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The highly coveted Drive Car of the Year Awards crown the best vehicles of the past year across 25 categories. The competition was tough amongst the 2021 shortlist, with the Land Rover Defender, Ford Raptor and Jeep Gladiator all vying for the top honour. The judges discovered what each vehicle was capable of, running them through mud, hills, rock steps, water crossings and ruts, as well as on smooth bitumen where most off-roaders spend a large amount of time. While they found that all three are very good off-road, there was one SUV that really stood out.

Ultimately, the Land Rover Defender’s breadth of capability was found to be “very, very good”, and saw it awarded the accolade of Best Off-Road SUV 2021. Drive’s Off-Road Editor, Sam Purcell, said, “For a vehicle that is so refined, comfortable and dynamically polished, the amount of off-road ability in a package so refined on-road is what sets the Defender truly apart.”