Land Rover Defender in practice

Your last combustion engine (6): Land Rover Defender

Why the Land Rover Defender even survives Tesla

Land Rover Defender in practice-defender
cattleman Just a moment, there has to be a deer with you: With a Land Rover Defender you are always on the right track in the woods and fields

  • Site editor Sebastian Viehmann

Your next petrol or diesel may be your last. In a new series, the site shows which conventional cars in the affordable price segment are a real recommendation – from entertainers to discount family carriages. Today: The Land Rover Defender.

There are cars that make every question superfluous. Especially when driving around town. Are you a fan of the Veggieday-Pop-Up-Radweg-Verkehrswende-Klimahhopper-Oko-Schickeria in Munich, Berlin or Hamburg? With a Defender, you don’t have to answer that question – your car does it for you.

Okay, the new edition of the all-terrain legend is a little less angular and robust than its predecessor, which was built unchanged for what feels like 1000 years. But a DNA test is superfluous: with a length of 4.6 meters in the short version, over two meters wide and almost two meters high, crowned by the spare wheel on the rear door and outer mirror like pans, a real defender clearly drives up here.

Land Rover Defender in practice-land
Daniel Steep On the prowl: Land Rover Defender

Where to put the deer?

The metal running boards on the hood and the small skylights in the rear structure complete the safari appeal. After the hunting trip, a deer has to come with us? No problem: In the closed short version, you simply throw the game you have killed in the back. If you prefer to hunt with binoculars or go hiking without a shotgun: the well-behaved mongrel dog also fits in a dog box in the hold. Of course, the Defender is also available as a five-door and off-road family vehicle. But the short version 90 with three doors has its own charm.

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Land Rover Defender in practice-practice
Daniel Steep The Defender 90 is the short version of the off-roader

Above all, it has much more than before: space. The author of these lines can still remember a 7-day tour of Bolivia in the old Defender. With long legs you could hardly fit under the steering wheel due to the non-height-adjustable seat, the workmanship of the interior was a medium-heavy disaster and the Landy could only really convince in what it was made for: uncompromising off-road suitability, even if it was really hairy will.

Land Rover Defender in practice-defender
land rover After the door is opened, the seat is literally climbed on and the door is closed with a resounding pop, the Defender also presents itself inside as a massive monument of British car engineering

The new one is not only more lavishly dimensioned with enough knee and headroom on the command bridge, but also – despite the many hard plastic and the deliberately visible Torx screws – has become higher quality. There are optional three seats up front, with number three crouching in the middle (not exactly comfortable, but tolerable) and the seatback folded down to serve as a cup holder and shelf. But it is better to use the large shelf along the dashboard, otherwise things will quickly slip between or behind the seats while driving and have to be laboriously fumbled out again.

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Land Rover Defender in practice-practice

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All-wheel drive technology for all cases

The new edition of the Defender remains a real off-roader, even if the even larger dimensions and the high weight do not exactly make it easier to drive all-wheel drive. In addition to the permanent all-wheel drive, there is a gear reduction and two lockable differentials. The operation with switches and menus is not entirely intuitive; depending on the equipment, there is an impressive off-road camera system for this.

Land Rover Defender in practice-rover
cattleman Lots of buttons: Land Rover cockpit

Despite the sophisticated all-wheel drive technology, the tires are important when touring off-road. During our forest excursions with street tires, the car had to struggle in the mud. But if you really set off into the Kalahari with your Landy, you have loaded the whole vehicle with the right equipment (the British accessories catalog offers something for every budget, at least for every bulging wallet).

Land Rover Defender in practice-practice
cattleman Various off-road information is shown on the Land Rover’s display, from the angle of inclination of the body to camera images and the status of the differential locks

Comfort in the Defender? Now!

But how does it look on the road – the classic Land Rover Defender has never felt comfortable there? The new edition has made a quantum leap here. The tractor feeling doesn’t completely disappear, with a slightly grumbling diesel engine, somewhat imprecise steering and the wind noise that can be heard at higher speeds. But while a multi-hour highway long distance was an ordeal in the old Defender, you tear it off on a cheek in the new one.

Land Rover Defender in practice-practice
Daniel Steep The tailgate opens to the side

On the one hand, this is due to the high level of driving comfort, because the car is not only stable on the road with the wide track (even the short Defender 90), but also cushions bumps and ruts cleanly. The seats could use more lateral support, but are comfortable and back-friendly. And: The engine – in our test car "small" Diesel D200 with four cylinders and 147 kW / 200 hp convinces as a powerful drive, which forms a well-rehearsed team in connection with the eight-speed automatic transmission.

