2021 Land Rover Defender Review

5/5

Overview

The 2021 Defender has a tough task ahead of it in that it has to replace the old version, a vehicle that was iconic and something of a cult classic at the same time. The old model was a utility vehicle in the strictest sense of the word – its ability to tackle whatever climate and terrain was thrown in front of it was admired by many but made it impractical to own for most people. So the new Defender has got to be as good an off-roader as the old model but in a more desirable package that somehow evokes the memory of its predecessor. Easy?! 

Pros
  • Extensive list of standard equipment
  • Interior design is both functional and robust
  • Typical Land Rover ruggedness and reputation
  • Good boot space with the rear seats down
  • State of the art infotainment system
Cons
  • Styling may be divisive to some

Exterior

If the exterior design is anything to go by then they have worked a trick – it is perfect. It manages to look completely contemporary while simultaneously invoking memories of a design that was probably old-fashioned sometime in the middle of the last century. The shape of the car helps in terms of extracting the maximum carrying space from its frame and also when parking as the driver is never in doubt as to where the bodywork is. The unassuming curves look the part and are solid at the same time. The whole shell is incredibly strong and it shares some of its base with the Discovery, but few moving parts. The Defender 110 will come with factory fitted air suspension.

Interior

The cabin is similarly unique and wonderful in equal measure. You are reminded every time you get in that you are in a utility vehicle in every sense of the word – a car tailored for all of your great escapes. It is quite roomy with plenty of space in the front and rear for driver and passengers alike and acres of legroom. There are also lots of cubby-holes and storage spaces for each of your everyday needs. The Defender 110 can be specced to come with a third row of seats while there is also a six-seat option with a central ‘jump-seat’ in the middle of the front row. There is still very much an ‘off-roader’ feel to things though with a washable floor and strong central console distinguishing this interior from the rest and allowing the owner not to worry about dirtying things unduly. The infotainment system is up to the premium-level standards you would expect while being user friendly at the same time. 

Performance

The suspension on the Defender is well capable of absorbing hard shocks and there is a noticeable lack of shudder over the kind if odd surfaces you usually find on Irish roads. It offers premium-brand levels of comfort and progressive steering, allowing you to drive smoothly no matter how winding the road might be. The D240 engine is a popular choice in Ireland and it is not hard to see why as it provides plenty of grunt, especially when mated to the assured eight-speed automatic gearbox. For a big car, it shifts up to 100 kmph with the minimum of fuss. 

Reliability

Long term reliability on this Land Rover remains to be seen but all Defenders come with a three-year warranty from the factory. 

Running Costs

The base level D20090 has fuel consumption of 32.2 miles per gallon. The good news is that the figures do not disimprove unduly as you switch to petrol with the P400 110 getting 25.2 miles per gallon, not surprising as the six-cylinder engine comes with 48V mild-hybrid technology. Land Rover do an attractive range of PCP and finance deals for customers and residuals will be strong. The main service intervals are every two years.

Handling

The axles, anti-roll bars, gear ratios, springs, diffs and tyres all work together to give you an effortless drive. It is all finely balanced of course with the latest Land Rover software with tech such as launch and traction control systems and slow-speed throttle control offering dynamic road holding ability.

Safety

The 2021 Land Rover Defender has not been tested by NCAP yet but we expect this tough bit of stuff to score well as it has an extensive list of safety equipment as standard. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
80%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The 2021 Defender has a tough task ahead of it in that it has to replace the old version, a vehicle that was iconic and something of a cult classic at the same time. The old model was a utility vehicle in the strictest sense of the word – its ability to tackle whatever climate and terrain was thrown in front of it was admired by many but made it impractical to own for most people. So the new Defender has got to be as good an off-roader as the old model but in a more desirable package that somehow evokes the memory of its predecessor. Easy?!