Review - Land Rover Defender

AF By Alexi Falson October 19, 2021

image for Review - Land Rover Defender The Land Rover Defender 110 is a car that seems almost too good to be true on paper, promising a large, luxurious, and comfortable package that is more than adept at crawling up near-vertical off-road surfaces with ease.

It’s a unique car in the way that Land Rover has worked in reverse to a number of its competitors, who typically create a large, luxurious family-based SUV and attempt to add some off-road performance as a mere afterthought. 

The Land Rover Defender, on the other hand, is an iconic off-roader that was primarily built for the great outdoors, and later adapted for use on the road. The latest Defender saw a dramatic change in styling from previous versions, but is billed as the most capable, spacious and welcoming vehicle for families with an adventurous side- but how accurate are these claims? Let's find out. 

Starting Price: $76,960 

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Land Rover Defender - 110 P300 (221kW) Specifications

Make LAND ROVER
Model DEFENDER
Series L663 MY21
Variant 110 P300 (221kW)
Body 4D WAGON
Fuel type PREMIUM UNLEADED PETROL
Transmission 8 SP AUTOMATIC
Drive AWD
Engine TDFI
Engine capacity 1997
Engine configuration DUAL OVERHEAD CAM / 16 valves
Engine RPM 5500 / 1500
Cylinders T4
Torque 400
KW 221
Fuel tank size 90.0
Fuel usage specs 10.1 / 0.0
CO2 235
ANCAP security rating 5

For more details and other variants, check Land Rover Defender car page.

How Much Does It Cost?

The Land Rover Defender 100 range kicks off in the form of the P300, which is priced from $76,960. The range then moves to the Defender 110 D250 and D250 S variants which are priced from $82,590 and $91,220 respectively. From here, the Defender 110 P400 S is priced at $92,360, while stepping up to the D300 SE brings the price tag to $96,780, while the D400 SE is priced from $103,800, the P400 XS Edition is priced at $113,580 and the D300 X-Dynamic HSE is priced at $113,980. 

Opting for the Defender 110 X-Dynamic HSE P400 brings the price tag to $120,480, while the X D300 is priced at $143,190 and the X P400 is priced at $145,290. Finally, the Land Rover Defender range tops out in the form of the Defender 110 P525 V8, which is priced at $205,500 Keep in mind that these prices are subject to change, and do not include on-road costs. 

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What Features Does the Land Rover Defender Have?

The Land Rover Defender range comes riding on a set of 18-inch alloy wheels, with the entry-level variants receiving air suspension, adaptive dynamics with terrain response system, automatic LED headlights, keyless entry and start, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a 10.0-inch infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and DAB+, hill descent control and launch assistance, automatic wipers, heated side mirrors, rubber flooring and a full-sized spare tyre. 

Opting for the S variants adds a larger set of 19-inch alloys, digital driving display, 12-way adjustable powered front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever, automatic high beam and folding armrest for the second row. SE variants are packaged with 20-inch alloys and receive premium LED headlights with daytime running lamps, a digital rear-view mirror, fog lights and a premium sound system from Meridian. 

Defender 100 XS variants, on the other hand, receive a set of Matrix LED headlights with daytime running lamps, an XS body kit that includes exclusive 20-inch alloys and exterior styling tweaks, as well as a pair of 12-way heated adjustable seats for the driver and front passenger. HSE variants receive a set of 20-inch alloys, more comprehensive Windsor leather upholstery, panoramic sunroof, carpeted floor mats, and a leather steering wheel, as well as heated and ventilated front seats. 

Defender X variants, on the other hand, receive an upgraded all-terrain system with active electronic differential, exterior tweaks, 20-inch alloys, heated rear seats, Walnut wood interior finishes, metallic pedals, ambient lighting, a head-up display and an upgraded Meridian surround sound system. Finally, the range-topping Defender P525 V8 comes riding on a set of 22-inch alloy wheels and features a number of suede interior finishes and a steering wheel finished in alcantara.  

