Land Rover Defender Ownership: One Issue Sours Positive Experience
Land Rover met both controversy and praise when it unveiled its first complete redesign of the iconic Defender SUV in 2019. The all-new Defender dominated headlines in the auto industry at the time, and off-road enthusiasts filed orders as soon as they were available. Now, drivers have spent a couple of years of ownership getting to know their Defenders as daily-use vehicles. Popular YouTuber and automotive journalist Doug Demuro is one such owner. Demuro recently shared a video about his own Land Rover Defender: how he used it, what he likes about it, and why Land Rover parts scarcity convinced him to sell it.
A YouTuber’s daily driver SUV
Doug explains in his video that he ordered his 2020 Defender in 2019 as soon as retail orders were available. After supply chain delays, he received the SUV in November 2020. He’s used his Pangea Green Defender 110 as his daily driver ever since. Doug describes using the SUV for commuting to video shoots in southern California and off-roading on Nantucket beaches. He even drove the Defender 110 cross-country between San Diego and Massachusetts six different times.
It’s safe to say that Demuro has run the gamut of Land Rover Defender ownership in a bit over two years. His auction website, Cars & Bids, lists the SUV at 42,900 miles.
Excellent utility, capability, and comfort
Doug’s video outlines the positives of Land Rover Defender ownership. He points out a few Defender features that make the SUV special in his eyes: a built-in air compressor for off-road tires; a first-row jump seat; an electronic active rear differential; etc. In Doug’s words, the Defender can drive circles around his vintage Defender off-road. The only driving complaint that Demuro notes is a lack of more advanced driver-assist technology in the Defender.
Demuro also points out that the Defender treated him well on road trips — both in comfort and reliability. Through nearly 43,000 miles of use, Doug reports zero powertrain problems outside routine maintenance. However, the same can’t be said for the Defender’s body components.
Parts availability is Land Rover Defender Ownership’s Achilles heel
Even after many successful road trips and an initial intention to run the SUV to 100,000 miles, Doug announces in his video that he intends to sell his 2020 Defender 110. The main culprit? Parts availability.
Demuro explains that his Defender sustained damage to one of its side doors in a parking lot accident. While replacement should have been quick and easy, his body shop could not source the part. Doug had to wait two months before they could track down a wayward door at a Land Rover shop on the other side of the country. Doors from Land Rover corporate were not available at all.
Demuro said the experience gave him second thoughts about keeping the Defender long-term. He decided to sell the Defender on Cars & Bids after just 2.5 years of ownership.
Is the Land Rover Defender good to own?
No two Land Rover Defender ownership experiences will be the same. Packaging, usage, mileage, climate, and other factors will all play a part. However, anecdotes like Doug’s are necessary to keep in mind. They show real-world experiences beyond a spec sheet or showroom floor. According to Doug Demuro, there’s a lot to love about owning a Land Rover Defender – but parts availability might put a cloud over the experience.