From £45,6009
Modestly optioned but massively capable diesel is the sweet spot of the range

What is it?

Of all the Land Rover Defender variants, the D240 seems the best-positioned for UK residents.

It uses a 2.0-litre turbodiesel with 237bhp and 317lb ft, and while these modest outputs don’t quite translate to sparkling fuel economy, in S form the Defender’s pre-option price is reasonable. It’s also worth remembering that this is one of the world’s most capable cars – maybe even in the top one.

To recap, the new Defender arrives in five-door ‘110’ form first, with the short-wheelbase 90 to follow. Both are based on the most rugged derivative to date of Land Rover’s longitudinal-engined architecture. This largely aluminium car comes with 2.0-litre diesel and 2.0 and 3.0-litre petrol engines, can tow 3500kg, and on air springs (steel coils come later) wades 900mm of water. It has remarkable off-road credentials.

Here, though, we drive it on the road, at length, for the first time. A British road at that. And a narrow one, which was my biggest concern for this 2105mm-wide car when I first drove it in Namibia – a country nearly four times the size of Britain but with fewer than 4% of the people. So while the place has fewer surfaced roads, they’re plenty wide enough.

What's it like?

I needn’t have worried. The Defender has a tall, upright driving position, a large steering wheel and a low window line. The body’s edges are also easily gauged, so it’s simple to accurately guide the thing along even tight village roads.

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The ride’s remarkably good while you do it, too. Land Rover has opted to give the Defender a relaxed gait, with noticeable lean but a controlled roll-rate and effective body control, even when the chassis is loaded up.

Too many manufacturers seek to tie down an SUV to achieve a ‘sporty’ ride, but omitting that tag (Land Rover insists the Defender is ‘a 4x4’) has allowed the Defender’s ride to breathe, and yet this is combined with really exceptional composure. The dynamics are engaging without trying to be too sharp.

The 2.0-litre Ingenium diesel is also quiet. When this engine family first rolled out, the diesel was a grumbly thing, but now refinement is first rate – as good here as in any of the cars in which we’ve tried it, and quieter than its counterparts in the Ford Ranger Raptor or Toyota Land Cruiser. A muted thrum is typically as noisy as it gets, and the smooth eight-speed transmission (with low-range ratios) is the only option.

The electronically locking centre differential is standard, though an e-diff at the rear is a £1000 option. Inside, all Defenders feel good.

This S is just one step up from the base trim (available only with the 197bhp diesel) and here we have part-electric, part-leather, heated front seats, digital displays and smartphone integration. That every model gets body-colour trim and exposed screw-heads means all get a dose of functionality, too, so none feels the poor relation, and the classic Defender cues make this a special cabin. Mind, at £52,110, it should be.

Only diesel Defenders fitted with the lightest set of options – those that don’t add too much to the 2248kg kerb weight – offer a WLTP fuel consumption above 30mpg. Dependent on options, you’re looking at a 29.6-31.7mpg car, though this betters a Toyota Land Cruiser and is about comparable to a Jeep Wrangler.

A plug-in hybrid Defender comes later, as does a shorter variant, and a commercial version with a 900kg payload, but a pick-up is unlikely.

Should I buy one?

This new Defender steps off where the last one bade us farewell: as a premium vehicle ripe for individualisation, rather than where the Land Rover story started, as a basic utility and agricultural vehicle.

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What’s unchanged is how capable it is away from roads. Where it differs is just what a fine, refined and comfortable car it now is on them.

Land Rover Defender 110 D240 S specification

Where Warwickshire, UK Price £52,110 On sale after lockdown Engine 4 cyls, 1999cc, turbocharged, diesel Power 237bhp at 4000rpm Torque 317lb ft at 1400rpm Gearbox 8-spd automatic Kerb weight 2248kg Top speed 117mph 0-62mph 9.1sec Fuel economy 29.6mpg CO2 251g/km Rivals Jeep Wrangler, Toyota Land Cruiser 

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Comments
69

14 May 2020

Nice, but

Tragic price, tragic weight, tragic fuel consumption for a petrol let alone a diesel, and apocalyptic emissions...

But it will conquer any pavement curb or Waitrose speed bump you can throw at it.

14 May 2020

not bad for the most capable car they have made

 

14 May 2020
The Apprentice wrote:

Nice, but

Tragic price, tragic weight, tragic fuel consumption for a petrol let alone a diesel, and apocalyptic emissions...

But it will conquer any pavement curb or Waitrose speed bump you can throw at it.

