2021 Land Rover Defender

#8
in Suvs
2021 MODEL
$49,900 - $80,900
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2021 Land Rover Defender Complete In-depth Review & Buying Guide

Updated on: July 20, 2020

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John Bedrow

Automotive Journalist


Land Rover just pulled out the most iconic name from their past. The Defender badge has been one of the best-known Rover so far. They decided to bring back the title to the modern world and carry on the legacy of the long lost go-anywhere SUV that had been part of LR’s iconic history for more than 70 years. After ending production in 2016, however, the Defender stayed in the United States until 1997, after which the safety regulations had prohibited its sale. In 2020 Land Rover revisited the Defender and brought it back to the United States.

See detailed review »

Pros

Impressive off-road capability

Wide range of customization

Rugged interior

Cons

Ditches the classic Defender look

Limited engine options

What's New?

Defender 80 variant is expected

Improved standard equipment


Videos

Videos
2021 Land Rover Defender Detailed Review video
2021 Land Rover Defender Interior video

Ratings

Safety

7.0

7.0

OVERALL RATING

Trims and Configurations

MSRP


2021 Land Rover Defender P300

P300

power
296 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$49,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
110 P300 4dr SUV 4WD (2.0L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $49,900 MSRP TBD 296 hp @ 5500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5

2021 Land Rover Defender S

S

power
296 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$53,350


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
110 P300 S 4dr SUV 4WD (2.0L 4cyl 8A) Starting at $53,350 MSRP TBD 296 hp @ 5500 rpm, 2 L, Inline 4,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5

2021 Land Rover Defender P400

P400

power
395 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$62,250 - $80,900


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
110 P400 SE 4dr SUV 4WD (3.0L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $62,250 MSRP TBD 395 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, Inline 6,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5
P400 110 X 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger 8A) Starting at $80,900 MSRP TBD 395 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, Inline 6,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5

2021 Land Rover Defender First Edition

First Edition

power
395 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$65,100 - $68,650


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
90 First Edition P400 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl 8A) Starting at $65,100 MSRP TBD 395 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, Inline 6,
8-Speed Automatic four wheel drive 6
P400 110 First Edition 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger 8A) Starting at $68,650 MSRP TBD 395 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, Inline 6,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 7

2021 Land Rover Defender HSE

HSE

power
395 hp @ 5500 rpm
fuel
TBD
mpg
TBD

$68,350


Style Prices MPG Engine Transmission Drivetrain Seats Colors
P400 110 HSE 4dr SUV AWD (3.0L 6cyl Twincharger 8A) Starting at $68,350 MSRP TBD 395 hp @ 5500 rpm, 3 L, Inline 6,
8-speed shiftable automatic four wheel drive 5

Expert Review

7.0

Overall Rating


The new 2021 Defender keeps us nostalgic with a retro-looking exterior with a few modern touches to both the inside and outside to make it more recognizable and maintaining the legacy of the 50's Defender. The neomodern Defender looks a bit old school but still has every bit of modern tech gizmos inside and out. In the cabin, it uses durable furnishings but also has upscale materials and ample luxury and safety features.

The 2020 model was built from scratch. The D7 aluminum chassis of the 2020 Defender makes it tear through and handle the most rugged and rough terrains and weather. Like most SUV these days, it is aided by technology too, to manage and overcome the bumpy road, that one would take it to and get it dirty.

The British bad boy can now wear some cowboy boots. The Defender comes in 90 and 110 variants, which are 2-door and 4-door variants respectively, both also have different wheelbase and interior space. A smaller Defender 80 model expected to join the line up in the upcoming years.


7.0/10
Safety


2021 Land Rover Defender Features

The Defender, when launched for the 2020 model year came in six trim levels, with the option of two wheelbases and two engines alongside the trims. The base model of the Defender is the standard trim that comes well equipped. It comes with most of the safety features, and you can take it to mud right after taking delivery from the showroom. The P400 mild-hybrid engine comes with the SE trim and the trims above that, which is the best engine option for the Defender.

