2020 Land Rover Defender X review: Rugged and refined in equal measure

Male, this point is sharp.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

At times, Mother Mother nature provides the off-street park to your doorstep. With my corner of Michigan nestled deep below a foot of snow, and with community snow-plow infrastructure so missing it may as perfectly not exist, venturing exterior will become a capital-A journey. Luckily, I have a Land Rover Defender X in my driveway, which through a mixture of luxurious appointments and outright off-street capacity turns this stark-white hellscape back into a wintertime wonderland.


  • Seems badass.
  • Can drive through practically nearly anything.
  • Mild-hybrid I6 can drive.

Never Like

  • Touchy brakes
  • Big boy, major thirst
  • Infotainment greater, still not good

No matter if out of common newness or the reality that a Defender has not graced our amber waves of grain in two many years, this SUV actually turns heads. Aspect of that will come from its surprising dimensions. It looks a good deal smaller sized in pics, but get appropriate up on this point and it feels like you might be staring down a setting up. Its 119-inch wheelbase dwarfs both of those a Vary Rover and a Mercedes-Benz G550. The human body is shorter all round than both, but this is no compact utility car.

Being large and in demand demonstrates on the Defender’s styling, as well. It really is both of those faithful to Defenders of aged and still long run-forward, borrowing factors like round headlights and diamond plating on the hood and adapting them to a sleeker, more modern-day layout. It lacks the intense militaristic rigidity of the Mercedes G-Class, but it’s not significantly off. My range-topping X tester zhushes points up with a black contrast roof and hood, satin chrome trim and beefy 255/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires ($350). Toss in the rear-mounted spare and you’ve got bought A Total Appear.

The interior further more exemplifies the whole safari-chic theme. Cover the badge on the Defender X’s steering wheel and you’d be tough pressed to say this isn’t a Vary Rover. Then all over again, with a commencing price of $82,250 which includes vacation spot, it’d greater be close. Leather abounds, with tough-slash walnut trim splashed throughout the center console and doorway panels to good result. The plastics have a rougher finish to them that discuss more to durability than flimsiness. Contemplating the exterior dimensions, it’s no surprise that there’s oodles of headroom and legroom for all passengers, and the seats them selves are mighty at ease. Visibility is leading-notch, as well, even though the rear-mounted spare tire can try to eat into rearward views luckily, my tester sports activities a rearview mirror that displays a feed from the backup digicam mounted above the spare.

Perform walks hand-in-hand with variety inside of the Defender X. Virtually the total middle of the dashboard serves as a tray for stashing maps, masks, telephones, you name it — heck, there’s even a go-through driving the infotainment display. The center console offers two stages of storage, in addition to a tiny cubby below the armrest. Swing open the tailgate (be watchful if you park as well close to a wall or other vehicles) and there’s 38 cubic ft of cargo area, 50 percent a cube more than the Mercedes G550 and practically one hundred fifty% of what you get in a Vary Rover.

Whilst there isn’t a V8 below the hood (yet), it pretty much feels like there is. Rather, the Defender X utilizes a three.-liter straight-six fuel motor blended with a 48-volt gentle-hybrid procedure. This powertrain delivers a sufficient 395 horsepower and 406 pound-ft of torque. Offered its five,200-as well as-pound curb weight, Land Rover’s Ingenium motor can shove the Defender about with an spectacular amount of haste, its 8-speed automated rattling off smooth shifts in the background no matter if I’m getting or shedding speed. It seems fairly great in the procedure, as well. The gentle-hybrid is more economical than the 2.-liter fuel motor readily available on reduce trims, giving an EPA-approximated seventeen miles per gallon town and 22 mpg highway — not good quantities by any stretch, but three mpg forward of the V8-powered G550 on the freeway. Those figures are comparatively uncomplicated to fulfill, but significantly trickier to conquer. It really is thirsty.

