LAND ROVER DEFENDER: a car worthy of its famous name

TO be a defender you have to be big in most situations – and the motoring world is no different.

Consequently, the Land Rover Defender is big. Not huge and ungainly, but big in a reassuringly tough sort of way.In much the same way as its legendary predecessor, in fact, but now it’s literally world’s apart from its more agricultural ancestor.

It’ll still perform the tasks for which the name Defender still evokes unbridled confidence when the going gets tough on steep slopes and muddy fields, but it will also find a ready market in more urban surroundings for those who like their transport to have a more luxurious feel. The latest Chelsea tractor, if you like.

It’s taken them a long time to replace the iconic 4×4 Defender, and probably a lot of questioning whether they could or should, but be thankful they have.Instead of wearing the utilitarian badge, the new Defender proudly shows off the latest in technology and luxury – but it can still roll its sleeves up and get down and dirty if needed.

There’s a level of refinement in use that could only be dreamed about years ago. Gone is the thudding suspension, distinct lack of comfort and overall basic level of everything.

The 3.0 litre diesel under the bonnet here seems remarkably subdued in use, yet still hints at the levels of grunt available when needed. Open road motoring is now actually a joy to undertake, such is the level of refinement now on offer.The accent is most definitely on a far higher degree of comfort for the occupants, whatever situation they find themselves in.

There’s a generous supply of cup-holders, power outlets and air vents around the cabin. Overall refinement is good and the front seats have plenty of adjustment, so you can easily find the most comfortable position.

S trim here gives you extra kit such as automatic headlights, and there are also clever touches to help you with towing – the on-board cameras assist when lining-up a trailer, while the air suspension can raise and lower to make hitching-up easier.

The ClearSight system is another handy addition and comes with Mirror or Ground functions. The rear-view mirror can be used normally, but is also able to display a rear-facing camera feed when the rear screen is too dirty to see out of. The only drawback with using the camera is your view aft can be restricted to the roof rails of the vehicle behind!

Defender comes with air suspension, twin speed transmission, , locking centre and active rear locking diffs and Land Rover’s latest Terrain Response tech.

There are three diesel engines on offer: the D200, D250 and D300 with 197bhp, 247bhp and 296bhp – all versions of a 3.0-litre, six-cylinder in-line unit with mild-hybrid tech.

There’s a definite nod to the previous model in terms of its overall look, and the proportions are Defender-like, but everything’s bigger and chunkier.

Inside you’ll find expose screw heads and a refined rawness to the cabin hints of the past – but all wrapped in a very much more user friendly package.

What else does it come with? A fairly hefty price tag, but also a level of 21st century coollness.


Land Rover Defender 110

Price: £52,985 (£66,015 as tested)
Engine: 3.0 litre, six cylinder, diesel
Power: 245bhp
Torque: 420lb/ft
Transmission: automatic
Top speed: 117mph
0-60mph: 7.9 seconds
Economy: 32.2mpg
CO2 emissions: 230 g/km

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