Range Features: 

  • 18-inch alloys 

  • LED headlights 

  • 10.0-inch infotainment system with DAB+, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto 

  • Terrain response system 

  • Air suspension 

  • Adaptive cruise control 

  • Surround-view camera 

  • Heated side mirrors

  • Hill launch and descent control 

  • Digital driver display (S variants) 

  • Premium LED headlights, foglights and daytime running lamps (SE variants) 

  • 20-inch alloy wheels (SE variants)

  • Matrix LED headlights (XS Edition) 

  • Panoramic sunroof (HSE variants) 

  • Windsor leather (HSE variants) 

  • Electronic active differential with torque vectoring with all-terrain progress control (X variants) 

  • Heated rear seats (X variants) 

  • Walnut wood interior finishes (X variants)

  • 15-speaker surround sound system from Meridian (X variants) 

  • 22-inch alloys (P525 V8) 

  • Alcantara steering wheel and suede interior finishes (P525 V8)  

Land Rover Defender Colours

Pangea Green Gondwana Stone
Hakuba Silver Eiger Grey
Santorini Black Tasmin Blue
Lamtau Bronze Yulong White

Is the Land Rover Defender Comfortable to Drive? 

While it might look to have been built primarily for off-road driving, Land Rover knows that a large number of its Defenders will remain in metropolitan areas, and they’ve done well to accommodate both sides of its fanbase. Around town, the Defender 110 is actually quite accommodating to new-drivers prowling the city streets, offering a huge amount of forward visibility and ride height bonuses for those behind the wheel. 

We don’t have the time to get specific about the six engines available across the Defender range, but we can tell you that the entry-level diesel variants offer a great amount of power and torque which, combined with a silky-smooth eight-speed automatic transmission, results in an effortless driving experience around town, allowing you to simply ride the smooth torque band up to speed from the relatively quiet powertrain. More expensive variants receive more powerful diesel and petrol-powered units with mild hybrid systems, with the range-topping P525 V8 producing an astonishing amount of power that is far beyond what you’d ever need. 

In terms of daily driving, the Defender has been designed with a lightweight steering rack, making low speed maneuverability more welcoming for the driver, and while there are some noticeable blindspots from its large proportions, it remains impressively approachable as a daily drive; especially when you consider what it can do off-road. 

One of the best things about the Defender on the road, though, is the suspension system, which we can only describe as sublime. All Defenders receive the same air suspension package that irons out bumps and changing road surfaces, and is perfectly suited to Australian road conditions. This suspension system has been designed primarily to keep you comfortable on the road and supported when the off-roading starts, so as you pick up speed there is a noticeable amount of body roll through the cabin, although the benefits of the exceptionally comfortable ride far outweigh the swaying cabin at speed. 

Is the Defender a Performer Off-Road? 

The current Land Rover Defender would not exist if it weren’t a true performer when the sealed roads stop and the gravel, mud and sand begin. The Defender truly sets the standard for what a sleek, European SUV can do off-road, and leaves the majority of its competitors completely outpaced when it comes to off-road driving. As standard, all Defenders are packaged with a low range transfer case, terrain response system and air suspension, which performs exceptionally when putting power to the ground and consistently pushing uphill, and have an approach angle of 37.5 degrees. More expensive variants receive an electronic limited slip differential with torque vectoring, which can stop one of the wheels spinning, when needed, for maximum traction. 

The result of all of these features, combined with Land Rover’s considerable off-road pedigree, is that the Defender is a true performer when it comes to driving on unsealed surfaces and while pushing off-road. Better still, it makes the process as a whole accommodating for drivers that are new to off-roading with its sophisticated digital assists combined with a tried-and-tested chassis and hardware. 

Is it Practical and Spacious? 

Space and practicality is yet another area where the Defender exceeds expectations, offering passengers a huge amount of space in a sleek yet utilitarian-inspired cabin. One of the first things you’ll notice in entry-level variants are the rubber floor mats that are easy to spray down after a weekend’s use, as well as the folding seat designs and huge amount of practicality on offer through the cabin. Up front, there’s a clean dashboard design that doubles as a wide shelf lined with rubber that welcomes the driver and front passenger into a tall, spacious cabin with a huge number of storage options for loose items. The large centre console separating the driver and front passenger features a folding armrest with storage, a deep tray, sliding cup holder compartment and even more storage in the area in front of the gear lever that also offers some smartphone charging ports. The seating position up front is absolutely fantastic, offering the driver an exceptionally comfortable and ergonomic seat that positions them high off the road for maximum visibility. 

