Land Rover Defender 110 is still relatively new, but it's worth bearing in mind that Land Rover's reliability record isn't perfect.

The Discovery Sport came 4th in the Top 20 cars with the lowest score in the Satisfaction Index, while the brand itself came 15th out of 30 manufacturers.

All Land Rover Defender 110 models are in a high insurance group, because this is a large and quite expensive SUV. Early low-spec 110s fall into group 31, but of the current range the D250 in S trim still falls into group 37, while higher spec D250s and D300s are higher still.

At the other end of the scale, the Land Rover Defender 110 P400e is group 43 in its lowest available trim while the V8 is group 49.

After the first year, the Land Rover Defender 110 will cost £165 a year in tax, plus the £355/year premium car tax for the following five years. The mild-hybrid P400 will get a £10 reduction.

How much should you be paying for a used Land Rover Defender?

"The earliest Land Rover Defenders are approaching three years old so the supply should steadily increase. Those early cars are still commanding prices of £50,000 and upwards."

Land Rover Defender 110 Review 2023: exterior side photo of the Land Rover Defender 110

We found a 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 in most basic S trim with the D200 engine and 20,000 miles for £56,000, while a more desirable D240 First Edition with close to 50,000 miles was available for £57,000.

At the other end of the scale we found a P400 in X trim with 20,000 miles at £97,000 and a 2021 V8 with 12,000 miles for £85,000.

Highlights of the standard Land Rover Defender 110 include LED headlights, a body-coloured roof and a heated windscreen, as well as 18-inch steel wheels with all-season tyres. It gets heated eight-way adjustable front seats, while infotainment comes in the form of a 10-inch navigation system. There’s a whole heap of driver assistance features, ranging from Land Rover’s Terrain Response off-road system to cruise control and a 360-degree parking camera.

The Land Rover Defender 110 S adds automatic high-beam assist and 19-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there’s a leather steering wheel and gearshift, as well as a centre console armrest. The seats are part-leather, heated affairs with 12-way adjustment.

The Land Rover Defender 110 SE comes with premium LED headlights with signature daytime running lights, front fog lights and keyless entry. The exterior looks a bit more upmarket, thanks to body-coloured door handles and 20-inch alloy wheels. Inside, there’s Land Rover’s clever digital rear-view mirror, as well as an electric steering column and electric memory front seats. The SE also gets a premium Meridian sound system with 10 speakers, while additional driver assistance tech is provided in the form of blind-spot assist.

The high-spec Land Rover Defender 110 HSE comes with a sliding panoramic roof and matrix LED headlights. The wheels are 20-inch dark grey alloys, while the Driver Assist pack is standard. The interior gets a heated steering wheel and extended leather upgrade.

The fully-loaded Land Rover Defender 110 X features a bold appearance, including a black contrast roof and bonnet, satin chrome exterior accents, orange brake calipers, rear recovery eyes and darkened tail lights - as well as 20-inch dark grey alloy wheels.

The interior gets a walnut veneer and premium cabin lighting, as well as heated rear seats and Windsor leather upholstery. There’s a Meridien surround sound system and a head-up display. Off-road highlights include Terrain Response 2 and an electronic active differential.

The limited-run Land Rover Defender 110 First Edition features a black contrast roof (with a sliding panoramic sunroof) and Matrix LED headlights. There’s keyless entry, privacy glass and 20-inch silver alloy wheels with all-season tyres. The interior gets a heated leather steering wheel, a refrigerated compartment in the centre console, the ClearSight interior rear-view mirror and a domestic plug socket as well as 12-way electrically-adjustable heated seats. The Meridian sound system is standard, as well as a long list of driver assistance features including blind-spot assist, a 360-degree camera, wade sensing and lane-keep assist.

Ask the heycar experts: common questions

This really depends on what you plan to do with it. If you're serious about your off-roading then the Land Rover Defender 90 is possibly the better option, as its shorter wheelbase means it has a tighter turning circle which is handy in the rough stuff. However, for most people the extra space and air suspension of the Land Rover Defender 110 will make more sense.
Before the previous generation Defender was first called Defender (way back in 1990) it was sold as the 110, as this referred to the length of the wheelbase in inches. The shorter version was called the 90. The present day Land Rover Defender 110 doesn't share these dimensions (although it's not that far off), but Land Rover kept the name to connect with the old Defender's brand heritage.
The bad news if you're looking to buy one is that even the earliest 2020 version are still around the £50,000 mark, although if you search hard enough you may find one with high miles for around £40,000.

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