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Car of the Year Awards 2021: Best large SUV for off-roading

A spacious interior is obviously a prerequisite for a car to compete in this class, but we also expect an upmarket feel, sensible costs, and top-notch comfort and refinement...

While the design of the new Defender was clearly influenced by that of the original, under the skin it owes far more to the current Discovery and Range Rover, meaning no hardcore separate chassis or rigid axles. But don’t think that this means it’s gone soft.

The new Defender has more suspension travel and ground clearance than most of its siblings. And, like them, it’s packed with technology to help off road, including permanent four-wheel drive and a Terrain Response system that enables you to optimise the car for different conditions (or just select an automatic setting). You can even have something called ClearSight Ground View, which lets you see tricky obstacles underneath the front of the car.

Land Rover Defender dashboard

All this means it’s actually more capable in the rough than its predecessor. With modern mechanicals, the Defender impresses on the road too; its steering lets you place the car exactly where you want it and its suspension takes the sting out of vicious bumps and potholes. It’s far more civilised than the rival Jeep Wrangler.

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