Move to the second row of the cabin and you’ll find an extremely comfortable bench seat that offers a huge amount of both leg and headroom for rear occupants, both of which would not trouble even the tallest of adult passengers on a long drive. There’s also a host of charging ports, cup holders in the folding armrest and large windows to make those in the rear more comfortable on longer trips, and rubber floor mats on entry-level variants that make cleaning the Defender’s interior after a filthy roadtrip a simple task. 

Moving to the third row of the cabin, you’ll find a relatively cramped set of seats that are more suited to young children than adult passengers, with an extremely limited amount of legroom available, however there is still an impressive amount of headroom to keep those in the rear-most of the cabin comfortable on longer trips. 

The cabin features sliding seats that mean the interior can be easily adjusted to maximise cargo space, which stands at 972L (expanding to 2,277L) in the five and six-seat variants, while the boot space on offer in the seven-seat Defender drops down to 289L with the third-row standing, and 900L with the rear-seats folded, expanding to 1,789L with the second row folded, too. 

All up then, the Defender offers class-leading space, practicality and flexibility for large and growing families, particularly when you consider how adaptable its cabin has been designed to be, meaning you can put it through its paces on a holiday trip without the Defender breaking a sweat. 

Is it Safe? 

The Land Rover Defender has been awarded ANCAP’s maximum five-star safety rating, scoring 85% for adult and 88% for child occupant protection, 71% for road user protection and 76% for its safety assist technologies. As standard, all Defender variants come packaged with autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, lane-keep assistance, a surround-view camera, safe exit alerts, front and rear-mounted parking sensors and driver attention alerts. 

Is it Fuel Efficient?

With six engines on offer, fuel economy figures for the Defender lineup change fairly dramatically, depending on which variant you opt for. All of Land Rover’s diesel units are rated at 7.9L per 100km on a combined cycle, while the base petrol unit is rated at 10.1L per 100km and the P400 returns a fuel economy figure of 9.9L per 100km. All things considered, the petrol variants aren’t too thirsty when you consider the Defender’s large proportions, while the diesel variants match key rivals in terms of fuel economy while often offering more torque than those same competitors. 

Our Verdict: Is the Land Rover Defender Worth it? 

There are very few cars on the planet that are able to tick the comprehensive list of boxes that the Defender manages to, and even fewer that can do it with as much confidence as the Defender does. As a complete package, it’s a near-faultless design exercise showing that pure off-road pedigree can indeed be translated into a comfortable and competent daily driver, and completely outpaces its main competitors when it comes to achieving this overall balance. 

When you take into consideration the amount of space and practicality on offer inside the cabin, combined with that lovely air suspension, while it might have originally been built for off-roading, the Defender is truly a comfortable family SUV that matches the best in the business, and at times, excels over the competition as a whole. If you’re ready to buy a new car online, you can get a free quote and see how much OnlineAuto can save you on your next car, or call us on 1300 719 925 

Five Specs You Need to Know

  1. Five-year, unlimited KM warranty 

  2. Five star ANCAP safety rating 

  3. Air suspension included as standard 

  4. Electronic limited-slip differential not included as standard 

  5. Five, six and seven-seat configurations available 

Pros 

  • Insanely practical interior design that welcomes families and adventures

  • Extremely comfortable suspension system on the road

  • Class-leading off-road technology 

  • Powerful engine lineup paired with silky-smooth transmission 

Cons

  • Large, heavy proportions cause body roll at speed 

  • Prices climbing fast 

  • Some significant blindspots near pillars for the driver 

Land Rover Defender Competition




Land Rover Defender



VS
Mazda CX-8
BMW X3
Mercedes-Benz GLA
Alfa Romeo Stelvio
Lexus NX300

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