It’s hard to believe that the new Land Rover Defender has been with us since 2019 when it arrived here as a 2020 model year. But like with everything that was 2020, things got difficult. The Defender was delayed and when vehicles finally started arriving in the dealerships, it was time for 2021 model year production to start. Browse around Land Rover dealership lots and you’ll some commonalities.

The desirably configured models are nonexistent on lots. There are “cheap” base models that are loaded to a point where they’re not cheap anymore. The pricey models are around but many of them are a bit over the top in terms of price and accessories. For a friend of mine who wants to buy a new Defender, that created sort of a first world problem. He wanted a specific model with specific options and he did not want to overpay for anything he did not want. All fair. But his ideal 2021 Defender model did not exist because he wanted something crazy – a white, 6-cylinder model, with full leather seats.

The 2021 Defender X-Dynamic HSE has seats that are a mix of leather and fake-leather (whatever the name is). This is an upgrade from the SE which has leather and canvas-like fabric. That issue is, and it’s widely discussed on the Land Rover forums, is that full leather seats are not available on the SE, which as optioned is a $75,000. So, my friend is now considering spending an additional $5000 on an X-Dynamic HSE, just to get seats without the canvas fabric that no one seems to like.

The problem with the X-Dynamic HSE is that it comes with gloss black bottom trim (SE does not). But he really wants the Wheel Arch Protection, which totally transforms the look of the Defender. The issue is that those protectors are matte black and don’t match the HSE glossy lower trim.So, his choices to get seats without canvas fabric and with matching trim is to either:

  • have the canvas seats fabrics replaced with leather aftermarket (on SE) or
  • have the wheel arches painted glossy black (on HSE).

Both of those are rather silly choices given the $80k+ he will be paying. But now the 2022 model is out and the Defender XS Edition is almost perfect! It comes with full leather interior, six-cylinder engine, and it does not have weird/ugly bottom trim. Perfect!

Oh no, wait… it’s not available in white.