2020 Land Rover Defender X review: Rugged and refined in equal measure

Person, this matter is sharp.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Occasionally, Mom Mother nature delivers the off-road park to your doorstep. With my corner of Michigan nestled deep underneath a foot of snow, and with community snow-plow infrastructure so lacking it may as properly not exist, venturing outside the house becomes a money-A journey. Fortunately, I have a Land Rover Defender X in my driveway, which by a blend of luxury appointments and outright off-road ability turns this stark-white hellscape again into a wintertime wonderland.


  • Looks badass.
  • Can push by virtually anything.
  • Gentle-hybrid I6 can thrust.

Really don’t Like

  • Touchy brakes
  • Big boy, major thirst
  • Infotainment much better, continue to not fantastic

No matter whether out of normal newness or the actuality that a Defender has not graced our amber waves of grain in two a long time, this SUV really turns heads. Part of that arrives from its stunning proportions. It looks a large amount smaller sized in images, but get right up on this matter and it feels like you happen to be staring down a making. Its 119-inch wheelbase dwarfs each a Assortment Rover and a Mercedes-Benz G550. The physique is shorter in general than possibly, but this is no compact utility automobile.

Becoming massive and in cost displays on the Defender’s styling, way too. It truly is each faithful to Defenders of old and continue to future-ahead, borrowing aspects like round headlights and diamond plating on the hood and adapting them to a sleeker, much more modern day design and style. It lacks the intense militaristic rigidity of the Mercedes G-Course, but it can be not much off. My selection-topping X tester zhushes matters up with a black distinction roof and hood, satin chrome trim and beefy 255/60R20 Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain tires ($350). Throw in the rear-mounted spare and you have received A Entire Glimpse.

The interior additional exemplifies the full safari-chic topic. Go over the badge on the Defender X’s steering wheel and you would be tough pressed to say this is just not a Assortment Rover. Then yet again, with a beginning price of $eighty two,250 including vacation spot, it’d much better be near. Leather abounds, with rough-cut walnut trim splashed across the center console and doorway panels to fantastic effect. The plastics have a rougher end to them that converse much more to toughness than flimsiness. Thinking of the exterior proportions, it can be no shock that there’s oodles of headroom and legroom for all travellers, and the seats on their own are mighty cozy. Visibility is prime-notch, way too, whilst the rear-mounted spare tire can consume into rearward sights fortunately, my tester sporting activities a rearview mirror that shows a feed from the backup digicam mounted higher than the spare.

Operate walks hand-in-hand with variety within the Defender X. Practically the total center of the dashboard serves as a tray for stashing maps, masks, telephones, you title it — heck, there’s even a pass-by powering the infotainment display screen. The center console offers two amounts of storage, in addition to a modest cubby underneath the armrest. Swing open the tailgate (be thorough if you park way too near to a wall or other automobiles) and there’s 38 cubic feet of cargo room, fifty percent a dice much more than the Mercedes G550 and virtually 150% of what you get in a Assortment Rover.

When there is just not a V8 underneath the hood (yet), it practically feels like there is. Instead, the Defender X makes use of a three.-liter straight-six gas engine merged with a 48-volt gentle-hybrid process. This powertrain delivers a enough 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. Supplied its 5,two hundred-plus-pound suppress bodyweight, Land Rover’s Ingenium engine can shove the Defender about with an outstanding amount of money of haste, its 8-speed automatic rattling off smooth shifts in the qualifications whether or not I’m getting or shedding speed. It seems quite great in the method, way too. The gentle-hybrid is much more efficient than the 2.-liter gas engine obtainable on lower trims, providing an EPA-believed seventeen miles per gallon city and 22 mpg highway — not fantastic numbers by any stretch, but three mpg in advance of the V8-powered G550 on the freeway. Individuals figures are relatively effortless to meet up with, but much trickier to beat. It truly is thirsty.

