2023 Land Rover Defender Review, Pricing, and Specs

Overview

For many years, the Land Rover Defender was the United Kingdom’s answer to the rough-and-tumble Jeeps of America, but with the latest generation the luxury brand has engineered-in more comfort to go along with the off-roader’s go-anywhere capability. Both two- and four-door body styles are on offer with comfortable and practical cabins, modern infotainment, and tech features, and a signature style that evokes those revered Defenders of yore. A turbocharged four-cylinder is standard, and more-powerful inline-six and V-8 engines are available; all Defenders come standard with all-wheel drive. From there, buyers are offered a plethora of advanced off-roading equipment, including locking differentials, a height-adjustable air suspension, and a special mode for wading through deep water. But the biggest benefit to the new generation Defender’s setup is its superior on-road driving behavior, which gives it a level of refinement that rivals such as the Jeep Wrangler and Lexus GX can’t match.

What’s New for 2023?

A Defender 130 variant joins the lineup this year, with a body that’s been extended to fit a third row of seats, upping total passenger capacity to eight riders. The new 130 model is available with an exclusive Sedona Red exterior color option and comes standard with desirable features that are optional on the 90 and 110 models, including the larger 11.4-inch infotainment display. Otherwise, the Defender carries over largely unchanged into 2023, except now its Pivi Pro infotainment system comes standard with Amazon Alexa integration. A 30th Anniversary Edition model will also be offered in limited quantities. Only 500 will be built and they’re based on the four-door 110 model and powered by the 296-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine. They’re dressed in white with steel wheels.

Pricing and Which One to Buy

Base

$53,050

S

$53,650

$65,350

X-Dynamic SE

$68,250

30th Anniversary Edition

$76,350

X

$86,750

V8

$105,750

Carpathian

$112,750

As much as we like the look of the two-door 90 model, the four-door 110 and 130 models are more practical for most buyers. The base P300 powertrain—a 296-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder—seems peppy enough for day-to-day driving, so we’d stick with that; those who plan to tackle serious off-road trails may find the optional six-cylinder or V-8 engines to be better choices. We’d suggest the SE trim level as it adds a number of desirable features to the Defender’s spec sheet, including 19-inch aluminum wheels, automatic high-beam headlamps, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, and a digital gauge display. Land Rover offers several accessory packages, each of which outfit the Defender with specifically themed features. There’s also a bevy of personalization options available, but we’ll leave the customization to you.

Engine, Transmission, and Performance

The Defender is powered by a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Of course, every model features four-wheel drive and locking differentials for navigating treacherous terrain. The Defender is also available with a 3.0-liter inline-six which utilizes an electric supercharger and 48-volt hybrid system. Buyers looking for additional performance can opt for the 518-hp supercharged V-8, which hustled the Defender 90 to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds in our testing. Unlike its predecessor, the Defender has a unibody construction versus a body-on-frame setup, and it replaces the old solid axles with a fully independent suspension. The base suspension utilizes coil springs, but it can be upgraded with air spring that enable adjustable ride height. The Defender has 11.5 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford through 35 inches of water, which exceeds both the Jeep Wrangler’s maximum clearance and its wading ability.

Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG

The EPA’s fuel economy ratings for the various Defender models are similar regardless of what’s under the hood. The 90 model with the four-cylinder receives ratings of 18 mpg city and 21 highway. Step up to the six-cylinder engine and the 90’s city rating drops to 17 mpg but the highway rating goes up to 22. The 110 model with the six-cylinder engine has the same estimates as the six-cylinder 90. The V-8 variant is rated for 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, a Defender 110X with the optional six-cylinder powertrain delivered a disappointing 18 mpg. For more information about the Defender’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.

Interior, Comfort, and Cargo

The Defender’s cabin walks the line between premium and utilitarian, with just enough design cues from the rest of the Land Rover lineup to make those familiar with the brand feel at home. Exposed rivets in the door panels add a rugged appearance, and a magnesium beam that runs the full width of the dashboard isn’t entirely cosmetic—it’s also structural. Under the infotainment display, a trapezoidal extension of the dashboard provides a place for buttons and switches for the climate-control system and driving mode. The shift lever and ignition switch are also mounted on this center stack rather than the center console. In some models, the center console can be flipped back to create a jump seat between the driver and passenger, similar to a three-across bench in some full-size pickup trucks. Cargo space behind the rear seat in 90 and 110 models is limited, but on par with rival off-roaders such as the Wrangler; the rear seats can be folded to open up a much larger cargo bay but those seeking to haul people and gear may want to look at the larger Land Rover Discovery or invest in a roof-top cargo carrier. The longer 130 model offers additional cargo space with the third row stowed, but with it in use there’s not much room for gear.