Trim

Standard

S

SE

HSE

First Edition

X

MSRP (AWD)

$49,990

$53,350

$62,250

$68,350

$65,100

$80,900

Key Features

18-inch Wheels

Adds/Upgrades to Standard

Adds/Upgrades to S

Adds/Upgrades to SE

Adds/Upgrades to HSE

Adds/Upgrades to First Edition

 

LED Exterior Lighting

19-inch Wheels

20-inch Wheels

Panoramic Sunroof

Heated and Ventilated Front Seats

14-way Power-Adjustable Heated and Cooled Seats with Memory

 

Cloth Upholstery

Automatic High Beams

Upgraded LED Headlights

Adaptive Cruise Control

Configurable Terrain Response

Rough-cut Interior Wood Accents

 

Dual-Zone Automatic Climate Control

Leather Upholstery

10-Speaker Meridian Sound System

Exclusive Leather Upholstery

Metal Treadplates with Firs Edition branding

14-Speaker Meridian Premium Audio System

 

Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration

Additional Front Seats and Armrest Adjustments

Vehicle Approach Warning System

   

Heads-Up Display

*2020 Figures used for reference

Launch Date and Price of the 2021 Land Rover Defender

The 2021 Defender is expected to be priced around the $50,000 mark for the Standard four-door 110 trim. The 2021 Land Rover Defender is expected to arrive in the market in the latter half of 2020.

The base four-door 110 is more practical for most buyers. The base P300 powertrain seems peppy enough for day-to-day driving. Those who plan to tackle serious off-road trails may find the optional P400 engine more suitable.

2021 Land Rover Defender Engine and Performance

The Land Rover Defender is powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder (P300), which churns out 296 hp, which is more than enough for the folks to use it as a daily driver around the stores and offices. If you like to take the Defender to places where no one can, meaning if you want serious off-roading, then the 3.0-liter inline-six (P400) is both turbocharged and supercharged with an extra bit of push from the 48-volt mild-hybrid assist system produces a whopping 395 hp which, and combined with the 8-speed automatic transmission and All Wheel Drive can easily battle and win over any terrain that comes in front of the new Defender.The engine performs well and delivers power in a smooth and precise manner at all times. 

The 3.0-liter engine is full of energy and feels on the tap at all times. A low-end punch is provided by the electric supercharger, which winds up pretty quickly. The turbocharger takes over as soon as the supercharger gets exhausted. This system helps the engine perform well in every situation and maintains good fuel economy and emissions of the car.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus 350 RX-F Sport

MSRP

$49,900

$44,955

$50,870

Engine

2.0L Inline 4

3.6L V6

3.5L V6

Drivetrain

AWD

4WD

4WD

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

Power ( hp @ rpm)

296 @ 5,500

295 @ 6,400

295 @ 6,300

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

295 @ 1,500

260 @ 4,000

267 @ 4,700

Even though it's powered by a 2.0L engine, the Defender quickly puts up with the Jeep and the Lexus in terms of performance and also provides the most amount of torque at low-end rpm.

How quick is the 2021 Land Rover defender?

The Defender's 2.0L engine takes it from a standstill to 60 MPH in 7.7 seconds, which is quick enough compared to the more prominent and rival house inside them. The 3.0-liter engines cut the 0-60 time to 5.8 seconds and have a top speed of 119 MPH which is pretty fast keeping in mind the sheer size of the 110’s large body and the robust design.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

0-60 MPH (seconds)

7.7

7.1

6.8

Quarter-Mile (seconds)

15.3

15.5

15.1

Top-speed (MPH)

119

N/A

N/A

Engine

2.0L Inline 4

3.6L V6

3.5L V6

Emissions (Tons/yr of C02 Emissions @ 15k m/yr)

6.9

7.1

6.7

The Defender runs fast enough to keep up with the rivals and does not lag behind. The Quarter mile time is still better than the Jeep, and the P400 3.0L engine can easily pass the competitors, all thanks to the turbocharged and supercharged setup.

How well does the 2021 Land Rover Defender Brake?

The mammoth Defender weighs about 5000lbs, and to stop such a heavy vehicle, the braking performance sure needs to be top-notch, and so it is. The brakes are big enough to keep the car under control even during panic braking. The Defender comes with massive six-piston brakes on the front and four pistons on the rear. There is very little play on the brakes, and they are quite responsive.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

13.7

13

13.3

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

12.8

13

12.9

Curb Weight (lbs)

4815

5004

4387

60-0 (feet)

127

139

123

The Land Rover Defender has the biggest brakes among rivals and stops in quite a short distance. The Defender also comes equipped with safety features like ABS and EBD, which add to the no-fuss stopping capability of the car and does not spoil the off-road fun.

