The Defender is dead, long live the Defender. People have been criticizing the new Defender for being too soft and lost its true purpose. But is that really the case? Time to find out!
The Defender has been known for being THE off-road icon and the latest generation has received a massive overhaul of basically everything. Whilst the new G-Class looks like a slightly more rounded off G-Class (review here), the new Defender is fundamentally different compared to the previous-gen.
It’s very much a different looking car but very refreshing. The old Defender looked dated, to say the least. Rugged maybe, but it had the aero of a container and it looked like a car from the nineties (which it arguably was).
The new Defender has nice curves along the body, unheard of in a Defender. The wide wheel arches still give off that rugged vibe as well as the pattern insert on the hood. The side-opening trunk, with the spare-wheel, is probably one of my favorite design features on the car. Hey the license plate is even centered now!
However, due to the short overhang, the Defender has for off-roading. The 110 does look a little stretched in side profile. It’s a 5-meter long car in the end. The 90 looks much more proportional but then you’ll be sacrificing on the next bit.
Immensely useable cabin
So yeah we need to talk about the interior space in here because it’s huuuge, almost feels like a lounge sitting in the back and there are tonnes of USB ports there (even in the back of the front seats) to keep all your devices charged when going hiking with the car. Oh, it also features a 230V socket in that 1.075 L big trunk. I’m a sucker for proper sockets in cars.
In the front, you can see the Defender hasn’t lost its ruggedness. The exposed bolts are a cool design feature and it has a big wheel (with buttons too much inwards on the wheel to reach) to give you a firm grip on any terrain. Practicality continues in the front in the form of an abundance of USB-ports once again. And there’s even a mini-fridge in the center console!?
Again the infotainment screen is filled with neat things next to the standard things like CarPlay, Media, and Navigation. There’s a section that has all the dimensions of the car listed. Then there’s a page with all the off-road info you need, how the differentials are individually locking and how the Defender pitches, yaws, and rolls. And then there are sensors along the car that measure how deep the car drives through the water.
And this brings us towards the next instalment.
Is it still the off-road king?
The old Defender was a true off-road king and the new one is no different. Permanent AWD, Terrain Response 2, low-range gears, lifted air suspension clearance, 2 locking diffs, and optional off-road tires still make this an off-road force to be reckoned with. It’ll go over any terrain and thanks to the short overhang, it can even tackle more pitch and roll than the old Defender could.
But the biggest change that makes it so accessible is how the camera system supplements these capabilities. A 360° view of the car with dedicated cameras to check clearance on the wheels or the invisible hood to check for any obstacles. Together with the aforementioned apps, this is not only the most capable off-road Land Rover ever but also the most accessible off-road Land Rover.
The car we drove was the P400 which is a mild-hybrid version powered by a 3.0L straight-six petrol engine producing 400 hp and 550 Nm. Which is, to be honest, more than plenty for a car this size.
It’s a silky-smooth engine with quite the soundtrack as well. Punch it and the Defender goes from 0-100 in 6,1 seconds.
However, being a car this size with an engine this size, it does like to drink. On highway use, it uses just over 10 L/100 km. The D240 is 3 seconds down but with only 120 Nm down on the P400 it should still be plenty and it will give you a better fuel figure. But if you don’t care about that, just take the P400.
And just on the side, I’d love to see this P400 being fitted to either the XE or XF as an S model, that could really work with the engine’s character.
Comfort is insane. It feels like you’re floating on a cloud thanks to the air suspension. It has become such a great car to use on a daily basis and as a family car as well. Body roll is present but not enough to make you become seasick.
Plus with a camera sitting on top of the car, by the flick of a switch, the rearview mirror turns into a rearview camera thus relieving you from obstructions in the back. It sits just a tad too high but creates so much more visibility whilst driving backwards.
The return of the king
The new Defender is a game-changer being filled with tech to not only make it a more capable off-roader but also a way more capable car on road than what it used to be. And it wins you over with its charm in only a few days. Looking for a car that can go anywhere but still bring the kids to school? Look no further.