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Expert Rating

Land Rover Defender

Our unique Expert Rating Index combines scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites to give you a definitive rating on every new car

Expert Rating

Summary


The Land Rover Defender is a large SUV that is inspired by, but completely unrelated to, the long-serving Defender model that could trace its lineage back to the first Land Rover in 1948. The new model shares a lot of its architecture and components with other models in the Jaguar Land Rover family, and carries over nothing from the old Defender.

The new Defender was launched in late 2019 and went on sale in the UK in early 2020. Initially it was only available in long-wheelbase (110) form, with the short-wheelbase (90) version arriving in the second half of 2020. A plug-in hybrid version also reached showrooms in late 2020. Unlike most models in the Land Rover range, which are built in Britain, the Defender is built alongside the Land Rover Discovery at a factory in Slovakia (so it doesn’t get our “Best of British” badge).

As of June 2022, the Land Rover Defender has an impressive Expert Rating of 83% based on 38 reviews from UK media sources. That puts it in the top 5% of more than 280 cars we have analysed to date. The new Defender receiving high praise for its combination of off-road and on-road abilities, practicality and vastly improved infotainment system compared to other Land Rover models. The main criticisms are directed at fairly poor fuel economy and the car’s high price – with a long list of expensive options that can see a Defender 110 reach £100k.

Defender highlights

  • Talented performer on and off the road
  • Spacious and luxurious interior
  • Impressive infotainment
  • Slow value depreciation
  • Excellent safety features

Defender lowlights

  • Hefty pricing for top models
  • Poor fuel economy
  • ’90’ models have a small boot
  • Brand has poor reliability track record
  • Slightly sluggish handling

Key specifications


Body style: Large SUV
Engines: petrol, diesel, plug-in hybrid
Price: From £44,895 on-road

Launched: Autumn 2019
Last updated: Autumn 2020
Next update due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

The Car Expert

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Auto Express

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Auto Trader

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Autocar

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Business Car

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Car

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Carbuyer

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Carwow

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Company Car Today

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Daily Mail

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Daily Mirror

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Eurekar

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Evo

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Fleetworld

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Heycar

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Honest John

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Parkers

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The Intercooler

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The Sun

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The Telegraph

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Top Gear

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What Car?

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Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall rating: 5 stars
Date tested: December 2020

85%

ADULT OCCUPANT

85%

CHILD OCCUPANT

71%

VULNERABLE ROAD USERS

79%

SAFETY ASSIST

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

The Land Rover Defender has not been lab tested by Green NCAP. This is a new initiative, launched in 2018 as a sister organisation to Euro NCAP.

As yet, very few new cars have been tested for environmental impact by Green NCAP, and inevitably the testing programme was halted in early 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic before resuming later in the year.

Awards


Trophies, prizes and awards that the Land Rover Defender has received

2021

  • The Car Expert Awards – Large SUV Class Champion
  • UK Car of the Year Awards – Best Large Crossover
  • Auto Express Awards – Best Mid-Size Premium SUV
  • carwow Awards – Best Large SUV
  • What Car? Awards – Best Large SUV for Off-Roading
  • DieselCar and EcoCar Top 50 – Best Luxury SUV
  • Parkers New Car Awards – Best Off-Roader
  • News UK Motoring Awards – The Sunday Times Legend Award

2020

  • Auto Express Awards – Best Mid-Size Premium SUV
  • News UK Motor Awards – Best Adventure Car + Best Dog-Friendly Car
  • What Car? Awards – Most anticipated car of 2020
  • Autocar Britain’s Best Car Awards – Best SUV
  • Business Car Awards – Driver’s Choice
  • Northern Group of Motoring Writers – Northern Car of the Year

2019

  • carwow Awards – Design Award

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Land Rover Defender, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Audi Q7 | BMW X5 | Jeep Wrangler | Land Rover Discovery | Lexus RX | Mercedes-Benz G-Class | Mercedes-Benz GLE | Range Rover Sport | SsangYong Rexton | Toyota Land Cruiser | Volkswagen Touareg | Volvo XC90

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Best car rankings

Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites

Best car rankings

Want to see how this car ranks against its rivals?

The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites

Land Rover DefenderThe Land Rover Defender has an Expert Rating of 85% from 35 reviews, which is one of the highest scores of any SUV we've analysed.