In-depth reviews

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.

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.5 out of 5

MPG, CO2 and running costs Rating

3.9 out of 5

  • Off-road ability
  • Still supremely practical
  • Plug-in hybrid version
  • Expensive to buy
  • Some wind noise at higher speeds
  • Running costs

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 included mild-hybrid tech with its 3.0-litre diesel engines 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.

The petrol P300 and P400 models average around 24mpg on the combined cycle, with CO2 emissions starting from 260g/km. If you can afford the step-up to the plug-in hybrid version, you’ll benefit from up to 27 miles of pure electric drive, while keeping the battery regularly topped up will push overall economy towards a claimed 83.2mpg. CO2 emissions are low, too, starting from 76g/km and rising to 79g/km depending on your chosen trim level.

Choose any of the diesel-engined variants and the average economy sits at around 32mpg. Emissions are still relatively high, however, ranging from 228g/km to 235g/km.

Insurance groups

Premiums are going to be expensive for the Defender. The three-door 90 D200 diesel is in group 28, while the five-door 110 version with the same engine is in group 31. The more powerful D240 in HSE trim moves up to group 35.

The entry-level P300 petrol model sits in group 33, while opting for HSE trim takes it to group 37. Customers choosing the top-spec P400 will see insurance groups of 42-44, depending on bodystyle. 


On the plus side, Defender owners will benefit from good residual values when the time comes to sell. Data suggests that the 4x4 will hold onto an average of 64% of its original list price after three-years and 36,000 miles, with the three-door D240 in entry-level trim retaining over 68%.

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