2021 Land Rover Defender

2021 Land Rover Defender Test Drive Review: The 21st Century Off-Roader

You wait twenty years for a new Land Rover Defender, then two come along in the space of a few months. The 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 only just landed in the US in June, but buyers can already opt for the three-door 90 introduced for 2021. That's the model we recently got to sample in the UK, where we spent an intensive couple of days in the English countryside, putting the 90 to test at Land Rover's Gaydon and Eastnor proving grounds.

Just a couple of weeks after giving the 110 a proper going over in the Californian desert, we were keen to see if the shorter, trendier Defender 90 could match its bigger brother. Our first taste was of the range-topping X P400, finished in Gondwana Stone with a black roof, 20-inch wheels, and a circa 400-horsepower 3.0-liter six-cylinder powerplant. From looks alone, this is the Defender to get, but having spent time cruising along the highway, threading through villages and subjecting the car to some serious off-roading, under the handsome facade is a complex, highly competent machine. Just ask the stunt guys and girls working on the new James Bond film, No Time To Die.

To hammer that point home, a morning tackling grueling off-road terrain in an Indus Silver 90 SE P300 on coil springs powered by a 2.0-liter four-pot revealed that whether you are after an SUV that will show up your neighbor's Wrangler or a true off-roader for serious work, Land Rover offers a Defender in a variety of flavors to suit your needs.

2021 Land Rover Defender Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 Defender?

2021 officially marks the second model year for the latest Land Rover Defender. After a limited 2020 release, the range has now expanded with the addition of more three-door Defender 90 variants in base, S, X-Dynamic S, and X trims. It's the smaller 90 that we got to experience here, with 2020 production of this three-door model having being delayed initially. The X-Dynamic models are a new addition to the range and are offered on the larger Defender 110 as well. This trim comes with unique interior fittings to set it apart from other versions in the lineup. Hopefully, the broader range will bolster Defender sales.

Pros and Cons

  • Expanded Defender 90 lineup
  • Class-leading off-road capability
  • For a capable 4x4, refined on the highway, too
  • Seating for up to seven occupants
  • Appealingly rugged cabin design
  • Lots of personalization options
  • Average cargo space in Defender 90
  • Six-pot has noticeable turbo lag
  • Pricey extras

2021 Land Rover Defender Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
90
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$46,100
90 S
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$49,400
110
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$50,500
110 S
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$53,800
90 X-Dynamic S
3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Four-Wheel Drive
$57,800

Defender Exterior

Without losing its Land Rover identity, the latest Defender is a much more polished and modern offering than the last Defender vehicle to be sold here. The chunky, retro design looks as if it will age well, with blocky headlight clusters and thick cladding around the wheel arches. The smaller Defender 90 is likely to appeal to a younger clientele and, in its base specification, comes with LED headlights/taillights, utilitarian-looking 18-inch steel wheels, and a body-color roof. Other versions come with a white contrast roof, a folding fabric roof, front fog lights, and alloy wheels measuring up to 20-inches. On the Defender X, orange brake calipers, a gloss black hood, and a sliding panoramic roof are equipped.

2021 Land Rover Defender Frontal Aspect Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Aft View Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Side View Land Rover
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Dimensions

With a length of 170.2 inches excluding the rear-mounted spare wheel, the three-door Defender 90 is 3.4 inches longer than the three-door Jeep Wrangler. It has a 101.9-inch wheelbase and a width of 79.1 inches excluding the mirrors (82.9 inches including the mirrors). The height is either 77.5 inches with the air suspension (standard on upper trims) or 77.7 inches with the coil suspension. Key dimensions for the larger Defender 110 include a 118.9-inch wheelbase, a length of 187.4 inches excluding the spare wheel (197.6 inches including the spare wheel), and the same width as the Defender 90. The Defender 110 has a height of 77.4 inches.

Off-roading numbers matter when it comes to any Land Rover, and the Defender 110 impresses with an off-road ride height of 11.5 inches and maximum approach/departure/ramp angles of 38/40/28 degrees respectively for the 110. The more compact Defender 90 has a superior ramp angle of 31 degrees. The SUV's lifted suspension can afford a maximum wading depth of 35.4 inches.

