The Land Rover Defender 90 Is More Capable Than You Think
During our majestic and rugged week with the Land Rover Defender, 90 bystanders provided tons of criticism. But their complaints were met with confusion because they didn’t seem to know the truth. The 2023 Land Rover Defender is an incredibly capable off-roader that’s a serious rival to the Ford Bronco Raptor and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon.
Is the 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 better than the Ford Bronco Raptor?
The 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 and the 2023 Ford Bronco Raptor both have strengths and weaknesses to consider. For example, the Bronco Raptor is a convertible, and the tech is more intuitive.
In the Land Rover Defender 90, the panoramic sunroof starts behind the front seats, and we wanted more of an open-air experience. But the Defender 90 has more storage cubbies, more power, and a more comfortable performance on the pavement.
Plus, the top engine can be paired with the two-door model, while the Bronco Raptor and Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 392 are only available with four doors. Plus, the Defender doesn’t have the awkward fender flare issue.
The Defender 90 has an available 5.0-liter supercharged V8 engine that cranks out 518 hp and 461 lb-ft of torque. It can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in about 4.3 seconds.
With the Bronco Raptor, you get a turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine with 418 hp and 440 lb-ft of torque. It can reach 60 mph in about 5.6 seconds.
While the Bronco Raptor has more confident brakes, there is a noticeable delay under harder accelerations, and the downshifts are a bit more aggressive. The Defender 90 has smoother gear shifts, but the brakes take time to master.
Is the 2023 Defender 90 good for off-roading?
Yes, the 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 is an excellent off-roader. People claimed that it would leave us stranded and loved pointing out the 20-inch wheels wrapped in all-terrain tires. The 37-inch chunky tires on the Bronco Raptor look a little more confident.
However, the Defender 90 is perfectly capable with stock tires. It provides plenty of grip over slick inclines, deep mud, while some tires are in the air, and while fording water.
The Defender has an adaptive air suspension that raises the ground clearance from 8.6 to 11.5 inches. It can ford water up to 35.4 inches deep, which exceeds the Jeep Wrangler’s wading ability. Also, the water depth sensor measures how deep the water is.
It has a 38.0-degree approach angle, a 28.0-degree break-over angle, and a 40.0-degree departure angle. The electronic differential includes torque vectoring with automatic braking. Also, there are driving modes for Auto, Rock Crawl, Gravel/Snow, Mud, and Sand.
There are plenty of camera views for a 360-degree display, what’s in front of you, and side profiles. The digital gauge cluster and infotainment screen provide off-roading stats such as how much power each wheel has, which tires are on the ground, your pitch/roll, and how steep obstacles are.
How reliable is the Defender 90?
The 2023 Land Rover Defender 90 earned a reliability score of 70 out of 100 from J.D.Power. It slides in with an average score and has improved since it was brought to the United States in 2020.
Land Rover shared that the Defender 90 suspension is designed to provide world-class durability and can withstand severe, repetitive impacts. Our tester had over 10,000 miles and was up for a few extreme obstacles and impacts.
While traversing larger bumps and rough, rocky terrain, impacts were quickly settled. We didn’t hear any concerning squeaks, and the interior didn’t rattle. The Defender was so reliable in wars and the desert that the United States used it during the Gulf War.
The interior is durable as well. Even the soft materials like the suede steering wheel and headliner stood up to over 10,000 miles of use without any rips or stains. The textured trim pieces and protective weather mats can stand up to abuse.
It’s time to give the Defender 90 a chance because it can dominate the wild while providing more comfort and convenience than the competition. We’ve used rivals to jump sand dunes, rock climb, and explore the wild, and the Defender is just as capable, if not more.