Land Rover Defender review

Category: Large SUV

Section: Performance & drive

Land Rover Defender 2022 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 boot open
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 right tracking
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front tracking off road
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear left static
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 alloy wheel detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear lights detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior rear seats
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 boot open
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 right tracking
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 front tracking off road
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear left static
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 alloy wheel detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 rear lights detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender 2022 interior rear seats
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In this section:
  • Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
  • Suspension and ride comfort
  • Handling
  • Noise and vibration

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

Diesel versions of the Land Rover Defender all use the same 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine, which has mild-hybrid assistance to smooth out power delivery and increase efficiency. The entry-level 246bhp D250 has plenty of low-down grunt and is all the engine you’d ever need, but due to global supply chain issues, it's not available to order at the moment. That leaves the more powerful 296bhp D300. You might be disappointed by its punchy price tag but you won’t be disappointed by its punchy power delivery – the 0-62mph sprint, Land Rover says, can be cracked in 7.0sec. It’s the engine that feels best suited to the Defender.

Petrol power starts with the P400. It’s a 3.0-litre six-cylinder engine capable of a decent turn of speed, but requires more revving than the diesels in everyday driving. The fastest Defender is the exorbitantly priced P525 V8 petrol. Its 0-60mph time of 5.1sec isn't far off the AMG G63 version of the Mercedes G-Class.

Suspension and ride comfort

The longer Defender 110 has air suspension fitted as standard. With the entry-level 18in, 19in or larger 20in alloy wheels and off-road tyres fitted, it does a reasonable job of taking the sting out of bigger urban abrasions. It's more comfortable and shudders less than the Volvo XC90 but is not a patch on the ultra-supple Audi Q7. We’ve yet to try the largest 22in wheels that come on the Defender V8.

The Defender 90 has regular suspension as standard (air suspension is optional) and is still comfortable. Serious wrinkles in the road are dealt with well but it jiggles around more than the 110 over surface imperfections. Adding the optional air suspension helps to smooth out the ride.

Noise and vibration

Although the Defender looks like it has the aerodynamics of a brick, wind noise at motorway speeds isn't too bad. There's more gusting around the windscreen and door mirrors than you get in the Audi Q7 or BMW X5, but road noise is relatively subdued.

New car deals
Target Price from £57,695
or from £608pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £74,000