In terms of curb weight, the lightest model is the entry-level Defender 90 with the 2.0-liter engine at 4,550 pounds, with the heaviest being the Defender 110 X in seven-seater guise, which weighs a bulky 5,385 lbs.

  • Length 180.4 in
  • Wheelbase 101.9 in
  • Height 77.5 in
  • Max Width 79.1 in
  • Front Width 67.1 in
  • Rear Width 66.9 in

Exterior Colors

On the base Defender 90, the only no-cost color is Fuji White. Following this are seven metallic shades at a cost of $710 each. These are Pangea Green, Gondwana Stone, Eiger Grey, Tasman Blue, Santorini Black, Yulong White, and Hakuba Silver. Some of these shades, such as Eiger Grey, can be enhanced with a satin protective film for an extra $4,900, but this option also adds a black contrast roof for a total paint cost of $5,900. Two premium metallic paints - Carpathian Grey and Silicon Silver - go for $1,750 each. The Defender 90 First Edition only comes in Pangea Green, Gondwana Stone, or Hakuba Silver, but none of these will add anything to the base price. The Defender X also has fewer colors available than the base model but is identifiable by its black roof and black hood. The bigger Defender 110 largely mirrors the color choices of the 90.

  • Eiger Grey Metallic
  • Pangea Green Metallic
  • Gondwana Stone Metallic
  • Yulong White Metallic
  • Tasman Blue Metallic
  • Santorini Black Metallic
  • Hakuba Silver Metallic
  • Carpathian Grey Premium Metallic
  • Silicon Silver Premium Metallic
  • Fuji White

2021 Land Rover Defender Performance

There are no brawny V8 engines on offer here; for that, you'll need a much pricier Land Rover Range Rover. The 2021 Land Rover Defender lineup is serviced by either a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.0-liter six-cylinder turbo with mild-hybrid technology. This bigger unit manages strong outputs of 395 horsepower and 406 lb-ft of torque. Regardless of the model you go for, the Defender comes with a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and four-wheel drive.

No version of the Defender can be described as slow, with even the heavier Defender 110 with the smaller engine managing a 0 to 60 mph sprint of 7.7 seconds and a top speed of 119 mph. However, as we found in the recent 2020 model review, the six-pot is much quicker. When this engine is equipped to the Defender 90 we drove, the 0-60 sprint takes only 5.7 seconds, although the top speed remains restricted to just 119 mph. The Defender's maximum towing capacity works out to a competitive 8,201 lbs, achievable on the 90 First Edition and the 110 with the six-pot. German rivals like the Audi Q5 are quicker than the Defender, but can't tow nearly as much as the Land Rover and certainly can't go off-road in the same way this can.

2021 Land Rover Defender Front View Driving Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Rear View Driving Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Front View Driving 1 Land Rover

Engine and Transmission

Both the Defender 90 and Defender 110 are available with a choice of two powertrains. The base 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder produces 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, while the more powerful 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine with a mild-hybrid system manages 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. Both engines are linked to a ZF-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The base engine is refined enough and provides reasonable passing power at higher speeds, although it does have to contend with the Land Rover's considerable weight so can feel a bit strained when towing or when the vehicle is fully loaded. The bigger engine's hybrid system can harvest, store, and redeploy energy, while the 48-volt electric supercharger provides an extra surge of power. It easily feels quicker from behind the wheel once you get past the turbo lag at lower revs, but the smooth eight-speeder does a great job of getting the most out of both power plants. The 2021 Defender SUV can't embarrass the competition in the powertrain department, but both engine options will cater to the needs of the majority of customers.

  • Engines
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 3.0-liter Turbo Inline-6 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    4X4

Handling and Driving Impressions

Land Rover has delivered on making the new model a more accomplished off-roader and a better on-road companion than it ever was before. The Defender has two very distinct sides as a result. From the lofty seating position, drivers will feel like they are dominating the road ahead, cruising in comfort and quiet on the highway thanks to buckets of torque, a silky eight-speed transmission, and adjustable air suspension. The ride quality is matched by incredible handling. You can't really chuck the 5,000-pound SUV around as you would a sports car, but it behaves brilliantly when asked, with excellent feedback through the steering, although the touchy brake pedal took some getting used to. Traction is also superb thanks to its full-time 4x4 system and torque vectoring. On the twisty 60-mph B-roads and later at Gaydon's proving grounds made up of 34 miles of roads and tracks, where we took the 90 X to its 120-mph top speed on the high-speed loop, entering and exiting corners at speed was surprisingly easy. There's even a Sport mode that sharpens the transmission and optimizes the powerplant if you want to really have some fun.

