Pulling power takes priority over outright acceleration when it comes to hardened off-roaders. The Defender's 2.4-litre turbodiesel packs 265lb ft of punch, which will get you out of most sticky situations and allow you to tow braked trailers of up to 3500kg. On-road performance is just about acceptable, but no more.
Use the Defender in its natural habitat, and it'll amaze you. The low-range mechanicals and lofty ground clearance will get you through pretty much anything. On the road, it's a different story. The Defender bounces around all over the place, and has to take corners at a crawl. The steering is amazingly slow, too.
The Defender doesn't do refinement. The engine is quieter than those in previous Defenders and you can now have a conversation at 70mph without having to shout, but it's still much louder than the average motor. Despite the din of the engine, wind- and road noise can still be heard at the UK limit.
The Defender isn't exactly cheap to buy, especially for a vehicle with such a basic specification. However, running costs aren't as horrific as you might expect, and it won't cost you much to maintain or fix. This is a car that'll always be in demand, too, so used values are surprisingly strong.
The Defender, more than most other cars, is built to last. With bulletproof mechanicals, it'll keep going for years on end no matter how much punishment you give it. The bodywork is made from simple aluminium panels that are cheap and easy to repair, too. Interior quality is a completely different, matter, though. It feels like the farm vehicle it is, and there’s nothing appealing about it.
The Defender's entire safety ethos is build around the fact that it's built like a tank. There isn't a single airbag provided, and you can't even specify them as an optional extra. Range-topping XS models come with traction control and anti-lock brakes, but buyers of Base and County versions must pay extra for them.
Comfort is low on the Defender's list of priorities. The driver's seat only slides forwards and backwards, and the steering wheel is fixed. Tight elbow room means your right arm often knocks the door, too. The dash is simple and instinctive to use, with the heating and ventilation controls placed together.
The Defender is an incredibly versatile car, because you can tailor it to your specific needs. The three wheelbase sizes (90, 110 and 130) come with a range of 14 bodystyles, including pick-ups, station wagons and soft-tops. They can be specified with between two and seven forward-facing seats, depending on which version you choose. All provide terrific boot space.
The Base trim level is just that - barely any concessions are made for comfort or entertainment. County models get a CD player, electric windows and remote central locking. Range-topping XS models add luxuries such as alloys and air-conditioning and the CD stereo gains tweeter speakers and an iPod socket.
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As an all-rounder, this is probably the best Defender you can buy, thanks to a practical cabin and a half-decent level of equipment. However, it's still noisy, uncomfortable and dated.