New Land Rover Defender vs Volvo XC90 vs Jeep Wrangler: verdict

Unlike its predecessor, the new Defender promises to be at home on the road as well as off it. But can it really beat both the family-friendly XC90 and the rugged Wrangler at their own games?...

Land Rover Defender vs Volvo XC90 vs Jeep Wrangler closer

Our verdict

Despite the might of Land Rover’s off-road experience and an all-new design for the Defender, it’s the Wrangler that’s the most capable over rough terrain. However, that off-road ability comes at the expense of ride comfort, refinement and safety. So, if you’re planning to spend a lot of your time on the road with your family, we find it hard to recommend.

Not so the XC90. Its big boot, excellent driving position and flexible seats all appeal, as does its five-star safety rating. Sadly, the new engine sounds coarser than its predecessor, and despite having an on-road bias, the car isn’t actually that great to drive by wider class standards.

So the Defender tastes victory in its maiden battle. There’s plenty of space inside for people, and there are loads of practical touches that should make transporting them as stress-free as possible. Performance is decent, it’s awfully effective off road and its excellent resale values mean it’ll cost less to own than you think if you’re a private buyer.

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1st – Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender front

For Capable off road; comfiest ride; slow depreciation; spacious interior; well equipped
Against Thirstiest; relatively small boot; Land Rover’s reliability record
Recommended options Metallic paint (£840)

What Car rating Four stars out of five

Read our full Land Rover Defender review >>

Find Land Rover Defender deals >>

2nd – Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 front

For Biggest boot; cheapest on PCP finance; fine safety record; best driving position; most economical
Against Firm, fidgety ride; clattery engine; fiddly infotainment; least capable off road
Recommended options Metallic paint (£700), phone mirroring (£300)

What Car rating Four stars out of five

Read our full Volvo XC90 review >>

Find Volvo XC90 deals >>

3rd – Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler front

For Fantastic off road; cheapest to buy; smooth automatic gearbox
Against One-star safety rating; vague steering; unsettled ride; smallest boot
Recommended options Safety Pack (£780), metallic paint (£775)

What Car rating Two stars out of five

Read our full Jeep Wrangler review >>

Find Jeep Wrangler deals >>

Specifications: Land Rover Defender

Land Rover Defender rear cornering

Engine 4cyl, 1999cc, diesel
Peak power 237bhp @ 4000rpm
Peak torque 317Ib ft @ 1400rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 7.8sec
30-70mph 7.9sec
Top speed 117mph
30-0mph 9.5m
70-0mph 52.8m
Noise at 30mph 59.6dB
Noise at 70mph 66.5dB
Official economy 31.4mpg
Test MPG 29.9mpg
CO2 emissions 236g/km

Specifications: Volvo XC90

Volvo XC90 rear cornering

Engine 4cyl, 1969cc, diesel
Peak power 232bhp @ 4000rpm
Peak torque 354Ib ft @ 1750-2250rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 7.7sec
30-70mph 7.5sec
Top speed 112mph
30-0mph 8.3m
70-0mph 44.4m
Noise at 30mph 61.1dB
Noise at 70mph 67.1dB
Official economy 41.5mpg
Test MPG 35.1mpg
CO2 emissions 178g/km

Specifications: Jeep Wrangler

Jeep Wrangler rear cornering

Engine 4cyl, 2143cc, diesel
Peak power 197bhp @ 3500rpm
Peak torque 332Ib ft @ 2000rpm
Gearbox 8-spd automatic
0-60mph 8.8sec
30-70mph 9.0sec
Top speed 112mph
30-0mph 9.5m
70-0mph 51.9m
Noise at 30mph 60.9dB
Noise at 70mph 69.3dB
Official economy 30.1mpg
Test MPG 31.4mpg
CO2 emissions 247g/km

Cars pictured

Land Rover Defender 110 D240 S with Pangea Freen metallic paint (£840) and white contrast roof (£815), Off-Road Capability Pack (£870) and Cold Climate Pack (£445)

Volvo XC90 B5D Inscription with Saville Grey metallic paint (£700), Bowers & Wilkins stereo with smartphone integration (£3000), Xenium Pack (£1600), Seven Seat Comfort Pack (£900), Winter Pack (£525), Intellisafe Surround (£500) and dark-tinted rear side windows and cargo area (£400)

Jeep Wrangler 2.2 Multijet II Overland 4dr with Granite Crystal metallic paint (£775)

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