Taking the 90 X off-road revealed an entirely different skillset. Traversing Gaydon's broken surfaces, adverse cambers and rallycross was a doddle for the Defender, which is why Land Rover invited us to Eastnor to tackle the harshest of terrain in a 90 SE 300P. Over 66 miles of managed trails in the grounds of Eastnor Castle is where every Defender's off-road credentials have been tested for decades. We spent two hours clambering over rocks and mud, wading through deep water, and tackling steep slippery inclines. The configurable Terrain Response 2 boasts a selection of off-road programs accessible via the Pivi Pro touchscreen, including 'Mud & Ruts' and 'Grass, Gravel, Snow,' setting the Defender up perfectly for the conditions faced. Auto-locking center and rear differentials, over 11 inches of ground clearance, and all-terrain Goodyear rubber made light work of terrain that would beat most cars.

The Defender is so easy to maneuver too. Visibility is superb, and when you are challenged, external cameras can be set to 'off-road', which shows close-ups of the front wheels as you move through tight spots. Easily the most capable off-road car we've ever tested, we can only imagine how the turbocharged and supercharged inline-six would have fared off the beaten track.

Defender Gas Mileage

At the time of writing, the EPA had only provided gas mileage figures for 2021 models with the 3.0-liter mild-hybrid powertrain. These versions return 17/22/19 mpg city/highway/combined for both the 90 and 110 derivatives. While one would expect the less powerful 2.0L to be the best Defender in terms of efficiency, according to 2020 figures, it is more frugal in town but less efficient on the highway, ultimately returning the same mixed driving figure. In the Defender 90, this engine returns 18/21/19 mpg, dropping to 17/20/18 mpg for the Defender 110. The more compact Defender 90 comes with a 23.3-gallon gas tank for 2.0L models, allowing for a range of around 443 miles, with the 3.0L's 23.4-gallon tank increasing the mileage by a mile or so. All Defender 110s come with a 23.8-gallon gas tank, which increases the range to about 452 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    23.4 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 18/21 mpg
* 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 AWD

2021 Defender Interior

The exposed door panel rivets, strong horizontal lines, and tough materials are details that make sense when one considers the Defender's positioning. Both our Land Rover Defender reviews since the latest-gen arrived prove that this isn't a super-luxurious on-road SUV that will never get its boots dirty; it was designed to easily tackle tough terrain and the hardy cabin suits this mission. All versions impressed us with their spaciousness, although the 90 clearly isn't as cavernous as the longer 110; this is no surprise since the former is over 17 inches shorter. The base version comes with features like dual-zone climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, semi-powered front seats, and 360-degree parking aid, so at least it doesn't feel too basic. Higher up in the range, the Defender is kitted out with a head-up display, wireless device charging, and heated/cooled front seats. Overall, the logical interior is a success and feels like it can withstand the rigors of off-roading.

2021 Land Rover Defender Control Panel Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Gear Shifter Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Front Chairs Land Rover
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Seating and Interior Space

While the 110 offers more practicality owing to its size, you couldn't call the 90 impractical. The rear seats are comfortable, offering plenty of head and legroom, although, with no back doors, ingress and egress aren't exactly straightforward. On an $80,000 car (in X trim), you'd also expect the front seats to automatically slide forward and back in position without having to hold on to the button. Using the rear seats regularly could prove tiresome. But for a couple, and those with a youngish child who will love sitting in the middle jump seat, this won't be an issue.

