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Expert Rating

Land Rover Defender

(2020 – present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

66
%
B

Used car score:

62
%
C

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

79
%
A

Safety Rating:

75
%
B

Eco Rating:

52
%
C

Reliability Rating:

65
%
D

Running Costs:

33
%
E

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

66
%
B

Used car score:

62
%
C

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

79
%
A

Safety Rating:

75
%
B

Eco Rating:

52
%
C

Reliability Rating:

65
%
D

Running Costs:

33
%
E

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 and an extra-long-wheelbase (130) model completing the line-up in 2022. 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).

It has received 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, a Defender 110 can easily breach £100k.

As of January 2024, the Land Rover Defender holds a New Car Expert Rating of B, with a score of 66%. It gets strong media reviews and its safety rating is good, but it’s let down by very high running costs and sub-par reliability.

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 £57,540 on-road

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


Media reviews


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

The Car Expert

+

Auto Express

+

Auto Trader

+

Autocar

+

Business Car

+

Car

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Company Car Today

+

Daily Mail

+

Daily Mirror

+

Driving Electric

+

Eurekar

+

Evo

+

Fleetworld

+

Green Car Guide

+

Heycar

+

Honest John

+

Parkers

+

The Intercooler

+

The Sun

+

The Telegraph

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall score: 5 stars
Date tested: December 2019
Read the full Euro NCAP review

Adult protection: 95%
Child protection: 89%
Vulnerable road users: 76%
Safety assist: 78%

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

As of January 2024, the Land Rover Defender has not been lab tested by Green NCAP.

Reliability rating

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Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

All data based on MotorEasy average workshop costs for extended car warranty claims

The Land Rover Defender has a fairly average reliability score of 65% as of January 2024, according to workshop and warranty data provided exclusively to The Car Expert by our partner, MotorEasy.

To date, the biggest bills have been related to engine issues, with an average repair cost of nearly £2,000. Brake faults have also been surprisingly expensive to rectify, at an average cost of £1,300.

Given the cost of repairs (and Land Rover’s historically poor reliability record), if you own a Land Rover Defender or are interested in buying a used Defender, a used car warranty could be a good idea. Make sure it covers all of the areas listed above.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models23 mpgE19 – 26 mpgE – E
Diesel models32 mpgE31 – 33 mpgE – E
Plug-in hybrid models82 mpgA80 – 84 mpgA – A
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models273 g/kmD252 – 334 g/kmD – D
Diesel models232 g/kmD226 – 240 g/kmD – D
Plug-in hybrid models61 g/kmA59 – 80 g/kmA – A
Battery rangeAverageScoreVariationScore
Plug-in hybrid models27 milesE26 – 32 milesE – E
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models42D37 – 50C – F
Service and maintenanceCostScore
Year 1£311C
Year 2£665C
Year 3£1,075C
Year 4£1,343C
Year 5£1,826C
Overall£5,220C

It should come as no real surprise to learn that a large, heavy SUV has high running costs, and the Land Rover Defender will cost you a fair chunk of change to live with.

Fuel consumption is unsurprisingly poor, regardless of whether you choose a petrol or diesel version. Don’t be fooled by the impressive-looking economy figures of the plug-in hybrid models – every plug-in hybrid on the market scores an ‘A’ for fuel economy, which is the result of the unrepresentative EU/UK lab tests that car manufacturers have to follow.

Insurance is also likely to be expensive, with several versions of the Defender in the top insurance group (group 50). Scheduled servicing costs are actually the most reasonable results here, and even then they are only average.

Awards


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

2024

  • What Car? Awards – Best Seven-Seater

2023

  • EcoCar Electrified Top 50 – Best Plug-In Hybrid Luxury SUV

2022

  • Motor Trader Awards – Best Used Car
  • News UK Motor Awards – Best Adventure Car
  • Parkers New Car Awards – Best Off-Roader

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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The Land Rover Defender combines superb off-roading ability with interior luxuries, expensive tech and everyday practicality.Land Rover Defender