Land Rover Defender Hard Top review

Category: Car-based van

Section: Costs & verdict

Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Defender 2021 interior front seats
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 right tracking off road
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 right tracking
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior front seats
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior rear storage
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 rear door open
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 rear cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior dashboard
  • Land Rover Defender 2021 interior front seats
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior infotainment
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 right tracking off road
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 right tracking
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 front cornering
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior front seats
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior detail
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 interior rear storage
  • Land Rover Defender Hard Top 2021 rear door open
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Costs & verdict

Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is

The Land Rover Defender Hard Top’s pricing is roughly in line with the Defender SUV. That makes it an expensive proposition if you're simply looking for a practical commercial vehicle – the Ford Ranger, Nissan Navara, Toyota Hilux and Toyota Land Cruiser Utility Commercial and are all significantly cheaper

The Ranger and Hilux are also predicted to hold on to their value against depreciation just as well as the Defender Hard Top over three years of ownership. So why buy the Hard Top? 

It gets somewhere near that in the real world, at least – we saw 25-28mpg with prolonged use. Thankfully, commercial vehicles have a fixed rate of VED, so the Defender Hard Top's emissions don't affect this. 

All Hard Tops come pretty well equipped, with LED headlights, heated mirrors, a heated windscreen, lockable underfloor storage, 8-way adjustable heated front seats, the infotainment system we discussed earlier and plenty of safety kit coming as standard.

You can spec your Hard Top with luxuries such as a premium Meridian Sound System and 20in alloy wheels, but we’d keep ours basic and add key features such as the ClearSight interior mirror, middle jump seat and electronic active differential. 

You can also choose from three design packs to further customise the look of the Defender Hard Top. Some are more city orientated and add glitzy wheels. Others are off-road-inspired with features including a ladder, roof rack and off-road tyres. There's even a satin protective wrap for the bodywork, which stops the paintwork getting scratched when off-roading.

Euro NCAP awarded the regular Defender five stars (out of five) overall in its crash tests, which makes it one of the safest commercial vehicles on sale.

All trims come with active safety gizmos designed to prevent you from having an accident, including lane-keeping assistance, traffic sign recognition (displaying the current speed limit on the dashboard) as well as automatic emergency braking (AEB), which automatically hits the brakes if it senses that a collision is imminent. It can even recognise pedestrians and cyclists. 

When it comes to reliability, Land Rover doesn’t have a great track record. Indeed, the brand finished rock bottom (out of 31 manufacturers) in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey.

Overview

The Land Rover Defender Hard Top is not cheap and it lacks the load space and payload capacity of most pick-up trucks. However, no other commercial vehicle on the market manages to blend incredible off-road capability and utilitarian practicality with on-road comfort and refinement.

  • Excellent off-road
  • Impressive towing capabilities
  • Fantastic on-road manners
  • An expensive commercial vehicle
  • Most pick-ups have a higher payload capacity
  • Poor reliability is not ideal for a commercial vehicle
New car deals
Target Price from £57,695
or from £608pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £73,750