Land Rover Defender in practice-first jeep most luxurious time
Jaguar Land Rover/dpa-mag Land Rover legend as a plug-in hybrid: The Defender’s electric motor is combined with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 221 kW/300 hp. A 15.4 kWh battery serves as intermediate storage.

It can go up to almost 180 km/h if necessary, in practice you cruise in a comfortable feel-good window between 120 and 160 km/h. The test consumption: 8.4 liters per 100 kilometers. However, this does not apply to pure city traffic; then you have to reckon with 10 to 11 liters.


The Defender is still not the standard SUV suitable for the masses, it is too bulky and too expensive for that – only at 50.It starts at 000 euros, the new plug-in hybrid costs a whopping 72.600 euros; However, the mixture of electric and petrol in a car like the Defender is not a real alternative to the diesel engine. But the Landy is no longer the uncompromising Spartan edge of the past, which could do little except drive off-road and infuriate the vegan neighbors in their Prius. In the old Defender you had to accept asphalt long distances away from the jungle, in the new one you look forward to it.

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Land Rover Defender in practice-defender

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Quick checklist: Land Rover Defender

The Defender could be your last combustion engine?

  • We didn’t like that: Lousy overview in the city, high city consumption, the price includes the cult
  • We thought that was great: Plenty of space, extremely high security and "y’all can me"-Feeling, contemporary navigation, good highway properties and acceptable extra-urban consumption
  • This is what makes the car so extraordinary: Alongside the Jeep Wrangler, the Defender remains the ultimate off-roader and a statement against all zeitgeist – despite many technical adaptations to the modern age. This also ensures a high level of value stability – and the cult factor of the Land Rover is not really in danger in the Tesla world either. In addition, it is the best argument gate as to why the diesel engine is still the best choice, at least in certain vehicle genera.

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Land Rover Defender in practice-rover

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Type Land Rover Defender 90 D200
engine Four-cylinder diesel engine
Displacement (cm3) 1999
Power in hp (KW) at rpm 200 (147) at 4000
Max. Torque (Nm) at rpm 230 Nm at 1400 rpm
speed (km/h)
Acceleration 0-100 km/h (sec.) 10.2
transmission 8-speed automatic
drive Permanent all-wheel drive, switchable off-road reduction, central and rear differential lock
type of fuel diesel
Consumption EU third mix (l/100 km) 8.8
Site test consumption (l/100 km) 8.4
CO2 emissions (g/km) 230
emission standard Euro 6d

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7 thoughts on “Land Rover Defender in practice”

  1. can i answer,
    why the Defender itself survives Tesla. Because the Defender is a vehicle that is loved … why the Defender itself survives Tesla. Because the Defender is a vehicle that is loved, that arouses emotions, that has rough edges, because it lasts a long time with a little care and because it has proven itself over decades, under all conceivable circumstances. Whether in the desert, in the forest, in the city or in front of the opera house. These are attributes that a Tesla will never achieve, except for the love of the fanboys… but is that enough to be really good?? Rather not.

  2. Off-roaders are popular
    With the demise of the petroleum industry, bitumen will become scarce. Then the gravel roads known from the post-war period could become modern again and the long-legged four-wheel drivers can clearly cope better with them than the smart Tesla.

  3. From 01.01.2022 no subsidy for electric cars
    It is well known that things often get done by ignoring or " leaving" by itself. I think if the purchase premium of 9.000.00 € is eliminated next year, it will be "OUT OF" be for sale for e-cars.

  4. That’s how it looks !
    Well, at BMW you’re getting more realistic. Burners will continue to exist. You also want to sell something….. E-cars are neither innovative nor practical for the masses. You don’t need one for that "testimonials" of e-car journeys through Germany that confirm, they only confirm it ! The stupid comparison with flat screen and tube TV doesn’t work either. It was an innovation that caught on in the market, and without any subsidies ! That’s how it should be, isn’t it ? By the way, there are other countries besides Brazil that drive everything except electric cars. That’s the reality !

  5. That’s right Mr Hahn ,
    In almost all of Central and South America, the e-car hype will not find fertile ground. There is a lack of money here, a secure power supply … and then there are the great distances . Only yesterday we were on the road with the 4×4 for more than eight hours to cover 290 km . Uphill downhill with partly muddy roads . But it was fun and the tank is still half full !

  6. Fortunately there is
    Here in Brazil there are practically no electric cars (there will certainly not be any in the future either), so we are happy about every new model here that has a good combustion engine under the hood . E-mobility in Europe is also viewed favorably – as a result, the demand for fuel in Europe falls, and here in Brazil the fuel prices fall . With this in mind – please continue with e-mobility .


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