Passenger & boot space
How it copes with people and clutter
One of the benefits of designing a car with boxy proportions is that it gives passengers lots of space in every direction. So, just like in the equally quadratic G-Class, it doesn’t matter if you’re broad-shouldered, long-legged or tall in the body, because you’ll have all the room you need in the front of the Defender.
For a reasonable outlay, you can even replace the standard centre console between the driver and passenger seat with an occasional middle 'jump' seat. It means that you can carry up to three people in the front, but the seat’s high and narrow base means that an adult will only want to sit on it for the briefest of journeys. Just remember you can’t have the jump seat if you order the third row of seats as well.
Those sitting in the second row of seats in the long-wheelbase 110 model will find masses of head room, and the sheer width of the Defender makes sitting three abreast pretty comfortable for all concerned. Leg room is also impressive – there’s lots of room to stretch out – although the floor is a little higher than it is in the Audi Q7 and BMW X5, making the seats slightly less comfortable. The 90 has lots of head room, too, and while leg room isn’t quite so impressive as it is in the longer car, a tall adult will still have room. More of an issue is the lack of rear doors; their absence makes entry trickier than it is in the 110, even though you get a decent space to post yourself through.
If you occasionally need to carry more than six people, you can specify a ‘five plus two’ variant of the 110, with two extra seats that can be pulled up from the boot floor. Thanks to the Defender's high roofline, head room is excellent, although third-row leg room is more plentiful in the Land Rover Discovery and BMW X7. Or, if you don't want to spend that kind of money, the Kia Sorento is also a very capable seven-seater.
Seat folding and flexibility
If you order the entry-level Defender trim, you'll get 40/20/40 split-folding second row seats, but they won't slide or recline.
Pay extra to have seven seats and the second row gains a sliding and reclining function, although the seatback switches to a less flexible 60/40 split.
The three-door 90 model has less boot space than many family hatchbacks, with a tall and not very deep area for your belongings. Meanwhile, boot space in the Defender 110 looks impressive on paper, although we managed to fit only seven carry-on suitcases below its load cover. Many rivals, including the Audi Q7 and Volvo XC90, can swallow more. The Defender does show up the Jeep Wrangler for load lugging, though.
Versions with seven seats lose some underfloor storage and, predictably, have much less boot space when the rearmost seats are in use.
If you need to carry longer, bulkier objects, you can fold down all of the rear seats and turn your Defender 110 into something closely resembling a small van, although the resulting extended load area isn’t particularly flat. One other point of note: fans of the original Defender will surely love how the latest model's tailgate also swings open sideways, rather than lifting up, but this does make accessing the boot tricky in tight spaces. The same problem afflicts the Mercedes G-Class and Toyota Land Cruiser.
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