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Land Rover Defender Review & Prices

The new Land Rover Defender is a cool-looking, well-equipped and extremely capable off-roader, but top-spec models are quite expensive and there are better seven-seaters

Buy or lease the Land Rover Defender at a price you’ll love
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RRP £60,705 - £116,580
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This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Modern design looks cool
  • Awesome off-road capabilities
  • Lots of personalisation options

What's not so good

  • A Discovery is better at seating seven
  • Top models are Range Rover money
  • Land Rover's poor reliability record

Find out more about the Land Rover Defender

Is the Land Rover Defender a good car?

The Land Rover Defender is a large SUV that is so full of off-road tech it can cope with just about every adverse situation imaginable.

It’ll deal with the school run extremely well – where it’ll make alternatives such as the Mercedes GLE or Volvo XC90 look decidedly soft next to its roughty-toughty exterior.

It can still do everything those posh lifestyle SUVs can do, though, which is a bit like discovering that David Beckham is actually really good at farming as well as football. It’s so good at day-to-day driving, in fact, it won the Best Large SUV in the 2021 carwow Car of the Year Awards.

You can clearly see the original Land Rover in the design of the new Defender. This is especially the case at the rear, with its flat back end, complete with spare wheel and side-hinged rear door that opens outwards; and the Alpine lights in the roof.

As with the original, the new Land Rover Defender can be had as a three-door (and short-wheelbase) 90 model; or as a five-door 110 model. You can customise your own car’s look with a range of optional accessories that includes everything from protective body panels to a raised air intake for when you’re wading through deep water.

The interior is a mixture of traditional and modern, like a fashionable city-centre flat with top-spec tech and exposed brickwork. Soft materials sit alongside deliberately exposed screws and rubber floor mats (though you can get carpet if you like). Every Defender also comes with a 11.4-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

There is enough room in the back of the three-door 90 model for adults to sit comfortably, but with the seats in place there’s hardly any boot space. If you regularly use your Defender for family transport you’ll want the bigger five-door 110 car. This can be had with five, six or seven seats.

We think the best Defender is the D250 diesel engine paired with HSE trim. Head to our deals page to make sure you get the best price on one!

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
carwow expert

That said, if you regularly need to use all seven seats, a Land Rover Discovery is probably a better bet. The boot of the 110 model is pretty decent too, bigger than you’ll find in comparable Toyota Land Cruiser and Jeep Wrangler models.

However, the 90 version isn’t so good; the 397-litre capacity sounds okay but the shape of the space is awkward, and there’s a large ridge in the floor when you fold down the rear seats.

The Defender comes with a choice of three diesel engines and three petrol engines. All get an eight-speed automatic gearbox and four-wheel drive as standard. The D250 diesel is the sweet spot in terms of price, performance, fuel economy and pulling power.

Speaking of, the Land Rover Defender can tow a 3,500kg trailer and wade through water 90cm deep – that’s more than even the uber-rugged Jeep Wrangler can manage, or any pick-up truck.

You also get plenty of high-tech driver-assistance systems that’ll help a complete novice tackle tricky off-road trails like a seasoned pro and a suite of active safety systems designed to help prevent avoidable collisions on the road.

Despite its off-road capability the Defender is quite good to drive around town. Cars with air suspension are especially comfortable, and the steering is light, making it easy to manoeuvre. Visibility is good out the front but the spare wheel gets in the way of the view out the rear.

So it’s great off-road, good on-road, practical, spacious and loaded with clever tech. If that matches your checklist for your next new car have a look at the latest Land Rover Defender deals, or head to our Used Land Rover area to pick up a nearly-new bargain.

How much is the Land Rover Defender?

The Land Rover Defender has a RRP range of £60,705 to £116,580. Prices start at £60,705 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £722. The price of a used Land Rover Defender on carwow starts at £55,995.

Our 3 most popular versions of the Land Rover Defender are:

Model version carwow price from
3.0 D250 X-Dynamic S 110 5dr Auto £62,405 Compare offers
3.0 D250 X-Dynamic SE 90 3dr Auto £60,705 Compare offers
2.0 P400e X-Dynamic S 110 5dr Auto £72,200 Compare offers

It’s possible — not even difficult — to buy a Defender with a £100,000+ price tag (just tick the boxes for the V8 Carpathian Edition and it’s downright easy…). Prices start at over £60,000, and in basic form the Defender is perfectly price competitive with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz GLE and the Volvo XC90, while being rather more versatile than either of those. A dip into the long options list will soon have that price skyrocketing though, and of course unlike those two rivals you can also choose from short-wheelbase Defender 90 (a Defender coupe? Kind of…) and long-wheelbase, eight-seat Defender 130 models. The good news is that the basic D250 six-cylinder engine is also one of the best power options available, although if you want the plug-in hybrid P400e version you’re going to have to spend extra as that’s only available with ritzy X-Dynamic, XS, or X trim levels. Or you could just blow the whole budget and get the 525hp supercharged V8 version.