How well does the 2021 Land Rover Defender handle?

The new Land Rover comes with a monocoque construction that takes away the original ladder on frame chassis, but this does not mean that it makes the Defender less capable in any way. It helps Land Rover to give the Defender all independent suspension while making the chassis one of the most hardened frames in the segment.

The biggest and the most noticeable upgrade comes to focus when you take the Defender on uneven terrain where it flies. The Defender just floats over the uneven ground with much ease and at a quite respectable speed and is very stable too. The ladder on frame construction makes the car bounce around on rough roads, whereas in the new Defender, you can easily take a sip of your tea while driving round in the countryside looking for the best tea plantations.

2021 Land Rover Defender Fuel Economy

The 2021 Defender is expected to deliver around 17 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway. In the city, the reason for the low mpg figures could easily be deduced to the AWD system and the big chunky off-road tires, which have more rolling resistance as compared to the usual street tires.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350

F Sport

MPG (City)

17

18

19

MPG (Highway)

20

25

26

MPG (Combined)

18

21

22

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

23.8

24.6

19.2

Range (City/Highway/Combined in Miles)

404.6/476/428.4

443/615/516

392/523/436

The combined mpg of the Defender is also a pity. Having a big 23.6-gallon tank, although it gives a bit respectable range, the mpg pulls it down when compared with the Jeep and also makes it tough for it to fight with the Lexus, which in comparison has a smaller tank but outstanding mpg figures out of all the three.

2021 Land Rover Defender Interior

The interior of the new Defender is the best of both worlds. It is a perfect combination of the old retro design with modern technology which adds to the neo-retro appeal and would easily make you admire the interior every time you step in the Defender. It has one of the most modest interiors in the segment right now, which is made to honor the Defender brand's old heritage, and it does that quite beautifully. A bar that runs along the dashboard provides extra rigidity while and also makes the car look tough.

Land Rover gave it a lot of thought before making the interior of the Defender as ever bit is placed and positioned in such a way that it provides practicality. At the same time, being user friendly, with the gear lever mounted on the center stack rather than the center console which opens up space on the center console for both the driver and the passenger and helps improve small storage space inside the cabin, this also enables in specific models to come with folding jump seat which is redolent of some work trucks. 

Also, present on the center stack are the off-road controls like the differential locks and the off-road cruise pilot. The most noticeable is the exposed small screws sure to make one nostalgic and quickly reminds of the old Defender, thumbs up to the British manufacturer for keeping these little details.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

Seating Capacity

5

5

5

Front Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/ Leg Room, in inches)

42.6/55/7/41.2

39.9/58.7/40.3

39.4/57.8/44.1

Rear Row (Headroom/Shoulder Room/Leg Room, in inches)

41.7/55.7/35.7

39.2/58.0/38.6

39.1/57.6/38.0

Trunk Capacity (Cubic Feet)

34

36.3

36.8

Although the Defender comes with a less of legroom than the others, it provides ample headroom and can easily fit tall folks. The space in the cabin, although still proves to be enough for both the front row and back row passengers. The trunk is a bit smaller than the competitors but spacious and practical enough for daily runs and a small family's camping trip. Few features present in the Defender are

  • Tri-Zone Automatic Climate Control
  • Leather Upholstery
  • Wooden Accents on the Dashboard

What's there to keep you entertained?

Talking about the features that Land Rover has packed in the Defender, for starters, it comes with a 10-inch infotainment touch screen with what Land Rover calls the Pivi Pro system in-built. The Defender does all the stuff with a single screen, unlike the dual-screen Touch Pro Duo systems present in their other new offerings like the Velar and the Evoque.

It comes with the latest in smartphone integration in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto; the touch screen is quite responsive and, in our opinion, performs better than the dual-screen systems.

  • 10/14 Speaker Meridian Sound System
  • Android Auto/Apple CarPlay
  • Air Quality Sensor
  • SiriusXM Radio

How much cargo can the 2021 Land Rover Defender Carry?

If you plan on going for a long road trip for the weekend, the Defender can quickly gulp in all the necessities for that trip in a 34.3 cu-ft—trunk of the 110 wheelbase model. 

