The NamasteCar review:

Land Rover Defender 110 SE 2.0 l

₹ 73,98,000 – 1,08,19,000

The new Defender promises opulence and the ability to go anywhere, does it live up to that? Here is our review.

OVERALL POINTS: 94/100


WE LOVE: Looks stunning and gets a lot of attention while there is a quality to its design as well as its interiors. It is also spacious, well equipped and capable for any terrain yet also quick on the road

WE DON’T LOVE: It is expensive and Land Rovers are known for being heavy on maintenance too


1. Introduction

The Land Rover Defender name was born in 1990 yet the origins of the Defender family of SUVs started with the Series 1 in 1948 and that was the blood line for the Defender. The Defender name actually happened in 1990 and that generation continued on for many years. It was only last year that the new generation Defender was revealed globally and towards the end of the year, it was also launched in India.

This is a new generation model with no similarity to the earlier version. The new Defender has a completely new design language plus a monocoque construction which has been controversial but Land Rover has addressed that to which we will explain in detail below. For now India gets the new Defender in 90 and 110 versions with the 90 model to be available for deliveries a bit later. Deliveries of the 5-door 110 has been going on and currently Land Rover offers a petrol and a plug-in hybrid.

2. Looks from outside

There is no doubt that the Defender makes you fall in love with it quite easily at first glance. It is a brilliant design that marries the old with the new quite well. Unlike some other retro looking modern cars, the Defender is easily identified as a new car but a closer look will reveal many signs about its family history. Unlike say an Evoque or Velar, there is no design detail which is shared with the Defender. It is a new model and much thought has been put into it.

For starters the new Defender is huge in the 110 shape. The 5-door version is a whopping 5,018mm in length and that means it is bigger than most SUVs. Plus you can see how it is different from other luxury SUVs. The styling is boxy and done in a way to look like the original. You can see the very short overhangs which enhance the boxiness along with the square shape. The front gets unique round headlamps which are LEDs of course while the grille is a simple affair but there is a massive silver skid plate plus cladding. You also cannot miss the large ‘Defender’ name on the bonnet.

The cladding runs across all of the sides and you can also see the gills with a small Defender name on it. The mirrors are also painted black while the roof is big along with the windows. You will notice the special design at the rear which has special Alpine windows. It looks great and reminds you of the previous Defender. Move to the rear and you will see a side hinged tail-gate and a massive externally mounted spare wheel. The spare wheel is of the same size and again shows the off-road focus of the car since at remote places you would not want a spare which is smaller and just a space saver which German cars have.

In terms of design and options you can play around and choose pretty much anything. The Defender comes with no less than 9 wheel options including the nice black ones on our test car. The tyres are offroad focused but also work well on on-road. The exterior colour options include Fuji White, Eiger Grey, Santorini Black, Indus Silver as well as options such as Tasman Blue, Pangea Green, and Gondwana Stone which is only for the Defender.

The car that you see here is finished in Gondwana Stone and it is a brilliant colour which brings out the toughness of the Defender. The paint finish is spectacular also with a real shine to it. No doubt that in terms of appeal the Defender takes the top spot as it gets a lot of looks on the road as the big size plus the design makes it stand out brilliantly.

3. Driving feel

The Defender that we have here has the 2.0 turbo petrol which develops 300 bhp and 400Nm of torque. Standard is a 8-speed automatic gearbox while it of course is having 4-wheel drive as standard. The Defender can do 0-100 km/h in just 8 seconds.

Driving performance

The new Defender has a lighter aluminium monocoque construction which helps in maintaining its weight as having a ladder- frame chassis would have made it much heavier. The Defender drives very much like a proper SUV and has a commanding driving position but surprisingly the steering is light plus it does not feel so big behind the wheel. In traffic it is easier to drive as the gearbox is smooth and the refined petrol matches the car very well too. You may think that an SUV like this needs a diesel but the torque plus the gearbox makes the Defender quite compatible with a petrol as it’s very easy and nice to drive overall. Out on the highway the performance is good while shifting the gearlever to sport further makes it have a better engine throttle response. Plus for something so big it is easy to drive with so many cameras helping you park. Out on the highway the Defender cruises very well too and is silent with the off-road tyres not causing a lot of tyre noise. What comes in handy though is the huge ground clearance and suspension which just clears off bad roads like it does not even exist!

Off-road ability

The new Defender has an electronic air suspension which means you can lower it or raise it higher which is important when going off-road. It also gets proper off-road hardware like a two speed transfer box and the latest Terrain response program. Just to give you an example there is a flat under body and the Defender has a total ground clearance of 291mm. In total you can raise the car by 145mm with the air suspension and with the off-road modes.

In case you want it to go through water there is a special ‘Wade’ program which lets you go through water which is upto 900mm. In terms of pure off-road ability the breakover and departure angles are of 38, 28 and 40 degrees- that’s proper hardcore stuff.

Thus despite the big size it can do things very few other luxury SUVs can and it is a superb off-roader. A lot of that is due to the entirely customizable Terrain Response 2 program which tunes various factors like brakes, throttle response and gearbox to exactly tackle that situation hence it is very easy for the driver! Plus do not forget the ClearSight view which shows angles which you cannot see yourself.

