There is now a world of difference inside. The dashboard features new instruments in the Discovery style, and a new ventilation system brings fresh-air eyeball vents to the cockpit and crude-looking switches and dials to make them work.

As ever, hard black plastic is the predominant theme – no attempt at all has been made to gentrify the Defender. Moreover, the driving position remains appallingly cramped despite the fitment of new, more supportive seats. Elbow space is notable for its absence and legroom is right on the limit of comfortable.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
Turbocharging comes from a Honeywell-Garrett variable-nozzle turbo which can direct the flow of exhaust gas at different parts of the turbo’s induction wheel

In the back, where you’ll now find just two forward-pointing seats that, perhaps uniquely, you can access only through the rear door, headroom is at a premium. Adults will be able to stretch their legs, but you sit perched so high above those in the front that taller occupants will find their head becoming unusually well acquainted with the headlining. The seat backs tip forward and the seats themselves can be folded easily into the side of the car to leave a vast boot, but they don’t slide, tumble, recline or come out. An MPV it ain’t.

The lack of a rear bulkhead in this 90 means that the seats (which seem to be more generously padded) will just about go back far enough for a six-foot driver, but the narrow cabin requires elbows to be tucked well in during low-speed maneuvering. The centre console is laid out clearly and backlit effectively at night. The heater is volcanic, but its old-school water-valve technology makes it very hard to regulate.

Ergonomic madness abounds – especially the upright handbrake and a key that can’t be turned when the headlamp switch is in the ‘on’ position. The column stalks date back to the original Austin Metro, the headlamps are weak and the wipers clear just a tiny part of the screen.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Top 5 Sports SUVs

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Land Rover range

Driven this week

  • Vauxhall VXR8 GTS-R
    The VXR8 GTS-R is a limited-edition model that marks the demise of the V8-powered Vauxhall… probably forever
    First Drive
    22 August 2017
    There will only be 15 made, but is the GTS-R the final hurrah for the infectious Vauxhall VXR8? We've had an exclusive drive
  • Alfa Romeo Stelvio
    The new Alfa Romeo Stelvio. We've tested it on UK roads for the first time
    First Drive
    18 August 2017
    First tilt on UK roads reveals a chassis almost as absorbing as the Giulia’s, though the Stelvio’s comfort and quality levels may disappoint SUV clientele
  • Car review
    18 August 2017
    Amid a broader vRS refresh, Skoda has built its most powerful Octavia yet to take on the established order
  • Jaguar F-Type Convertible 2.0 i4 on the road
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Having been previously impressed by the agile four-cylinder F-Type, now is our chance to try it in the UK and in open-top form. But can this entry-level Jaguar sports car hold off the impressive Porsche Boxster?
  • Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR
    The Aston Martin V8 Vantage AMR is a swansong for the Vantage - but the first model to sport the AMR title
    First Drive
    16 August 2017
    Aston Martin's swansong for its venerable Vantage sports car allows it to bow out with its head held high, yet the performance AMR sub-brand's first outing leaves you feeling short-changed