That aim on smoothness extends to the relaxation of the Defender X’s trip. Outfitted with these thicc off-street tires and a regular air suspension, this unibody SUV’s smooth trip feels a very little more composed than a Mercedes G550, but there are some truck-ish vibes still lingering about, with sharp highway expansion joints translating some shudders to the cabin and a little bit of wallowing over undulating pavement. Toss in steering which is a very little on the light-weight side, and there’s no forgetting the thing’s mass in each day operation. The brakes, which on my tester attribute purple calipers for some reason, are more than capable of halting in a hurry, even though the pedal is touchier than I would like, requiring a very little more finesse for smooth stops. If you have to have some additional floor clearance, the air suspension can raise the human body to provide 11.five inches of area in between Defender and dust.

The Defender’s interior isn’t just beautiful, it’s also lots versatile.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Talking of dust, Roadshow’s social media editor, Daniel Golson, had a unique Land Rover Defender that he took through some significant paces at a area off-street park, and he referred to it as an “absolute beast over even the rockiest and most treacherous terrain, with the Terrain Response driving modes making it brief and uncomplicated to established up the auto.” He did not even have to have to attain into the nethermost areas of the Defender’s a lot of off-street solutions to have a good time, both, but with locking differentials, 360-diploma cameras and hill-descent handle, the Defender is in a position to deal with some significant stuff.

My time in shin-deep snow could not have been a lot easier. I did not even have to make use of the Defender’s a lot of modes letting the regular 4-wheel-drive do its point produced for slip-cost-free begins and stops each individual time. Guaranteed, it could possibly be like bringing a tactical nuclear gadget to a knife combat, but it’s good to be overprepared for once.

The Defender’s new infotainment procedure is great, but Jaguar Land Rover’s most up-to-date still suffers from some of the very same problems that have plagued its iterations for years.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

All Land Rover Defenders appear regular with the automaker’s new Pivi Pro infotainment procedure, which life on a ten-inch touchscreen nestled into the dashboard. It really is house to just about almost everything you have to have below, no matter if it’s off-street options, navigation, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, and what isn’t proven there is displayed clearly on both the configurable gauge display or the head-up display which is aspect of the X trim. Pivi Pro is a very little underwhelming, however though I do enjoy the new pores and skin and its improved responsiveness, it’s still sluggish to boot up when cold and all round response can still be laggy. It also will take some obtaining applied to how the menus and solutions are arranged.

In conditions of security gear, all Defenders incorporate automated emergency braking, blind-location monitoring, a surround-view digicam procedure, lane-keeping support and parking sensors. The Defender X also rocks a regular Driver Assist Pack, which is optional on reduce trims, consisting of adaptive cruise handle, lively blind-location support and rear cross-site visitors alert.

You are going to be satisfied that a rearview digicam-mirror is readily available, for the reason that that badass mounted spare eats into rearward visibility.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Land Rover Defender is not a inexpensive proposition, but it’s luckily nowhere close to the MSRP excesses of the Mercedes G550, which will never depart a dealer’s good deal for nearly anything fewer than $one hundred twenty five,000 or so. Four-doorway Defender 110 versions get started at $fifty one,250 which includes vacation spot, though my Defender X exists at the upper bound of $eighty five,750, as it features just about almost everything the automaker can incorporate. It really is a downright steal as opposed to its competitor, however, even if you don’t get the badge cachet or a V8 below the hood. The G550 may be more deluxe, but I’m not confident it’s worthy of that a lot of tens of hundreds of bucks more, given how very similar the two are in conditions of off-street capacity.

Regardless of exterior things, however, the Land Rover Defender rocks. It provides luxurious-stage trimmings to a car that can nearly drive through an apocalypse unscathed. It really is more than at ease adequate in each day use and will provide as a strong loved ones hauler even if it in no way sees so a great deal as an inch of mud, and for significantly fewer than its main competitor. The twenty-year wait around was worthy of it.

Rosa G. Rose

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