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2020 Land Rover Defender

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$49,900 - 80,900 MSRP

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2020 Land Rover Defender Review

The 2020 Land Rover Defender has excellent off-road capability, a comfortable ride, a roomy cabin, and a long list of standard and available features. This vehicle does not have an overall score or ranking because it hasn’t been fully crash tested.

Pros & Cons

  • World-class off-roading abilities
  • Comfortable ride and poised handling
  • Supple seats
  • Long list of standard features
  • So-so interior quality
  • Poor cargo space in Defender 90 trim
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

Research & Ratings

The 2020 Land Rover Defender is unranked in Luxury Midsize SUVs due to missing safety data. Currently, the Land Rover Defender's overall score is not available, though its Critics' Rating, Performance score, and Interior score are based on our evaluation of 10 pieces of research and data.

N/A

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.4
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 6.7
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. As a result, it doesn't have an overall score and cannot be ranked against other luxury midsize suvs.
TBD
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Land Rover Defender?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Land Rover Defender a Good SUV?

Yes, the all-new Land Rover Defender is a good luxury midsize SUV. It lives up to the legendary off-road prowess of its predecessor (last made for the U.S. in 1997), while also providing a nice blend of passenger space, comfort, and modern amenities. The optional six-cylinder engine offers a confident and refined driving experience, though it suffers from a bit of turbo lag.

The Defender's downsides include a spartan cabin that doesn’t match the luxuriousness of many classmates. Additionally, its predicted reliability is below average, and the short-wheelbase version comes up very short in cargo space.

Should I Buy the Land Rover Defender?

You should buy the new Land Rover Defender if you plan to do a lot of off-roading and want to do it surrounded by modern amenities. Every model comes with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, along with a long list of driver assistance features. Starting at just under $50,000 – which is about average for the class – the Defender is a solid value.

But it's not your only choice. If you want to spend a lot less money for comparable ruggedness, consider the Jeep Wrangler. Nearly all Wrangler models retail for less than what you'd pay for a Defender. The Land Rover Discovery is a little more refined for daily use, but it has similar off-road attributes to the Defender.

Compare the Defender, Wrangler, and Discovery »

Should I Buy a New or Used Land Rover Defender?

The 2020 Land Rover Defender is an all-new model, so there are no comparable used models available. The new Defender has little in common with the original Defender that Land Rover sold in North America between 1993 and 1997.

We Did the Research for You: 10 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 10 Land Rover Defender reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2020 Defender is the right new car for you.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our team has more than 75 years of combined auto industry experience. To remain objective, we don't accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team manages the advertising on our site.

How Much Does the Land Rover Defender Cost?

The all-new Land Rover Defender comes in several trims. The base 110 model starts at $49,990, which is about average for a luxury midsize SUV. The two-door, short-wheelbase Defender 90 has a starting MSRP of $65,100, while the top-of-the-line Defender X retails for around $81,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great deals at your local Land Rover dealer.

Land Rover Defender Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Land Rover Defender or Jeep Wrangler?

The Land Rover Defender and Jeep Wrangler are two of the best off-road-oriented SUVs that you can buy. Both vehicles are available in two- and four-door setups with a bevy of standard and optional features for conquering all kinds of terrain. The Defender's plush suspension and more upscale interior make it better suited for everyday driving. Choosing between these two will likely come down to your budget. The Wrangler retails for around $20,000 less than the Defender, but it comes with far fewer standard features and a less-refined interior. However, you can get a fully loaded top-of-the-line Wrangler for less than what you'd spend on a base Defender.

Which Is Better: Land Rover Defender or Land Rover Discovery?

The Land Rover Discovery blurs the line between luxury and capability better than the Defender does. The Discovery boasts a nicer interior that includes standard leather seats (leather costs extra in the Defender). Both Land Rovers are good for off-roading, but the Defender is a bit better. The Discovery comes standard with a potent supercharged V6 engine, while a fuel-efficient turbodiesel is optional. The Defender comes with a turbocharged four- or six-cylinder. You'll get several more cubic feet of cargo space with the Discovery, but you'll also get Land Rover's older infotainment system, which can be sluggish and hard to use. These SUVs have similar prices across their trim lineups, so your choice will come down to whether you like the more composed Discovery or the slightly more rough-and-tumble Defender.

Compare the Defender, Wrangler, and Discovery »

Defender Interior

How Many People Does the Defender Seat?