That concentration on smoothness extends to the rest of the Defender X’s journey. Equipped with all those thicc off-road tires and a typical air suspension, this unibody SUV’s comfortable journey feels a tiny much more composed than a Mercedes G550, but there are some truck-ish vibes continue to lingering about, with sharp highway enlargement joints translating some shudders to the cabin and a bit of wallowing over undulating pavement. Throw in steering that’s a tiny on the light side, and there’s no forgetting the thing’s mass in day by day operation. The brakes, which on my tester function purple calipers for some rationale, are much more than able of halting in a hurry, whilst the pedal is touchier than I might like, necessitating a tiny much more finesse for smooth stops. If you want some added floor clearance, the air suspension can raise the physique to provide 11.5 inches of room between Defender and dirt.

The Defender’s interior is just not just interesting, it can be also a lot functional.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

Speaking of dirt, Roadshow’s social media editor, Daniel Golson, had a different Land Rover Defender that he took by some critical paces at a area off-road park, and he referred to it as an “absolute beast over even the rockiest and most treacherous terrain, with the Terrain Reaction driving modes generating it brief and effortless to set up the motor vehicle.” He didn’t even want to achieve into the nethermost locations of the Defender’s numerous off-road options to have a fantastic time, possibly, but with locking differentials, 360-degree cameras and hill-descent management, the Defender is ready to tackle some critical things.

My time in shin-deep snow couldn’t have been simpler. I didn’t even have to make use of the Defender’s numerous modes letting the typical four-wheel-push do its matter created for slip-free begins and stops every single time. Positive, it could possibly be like bringing a tactical nuclear gadget to a knife struggle, but it can be wonderful to be overprepared for when.

The Defender’s new infotainment process is great, but Jaguar Land Rover’s latest continue to suffers from some of the exact challenges that have plagued its iterations for many years.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

All Land Rover Defenders occur typical with the automaker’s new Pivi Pro infotainment process, which life on a ten-inch touchscreen nestled into the dashboard. It truly is dwelling to just about everything you want below, whether or not it can be off-road configurations, navigation, Apple CarPlay or Android Automobile, and what is just not shown there is shown clearly on possibly the configurable gauge exhibit or the head-up exhibit that’s section of the X trim. Pivi Pro is a tiny underwhelming, even though whilst I do appreciate the new skin and its enhanced responsiveness, it can be continue to sluggish to boot up when chilly and in general response can continue to be laggy. It also usually takes some acquiring employed to how the menus and options are arranged.

In terms of security equipment, all Defenders contain automatic unexpected emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, a encompass-watch digicam process, lane-keeping support and parking sensors. The Defender X also rocks a typical Driver Support Pack, which is optional on lower trims, consisting of adaptive cruise management, lively blind-spot support and rear cross-traffic inform.

You may be content that a rearview digicam-mirror is obtainable, since that badass mounted spare eats into rearward visibility.

Andrew Krok/Roadshow

The Land Rover Defender is not a low-cost proposition, but it can be fortunately nowhere around the MSRP excesses of the Mercedes G550, which won’t depart a dealer’s large amount for anything significantly less than $a hundred twenty five,000 or so. Four-doorway Defender a hundred and ten designs start at $fifty one,250 including vacation spot, whilst my Defender X exists at the upper bound of $85,750, as it consists of just about everything the automaker can contain. It truly is a downright steal compared to its competitor, even though, even if you you should not get the badge cachet or a V8 underneath the hood. The G550 may be much more high-class, but I’m not guaranteed it can be really worth that numerous tens of hundreds of dollars much more, supplied how comparable the two are in terms of off-road ability.

No matter of outside the house components, even though, the Land Rover Defender rocks. It delivers luxury-stage trimmings to a automobile that can practically push by an apocalypse unscathed. It truly is much more than cozy adequate in day by day use and will serve as a strong loved ones hauler even if it by no means sees so substantially as an inch of mud, and for much significantly less than its primary competitor. The twenty-calendar year wait around was really worth it.