Friday, February 3, 2023
Reviews 2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400 X-Dynamic SE Review: Premium Urban Conqueror

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 P400 X-Dynamic SE Review: Premium Urban Conqueror

The Defender 110’s competition can only hope that Land Rover will somehow decide to stop building it

  • Pricing for the 2021 Defender 110 starts at $65,300 in Canada, $50,500 in the US.

  • The Defender 110 is “insert-explicit-adjective” desirable.

  • The Defender will win you over no matter how you feel about it.

The Land Rover Defender is a member of a rarified club of trucks that helped map out some of the most remote areas of the globe. To this day, Land Rover trucks are still used to reach isolated parts as they are still some of the most capable off-roaders in the world. In the last few decades, they’ve also become extremely luxurious, broadening their appeal. And when it comes to appeal, few match the Defender’s.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

Designers had a difficult and simple job at once. The Defender is a sacred animal and could not be reinvented, it had to evolve. As Land Rover puts it, the Defender’s reassuringly recognizable silhouette is present and for most, it says absolutely everything.

Love at first sight

The Defender’s profile, be it the 90 or the tested 110, is surprisingly modern and a relevant nod to the previous generations. The circular DRLs in the headlights, the alpine lights, or narrow windows at the edges of the roof, and the rear-mounted spare are all signs that the new truck is every bit a Defender despite its very contemporary body.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

This may be the poshest Defender ever but there’s no doubt that it is capable of great things. Stepping up and aboard sets the Defender’s luxurious tone. The previous generations, even in their most well-appointed form, offered spartan interiors compared to the tech-loaded new truck. Even so, there’s a voluntary simplicity to the Defender’s layout that is equal parts utilitarian and classic.

The tested unit was painted Tasma Blue while the interior featured grained leather and Robusstec seating surfaces. With exposed hex bolts and grab handles built into the dashboard, never has premium-meets-rugged accents been so perfectly integrated into one expertly finished product.

The loaded, rugged, and silent type

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

As standard, the Defender 110 includes a 10-inch touchscreen display, a 12.3-inch driver display, and loads of must-have features such as a heated steering wheel, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and much more. The SUV also boasts plenty of room for five (or seven) passengers, and plenty of gear, and the seats are comfortable. The boot is rated at 786 litres but it’s far more useable than the numbers suggest.

The cabin is deceptively simple with minimal switchgear. For some, the learning curve will be steep however once familiarized, navigating the HVAC and infotainment controls becomes easy enough – you’ll want to learn.

Quiet, fast, capable, comfortable – it does it all

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The real test is on and off the road. Suffice it to say that the 2021 Defender is impressive no matter the surface on which the tires are treading. The P400 moniker indicates that this 110 is powered by a turbocharged 3.0-litre straight-6 cylinder engine with mild-hybrid technology. Its output is rated at 395 horsepower and 406 lb.-ft. of torque, numbers that surprise you more in real life than on your screen. The Land Rover Defender is a solid 5,000lbs and needs only 6.1 seconds to reach 100km/h from a standstill.

So, the Defender P400 is quick. It’s also overtly refined and capable – the logo in the front grille sees to both elements. A good premium SUV provides a civilized driving experience with a dash of AWD abilities. However, beyond a cottage trail or a mildly muddy and slick surface will see them struggle. The Land Rover is all this to the power of a thousand.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

The standard electronic air suspension with adaptive dynamics nestles the SUV against the pavement. The Defender all but effortlessly glides over any beaten path with steering and brakes up to the task. Tight parking manoeuvres and emergency braking situations are nothing to the truck. The same can be said for any off-road excursion.

For this review, I stuck to my local suburban area as the Defender 110 had nothing to prove. I played in the mud, dirt, grass, and water with the 90 I reviewed earlier this past summer. Suffice it to say that barely 5% of Defender owners will ever put their SUVs through a real test.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 P400 X-Dynamic S Review: A Serious Toy

Driving the Defender 110 is practically empowering. Come Hell or high water, I will be able to pick the kids up from school and daycare. As I noted in my 90 review, the only thing that can stop it is its finicky electronic and related spotted reliability. The usual niggles are recalcitrant haptic and touchscreen controls, door locks that occasionally opt to not obey, and various temporary error messages. And this is when the vehicle is brand new.

Worth it for all the right and wrong reasons

Despite this, there are thousands of buyers around the globe desperately waiting for their Land Rover Defender. And I understand. While I enjoy the BMW X5, it’s ultimately far too common. The same goes for the Mercedes-Benz GLE. The Porsche Cayenne no longer feels like a Porsche SUV, rather an SUV with a Porsche logo on it. Because of all this, I’d risk a 30-36 month lease with a Defender over all of the above.

As tested, the 2021 X Dynamic was nearly perfect with the towing and cold climate packages, along with a few other options. Grand total: $90,500.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 | Photo: Olivier Delorme

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Matt St-Pierre
Trained as an Automotive Technician, Matt has two decades of automotive journalism under his belt. He’s done TV, radio, print and this thing called the internet. He’s an avid collector of many 4-wheeled things, all of them under 1,500 kg, holds a recently expired racing license and is a father of two. Life is beautiful. Send Matt an emai


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