The Land Rover Defender seats five people in its standard configuration. The front seats remain comfortable both on long trips and during grueling off-road adventures, and they provide good outward visibility in all directions. Taller passengers should have ample second-row head- and legroom.

You can add a third-row in Defender 110 models. This bumps the seating capacity to seven, but the seats are cramped and best left to shorter people. Also optional is a front-row middle jump seat that boosts capacity to six. The jump seat sits a little higher and narrower than the seats flanking it because it rests above the transmission tunnel. Note that you can't get a Defender with both the front jump seat and the third row.

Land Rover also offers the new Defender in a short-wheelbase model with just two doors. Dubbed the Defender 90, it comes standard with the front jump seat and has about 2.5 fewer inches of rear legroom.

Defender and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

Defender Interior Quality

The Defender's cabin has high-quality materials, but it’s not as luxurious as other Land Rover models. Design elements such as exposed screws and rivets give the Defender a rugged feel.

Defender Cargo Space

The Land Rover Defender 110's cargo space is about average for a luxury midsize SUV. You get 34 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats and 78.8 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. In three-row Defender 110 models, there's 10.7 cubic feet of cargo space with all seats up, 34.6 cubic feet with the third row folded, and 69 cubic feet with all rear seats folded. The Defender has a maximum dynamic roof load of 370 pounds, allowing you to haul extra cargo.

The short-wheelbase Defender 90 has 15.6 cubic feet of space behind its rear seats and a maximum capacity of 58.3 cubic feet. Those values are among the lowest in the class.

Defender Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The 2020 Defender comes standard with a 10-inch touch-screen infotainment system that runs Land Rover's latest software. The system responds quickly to your touches, and it's capable of over-the-air updates to continually improve functionality. It's easy to reach the touch screen from the driver's seat, and the center stack also features large climate knobs. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, navigation, and wireless device charging all come standard.

Optional features include a Wi-Fi hot spot, tri-zone automatic climate control, an air quality sensor and cabin air purification, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10- or 14-speaker Meridian stereo, a panoramic roof, a front center console refrigerator, satellite radio, and a household-style power outlet.

Read more about interior »

Defender Performance

Defender Engine: Good Six-Cylinder Power

The new Land Rover Defender comes standard with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 296 horsepower. The optional choice is a turbocharged six-cylinder engine good for 395 horsepower. The latter also includes a mild-hybrid assist system.

Professional test drivers had yet to evaluate the base powertrain at the time of writing, but they were impressed with the turbo inline-six. It suffers from a bit of turbo lag when you first hit the gas, but once you get moving, the Defender accelerates briskly. Both engines are mated to a smooth and refined eight-speed automatic transmission that always finds the right gear.

Defender Gas Mileage: TBD

At the time of writing, fuel economy estimates for the Defender are not available from either Land Rover or the EPA.

Defender Ride and Handling: Cool and Composed

This Land Rover impresses with well-weighted and accurate handling. Ride quality is excellent thanks to a unibody construction that helps the Defender ride smoothly over bumps in the road. Some critics note that braking feel is inconsistent, and it can be hard to modulate how much effort is needed to stop.

Defender Off-Roading

The Defender is one of the most capable off-roaders available. Every model comes with a two-speed transfer case, an adaptive air suspension, a terrain response system, and hill descent control. You also get an off-road front-view camera that helps you see obstacles directly under the front bumper that would be otherwise obscured by the hood.

Options include an upgraded and configurable terrain response system, an electronic active differential, and all-terrain progress control, which operates like standard cruise control at up to 18 miles per hour on challenging terrain.

The Defender can wade through up to 35.4 inches of water and automatically detect water depth. Standard ground clearance is 8.6 inches, but it can be raised to a maximum of 11.5 inches.

Land Rover offers the Defender with a variety of accessory packs that add features such as a raised air intake, a side-mounted exterior cargo pack, a portable rinsing system, a front body protection bar, a front skid plate, and a collapsible side-mounted ladder for accessing the roof.

Defender Towing and Hauling

When properly equipped, the Defender can tow up to 8,201 pounds, which is excellent for the class.

Read more about performance »

Defender Reliability

Is the Land Rover Defender Reliable?

The 2020 Land Rover Defender has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Land Rover Defender Warranty

Land Rover covers the Defender with a four-year/50,000-mile warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Defender Safety

Defender Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the new Land Rover Defender.

