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The Land Rover Defender has a long-standing history of being one of the best SUVs for off-roading enthusiasts, rivaling even the Jeep Wrangler. This popular Land Rover wasn’t available in the U.S. for a few years due to strict safety standards. Fans were overjoyed to see the Defender’s return for the 2020 model year with a new chassis and a two-door version.

Why everyone loves the Land Rover Defender

2020 Land Rover Defender 110
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 | Land Rover via Instagram

However, like Jeep, Land Rover doesn’t have a reputation for producing reliable cars. According to CarWow, it’s the least reliable brand on the market, and its models are the most expensive to repair. Despite this, people still buy the Land Rover Defender for its good qualities.

The Defender’s interior sets it apart from other rivals with unique design elements to this automaker. Car and Driver describes it as rugged due to the noticeable rivets on the door panels. The cabin is also very functional, with a center console bin that can convert into another seat on some trims.

On the outside, the Defender’s body shape is more rounded than the previous generation’s. For this model year, it’s also available in a two-door model, the Defender 90. All versions of the Defender come with comfortable cloth seats, with special two-tone seats available in the pricier models.

Is it worth it to buy a Land Rover Defender?

A silver 2021 Land Rover Defender 110
2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Land Rover

The Land Rover Defender’s new unibody construction also enhances its off-roading abilities. With its adjustable air suspension, it has a 40-degree departure angle and over 11 inches of ground clearance. It can also wade through water up to 35 inches deep, and all models have a two-speed transfer case.

Both body styles are powered by a turbo-four engine of 296 hp, with standard all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission. However, Car and Driver recommends upgrading the optional engine for more serious off-roading. It’s a mild-hybrid turbo-six that makes 395 hp. 

While the Defender 90 has 18-inch wheels and the standard dual transfer case, it doesn’t have an adaptable air suspension. You’ll have to get a considerably more expensive 90X model for that. This one also has a terrain select system, a more extensive sound system, and an electronic differential. 

A few packages are also available to suit all your adventuring needs. The Country and Explorer packs have mud flaps, a spare wheel cover, scuff protectors, and a rinsing system. The Adventure package has much of the same, plus a snorkel. Those taking the Defender on more civilized roads might prefer the stylish, chrome-decorated Urban pack.

How reliable is the Land Rover Defender?

In a survey, the Land Rover Defender got the worst score possible. Most owners reported that the three-row SUV needed repairs within the first three years. Most of these repairs also took more than five days to complete. The most common problems owners report are leaking rainwater seals, key fob or locking malfunctions, and engine failures. If your heart is set on purchasing a Land Rover Defender, try to spot these issues before they worsen.

While the Land Rover Defender has a smooth ride, the turbo-six engine lacks agility. Some drivers were disappointed at the lack of manual transmissions or diesel options. Another reason some might skip on the Land Rover Defender is its price.

While the basic models are relatively affordable, options can quickly ramp up in price to over $80,000. Fans addicted to its impressive off-roading ability probably won’t mind. However, the Defender’s high likelihood of needing repairs is a more significant concern.


You Can’t Ignore Land Rover if You Want 3-Row Luxury