 

This vehicle like most, is not meant for you, you are most certainly not the target market. JLR are seeking potential buyers with FUNDS and an understanding of the benefits of running this model. You have neither and a lot less besides, though you do have two things in your favour, you excel at whinging and whining, which gives me the oppprtunity to point them out to you, just in case you would like to review your wholly negative approach. Why read this article, if you are SIMPLY going to whine and whinge in your post?. Keep and own your negativity, no-one wants you to share it.

14 May 2020
Takeitslowly wrote:

This vehicle like most, is not meant for you, you are most certainly not the target market. JLR are seeking potential buyers with FUNDS and an understanding of the benefits of running this model. You have neither and a lot less besides, though you do have two things in your favour, you excel at whinging and whining, which gives me the oppprtunity to point them out to you, just in case you would like to review your wholly negative approach. Why read this article, if you are SIMPLY going to whine and whinge in your post?. Keep and own your negativity, no-one wants you to share it.

 

Why read Apprentice's comment, if you are simply going to...? :-)

He read the article and felt need to vent an opinion. So did you. So am I. Were it not fun we could just skip the whole thing. Maybe we should go back 10+ years when we only had a chance to send a letter to the editor which had a relatively small chance to get published.

15 May 2020
Asceptic wrote:

Takeitslowly wrote:

This vehicle like most, is not meant for you, you are most certainly not the target market. JLR are seeking potential buyers with FUNDS and an understanding of the benefits of running this model. You have neither and a lot less besides, though you do have two things in your favour, you excel at whinging and whining, which gives me the oppprtunity to point them out to you, just in case you would like to review your wholly negative approach. Why read this article, if you are SIMPLY going to whine and whinge in your post?. Keep and own your negativity, no-one wants you to share it.

 

Why read Apprentice's comment, if you are simply going to...? :-)

He read the article and felt need to vent an opinion. So did you. So am I. Were it not fun we could just skip the whole thing. Maybe we should go back 10+ years when we only had a chance to send a letter to the editor which had a relatively small chance to get published.

 

Oh joy, another fool who types before it thinks...had I not read the "opinion", there would have been no nonsense to rebuke...just as I read yours and dealt with you in a similar fashion...now type us some more juicy tosh and I will consider responding...maybe you should just skip the whole thing and concentrate on writing a letter with a bigger than small chance of being featured.

14 May 2020
Takeitslowly wrote:

The Apprentice wrote:

Nice, but

Tragic price, tragic weight, tragic fuel consumption for a petrol let alone a diesel, and apocalyptic emissions...

But it will conquer any pavement curb or Waitrose speed bump you can throw at it.

 

This vehicle like most, is not meant for you, you are most certainly not the target market. JLR are seeking potential buyers with FUNDS and an understanding of the benefits of running this model. You have neither and a lot less besides, though you do have two things in your favour, you excel at whinging and whining, which gives me the oppprtunity to point them out to you, just in case you would like to review your wholly negative approach. Why read this article, if you are SIMPLY going to whine and whinge in your post?. Keep and own your negativity, no-one wants you to share it.

The irony of someone who takes half a page of whinging to tell me I am a whinger. A) I can say what I like, B) you know nothing about me and my finances C) you would need to be twice the man you are to tell me what to do.

15 May 2020
The Apprentice wrote:

Takeitslowly wrote:

The Apprentice wrote:

Nice, but

Tragic price, tragic weight, tragic fuel consumption for a petrol let alone a diesel, and apocalyptic emissions...

But it will conquer any pavement curb or Waitrose speed bump you can throw at it.

 

This vehicle like most, is not meant for you, you are most certainly not the target market. JLR are seeking potential buyers with FUNDS and an understanding of the benefits of running this model. You have neither and a lot less besides, though you do have two things in your favour, you excel at whinging and whining, which gives me the oppprtunity to point them out to you, just in case you would like to review your wholly negative approach. Why read this article, if you are SIMPLY going to whine and whinge in your post?. Keep and own your negativity, no-one wants you to share it.

The irony of someone who takes half a page of whinging to tell me I am a whinger. A) I can say what I like, B) you know nothing about me and my finances C) you would need to be twice the man you are to tell me what to do.

 

You do indeed do A), giving me the opportunity to rebuke your nonsense and as to B), who wants to know the details of a fool and the money he was parted from so speedily?. Now I will tell you what to do and you WILL do it, yes that is C)...respond to this post, be as inane as you can...no great effort for you and I will decide how I am going to deal with you...well go on then, get to it, DO as you are told :)

2 June 2020

Nice one! Its no point wasting time reviewing the Defender if u dont like it.

14 May 2020

£52k is a premium price but quality will probably be at same level as ever.

I'll take a Hilux thanks.

2 June 2020

Its definitly worth the money and besides no other offroader can beat the Defender!

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