2020 Land Rover Defender 110 | On and Off-Road Review

The 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 is a vehicle that we’ve most been looking forward to driving. And we’re happy to report that it does not disappoint!

The Land Rover Defender is a global vehicle icon. That means Land Rover can’t mess this new one up. They did not. The 395-hp P400 SE version we tested felt great on-road and especially off of it. To see what the Defender is made of, we drove it way off-road down in California down near the border with Mexico.

We experienced silty washes, rocky crops, and even soft sand dunes. The Defender dispatched all of it with ease, and we were comfortable inside as well. Even when temperates climbed way up.

Why buy a Rubicon Wrangler when you can get a Defender 110 P400 for basically the same price?

[Disclaimer: Land Rover invited us to La Quinta, CA to experience the Defender. They gave us a sanitized hotel room and socially distanced dinner.]

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10 responses to “2020 Land Rover Defender 110 | On and Off-Road Review”

    1. Zentropy Avatar
      Zentropy

      Never heard of Hedberg before, but damn he had some great one-liners!

  1. Zentropy Avatar
    Zentropy

    Mechanically, I really like the new Defender (yea, a blown-on inline six!), and I’m sure I would love the way it drives.

    Aesthetically, though, I don’t care for it at all, which is a shame because I will strain my neck and nearly crash the car looking at the old-body Defenders when I spot them on the road. The silhouette is ok (boxy is good), but the roof is too low– just like every other modern LR– and I don’t like the way the body sides taper to a narrower rear hatch. (Why not just straight sides? Is aero really a legitimate concern in a vehicle like this?) Finishing it off is a front clip that looks like it was poached from a rear-ended Freelander.

    I’m sorry, but at least from a styling perspective, Mercedes did a markedly better job updating the G-Wagen.

    1. 0A5599 Avatar
      0A5599

      The old G-Wag was function over form. Its styling left a LOT of room for improvement. Pretty much the only way to have made it uglier would have been to add Aztek-like cladding. A kindergartener could have been in charge of the redesign and the result would have been a great success.

      The old Defender was pretty close to perfect. Like an elevator at the penthouse, the next destination from there can only be down.

      1. Zentropy Avatar
        Zentropy

        Good point, but I wish MB’s kindergartener had been available to help redesign the Defender. Land Rover really missed the mark.

    2. Rover 1 Avatar
      Rover 1

      Shouldn’t Aero be a concern for any vehicle that might be driven at highway speeds regularly? The taper is only apparent when looked for from above, otherwise it’s not noticeable.
      I call that subtlety, good design.

      1. Zentropy Avatar
        Zentropy

        To your first question, no, I don’t think in this case aerodynamics need define that particular element of the design. Admittedly, the overall size of the hole punching through air matters, and the shape/slope of the windscreen has a significant impact, but I don’t think contouring the rear fenders and canopy are necessary considering how it negatively (IMO) impacts the visual impression.

        As to your second statement, I strongly disagree. Anyone following behind the vehicle will notice:
        https://supercarsforsale.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2020-Land-Rover-Defender-110-Rear-View.jpg

        I don’t think it’s subtle at all, or otherwise I wouldn’t have criticized it. I think LR can squash the greenhouse down to inches and shave the corners off of any of their other vehicles, but it shouldn’t happen to the Defender. I’m glad it continues to be the mechanical goat that it has always been, but it is no longer a design icon.

        1. Rover 1 Avatar
          Rover 1

          When it has been pointed out, it is visible, but I never noticed it when I saw my first few, and just having followed one on the road, it didn’t jump out at me. It just looks like a box, emphasised by the verticality of the rear and the knife edge small radius corners.And evokes strongly the original to a laerge extent.

          I fear we must agree to disagree.

  2. rumblestrip Avatar

    Can’t get the cool steel wheels with the six banger.

    1. Zentropy Avatar
      Zentropy

      Boo!

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