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Car of the Year Awards 2024: 7-Seater of the Year

An interior with space for seven people is obviously a prerequisite in this class, but we also expect an upmarket feel, sensible costs, and top-notch comfort and refinement...

WINNER: 7-Seater of the Year

Land Rover Defender 110 D300 X-Dynamic S

COTY 2024 logo with Motoreasy

Like a Swiss Army knife or a Leatherman multi-tool, the Land Rover Defender has gained a reputation for versatility that has stood it in good stead with buyers – whether they’re celebrities, royalty or fictional secret agents. You can have the current iteration in five, six, seven or eight-seat forms, with three or five doors and with petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid power; there’s likely to be a version to suit everyone.

It’s the mid-range Defender 110 model that we think makes the most sense for larger families, though. It’s not as unwieldy as the supersized Defender 130, while its extra length over the Defender 90 means your rear passengers will be able to stretch out on long trips, plus it’s available as a seven-seater. The two third-row seats (which pull up out of the boot floor) aren’t token offerings, either; adults will find that they have plenty of leg and head room back there, and access is easy, because the second row can be slid forwards.

Land Rover Defender over the shoulder COTY

With bums on all seven seats, there isn’t a great deal of boot space (some rivals such as the BMW X7 and Volvo XC90 offer more), but in five-seat mode the Defender’s load bay is large and practical in shape. And when the time comes to head off road, the Defender can take you farther than any of its rivals, whether your destination is Surrey or the Sahara.

Don’t think the Defender is as spartan as a survival campsite, either, because our recommended X-Dynamic S trim comes with everything you’re likely to want, including 19in alloy wheels, electric and heated front seats and a premium Meridian sound system.

Of course, you’ll need a powerful engine to haul a heavily laden car around, and the Defender D300’s 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesel is just that. It offers muscular low-down pulling power and surprisingly swift acceleration, with the 0-60mph sprint taking 6.6sec.

Land Rover Defender 110

Despite that stump-pulling grunt, though, the Defender goes about the business of moving you from A to B with all the comfort you’d expect of a premium SUV. Thanks to the seven-seater’s standard air suspension, it soaks up lumps and bumps better than the XC90, while light yet accurate steering allows you to place this hefty SUV exactly where you want it.

The Defender is an expensive proposition in 90 form when you consider that version’s practicality limitations, but in seven-seat 110 guise it’s significantly cheaper than the X7. In addition, it outperforms most of its rivals when it comes to predicted depreciation, so you’ll get more of your money back when the time comes for you to sell it.

While there are cheaper seven-seaters out there, much like the Swiss Army knife, we think most buyers will be happy to pay extra for the proven versatility the Defender offers.

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