Trucks & SUVs

How Safe Is the Land Rover Defender?

Safety guidelines and regulations for manufacturers have significantly improved over the years. Technology has introduced us to airbags, driver aids, and automatic vehicle responses. It’s a far cry from 10 years ago and the old days of just putting on a seatbelt. And in a way, consumers almost forget to inquire about a new model’s safety ratings or features because it’s assumed the vehicle has to be safe, right? In most cases, it probably is generally safe. But it is still critical to be vigilant about doing your safety homework.

Land Rover is well-known for its capable and reliable vehicles. And you may have your eye on the new 2021 Land Rover Defender for an addition to your garage. But before you assume all the safety bells and whistles are included, take a closer look. How safe of a ride is it really, and ultimately, do you feel safe enough driving one?

Official safety ratings for the 2021 Land Rover Defender

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Land Rover is a reputable brand. So, there is no reason to consider its fleet of vehicles to be anything subpar in the safety department. But the 2021 Land Rover Defender hasn’t officially undergone significant crash testing and evaluation yet from the two foremost organizations responsible for gauging vehicle safety, according to Car and Driver.

Neither the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety group nor the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced results for the newest Defender model. Many critics point out expectations are high that the Defender will test well, and it has yet to issue a recall or safety alert in two years.

Standard safety equipment that matters

Every variation of the 2021 Land Rover Defender will come equipped with a hefty menu of safety features. Airbag protection is robust with a suite of six bags, including side-curtain and thorax. It also comes with a few features you’d expect from Land Rover, like LED headlights for visibility, ABS/EBD braking, and basic tire-pressure monitoring systems. 

You’ll enjoy other driver aids, including blind-spot monitoring, lane-keeping assist, a driver condition monitor, and an adaptive speed limiter. According to Car Buzz, there is also traffic sign recognition to function as a second set of eyes. Emergency braking is also a standard feature on the Land Rover Defender.

Safety features you didn’t know you needed

Land Rover Defender on display in a showroom
A Land Rover Defender on display | Gerald Matzka/picture alliance via Getty Images

You’ll also enjoy additional safety in operation features for inclement weather or roadways, including low traction launching, hill descent controls, and Terrain Response. The 2021 Land Rover Defender also comes equipped with a Cabin Air Ionization, ensuring the interior air is purified. The Defender 90 also has rear parking sensors and a surround-view monitor to promote safety during parking scenarios. 

Autotrader enjoyed the Clear Exit Monitor system, which is a warning feature, alerting passengers not to exit the vehicle if traffic is approaching from behind. Higher trim levels offer heads-up display and adaptive cruise control, as well.

Many of the critics love the wade sensing feature the most, as it uses sensors in the side mirrors to show a real-time image of water you’re exploring.

Family-minded safety features on the Land Rover Defender

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For those with children, especially young ones, you’ll want to know your new vehicle comes equipped with the necessary child protections. The 2021 Land Rover Defender offers LATCH points in the rear seating area, making it easy to install car seats. There are also child locking systems in place for the back doors.

It might be tricky to label the 2021 Land Rover Defender as a safety ready vehicle without the official endorsements of the IIHS and the NHTSA. But considering the reputation of the brand and all this SUV brings to the table in terms of safety equipment, standard protections, and driver assistance aids, it might be perfectly safe for everyone.