There are plenty of 2021 SUVs that deserve your attention. And if you ever discounted the Land Rover Defender, the latest model is worth a look. It comes with a host of performance options, making it a road- and off-road-capable beast. But there’s one version of the Defender that some say is the absolute best, and it might not even be sold in the United States.
Find out what’s so great about the Defender you might not be able to buy. And get the specs on the worthy version you can drive off the lot this winter.
The diesel version of the Land Rover Defender
Some critics say the British automaker Land Rover may have outdone itself when it designed the diesel version of its 2021 Defender. The Land Rover Defender 110 D240 comes with an impressive 2.0-liter diesel four, capable of cranking out 237 hp at 4,000 rpm. It achieves 317 lb-ft of torque around 1,400 rpm, making take-off feel effortless. According to Land Rover‘s data, this engine is capable of reaching top speeds of 117 mph and can clock zero to 60 mph in just 8.7 seconds.
A unicorn for Americans
Unfortunately for SUV buyers in the States, the 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 D240 isn’t available. There isn’t a diesel-powered Defender in the U.S. portfolio. But what may be the best version of this compact SUV is equally rare elsewhere, too, because consumers can’t order one in Land Rover’s home market.
The gas-powered Defender is a showstopper too
A diesel engine in the 2021 Land Rover Defender might make it a more desirable ride. And economically, it might make the most sense. However, there’s plenty to love about the gas-powered version of the 2021 Land Rover Defender, and it’s available to American car buyers. Based on some of the feedback from MotorTrend, this version outperforms the diesel in a few key areas. For example, the 2.0-liter gas turbocharged I-4 produces 59 more horses. And per the Jaguar Land Rover numbers, the Defender 110 P300 hits zero to 60 in an entire second faster than the D240. Plus, the gas-powered Defender offers four-wheel drive, tons of tech, and upscale quality touchpoints you’d come to expect from Land Rover.
Still MotorTrend’s SUV of the Year
Even if you had your heart set on a diesel version of the Land Rover Defender, you wouldn’t be disappointed with the gas-powered SUV. In fact, MotorTrend named it the 2021 SUV of the year for its versatility, performance, and robust menu of standard equipment. The Defender boasts impeccable ride handling, refinement, and utmost comfort, both on and off the pavement. The bar has been raised for go-anywhere drivability.
According to Car and Driver, the two-door Defender 90 is set to arrive at dealerships in January 2021, while the four-door Defender 110 is arriving at dealerships now. And new for 2021 is the Defender X-Dynamic variation. Other upgrades include Sirius XM radio standard across trims, updated infotainment platforms, and an available Cabin Air Ionization capability, Autotrader reports. A couple of driver aids are standard as well, including Rear Traffic Monitoring and Clear Exit Monitoring.
You might not be able to get your hands on the Land Rover Defender diesel, but you can certainly buy the gas-powered Defender for $46,100 to $83,600. And if MotorTrend says it’s the 2021 SUV of the year, it must be something special, even if it only takes regular fuel at the pump.