The whole Defender line-up covers three wheelbases and up to 14 different body styles. Just the one engine – the 2.2 diesel – powers the lot. You don’t buy a Defender for economy or CO2 emissions, but, if we must, it offers 28.3mpg and 266g/km in its most frugal form.

You don’t get much in the way of luxuries for your £21,895 entry-level Defender. It’s one of the last cars in the land whose exterior mirrors can only be moved by physically grappling with them, and the rear windows don’t even have winders – they simply slide.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior

Road test editor
A wheel without an airbag is a pretty shocking omission for a car on sale in 2007, as is the fact that ABS is an option on all but top-spec XS models.

Electric front windows and central locking are standard, but if you want air conditioning, alloy wheels, heated seats or even ABS, you’ll need a top-spec model such as our road test example.

There’s little stowage space on board, either. There’s nothing in the back, only a grab handle where the glovebox should be, and a lidded bin between the front seats – and even that is optional. Airbags are non-existent. Then again, think of another car with a rear external power take-off, allowing you to take the car anywhere and use it as a mobile generator.

There are new option packs for the Defender range, including a £1650 Comfort Pack (including air-con, CD player, electric windows and remote locking) and a £1500 Off-Road Pack (which includes ABS, heavy duty rims and MTR tyres, tow ball and under-ride protection bar).

The compelling figures that make you contemplate buying a Defender are its off road ones. This is a car that will tackle a 45deg slope going forwards or backwards. It will wade through water half a metre deep without modification and traverse a 35deg hill. Its approach and departure angles are each an astounding 47deg. A Jeep Wrangler, perhaps its closest conceptual rival, offers just 38deg approach and 32deg departure.

These extraordinary stats combine with its huge ground clearance and compact wheelbase to give rock-hopping qualities most alleged off-roaders simply couldn’t imagine. Low range, unswitchable traction control (optional with ABS) and differential locks complete the picture.

Save money on your car insurance

Compare quotesCompare insurance quotes

Find an Autocar car review

Explore the Land Rover range

Driven this week

  • Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    This is the Vauxhall Insignia GSi Sports Tourer
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The Insignia GSi is Vauxhall's new performance flagship. Can this diesel estate version offer both pace and practicality?
  • Honda Civic Type R
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    It’s a warm welcome to this steaming hot hatch. But is it too fiery for Britain’s roads?
  • Aston Martin DB11 Volante
    The DB11 Volante chassis' torsional rigidity is 22kN/deg, down from 34kN/deg on the coupe – but substantially more than the 14.7kN/deg of the DB9 Volante
    First Drive
    19 February 2018
    The DB11 Volante is the first convertible variant of Aston Martin's new model generation. How does it compare to the likes of the new Ferrari Portofino?
  • BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo front
    The new BMW 6 Series Gran Turismo
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The top-of-the-line 6 Series Gran Turismo has arrived in the UK, but does a more potent engine increase its unusual appeal?
  • Audi TT RS Coupé
    First Drive
    16 February 2018
    The Audi TT RS has the looks, a vociferous engine and the supercar-baiting performance, but is it too uncompromising to use as a daily driver?