Land Rover Defender review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
The new Defender is arguably the ultimate 4x4, with comfort and refinement now on a different level
The Defender is brilliantly practical, including basics like the useful central storage bin and deep door pockets, as well as more advanced features like the standard 3D surround camera. There’s also the usual generous supply of cup-holders, power outlets and air vents around the cabin. Overall refinement is good and the front seats have plenty of adjustability, so you can easily find the most comfortable position.
There are also clever touches to help you with towing – the on-board cameras assist when lining-up a trailer, while the air suspension can raise and lower to make hitching-up easier.
The ClearSight system is another handy addition for Defender drivers and comes with Mirror or Ground functions. The rear-view mirror can be used normally, but is also able to display a rear-facing camera feed when the rear screen is too dirty to see out of. The central touchscreen also relays footage from the numerous on the outside of the car, so you can see what's beneath and just in front of the vehicle – invaluable when off-roading.
There’s no disguising that the Defender is a big 4x4. The three-door 90 model is 4,583mm long (including the spare wheel at the rear) and 2,008mm wide with the side mirrors folded-in. It stands 1,974mm tall, with the 110 version just a touch lower at 1,967mm. The five-door variant is unsurprisingly longer at 5,018mm, although overall width is the same as its smaller sibling. These have now been joined by an even longer Defender 130, measuring 5,358mm in length – more than 10cm longer than the flagship Range Rover luxury SUV and far longer than a Mercedes G-Class.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
There’s plenty of room upfront in the cabin of every Defender, though rear cabin space varies depending on the model you get. There’s very little space in the rear of the Defender 90 and becasue it's only a three-door, access to the back seats isn’t the easiest. The front seats do fold and slide forwards, however the gap that’s left isn’t the largest – plus you have to climb up quite high to pull yourself in.
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As you'd expect, there's much more room in the back seats of the Defender 100, which are also easier to access thanks to the additional doors. If you want, you can specify an extra seat between the driver and front passenger in the 110 model, or add a further two seats in the boot to make it a seven-seater, but strangely not when the front row middle seat is specified. If you do get the seven-seater 110 the second row have a sliding function, which helps accommodate taller passengers in the third row.
The Defender 130 puts most MPVs to shame, with its extra length allowing for two rows of three seats behind the driver and front passenger seat, for a total of eight occupants. These are arranged with a slight ‘stadium-style’ increase in height for a good view out, and there’s even a second sunroof above the third row.
The three-door Defender 90 has a 297-litre boot (pictured above), which is actually smaller than a Vauxhall Corsa's. If you need to carry longer items, dropping the rear seats give you 1,263 litres to play with.
The Defender 110 offers a more generous amount of boot space, which should be enough for most families. If you get the five-seater 110, there's 786 litres of space on offer behind the rear seats, and 1,875 litres with them down. Plug-in hybrid versions of the 110 offer slightly less luggage capacity because of the battery located under the boot floor, which reduces the available boot space to 696 litres with all five seats in place and 1,759 litres with the rear seats folded away.
Opt for the seven-seater version of the 110 and there's 160 litres with all three rows of seats in place, 743 litres with two rows in the upright position and the same 1,875 litres with all but the front seats stowed in the floor.
The eight-seater Defender 130’s boot isn't that much bigger. There's 290 litres of space available even with all eight seats in place, and if you fold the second and third rows down there’s close to 1,900 litres on offer. For those who prefer luggage space, a five-seat 130 is also available, boosting ultimate boot space even further to nearly 2,100 litres.
Customers will be reassured that the Defender remains a supreme towing machine. Most versions have a maximum towing limit of 3,500kg, although the P400e plug-in hybrid is restricted to 3,000kg. This lower limit also applies to the Defender 130, even in D300 diesel guise.
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 costsNew 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 space - currently readingThe 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