Like the Queen of England, Land Rover isn’t a prisoner of fashion, so it doesn’t change a whole lot from year to year. But when the new Land Rover Defender 110 re-appeared, in a James Bond movie no less, it caused quite a stir.
A delayed debut
However, the COVID-19 pandemic soon tabled the launch and slowed production of the new version of the Defender, which is an elegant blend of tradition, new technology and Land Rover’s traditional ability to maneuver in a variety of off-road terrain.
The Defender 110 SE combines an authentic feel of old-world luxury with the mechanical bits needed to leave the pavement for a serious off-road trek or on roads no one has ever bothered to pave. The Defender also comes with all the safety equipment and the connectivity sought by 21st century drivers even when they are looking for a bit of old-fashioned adventure. The end result is a versatile luxury vehicle capable of going the extra mile — or more if necessary.
The Defender is descended from a long line of Range Rover vehicles and the designs worked to make sure the latest version contained a restrained bow to the company’s tradition of building squared-off, tall, upright vehicles that went along with the vehicle’s ability to navigate through deep runts or over tall rocks while offering drivers an excellent view of their surroundings.
The new Defender is dressed up with a crisp front fascia, modern lights in the front and rear and a rear door that swings outward rather than upward and carries a full-size spare tire, which fits neatly between two dark vertical bands containing the rear lights. The Defender also comes with unique, wheels, roof rails and door handles.
It is undoubtedly a challenge to design and produce a luxury vehicle interior that is practical enough to go out into the wilderness somewhere and still look elegant while retaining some of traditional cues used by Land Rover throughout the years.
The stylists behind the Land Rover Defender certainly did a yeoman’s job in making all varied pieces fit together. The materials used throughout the cabin are first rate but hardly ostentatious. I also was impressed by the workmanship in the headliner above the driver’s space and the stitching of the leather on the instrument panel.
The overall layout is quite thoughtful and includes plenty of storage space. The inner door panels are hard, which makes them easy to clean if they get muddy, while the seats are comfortable on longer trips. The Defender’s second-row seats are quite generous and there is plenty of space under the hatch for luggage and gear such as backpacks and sleeping bags. The visibility from the driver’s seat is excellent and the technology such the connectivity and entertainment are nicely done with the combination of knobs and touch screens.
The Land Rover Defender 110 powertrain is built around 3.0-liter, 6-cylinder engine equipped with a small electric motor and battery pack with regenerative braking to help boost fuel economy as well as a 6-speed automatic transmission. The combination produces 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The driveline includes different modes for of road travel and all-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and hill descent control. The Defender 110 gets a combined rating of 19 miles per gallon from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, including 17 mpg in the city and 22 mpg on the highway.
Safety and Technology
While Land Rover has a reputation for building vehicles capable of going where there are no roads, the Defender 110 is fully equipped with the latest safety technology and some of the latest automotive technology.
The list includes frontal and side-impact air bags and emergency braking. It also has blind-spot monitor, rear cross traffic monitor, traffic sign recognition and three-dimensional surround view camera. The Defender is equipped with Bluetooth, a 10-inch center stack screen with navigation, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
For a big heavy vehicle with a lot of technology and equipment, the Land Rover Defender 110 is surprisingly nimble in traffic with crisp, responsive steering and plenty of stopping power. It also has plenty of power and quickly get up to speed out of the highway. It is also maneuverable with a good turning radius. But the combination of power and solid handling rest on a comfortable ride in all kinds of conditions and over varied surfaces without any kind of fuss. It was pleasant to drive whether going out on short errand or a longer drive thanks to vehicle’s wide stance and dynamic air suspension.
2022 Land Rover Defender 110 SE specifications
|Dimension||L: 170.2 inches/W: 79.1 inches/H: 77.7 inches/Wheelbase: 101.1 inches|
|Powertrain||3.0-liter 6-cylinder with an electric motor, 6-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive|
|Fuel Economy||17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy/19 mpg combined|
|Performance Specs||395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque|
|Price||As tested: $69,905, including $1,350 destination charge|
|On-Sale Date||Available now|
The Defender is the 21st century equivalent of the expensive luxury sedans of the 1990s. It is loaded with the latest technology, but it also has more than enough power and impeccable driving dynamics. The added twist it can also travel off-road as well as it does on road.
It also has a prestige factor other brands find hard to match. But at $70,000, it is still expensive even in today’s automotive market, and if you are not really into status symbols, you might want to think twice about laying out the pile of cash needed to acquire this particular icon.