Defender Safety Features

Every 2020 Defender comes with forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning and lane keep assist. That list also includes a surround-view parking camera system, driver attention monitoring, traffic sign recognition, automatic speed limit recognition, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Optional active safety technology includes automatic high-beam headlights, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Defender Dimensions and Weight

The Land Rover Defender is between 15 and 16.5 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 4,815 to 5,165 pounds. Its gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) is between 6,610 and 7,165 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Land Rover Defender Built?

Land Rover builds the 2020 Defender in Slovakia.

Which Land Rover Defender Model Is Right for Me?

The new 2020 Land Rover Defender is available in several configurations. Most of the lineup carries a 110 designation, which means a standard wheelbase and four doors. The Defender 90 rides on a shorter wheelbase and only has two doors. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine is standard, while a turbocharged six-cylinder is optional. All models come with four-wheel drive, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and five seats. In most models, you can add a front-row middle jump seat or a pair of third-row seats.

For use as an everyday vehicle, a base Defender 110 should suit you fine. It offers a long list of standard features and impressive off-road capability. Moving up the trim ladder adds things like leather upholstery, more tech amenities, or upgraded off-road and mechanical features.

Land Rover Defender 110

The 2020 Land Rover Defender 110 starts at $49,990. Standard features include cloth upholstery, eight-way adjustable front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, dual-zone automatic climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a universal garage door opener, proximity keyless entry, and a 7-inch driver information display. You also get a standard 10-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, HD Radio, InControl Remote services, navigation, wireless device charging, and a six-speaker stereo.

The list of standard off-road features consists of a two-speed transfer case, an adaptive air suspension, a terrain response system, and hill descent control. Every Defender comes with active safety features including forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, a surround-view parking camera system, an off-road front-view camera, driver attention monitoring, blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, traffic sign recognition, automatic speed limit recognition, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

Land Rover Defender 110 S

The Defender 110 S retails for $53,350 and comes with leather upholstery, 12-way adjustable front seats, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, automatic high-beam headlights, and alloy wheels.

Land Rover Defender 110 SE

The $62,250 Defender 110 SE comes standard with the six-cylinder engine and adds rear cross traffic alert, 12-way power-adjustable front seats, a 10-speaker Meridian stereo, upgraded LED headlights, fog lights, and a rearview mirror camera.

Land Rover Defender 90 First Edition

The Land Rover Defender 90 First Edition is the only short-wheelbase model. Starting at $65,100, it comes with a front middle seat and heated front outboard seats.

Land Rover Defender 110 HSE

The Land Rover Defender 110 HSE costs $68,350 and includes Windsor leather upholstery, a panoramic roof, and 14-way power-adjustable, heated and ventilated front seats.

Land Rover Defender 110 First Edition

The Defender 110 First Edition starts at $68,650. Additional features include an upgraded and configurable terrain response system, a heated steering wheel, heated front seats, a front center console refrigerator, and satellite radio.

Land Rover Defender 110 X

The Defender 110 X comes with an electronic active differential, all-terrain cruise control, heated rear seats, adaptive cruise control, a household-style power outlet, a head-up display, rear tow recovery hooks, and a 14-speaker Meridian stereo. Prices start at $80,900.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Land Rover retailer.

See 2020 Land Rover Defender specs and trims »

The Final Call

The all-new 2020 Land Rover Defender satisfies with its combination of off-road readiness and comfort amenities. Still, it might not be for everyone. There are less-expensive rugged SUVs available, as well as more luxurious options.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The new Defender is a proper SUV, designed and engineered with heart and soul, with just as much ability off-road as its predecessor, but with modern safety, convenience and comfort." -- Autoblog
  • "Therein lies its strength, offering a comfortable, competent vehicle for everyday driving that also get you through a river crossing or a rock-strewn pass. It's a narrow niche, this focus on extreme readiness with the underlying ability to handle daily life with civility. While the diehards may gripe that the new Land Rover Defender isn't scruffy enough to honor its grizzled, dirt-splatted past, the vast majority will likely find it a welcome antidote to the usual sport-utility fare." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "The new version has substantial off-road chops yet will likely delight someone who never leaves the pavement. That's most drivers. They'll buy it because it's cooler-looking than the similarly priced Land Rover Discovery as well as whatever it's parked next to at soccer practice, and because it encourages the fantasy of a faraway trek. That strikes us as a successful balancing act for the Defender's revival." -- Car and Driver
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2020 Land Rover Defender

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