Crossover & Midsize

The 2023 Land Rover Defender 80 Is Worth Waiting For

Looking to trade in your truck? The pandemic has delayed many new vehicle launches, so you might want to wait, especially if you’re looking for an SUV with serious off-road cred

The Land Rover Defender 80 was initially expected to arrive in 2022. But even if it takes a little longer than expected, the new compact crossover — which Car and Driver lists as one of the “Future Cars Worth Waiting For: 2021-2025” — will be worth the wait.

What to expect in the 2023 Land Rover Defender 80

We know so far that the Land Rover Defender 80 will be smaller than previous iterations. With a base price of around $30,000, it will also be more affordable. Because of its size and features, experts such as those at Car and Driver expect the Land Rover Defender 80 to compare favorably to vehicles such as the Audi Q3 and Volvo XC40. 

Car and Driver also reported it might have hybrid and plug-in options in addition to its three-cylinder engine. And its compact design likely means respectable fuel economy for an SUV.

But to better understand why you should hold off on trading in your SUV for a new one today, consider what makes the Land Rover Defender a great option.

The Land Rover Defender drives smoothly on- or off-road 

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The 2021 Land Rover Defender is a relatively new entrant to the U.S. market. The 2020 model was the first to be sold in the U.S. in 23 years, Car and Driver reported. 

With two engine options — a 296-hp four-cylinder and a 395-hp V6 — the entry-level 2020 and 2021 Defender models will set you back about $50,000. But if you’re looking for an SUV that can handle most terrains, the Land Rover Defender is worth it.

The 2021 Defender, with its rapidly responsive eight-speed automatic transmission, masterfully handles muddy roads and sharp slopes. It comes with advanced driver assistance features such as warnings for forward collisions, blind spots, lane departures, and rear cross-traffic. And the Defender comes equipped with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection and adaptive cruise control to keep you and your passengers safe.

Upscale trim and features

The 2021 Land Rover Defender also comes with two modems to ensure you can download apps or data without affecting streaming music playing inside the vehicle. The dashboard features an infotainment system using BlackBerry’s QNX platform, though it’s compatible with Android and Apple systems. And its interior is comfortable and spacious, with accents and design finishes appropriate for adventuring.

And if you’re planning an adventure, options such as the Explorer pack will help prepare you. This option provides you with a roof rack and a fold-down ladder to reach it, along with a snorkel, and an airtight lockable box, and other convenient features.

How the Defender compares to the competition

The Land Rover Defender ranked a relatively low 18th on Consumer Reports‘ list of the top 30 midsize SUVs. The publication noted the vehicle’s low mileage per gallon (18 mpg), starting delays, and occasional speed reductions due to its stability control system. 

However, the 2021 Defender is MotorTrend‘s SUV of the Year. The publication praised the design, handling aesthetics, and features. If Land Rover makes even modest improvements, the 2023 Defender will be a force to be reckoned with.

And if the new model indeed comes with hybrid or plug-in options, consumers can take advantage of a federal tax credit up to $7,500 — a great benefit on top of the 2023 model’s already relatively low price.

So, if you can, hold off on trading in your old truck. If the current Defender is any indication, the 2023 model will be worth the wait.