I bet you were wondering when I was going to write this one. That’s right, today we are going to talk about the “New and Improved” Land Rover Defender (L663) that rolled onto the streets in 2020.
I am sure my OG SUV fans remember the old-school Defender in all of its rough and tough glory, but this Defender is a bit more… refined. Though, not by much.
Still a 4×4 the Defender ranges from either a 2 door model (90) with either a V6 or V8 engine. Or the 4 door model (110) with either a v6 or v8 engine. With varying engine and door options, in addition to that, both the 2 door and the 4 door come in a variety of option-based trims that include upgraded packages specific to the trim.
I have owned two Defenders now, so you know when I rebuy something, I have a liking for it. And while I have not owned the four-door variation, I think either is a great car for the hacker looking to enjoy an SUV that is newer, sleeker and still has a lot of usability & pick-up!
The Defender drives incredibly well. It’s funny because usually when you think SUV you think about a Jeep driving style. However, unlike the G63 (older version) this thing is smooth sailing over the roads. It is also not as tight of steering and handling as the Cayenne. Though sadly it is just not as fast as the Urus, but then again, it isn’t even close to the Urus price point on it’s best day, so not really a fair comparison.
Another wonderful thing is the dimensions of the Defender. While it is tall, it is not so tall that it prevents you from getting into garages the way other trucks like the Ford Raptors would. It is also incredibly narrow, so it makes parking easy and the worry of someone knocking their door into your Defender whilst it’s parked parallel on the main street is slim to none. Unless, of course, YOU park like the asshole.
The simplicity of the Defender is something anyone can enjoy. The center console has little to no clutter, simple AC controls, volume controls, and an access height adjuster. Then on top is the LED screen that handles all your navigation, media, radio, vehicle settings, etc. In comparison, it is not as buttonless as a Tesla Model X, but it is certainly easier to work around than a Porsche Cayenne Turbo S.
Shockingly, the amount of trunk space in the 90 (2-door) model is very minimal, making it necessary to put down the back row of seats if you are hauling any large loads.
Another quirk to note that many don’t seem to enjoy… if you are buying a Defender to make it your daily driver, be aware that the 2 door is not easy to get in and out of for the backseat passengers. If you have family or lots of friends that you are going to be carting around, go for a 110 model and save yourself and your passengers the headache.
Land Rover Defender Common Problems
Anytime a new chassis hits the market for car brands, regardless of prestige, there are going to be problems. A very infamous one is actually the windshield of the Defenders, regardless of the trim models. Never have I seen so many posts in forums about stress cracking on a particular car. So bear this in mind.
As for other issues, there is a recall that made headlines with the Defenders and had made obtaining a NEWer model Range Rover almost impossible (writing this in Oct of 2021), and if you want to check out what it is, read HERE.
Land Rover Defender Cost of Ownership/Maintenance
As of right now (Oct 2021), all Land Rover Defenders are under warranty, standard 4yr/50,000 mi basic and 4yr/50,000 mi powertrain.
So the only costs for concern are just oil changes, tires, and brakes. Tires are obviously gonna be meatier given the nature of the truck, so be sure to invest in good tires for your Defender: Good-Year/Michelin/Continental/Pirelli, etc.
If an oil change needs to be done, please bear in mind that even though the Defenders are under warranty, you DO NOT NEED TO TAKE IT TO THE DEALER TO GET SERVICED! A licensed independent third-party shop is more than capable to do the work and you will be significantly less.
Land Rover Defender Year Changes
As of right now, there are no new changes for the Land Rover Defender in the years since it’s launch (2020).
Land Rover Defender Options
Land Rover Defender options are a bit skewed, as many would think the trim is indicative of the options, but instead, it is more the motor type (V6 vs V8) that is more the determining factor for the options bestowed upon a certain Defender.
Highly confusing to the consumer and a bit too much to fit into this article, the best advice I can give you is to look at the sticker compared to the MSRP, if there is a good 15-25k difference, you are looking at a well-optioned Defender.
Best Land Rover Defender To Buy
Given how new the Defenders are I can’t comfortably call them a “Hack,” but with the market we are in right now, the Defenders seem to be holding strong enough for me to be able to write this buyers guide (Oct 2021).
Go for a 2020-2021 inline V6 90-X Defender, it holds a lot of value, has great options, usable, and enjoyable for the masses as well. I am not saying the 110 is a bad model, but I have seen the most “hacking” success with the 90’s that have that inline V6 configuration with the higher trims such as the 90-X.
Again, if I buy a car more than once, you have to know, I like it. The Defender is one of those trucks. I really enjoy their usability and also the nimbleness of the truck itself. While it is one of my 8 cars, I still think if it is your only hack inside your garage, it will be highly enjoyed.
Just be sure you are keeping in mind your situation and buy accordingly, a solo rider, go for the 90. Family and friends you carpool with, go for the 110.