Performance and drive comfort

Sensible all-round, but the ride is a touch firm

In town

You should really be taking your Defender across the Kalahari, or for a gentle jaunt along the banks of the Congo, but the sad fact is that most people will drive their big SUVs in town. Do that in the Defender and you’ll find that the air suspension is the automotive equivalent of valium — it just makes everything soft and floaty, and that’s even with the hefty standard-fit 20-inch alloy wheels. Speed humps are nothing to this car. 

The steering is super-light and you have excellent visibility because you’re sat up so high, so the Defender is actually pretty easy to manoeuvre. The huge door mirrors are helpful, too. The only issue is that the brake pedal is super-sensitive, and seems to slam on the anchors with the slightest touch. You will also find that rear visibility is blocked by the big spare wheel sitting on the boot door, but the Defender’s standard 3D camera parking system helps with that, as does the optional digital rear view mirror. 

On the motorway

The softly-softly air suspension means that the Defender is also hugely comfortable on major roads and motorways, and to be honest it cruises with the sort of comfort that you’d expect from the much posher Range Rover. It is a bit noisy at times — there’s plenty of wind rush around those big door mirrors, and if you’ve fitted your Defender with off-road tyres, those will make quite a bit of noise too — but it’s actually a very relaxing, easy-going thing to drive. Again, owners and drivers of original Defenders will be astonished by how smooth this thing is, and it’s not far off the kind of refinement and long-haul comfort you’d get from more road-biased models such as the Mercedes GLE and Volvo XC90. The front seats help when it comes to motorway comfort too, as they’re very comfy and supportive. Land Rover fits the Defender, as standard, with lots of safety kit to help make long journeys easier, including blind-spot warning, radar-guided cruise control, and lane-keeping steering. All of these work pretty well, and are definitely useful on a long run. 

On a twisty road

On faster roads, the Defender is so much better to drive than the original car that bore this name that it’s actually kinda funny. It now feels like a luxurious SUV in corners, rather than a tin shed on wheels. Even in basic form the Defender feels just about quick enough, while the P400e plug-in hybrid feels almost indecently rapid for something so big. Through corners, where the old Defender was rubbish, this one is actually pretty good. It’s not sporty — c’mon, of course it’s not — but even though the steering is pretty vague (if you want a big SUV with sharp steering, buy a BMW X5) the Defender actually corners pretty neatly, even enthusiastically at times.

Space and practicality

A massive car that’s massively practical, as long as you ignore the small three-door 90 model


The Defender’s cabin might just be the most out-and-out practical of any car on sale today. That big, wide dashboard is essentially one big shelf, interrupted only by the instrument panel and the infotainment screen. The inside of the shelf is rubberised, so things stay put and it’s dotted with lots of useful USB and 12-volt sockets. There is a big glovebox, but that’s dwarfed by massive storage bins in and under the centre console, big cup-holders, and huge door bins. You can have an optional fridge in the vast storage box that sits under the front armrest, or alternatively you can throw out the big centre console and have an optional jump-seat in-between the front seats, which is a bit on the small side but it’s great fun for kids. 

Space in the back seats

If you’re regularly carrying adults in the back of your Defender, get the 110 or 130 versions, as although the short wheelbase 90 actually has decent space in the back seats, getting in and out is a bit gymnastic. With those big back doors, though, the 110 and 130 are really easy to get in and out of, and there’s loads of legroom and headroom, even for tall passengers. Even the middle rear seat is reasonably comfy, with plenty of room for feet thanks to the fact that the floor is almost totally flat. You can have an optional third row of folding seats in the boot of the Defender, but to be honest those third-row seats are not as roomy as those of the Discovery. Of course, there’s now also the longer Defender 130, which has seats for eight and lots of space in the rear cabin, so choose your Defender carefully. 

You can have your Defender with nice, comfy carpets in the back, or with a plastic floor with chunky rubber mats if you’re going to be putting lots of mucky feet and paws back there. There’s a handy row of USB and 12-volt sockets mounted down low for rear seat passengers, and we love the little ‘Alpine Light’ windows in the roof, which do let in a bit of extra light. The view out is great, thanks to big, square windows and a straight windowsill. 