Even though the rivals might offer a bit more space, the Defender has a few tricks up its sleeves like an additional roof rack, which can be used to carry up to 660 lb. ft. of luggage and jerry cans can be hanged on the provided hooks on the outside.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

Standard Cargo Capacity (ft3 )

34

36.3

36.8

Maximum Cargo capacity (ft3 )

78.8

68.3

56.3

Although the standard cargo space of the Defender might be less than that what rivals offer, with the back seats folded down, the Defender comes out as the winner and has the best in class cargo space with a massive 78.8 cu-ft. Of cargo space, which is the biggest of what the rivals offer and the other additional storage and luggage carrying roof rack, always are a big help.

What are the other storage spaces inside the cabin?

Inside the cabin, the Defender has many storage spaces. For example, the center armrest can be double up as a backpack and a dedicated storage space for electronics.

2021 Land Rover Defender Exterior

What is the best part about the new Defender, well isn't it pretty clear by now? Yes, the looks of course. Land Rover has managed to bring the charm of the old 50's model that would easily strum your heartstring while being equally practical and matching all the regulations and being safe at the same time.

The design language is a play with the past and the present, keeping this a perfect reincarnation of the 1950's model with modern touches that are perfectly molded together. This can make anyone who has always admired the defender fall in love with this recent remix of the machinery all over again.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender (Expected)

2020 Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

Curb Weight (lbs)

4815

5004

4378

Length (inches)

197.6

182.0

192.5

Width (inches)

79.1

76.5

74.6

Height (inches)

77.4

69.3

67.7

Ground Clearance (inches)

11.5

8.7

8.2

Wheelbase (inches)

119

114.8

109.8

The Defender's rugged off-road ability comes from the high 11.5 inches of ground clearance that it provides. While the other two are made to look like badass sporty off-road machines, the Land Rover seems to be focused all on the off-road part and does that well. Although it might prove difficult to maneuver it around the city, one might get used to it with time.

2021 Land Rover Defender Safety

7.0/10

Safety in the Land Rover Defender is not a concern. However, the car has not yet had been tested officially by the government in the NHTSA or IIHS safety crash test, the long list of safety features and the rigid and robust body design is sure to wipe off any doubt about safety that you might have in your mind regarding the new 2021 Defender.

It comes well equipped with almost all the new age active and passive safety features, and safety would not prove to be a concern for the potential customer.

The features which will make an appearance in the new model are:

  • Roll stability control and Electronic Stability Control (EBS)
  • ABS And Driveline Traction Control
  • Front Collision Warning with Automatic Braking
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • First Aid Kit
  • Rear Child Safety Locks
  • 3-D Surround Camera
  • Front and Rear Parking Sensor

2021 Land Rover Defender Competition

2021 Land Rover Defender vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk

The Jeep Grand Cherokee Trailhawk is not challenged by many vehicles in the segment. It does perform quite well in terms of performance as well as off-road capabilities, and the Defender does all this too. Still, it does all this way better than the Jeep, and also, the 110 wheelbases of the Defender can carry seven passengers while the Jeep can give only 5. 

The Defender also has better off-road capabilities than the Jeep, although it also performs well off-road. The Jeep's low price tag might grab your attention, but the Defender proves worthy of every penny you spend on it.

2021 Land Rover Defender vs. 2020 Lexus RX-350 F Sport

If you want to drive around more in the city and you do not like to go on adventures, then the Lexus is the one you go to choose which also has a hybrid engine and is more suited for the urban environment rather than off-road fun. The Hybrid system on the Lexus can run on electricity for a few miles. 

On the other hand, the Defender is made for the city spins as well as pure off-road adventures, and you do not have to think twice about taking the Defender anywhere. The hybrid system on the Land Rover works as a supplement to overcome the turbo lag and provide more power at lower revs. Both the car performs well in the respective environment they are made to perform well in.

2021 Land Rover Defender Final Verdict

The new Defender houses a happy spirit of the old Defender. A treat to drive with an all in one off-road package is what the new Defender is all about, it pays homage to the old model in a very charming and handsome manner. If you have the spirit to go on adventures, this is the vehicle for you. It is not wrong for one to expect highly from this vehicle, and it won't leave you disappointed. It accepts and faces all the challenges of mother nature with ease and is sure to put a smile on your face every time you look and drive in the Defender.

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