The electronic front seats are well-padded and supportive, there's plenty of space and cubby holes for your phone and other bits and bobs and there's an undoubtedly premium feel to what remains a utilitarian vehicle.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 39.0 in
  • Front Head Room 40.6 in
  • Rear Leg Room 36.6 in
  • Rear Head Room 40.4 in

Interior Colors and Materials

The base Defender 90 comes with Ebony fabric seats and a massive swathe of black on the dashboard and, to be honest, the environment does look a bit demure at this level. A Light Oyster Morzine headliner and a cross-car beam with a Light Grey Powder Coat Brushed finish lift the environment slightly, while a leather-wrapped steering wheel is included. Moving up to the Defender S adds grained leather and Robust Woven Textile seat facings in Ebony, Acorn, or Khaki. The seats here can also be covered in a combination of Dinamica suedecloth and Steelcut Premium Textile in Ebony. The X-Dynamic has duotone grained leather/Robustec seats in Ebony/Ebony, Khaki/Ebony, or Acorn/Lunar. Similar materials and colors are available elsewhere in the lineup, although the Defender X is a cut above with its Windsor leather and Steelcut Premium Textile seats in either Ebony or Vintage Tan/Ebony. Trim inlays include natural smoked dark oak veneer and rough-cut walnut veneer.

Defender Trunk and Cargo Space

The difference in length between the New Land Rover Defender 90 and Defender 110 is apparent when opening up the cargo area of each model. Behind the second row of seats, the 90 offers up just 15.6 cubic feet of volume, which is rather puny for an SUV, although it's more space than in the back of the two-door Jeep Wrangler. With the second 40/20/40-split folding rear seats flat, utility space increases to a more useful 58.3 cubes. The Defender 110 is substantially more versatile, with 10.7 cubes behind its third row, up to 34.6 cubes behind the second row, and a massive 78.8 cubes behind the first row in five-seater versions. In the seven-seater version of the 110, maximum cargo capacity drops to 69 cubes behind the front seats. A cargo cover and hooks for securing items are standard.

In our Defender review, we found that there are quite a few places to stash odds and ends in the cabin, with storage catered for by a reasonably sized glovebox, two cupholders in front, various open storage areas, and a large front center console if the middle jump seat isn't fitted. If this is specified, center storage isn't as generous, but this seat does have cupholders to make use of when it's folded. Finally, an overhead storage compartment for a pair of sunglasses is fitted.

2021 Land Rover Defender Trunk Space Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Armrest Land Rover
2021 Land Rover Defender Dashboard Land Rover

Defender Infotainment and Features

Features

Being a Land Rover Defender, it's no surprise that every version comes with off-roading gear like hill descent control, Terrain Response, hill launch assist, and low traction launch. A configurable Terrain Response system is available higher up in the range. The base versions receive comfort, convenience, and safety items like dual-zone automatic climate control, an assisted tailgate, eight-way semi-powered front seats, a 3D surround-view camera system, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, and a driver condition monitor. Further up in the range, the Defender has an interactive driver display, illuminated metal treadplates, 14-way power-adjustable front seats with heating and cooling, heated rear seats, and a head-up display. A panoramic sunroof and a folding fabric roof are available.

Infotainment

Land Rover's brand new interface, Pivi Pro, utilizes a single crystal-clear 10-inch touchscreen that's quicker to react than the Touch Pro Duo interface used in the rest of the lineup. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, in-dash sat-nav, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot all come standard, and on the X we also got to check out the outstanding 14-speaker Meridian stereo, head-up display, and digital gauge cluster. Thanks to two embedded LTE modems, the Defender also supports over-the-air updates so the latest software can be installed remotely, anywhere on the planet all while streaming music and using other applications. This is a highly intuitive, state-of-the-art system, and one of the best we've encountered in a modern car.

Defender Problems and Reliability

The Land Rover Defender has had a positive start to its life, with no recalls for either the 2020 or 2021 model years at the time of writing. The off-roader comes with a four-year/50,000-mile limited warranty should anything go wrong, with the powertrain covered for the same period/mileage. A six-year corrosion perforation warranty applies regardless of miles covered, but complimentary scheduled maintenance is not offered.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    6 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles

Defender Safety

Both local safety authorities, the IIHS and NHTSA, have not yet evaluated the Land Rover Defender for crashworthiness. For now, an official safety rating does not exist.

Key Safety Features

Even though it hasn't received a safety rating just yet, the Defender should do well with its array of active and passive safety systems. All versions come with electronic traction control, dynamic stability control, LED headlights, ABS/EBD brakes, and tire-pressure monitoring. In order to make off-roading as safe and convenient as possible, the Defender has low traction launch, Terrain Response, hill descent control, and hill launch assist. The airbag suite comprises six airbags, including side-curtain and thorax airbags.

