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The highly anticipated launch of the Land Rover Defender gave eager motoring journalists the chance to test drive the 21st century incarnation of a model that has achieved iconic status. The question as to whether the New Defender would live up to expectations was soon answered. The reviews are in and they all agree - the Defender is an exceptional re-imagining of a classic which, according to CarExpert, “moves the game forward to a place none of its rivals have dared tread”.
The journalists got behind the wheel of the Defender 110 P400, which packs a super-potent 3.0‑litre‑turbocharged inline six-cylinder petrol 48‑volt Mild‑Hybrid Electric Vehicle (MHEV) engine, producing 294kW of power and 550Nm of torque.
PERFORMANCE “TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE”
The New Defender, with off-roading at the core of its DNA, surpassed all expectations.
CarExpert highlighted “the ridiculously good ride comfort. Forget gravel, you don’t feel it...you might as well be cruising along on tarmac, such is the way this air suspension system utterly neutralises rough ground”. With performance the reviewer found “too good to be true”, steep rock climbs with deep ruts “may as well not have been there”. Trying an even steeper route, “still the Defender wasn’t phased”.
Unsealed 4x4 agreed, “With plenty of ground clearance, effective electronic traction control, and auto-locking centre and rear differentials, the Defender is a formidable beast off-road.” MotoFomo, commented on just how easily the Defender did everything, “from the outside, I was told wheels were in the air, tyres were scrabbling in the mud...but on the inside you just wouldn’t have known. The thing just gripped and went as easy as you like.”
NEXT LEVEL ON THE ROAD
While the New Defender passed the off-road test with flying colours, the on-road performance equally impressed the reviewers. Boss Hunting found “its classic off-road capabilities more or less unchanged, but now perfectly balanced with a much-needed on-road overhaul that made daily driving an absolute pleasure”.
For Carsales “the biggest delight in the new model transpires on the black-top...with surprisingly civilised manners and a controlled, almost-pillowy ride...the cabin is serene at speed, suppressing most road and wind noise to a light background hum and eliminating drivetrain vibration altogether”.
Australian Geographic praised the New Defender’s ability to turn anyone who drives it into a capable adventurer “you’ve got a vehicle that will make even the most complete off-road novice confident when behind the wheel”.
Unsealed 4x4 calls the Defender “next-level on the road”, with unmatched on-road dynamics and ride quality, while Motofomo says, “it’s the Defender’s on-road manners that shock and surprise more than anything else about the thing...it’s on-road where the Defender will blow your mind”.
A GAME CHANGER FOR THE ENTIRE SEGMENT
It has been a long wait for the New Defender but one that, according to the journos, has been more than worth it. Boss Hunting boasts, “it’s bold, beautiful, punchy, stacked with tech and an incredibly comfortable place to be – quite possibly your one stop shop for a go-anywhere, do-anything 4X4.” Carsales believes “it’s clear the new generation future-proofs the iconic off-roader for years to come.”
The CarExpert raves, “make no mistake, the second-generation Land Rover Defender is a bona-fide game changer for the entire segment” and proclaims it is “an automotive masterpiece, seemingly without flaw”.
The admiration continues as Australian Geographic suggests the New Defender “looks to have potential to be a more than worthy successor to the world’s adventure vehicle. And yeah, we’ve got a few expedition plans in place to make sure it is!”.
We’ll leave the last say to Motofomo: “The new Land Rover Defender has managed to build on the heritage of the old model and bring it firmly into the 21st century. Now, the Defender is not just good at off-roading but it’s a revelation on-road.”
With such glowing reviews, the only thing left to do is to book a test drive to experience it for yourself.