Picking the “best” of almost any product is a fairly subjective process. It becomes even more subjective when discussing the best midsize Luxury SUV. The luxury segment is built on subjectivity and impression. There is nothing wrong with that, but proving out what the “best” is can be tough.
However, the 2021 Land Rover Defender has been called such and is easily cooler than the entire segment as a whole, adding some credence to its claim.
The 2021 Land Rover Defender is named the Best Midsize Luxury SUV
Last year MotorTrend named the 2021 Land Rover Defender their pick as best SUV of the year. It should come as no surprise to learn that they also named it the Best Midsize Luxury SUV. This segment is full of fancier but far less cool SUVs like the 2021 Genesis GV80, 2021 Porsche Cayenne, and the 2021 BMW X5, to name a few.
The 2021 Defender isn’t the fanciest, most comfortable, or most expensive SUV on this list by a long shot. It is, however, the coolest. The 2021 Defender is the latest in a long line of one of the coolest SUVs of all time. The history is long, complex and full of military vehicles. Sounds pretty cool, right?
Is the 2021 Land Rover Defender a good SUV?
Other reviews of the new Defender have not been as kind as MotorTrend’s, but that is the way these things go. Consumer Reports wasn’t overly fond of the Defender, mostly because CR is really fixed on comfort, handling, and maintenance history.
First of all, it’s a boxy 4×4; comfort and handling aren’t really what it was built for. Secondly, the maintenance history calls upon a model that has been out of production for a while.
MotorTrend begs to differ on nearly every critique. They argue that it is not only a monster on the dirt track but is, in fact, plenty comfortable and rides well regardless of configuration. Customers can choose between the short-bodied two-door Defender 90 or the longer four-door Defender 110. There is also a V8 version coming sometime soon.
What engine does the new Defender have
The current 90 and 110 models are offered with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 269 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque and the 3.0-liter inline six-cylinder making 395 hp and 406 lb-ft of torque. The Defender gets around 18-19 mpg overall and can tow a fairly impressive 8,200 lbs.
Even though the engines are fairly different, the fuel economy is similar between the two engine options. They also share the same eight-speed automatic transmission. Not only is the inline-six version actually a touch more fuel-efficient than the turbo-four, but it is also only .1 second slower on the 0-60 mph sprint.
Luxury SUVs aren’t very cool
…But the Defender is. The Defender winning this title from MotorTrend should warm the muddy heart of any 4×4 enthusiast. While Land Rover as a brand is typically pretty fancy, the Defender has never been anywhere close to luxury.
The fact that the Defender name can be in first place on a list of the Best midsize Luxury SUVs and still be a killer 4×4 is proof one should need to get on board with this newest class of Land Rover Defenders.