Even on the base derivatives, Land Rover has equipped the Defender with many driver-assistance technologies like blind-spot monitoring, a 3D surround-view camera system, a 360-degree parking aid, wade sensing, lane-keep assist, emergency braking, a driver condition monitor, traffic sign recognition, and an adaptive speed limiter. Higher-spec versions have adaptive cruise control and a head-up display.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2021 Land Rover Defender a good car?

Few cars offer such a breadth of ability as the Land Rover Defender. Combining peerless off-roading capabilities with an engaging drive on the pavement, this is a go-anywhere vehicle in the truest sense. While the Wrangler comes close, the Defender takes off-roading to another level all wrapped in a far more premium package. It also looks better than the similarly-priced Discovery. If you're concerned about buying the first year of a new generation, we imagine that 2021 models would have ironed out any kinks found in the 2020s. Remember this is a car that Land Rover has spent billions of dollars and years of work bringing to fruition. From the all-new chassis and elegant design to the brand new electrical architecture and new Terrain Response system, the individual elements of the Defender stand up to criticism on their own. The fact they can all be found in one car is even more impressive.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Land Rover Defender?

In the USA, the 2021 Land Rover Defender has a starting price of $46,100 for the base Defender 90. Following this is the S at $49,400, after which 2021 Defender pricing takes a big jump to $57,800 with the X-Dynamic S, $64,100 for the 90 First Edition, and a price tag of $50,500 for the X.

The larger Defender 100 follows a similar structure, with prices starting at $50,500 for the base, $53,800 for the 110S, and $62,700 for the six-cylinder 110 SE. A 110 X-Dynamic SE, will set you back $65,500 while the HSE asks $71,600. Last up, the 110 X carries a base MSRP of $83,000. All prices exclude a delivery charge of $1,350. The Land Rover Defender can cost over $100,000 for the 110 X with most of the option boxes ticked.

New Defender Models

The Land Rover Defender has an expanded lineup for the 2021 model year and comes in a choice of eight trims: base, S, X-Dynamic S, SE, X-Dynamic SE, First Edition, X-Dynamic HSE, and X. The newest Defender versions are the X-Dynamic trims. Two body styles - the 2-door Defender 90 and the 4-door Defender 110 - are offered, with some trims specific to either the 90 or 110. All models have four-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox, with a 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo-four standard on lower trims. More expensive models use a 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder with a mild-hybrid system that makes 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque.

The entry-level Defender wears 18-inch steel wheels and comes with LED headlights, power-folding mirrors, and a body-color roof. Inside, there are features like a 3D surround-view camera system, wade sensing, eight-way semi-power front seats, dual-zone climate control, and a 10-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system.

The Defender S adds 19-inch alloy wheels, an interactive driver's display, grained leather/Robust Woven Textile upholstery, and 12-way semi-powered front seats.

One of the newest additions is the X-Dynamic S. It has additional features like a duo-tone interior color scheme, illuminated metal treadplates, and an Ebony Morzine headliner.

The SE is reserved for the larger 110 and has premium LED headlights with signature DRLs, 20-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, a 10-speaker Meridian sound system, and 12-way powered front seats with memory.

On the X-Dynamic SE, the 20-inch wheels have a Satin Dark Grey finish, while the exterior gains Silicon Silver accents. The seats are upholstered in grained leather with Robustec Ribbon accents.

The First Edition is only compatible with the Defender 90. This model's specs include a white contrast roof with a fabric folding section, First Edition badging, and 20-inch wheels. It also comes with an electronic air suspension and has a heated steering wheel.

Once again reverting to the 110 body style only is the X-Dynamic HSE. It ships with an opening panoramic sunroof, extended leather upholstery, Windsor leather seats with heating/cooling in front, and adaptive cruise control.

Finally, the Defender X is offered on both the 90 and 110 body styles. This version has a black contrast hood and roof, orange brake calipers, 20-inch wheels with a diamond turned finish, a head-up display, and a 14-speaker Meridian sound system.

See All 2021 Land Rover Defender Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

Customization is a challenging part of the Land Rover Defender purchasing journey, only because there is so much choice. As usual, some degree of restraint will be required to prevent the price from spiraling, especially when four customization packs and 170 accessories are available to personalize your purchase.