Infotainment and Connectivity

The Defender’s dashboard sports a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that runs a new interface for Land Rover called Pivi Pro; a larger 11.4-inch display is optional. Compared to the rest of the Land Rover lineup’s Touch Pro Duo interface, the Defender’s system relies on a single touchscreen instead of two, offers quicker response times, and can handle over-the-air software updates for future releases. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as is an in-dash navigation system, a six-speaker stereo, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. Both 10- and 14-speaker Meridian stereo systems are optional features and buyers of higher-end Defenders receive a digital gauge cluster and a head-up display.

Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

Among the slew of available driver-assistance technology, the Rover has several unique systems tailored for off-roading and towing. For more information about the Defender’s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites. Key safety features include:

  • Standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Standard lane-departure warning with lane-keeping assist
  • Available adaptive cruise control

Warranty and Maintenance Coverage

Like its stablemates, the Defender will come with a standard warranty package that spans four years or 50,000 miles. The Lexus GX, a similarly posh off-roader, offers more value here in the form of a six-year powertrain warranty and a year of complimentary maintenance.

  • Limited warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • Powertrain warranty covers four years or 50,000 miles
  • No complimentary scheduled maintenance

Specifications

Specifications

2022 Land Rover Defender 90 V8

Vehicle Type: front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 5-passenger, 2-door wagon

PRICE

Base/As Tested: $106,260/$113,500

Options: Carpathian Edition (gray paint with black roof and hood, gloss black brake calipers), $6290; basic interior protection and storage pack, $510; dark gray wheels w/contrast diamond-turned finish, $200; 11.4-inch touchscreen, $140; California emissions, $100

ENGINE

supercharged and intercooled DOHC 32-valve V-8, aluminum block and heads, direct fuel injection

Displacement: 305 in3, 5000 cm3

Power: 518 hp @ 6000 rpm

Torque: 461 lb-ft @ 2500 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension, F/R: multilink/multilink

Brakes, F/R: 15.0-in vented disc/14.4-in vented disc

Tires: Continental CrossContact RX

275/45R-22 112W M+S LR

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 101.9 in

Length: 180.4 in

Width: 79.1 in

Height: 77.5 in

Passenger Volume: 102 ft3

Cargo Volume: 16 ft3

Curb Weight: 5334 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 4.4 sec

100 mph: 10.6 sec

1/4-Mile: 12.9 sec @ 109 mph

130 mph: 19.8 sec

Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling Start, 5–60 mph: 5.1 sec

Top Gear, 30–50 mph: 3.0 sec

Top Gear, 50–70 mph: 3.6 sec

Top Speed (mfr’s claim): 149 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 195 ft

Braking, 100–0 mph: 379 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft Skidpad: 0.78 g

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 15 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/City/Highway: 16/15/19 mpg

2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE

VEHICLE TYPE

front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon

PRICE AS TESTED

$82,575 (base price: $63,600)

ENGINE TYPE

supercharged, turbocharged, and intercooled inline-6; aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection

Displacement

183 in3, 2996 cm3

Power

395 hp @ 5500 rpm

Torque

406 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm

TRANSMISSION

8-speed automatic

CHASSIS

Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink

Brakes (F/R): 14.3-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc

Tires: Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure, 255/60R-20 113H M+S LR

DIMENSIONS

Wheelbase: 119.0 in

Length: 197.6 in

Width: 78.6 in

Height: 80.6 in

Passenger volume: 132 ft3

Cargo volume: 11 ft3

Curb weight: 5773 lb

C/D TEST RESULTS

60 mph: 6.3 sec

100 mph: 17.3 sec

120 mph: 33.9 sec
Results above omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.

Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.0 sec

Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec

Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec

1/4 mile: 14.8 sec @ 94 mph

Top speed (governor limited): 120 mph

Braking, 70–0 mph: 204 ft

Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.70 

C/D FUEL ECONOMY

Observed: 15 mpg

EPA FUEL ECONOMY

Combined/city/highway: 19/17/22 mpg 

C/D TESTING EXPLAINED

More Features and Specs