When it comes to off-roading vehicles, the Land Rover Defender isn’t always the first SUV to come to people’s minds. But this year that just might change. The redesign for the Defender just made this vehicle one to look out for.
MotorTrend tested out several SUVs for this model year and didn’t find one that matched the performance of the Defender. In fact, the reviewers liked it so much that they gave it two awards this year. What was so great about this SUV and why did it get two awards?
Why does MotorTrend like the 2021 Land Rover Defender so much?
MotorTrend had lots to say about the Land Rover Defender, and it was pretty much all good. First, they loved the new aluminum unibody frame that replaces the old steel version. The new architecture provides a solid base for the vehicle.
But Land Rover’s decision to remove the live axles concerned some of the reviewers. In the end, though, the removal of the axles didn’t hurt the vehicle at all. In fact, the reviewers said it still drove like a dream on all types of terrain.
Then there’s the motor under the hood. You get a choice between two impressive powerhouses. One is the 2.0-liter inline-four engine producing 296 hp. The other option is a 3.0-liter inline six motor with 395 hp behind it. Both are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission, giving it enough boost to get you around whether you’re on pavement or off the beaten path.
When it comes to safety features, the Defender provides more than enough standard and available features to keep your drive safe. You can get emergency braking, driver condition monitoring, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot assist to name just a few.
The Land Rover Defender won again
Winning the 2021 SUV model of the year was an achievement. But it’s not the only award it received from MotorTrend for this year. It also won the Best Midsize Luxury SUV of the year award. The Defender has made a comeback of sorts, according to MotorTrend. Before the redesign, it was known for its boxy look and rugged 4×4 feel.
When the new look came out, the Defender had evolved into the same rugged 4×4 boxy SUV, but this time with a luxurious flair. With just the right tweaks, this SUV came alive. MotorTrend couldn’t have praised it more.
The exterior styling is great, but it was the interior that impressed them the most. There’s a good deal of room with the Defender. Cargo space is 16 cubic feet behind the second row of seats. If you fold them down, you can increase it to 58 cubic feet. Head and legroom are good as well, except for the third-row seat, which barely has any room.
It has an impressive center console as well as little cubby spaces here and there for personal storage. You’ll also find supportive leather seats, Meridian radio, and 15 charging ports for charging USB devices and the like.
Comparing the Defender to its rivals
MotorTrend calls it a Prius when you look at fuel efficiency numbers of the Defender, G-Wagen, and the Toyota Land Cruiser. Land Rover offers the inline-six motor, which is a hybrid. This gets you 17 mpg on city roads, and 22 mpg when traveling on the highway.
When you compare it to its rivals, the Defender has the better value. The Mercedes-Benz G550 commands a hefty $131,895 price. When you look at the cost of the Defender, you see a price tag of $82,575 with lots of available goodies installed. If you’re looking for something a bit cheaper than that, the standard base model costs approximately $47,450 MSRP.
The Land Rover Defender outdid its competitors with MotorTrend. The reviewers were more than pleased with the new model, so much so they gave it two awards this year. How many of its rivals can claim that?