Land Rover Defender review - MPG, CO2 and running costs
New powertrains and modern tech do their best, but the Defender isn’t the greenest machine and will cost a lot to run
With such a bluff, upright profile and overall weight on the wrong side of two tonnes, the Defender isn’t going to be crossing continents on a single tank of fuel. Land Rover has added mild-hybrid tech to its 3.0-litre diesel engine to help improve efficiency, while there’s also the petrol plug-in hybrid to consider – although the high list price for that model may well deter some.
Choose any of the diesel-engined variants and the official average economy sits at around 32mpg, however CO2 emissions are relatively high at 226-240g/km.
Meanwhile, JLR says the petrol P300 and P400 (which also features mild-hybrid tech) models averages around 26mpg on the combined WLTP test cycle, while CO2 emissions range from 243-265g/km for the P300 and 236-253g/km for the P400.
Unsurprisingly, the P525 V8 petrol engine is the least effecient option in the Defender range, capable of average around 20mpg at best in mixed driving conditions. What's more, CO2 emissions can average 329g/km.
If you can afford the step-up to the plug-in P400e hybrid version, you’ll benefit from up to 27 miles of pure electric drive, while keeping the battery regularly topped up will theoretically push overall economy close to the official 100mpg figure. CO2 emissions are low, too, starting from 59g/km and rising to 68g/km depending on your chosen trim level. When we lived with a Defender 110 P400e we found that the 27-mile electric range is realistic but were only able to average around 30mpg due to regular long trips.
Premiums are going to be expensive for the Defender. Even the most basic Defender – a three-door 90 with the P300 petrol engine – sits in insurance group 37 (out of 50), a mid-range five-door 110 model with the D300 diesel lands in group 43 and the range-topping, V8-powered Carpathian Edition falls into the very highest insurance band.
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On the plus side, Defender owners will benefit from good residual values when the time comes to sell. Our latest expert data suggests that the Defender family will retain up to a whopping 80 per cent of its original value after a typical three-year/36,000-mile ownership period. The Carpathian Edition models are expected to hold onto the least value of the entire range, while the Defender 110 D300 is projected to perform the best when it comes to trade-in.
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In this review
- 1Land Rover Defender reviewLand Rover has aced the latest Defender, which combines rugged go-anywhere ability with new levels of civility
- 2Engines, performance and driveLand Rover has equipped the Defender with a strong range of petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid engines
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costs - currently readingNew powertrains and modern tech do their best, but the Defender isn’t the greenest machine and will cost a lot to run
- 4Interior, design and technologyImpressively designed, well-equipped and with the latest on-board tech, the Defender is a thoroughly modern 4x4
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe new Defender is arguably the ultimate 4x4, with comfort and refinement now on a different level
- 6Reliability and safetyLand Rover’s toughest 4x4 has to deliver supreme reliability, while safety shouldn’t be an issue