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CarAdvice has reviewed the 2021 Land Rover Defender’s off-road capabilities and concluded that, as expected, it well and truly has what it takes to effortlessly handle the toughest of conditions. Now Trent Nikolic, Managing Editor of CarAdvice, is back behind the wheel to find out how the Defender performs on-road around town.
Testing the 110 P400 S variant, Nikolic says “the face value level of build quality and design indicates that there’s plenty of street cred in owning one as a city dweller that never sees dirt”. Turning his attention to visibility, he notes the “upright, high seating position delivers expansive and commanding views of the road ahead - and behind for that matter...the broad visibility makes parking a breeze, and ensures that you always feel like you have the best possible view around town”. The 360-degree camera also lends a valuable helping hand with the parking experience.
LUXURY THAT GOES ABOVE AND BEYOND
It’s the luxury of the cabin that impresses Nikolic the most. Explaining that from the outset Land Rover was adamant the Defender needed to deliver luxury well beyond a typical off-roader, he says that’s exactly what they’ve done. He finds the Defender “quiet, comfortable, roomy and airy, and well specified”. The driver display, 10-inch infotainment screen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and switchgear are all neatly laid out and user friendly. An excellent audio system, wireless charging, plenty of options for USB cable charging, along with great storage, all add to the well-equipped package.
SMOOTH, RESPONSIVE, SUBLIME
Under the bonnet, the Defender features a 3.0-litre turbocharged inline six-cylinder, which is “smooth and responsive”, generates 294kW at 6500rpm, and is also working with a 48V mild hybrid system. The engine and the gearbox “are a properly enjoyable and useful combination…and the Defender gets up and moving without any unnecessary lag”. Under all driving conditions, the “gearbox is smooth, fast and precise” and the air suspension is “sublime”. Nikolic says the ride comfort is what you’d expect in a luxury SUV, with little road noise and a quiet and calm cabin. The steering and brakes are excellent, and despite its size, the Defender never feels unwieldy but is “nicely tied down and solid when you’re driving”. The mark of a good SUV, Nikolic says, is that it feels like a much smaller car when you’re driving “and the steering precision in the Defender delivers that sensation”.
While Nikolic acknowledges that the new Defender has a serious street presence, attracting onlookers wherever it goes, its appeal runs deeper. He concludes his overwhelmingly positive on-road review by saying it’s “way more luxurious than the old Defender ever could be, while outperforming it off-road. In short, it’s an excellent, comfortable, and high-quality daily drive around town”.
Discover more about the Land Rover Defender and why it earned CarAdvice’s glowing review.