4. Interior features and feel

If the exterior is impressive then the interior is even more so as Land Rover has tried to put in as many design details of the previous Defender as possible. The overall look of the cabin is special and completely different from any other Land Rover. It is not like any other Land Rover and there is a lesser focus on luxury with more being thought on durability and ability to stand up-to extreme use.

Do not think it is a bare basic car as the Defender is a Rs. 80 lakh luxury SUV after all so yes, you do get a large choice of top grade materials and upholstery but there is textile used along with leather which is better for off-road use as pure leather may not be practical. There are many variants but the standard version uses textiles and higher up the next version uses grained leather and wooven textile. The top-end trim uses the best quality Windsor leather and also a higher quality of textile. Not only that as you have wood finish options which uses a special type of wood to make it off-road ready but also with some luxury.

To give you an idea of how different the Defender is, Land Rover has given it a rubberised flooring which is easier to clean plus the whole interior is durable which means it can be cleaned easily after an adventure.

In terms of the cabin design the new Defender brings back the look of the old one especially with the square shape steering wheel plus there are some parts which are exposed like screw heads and fixings. Then you will see a massive touch screen in the middle while there are bead round climate controls. The Defender also puts its focus on space plus practicality hence even the gear lever is shifted to the centre console to free up space. The middle part on our car has a large storage box which helps you store many things easily. Plus even the door pockets are large.

As said earlier Land Rover has wanted to make the Defender as practical, sturdy or off-road focused as possible hence the switches are big and space is also huge inside. You have plenty of options in how many seats you want as the Defender 110 offers five, six or 5+2 seating configurations. There is also a space for a middle seat in the front!

The seats themselves are big and offer multiple levels of adjustment. The front seats are nice and offer lots of comfort while the rear seat is also great if you want to be driven around. There is enough comfort while legroom is huge along with headroom due to the high roof. Hence while the second row is very comfortable the third row is a bit short on space and is only suitable for small children.  In terms of luggage space you have plenty as the entire capacity behind the second-row seats is1,075 litres, and it is as much as 2,380-litres when the second row being folded.

Features

Despite being an off-roader the one area which the new Defender easily goes past the old one is the features plus technology. The new Defender is perhaps the most technologically advanced Land Rover which you can buy. There is plenty which is going on but the two main screens happen to be a 10inch middle touch screen and a 12.3 inch digital instrument display.

Along with that the new Defender has the Pivi Pro infotainment system which is the new JLR unit and it is much nicer to use while the display is simply brilliant. The touch responsiveness is also nice. It also gets OTA updates to its infotainment system which is convenient.

The instrument cluster similarly is also slick with a 3d HD mapping and you can also configure the display to suit your various needs. Along with that feature it gets various other technology oriented features like a 3d surround camera, 360 degree camera, wireless charging, ClearSight Rear View mirror which changes the rear view to a video feed of what’s behind then you even have a great heads-up display and more. The conventional luxury car features are also there as Land Rover has not missed out on anything with the Defender. You get the must have features for a luxury car like dual 12-way electrically powered and headed front seats, massive glass panoramic roof, connected car technology, climate control and of course a nice sounding Meridian audio system.

5. Ownership

The Defender petrol will give 8-10 kmpl depending on your usage while it gets a standard warranty which is also extendable. In terms of maintenance expect a slightly higher bill since it is a full import and JLR products are more expensive to maintain over other luxury cars.

6. Our opinion

You will want to explore thanks to the capabilities of the Defender and also drive it every day like any other car

The base 110 Defender starts at Rs. 80 lakh while the top-end ones are above Rs. 90 lakh. It is clear that there is nothing quite like the new Defender at this price or even double that since no other SUV is as impressive off-road or is as good looking. You will want to explore thanks to the capabilities of the Defender and also drive it every day like any other car. It is the only car that you would ever need and amongst the most desirable luxury SUVs right now.

Specifications –

  • Fuel: Petrol
  • Engine capacity: 1997 cc
  • No. of cylinders/Valves per cylinder: 4 / 4
  • Cylinder layout: In-line
  • Bore/stroke (mm): 83.0 / 92.29
  • Compression ratio (:1): 9.5+ / -0.5
  • Fuel tank capacity – useable litres: 90
  • Driveline: All Wheel Drive (AWD)
  • Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic Transmission
  • Power (HP at r/min) : 296 HP at 5500
  • Torque (Nm at r/min): 400 at 1500 – 4000
  • Length: 5018 mm
  • Wheelbase: 3022 mm
  • Width with mirrors: 2105 mm
  • Height (Air suspension): 1967 mm
  • Acceleration (s) for 0–100 km/h: 7.4
  • Maximum speed km/h: 191
  • Gross Vehicle Weight (GVW): 3105 / 3200 kg
Somnath Chatterjee

Somnath Chatterjee

Been in love with cars for as long as I can remember and love writing about them along with driving them of course. Nothing makes me happier than a fast car and an empty road! Favourite Car: Ferrari 458 Speciale Quote: Life's too short to drive boring cars