Land Rover’s Flagship SUV Gets No Infotainment Love

Land Rover SUVs are iconic. They’re easily among the most recognizable vehicles, especially the brand’s flagship, the Range Rover. But the automaker has expanded its offerings over the past decade. The smaller and sportier Range Rover Evoque crossover debuted for the 2012 model year. And the once-retired Land Rover Defender reappeared in 2019.

Now you can order the 2021 Defender 90 and Range Rover Evoque. In fact, these all-new models come with a high-tech infotainment system that even the OG Range Rover doesn’t get.

Let’s take a closer look at the Land Rover Defender 90.

How does the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 perform?

According to Car and Driver, if you’re driving aspirations include tearing away from stoplights at full speed, the Land Rover Defender 90 probably won’t be the SUV for you. But don’t take that to mean the publication wasn’t impressed with the vehicle’s overall performance. The Defender’s tops speed is 120 mph. Car and Driver’s reviewer noted that it took the vehicle about 6.3 seconds to reach 60 mph but that it accelerated smoothly and maintained faster speeds easily.

While Land Rover has spent a great deal of time marketing the 2021 Defender as a great multi-use vehicle uniquely suited for off-road and urban driving, this vehicle isn’t quite living up to the hype. Engineers designed the frame to prevent roll-over accidents, but some drivers have felt it’s so firm that it’s uncomfortable when driving on rough roads and across fields.

That firmness provides a smooth and comfortable ride on the highway. But Car and Driver’s reviewer reported that the brakes felt grabby, and he couldn’t get a good feel for the pedal. 

How comfortable is the Land Rover Defender 90?

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Land Rover built its brand on creating rugged vehicles suited to traversing the roughest terrain. They’re ideal for explorers, adventurers, and individuals who prefer life off the beaten path. But the automaker doesn’t have a reputation for producing the most comfortable vehicles.

With its adaptive dampers, air suspension, and unibody platform, the Defender 90 nicely tackles off-roading. But it’s supposed to be a vehicle that does it all. That means it should also be comfortable on highway road trips. 

Land Rover had families in mind when it designed the Defender 90’s interior. The automaker looked for a unique way to create additional cargo room for pets, luggage, camping gear, etc. Land Rover accomplished this by creating a front-row jump seat that shrinks when it’s not needed. Car Indigo likes how this jump seat doubles as a cup holder. The third row can also fold into the floor, creating a great deal of additional cargo room. 

Passengers in the regular seats will enjoy a comfortable and smooth ride that includes a decent amount of leg and shoulder room. Passengers in the rear row or front jump seat won’t have much legroom and no thigh support. 

And a reviewer from The Car Connection especially liked the interior materials’ softness.

The Defender 90’s infotainment system

The 2021 Land Rover Defender boasts a high-tech infotainment system, J.D. Power reported. This state-of-the-art system, Pivi Pro, is “housed on a high-resolution, 10-inch display atop the center stack,” Steven Ewing wrote in his CNET Road Show review. “You’ve got access to all of the Defender’s off-road settings in here, as well as navigation, a Wi-Fi hotspot, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto.”

He added that “the Defender’s tech game is strong.” However, he warned that it “still suffers from the same laggy response times and occasional refusal to recognize my iPhone and load CarPlay.”

Though the Pivi Pro infotainment system isn’t perfect, it’s a big upgrade over Land Rover’s old infotainment system. Pivi Pro also boasts an interactive driver display a head-up display.

When you compare Pivi Pro to the system in 2020 models, you’ll notice immediate improvements. The first is that you’ll no longer waste time trying to wade through sub-menus. Pivi Pro allows you to quickly and easily find exactly what you’re looking for. The system allows you to move tiles up so you can quickly access the features you use most.

A reviewer for Driving said the infotainment system is a huge improvement over the old one. It’s just a shame that Land Rover’s flagship, the Range Rover, doesn’t offer this new feature for the 2021 model year.

But if you want to park a brand-new Land Rover Defender 90 in your driveway, plan on forking over $49,900 to $80,900 for this rugged vehicle.