Even the base Defender 90 can be upgraded extensively, starting with a variety of exterior accessory packs. For example, the $4,700 Explorer Pack adds mudflaps, a matte black hood decal, a raised air intake, an expedition roof rack, and more. The Adventure Pack is ready for the great unknown with mudflaps, an integrated air compressor, portable rinse system, a seat backpack, and an exterior side-mounted gear carrier, for the fee of $3,200. The last of the four available packs is the Country Pack, with front and rear Classic Mudflaps, a full-height cargo partition, a portable rinse system, and additional wheel arch protection for $2,100.

For enhanced off-road capability, the $1,550 Off-Road Pack includes a domestic plug socket, off-road tires, and an electronic active differential. The Towing Pack (with a tow hitch receiver, advanced tow assist, and more) costs $1,850 on its own but requires an array of other upgrades like premium LED headlights and the air suspension pack for a total price of $4,300. For colder regions, the Cold Climate Pack is worth $700 as it adds a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield, and heated washer jets. Adaptive cruise control is a $1,200 standalone option on this model.

There is a similarly dizzying array of options further up in the range, with the Defender 110 X-Dynamic SE available with upgrades like the Family Pack for a total of $2,200, an upgrade that adds a third row of seating and three-zone climate control. Other optional extras include a head-up display at $970 and a Wi-Fi hotspot with a data plan for $360.

🚗What Land Rover Defender Model Should I Buy?

It may sound cliched, but the vast number of configurations and customizations in the Defender order guide means there really is a Defender for everyone. However, we'd recommend keeping things simple when ordering. Most buyers will be happy with a Defender 110 SE, which pairs the 5+2 seating practicality with the P400-spec six-cylinder engine for just $64,050 inclusive of destination. However, for the hardcore adventurers, the couples without kids, or the lone ranger who wants to go on a real adventure, the 90 X is an expensive, but incredibly cool way to charge headlong into the unknown. To embrace the original Defender experience, particularly for those without dependents to worry about, a base 90 with the steel wheels and the $4,700 Explorer Pack is the ideal way to enjoy the core essence of the Defender nameplate.

2021 Land Rover Defender Comparisons

Jeep Wrangler Jeep
Land Rover Discovery Land Rover
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Land Rover Defender296 hp18/21 mpg$46,100
Jeep Wrangler 285 hp17/25 mpg$28,295
Land Rover Discovery 340 hp16/21 mpg$52,300

2021 Land Rover Defender vs Jeep Wrangler

With a starting price of under $30,000, the Jeep Wrangler is a far more affordable alternative for adventurers on a tighter budget. Like the Defender, the Jeep is offered in three- or five-door configurations, but only the Defender can seat more than five occupants. The Wrangler is one of the best off-roaders in any guise, and the ability to remove its doors and roof is a novel feature that makes it appealing to outdoor enthusiasts. However, the Defender is similarly capable across harsh terrain yet is smoother and more refined for daily use. Although the five-door Wrangler comes with the option of a torquey turbo-diesel with 442 lb-ft of torque, the Jeep doesn't offer the same potent acceleration of the Defender with its 395-hp six-cylinder engine. There is also far more cargo space in the Defender, plus a more advanced suite of driver aids such as adaptive cruise control is offered within the Defender range. The much cheaper Wrangler still offers plenty of appeal, but we'd rather have the Defender, which combines off-road ability with a more premium feel.

See Jeep Wrangler Review

2021 Land Rover Defender vs Land Rover Discovery

Higher up in the Land Rover hierarchy is the more luxurious Discovery. While the Discovery trades some of the Defender's boxy lines for a sleeker design, make no mistake, it's still a formidable off-roader. Although a 2021 facelift is on the way, we don't expect it to be dramatically different from the 2020 version, which begins with a 254-hp turbodiesel engine that offers similar performance to the base Defender. However, the top-spec Discovery isn't as potent off the mark as the six-cylinder Defender. Both models have the same maximum towing capacity, but the Defender has superior approach/departure/ramp angles and better ground clearance, so it's the more capable off-roader between these two. In terms of cago capacity, the Defender has a bit less space behind the second- and third rows. The newer Defender is more rugged and a better off-roader, while the Discovery will likely please those who spend more time on the asphalt.

See Land Rover Discovery Review

Land Rover Defender Popular Comparisons

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Land Rover Defender