Boot space

With 875 litres of rear loadspace for the 110 model, the Defender is hugely practical. There’s no load lip, and if you find that the boot sill is a little too high off the ground for you, then with air suspension there’s a button inside the boot door that allows you to lower the rear of the car a few inches to make loading up easier. The boot is square-shaped, and it comes not only with luggage hooks and tie-down points, but with an actual three-pin domestic-style socket in there if you need to charge anything up as you’re driving. Now, you need to note that the shorter Defender 90 is not so practical, with only 397 litres of boot volume if the rear seats are in use. The hybrid P400e also has a slightly smaller boot, because of the need to stash its battery under the boot floor, but it only drops by a few litres. Need more than even the 110 can offer? Have a look at the stretched Defender 130, which has a claimed 1,015 litres of boot space with the third row of seats folded away, and more than 2,300 litres if you fold down all the back seats.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

Industrial chic, and a good touchscreen, but there are a few cheaper materials further down the cabin

The Defender’s cabin looks a bit like a fancy flat in London that has exposed brick walls and steel beams — it’s expensive, but it looks kind of industrial too. You get a powder-coated finish to some of the surfaces, including the back of the dashboard which gets a big Defender logo embossed into it — and a mixture of soft-touch leather and some rugged-feeling plastics. There are also exposed bolt-heads and some body-colour metal panels. It’s all very comfortable, and the seats now come with a man-made leather option called ‘Resist’ which Land Rover says has a lower carbon footprint than actual cow-skin. The big screen in the centre of the dashboard gets Land Rover’s recently introduced ‘Pivi Pro’ software, which looks slick and is pretty easy to use. You get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connections, and even over-the-air software updates thanks to a built-in internet connection. For reference’s sake, the old Defender got a tape-deck and a little clock. You will find some cheaper materials when you start looking lower down in the cabin, such as in the door bins, but that’s probably acceptable. Overall quality is very good, and the whole interior seems well put-together which is good — Land Rover has a terrible reputation for quality, and it needs cars like the Defender to start turning that around.

MPG, emissions and tax

All of the engines on offer, aside from the V8 and the plug-in hybrid, get mild-hybrid electric assistance, but the Defender is a big, heavy car (at minimum, it weighs 2.4-tonnes) and it has the aerodynamic properties of a breeze block, so you’ll be expecting the fuel economy to be quite poor. And for the most part, it is. If you’re very gentle with the D250 six-cylinder mild-hybrid diesel, then you might get 35mpg out of it on a long run. If you’re doing lots of driving in town, or if you’re actually making use of the Defender’s off-road ability and heading off into the forests, then that will easily drop to around 25mpg. 

The P300 turbo petrol is a surprisingly good engine, but it will be thirsty and you’ll be lucky to get 20mpg out of it. The V8? Don’t buy one unless you have shares in Texaco — 15mpg if you’re lucky. 

The outlier is the P400e plug-in hybrid. Officially, that engine has an official economy figure of 109mpg, which is obviously pretty daft, but it will go for a claimed 27 miles on electric power with a fully-charged battery, and you can even fast charge it from a public 50kW charging point (although expect death stares from Nissan Leaf owners if you do…). Make full use of the hybrid battery for short journeys and you can potentially tickle some very impressive economy out of the Defender PHEV, and it’ll return a solid 35mpg on a long run, so it’s the best of the engines from an economy perspective. 

That P400e’s CO2 emissions start from 59g/km which obviously makes it the best choice from a tax perspective. The regular D250 and D300 diesels have emissions above 223g/km so as a private user you’ll have to pay £1,420 in the first year, plus the £335 levy for cars costing more than £40,000. A V8? Well, with emissions of 332g/km(!) you’ll have to pay £2,365 plus the £335 levy in year one. But if you can afford the V8, you probably won’t care.

Safety & security

The Defender gets a very good safety rating from the independent crash test experts at Euro NCAP: five-stars, with an 85% rating for both adult and child occupant safety. Interestingly, the Defender also gets a very impressive 71% rating for ‘vulnerable road user’ protection, which possibly gives lie to the theory that big SUVs such as this are inherently dangerous for other road users. 

Standard safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking with cyclist and pedestrian detection, active cruise control, blind spot monitor, rear traffic crossing monitor, a 3D surround camera system, lane-keeping steering, ISOFIX points in the rear seats, and wade sensing — which uses the parking sensors to work out how deep standing water in front of the car is. In fact, the Defender can wade through almost a metre of standing water, and the limiting factor isn’t the height of the air intake, but the fact that at over 900mm of depth the rear wheels start to float…

Reliability and problems

Land Rover has a pretty poor rep when it comes to quality and reliability, with as many as a third of owners reporting faults with their car in the first year. The Defender ought to do better than that, as it’s built in a brand-new factory in Slovakia, and it’s certainly a high-quality item when it’s factory-fresh. Some owners have reported issues with the electrics, and initially the software for the infotainment system was pretty flaky, but that seems to have been sorted with a recent update. Early Defenders suffered poor door and window seals, too. There have been reports of multiple cracked windscreens, as well as problems with the rear lights and the gearbox and differentials. Land Rover does offer a three-year unlimited mileage warranty as standard, and that can — for an extra cost — be extended out to ten years and 100,000-miles.

Buy or lease the Land Rover Defender at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £60,705 - £116,580
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Compare new offers Compare used deals
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