From £40,4009

It promises unrivalled off-road performance with on-road niceties. But does it deliver?

Now for the real test, then. We’ve already tried the new Land Rover Defender in some of the most inhospitable environments on earth, in off-road locations where its mechanical credentials were taxed to the extreme. But not anywhere as harsh as those that really show up a car’s character: the relentless, thoughtless daily grind, the urban jungle and motorway schlep, family abuse from morning till night, the get-in-and-drive as mechanical process.

The kind of use, in short, that the Defender will undergo as any other versatilte luxury SUV would as it filters into customers’ daily lives, takes the strain of providing family transport, and sets about answering just about any need you might demand of any new car in the world. "The best 4x4 by far" really must do it all.

Although a commercial Defender 90 starst from around £44,000, it’s also possible to spend more than £100,000 on a range-topping V8 five-door before you've added options.

The new Defender is available in 90 and 110 forms, with the former only emerging into showrooms early in 2021. The engine range, which was only four options strong at launch, has expanded to encompass seven motors in all, although some are only on offer in models with starting prices above £80,000.

The meat of that engine range is now comprised of three six-cylinder, 3.0-litre diesel options (D200, D250 & D300) which offer between 197- and 296bhp, as well as a four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, 296bhp P300 petrol and the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid P400e (which adds in electric drive motors to help out that same four-pot petrol turbo engine, and to boost real-world running efficiency).

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Those with the means can also consider the Defender X P400, a mildly hybridised straight-six-cylinder petrol engine, complete with both a turbocharger and an electric supercharger, developing 395bhp and 406lb ft of torque: this is the Defender we elected to test, in tandem with the extended 110 body. And, if you've got even more niche appetites, there's also the top-of-the-line, £101,000 Defender V8 to lust after, with its 518bhp 5.0-litre supercharged V8, and advertised 0-60mph sprinting capability of little more more than five seconds as well as all of the other trademark Defender offroad capabilities.

The Land Rover Defender line-up at a glance

Grades are base, S, SE, and HSE - but if you commit to the richer and more expensive end of the Defender's engine spectrum you can also choose between Land Rover's X-, XS- and X-Dynamic editions, as well as the range-topping V8 and V8 Carpathian editions if you so choose. Base cars gets steel wheels, fabric trim and analogue dials; S adds part leather, alloys and digital dials; SE has different wheels, full-powered seats and a camera in the rear-view mirror; and HSE means full leather, sunroof and heated steering wheel. Sound systems and driving aids take a walk upwards through the range, too. Land Rover's XS edition is mostly about adding standard equipment, whereas the X- and X-Dynamic models mostly add interior and exterior styling kit.

The 'hard top' commercial versions of the car, meanwhile, also come in both 90- and 110 bodystyles, but they have lesser equipment specification and can only be had with Land Rover's mild-hybrid diesel engines.  

X and the P400 engine are exclusive to each other; kit is closest to HSE. The D200 can’t be an HSE. The base trim can only be a D200.


Land Rover Defender 90 V8 2021 UK review

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Land Rover Defender First drives