Land Rover Defender 110 review


What is?

The new Land Rover Defender has a mountain to climb. Yes, a true mountain, of course, because impressive off-road capability is an absolute must. But also a metaphorical mountain. It should replace the old one. A vehicle that was so adored for the same reasons that it was almost impossible to justify the purchase.

It was basically a tool. Its ability to survive harsh and brutal conditions meant that, frankly, it was too harsh and brutal for most people to take seriously as an everyday vehicle.

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So the new one should work just as well off-road as the old one. And it has to evoke the legacy of the old, that’s why it looks the way it does. Both of these things were probably quite difficult, but if anyone could pull it off, the engineers and designers at Land Rover would do it.


Beyond that, there are two much more difficult questions. Those who are the gateway to it being worshiped as the old one was. If you drive well and are comfortable, will you be accused of blandness? And if he is smart and sophisticated, has he abandoned the clients who made his legacy so authentic: the rescue services, the public services, the true adventurers?


Well, to try and keep utility buyers out of the way, Land Rover released a Hard Top business version a few months after the passenger and farmer versions went on sale, click here for that review. We’re focusing on the more practical long-wheelbase 110 passenger version here, but you can also have a short-wheelbase 90 three-door. If you prefer style over substance, you’ll want to click here for that review. Oh, and if fully charged but frequent short trips are your thing, there’s also a 110 plug-in hybrid that manages 27 miles of electric-only range – eco-conscious Defender buyers, click here for that.


The exterior design is, in our opinion, masterful. It invokes the ancient but is completely modern. The boxy shape is perfect for a hardcore 4×4 SUV. Not only is it optimized for maximum hauling space, it also helps when driving around obstacles because it knows where the body starts and ends. Short overhangs make for easy off-road driving with impressive approach and departure angles (38 and 40 degrees respectively for the 110). But it’s also subtly curved, not flat. Flat screens look improvised and undulating. The curves of the new Defender are elegant and strong. However, who would have thought that little sign that breaks the rear windows would be so controversial…

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The bodywork is structural: the chassis is an all-new aluminum monocoque instead of the old ladder-on-frame structure. The entire hull is extremely strong. The same goes for the suspension on which it is mounted. It shares principles with the Discovery, but few parts. Almost everything is more difficult. The Defender 110 also gets air suspension as standard (you can get coil springs in the lower-spec 90s), which adds to the off-road ground clearance and helps with the 900mm mega rowing capacity. Click on these blue words to discover details on Defender’s capabilities and technology.

Oh, and if you’re less concerned with off-road driving and fancy something silly before we’re all done driving EVs, Land Rover also bowed to public pressure and locked up its trusty 5.0-litre supercharged V8 in the ’90s and ‘110s. It’s crazy. and we love it, click here to find out why.

Our choice of the range.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 Review Top Gear
land rover
3.0 D250 SE 110 5 doors automatic [7 Seat]

What’s the verdict?

If you can use it, there is nothing to match it.

One in a hundred, one in a thousand, who knows? But every now and then, out of all the people who buy Land Rover vehicles, there will be someone who wants to make the most of it. For the other 99 or 999, no. The entire success of the company is based on building vehicles that perform so well that they exceed the normal needs of buyers.

The Defender is the pinnacle. Who are the one in a thousand? Some adventure crews. People from the deep country of unusual prosperity. And, with the commercial version, entities as noble as the coast guard, electricity supply workers and rescue teams.

But the new Defender, especially the 110, also stands out as a family car with a long and deep history. It just makes you feel adventurous. And when you use its capabilities, such as off-road, snowmobile, tug, it will give you tremendous peace of mind. You’ll be carrying mountains of gear and ignoring dirt and moisture. Or, if you bought the V8 110, it will gobble up all your belongings and kids, then send them across the country with fantastic pacing and drama.

Those same qualities of versatility and ruggedness also come in handy even if you’ve just taken a bunch of unruly kids to school, to the shops, to the sports field. Families loot the interior of fancy cars. This resists sinking.

And what’s amazing is how well it drives. It’s stately and dignified and feels great.

We generally recommend 4WD trucks over expensive crossovers because there’s not much a crossover can do that a truck can’t. But the Defender is not a crossover and it upsets this argument. If you can use it, there is nothing to match it.

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