Pricing for the 110 starts at $69,950 in Canada.
With the V8, pricing nearly doubles to $133,200.
The Land Rover Defender is a rare SUV that is forgiven by almost all. Like other rolling off-road legends, whatever fault they may have are nearly always forgiven because of the vehicle’s pedigree, reputation, and/or aura. The Defender, the modern one, is one such extreme example and we can’t help but love it, nonetheless.
Let’s not beat around the bush: JLR products still suffer from a terrible reputation for being unreliable and costly to run. But, despite this, ask almost anyone who’s driven one and they’ll tell you they’d buy one and live with the risk. As a matter of comparison, a Toyota 4Runner, although extremely reliable, is an impossibly back-dated truck that is underpowered and consumes far too much petrol, but everyone loves it to death anyhow.
The Land Rover Defender is a rare uber-premium SUV that is truly at home in downtown Toronto as it is somewhere in the middle of the Utah desert. Even the most basic Defender is equipped with real trips off the beaten path. All of this isn’t news per se as it is a flagship member of the Land Rover / Range Rover family of SUVs.
This latest addition, the P525 model, aka the V8, takes real-world on- and off-road performance to a level that no other competitor (Mercedes-AMG GLE, Audi RS Q8, BMW X5 M, and Porsche Cayenne Turbo) can match.
If you’re in the market for a 500+hp super SUV, here’s what you need to know about the Defender V8:
Why you should buy a 2022 Land Rover Defender V8:
The new Defender is, be it the 90 or the 100, and I’ve said this before, alarmingly attractive. The base versions are appropriately dressed for business, and it just gets better from there.
The tested V8 packs a 518hp wallop and a deliciously delicate rumble. Once under, its power swells superbly and effortlessly. Also, 100km/ is reached in only 5.4 seconds for a 5,800+lb SUV. Not bad.
Side note about power: The P400 turbocharged 3.0L straight-6 cylinder engine with mild-hybrid technology (395hp and 406 torques) is surprisingly powerful. It’s not a V8 though…
Again, about the tester, it featured the Country Package which adds fitted classic front and rear mudflaps. The Bowler look is spectacular.
As always, Land Rover’s and the Defender’s legendary capabilities are accounted for, with one possible exception. The V8’s tires are street-biased, but the SUV still includes All Terrain Progress Control (ATPC), the Terrain Response 2 system, Hill launch, hill descent, and low traction launch control making it ready for anything.
About off-roading, the Defender’s standard electronic air suspension can deliver up to 11.5 inches of ground clearance, enough to cross almost any obstacle. The accompanying adaptive dynamics maintain an exceptionally high level of on-road comfort.
The Defender is very spacious, exceptionally comfortable, and loaded with luxury. The materials, standard and optional, are either novel and cool or very high-end. The dashboard is a wonderful interpretation of the old trucks’ configuration, and it offers loads of storage spots.
Why you should not buy a 2022 Land Rover Defender V8:
Build quality is uneven. Although materials are top-drawer, the tested suffered from a few rattles, most notably from the driver’s side door. Others in the rear were noticeable too.
While the power is addictive, braking power is troubling. Pedal feel and response wooden even delayed. If you like to get up on the go-pedal, you’ll have to jump with both feet on the brake pedal to stop.
The 8-speed automatic transmission is often slow to respond to driver inputs. This brings a more forceful “foot-put” which results in the SUV shooting forward once it awakens.
It’s been mentioned but here goes again: Reliability issues can take their toll. Past press units have suffered from inoperative door locks to low-coolant lights even though the vehicle was less than a few months old.
Finally, but not really an issue, is the rear side-opening tailgate that could be an issue in tight parking situations.
The all-new Land Rover Defender V8 is another example of an automaker “building it” because they can. Also, it’s done to make money. As exceptional as the V8 is, a Defender 110 X-Dynamic SE P400 with the Explorer pack is not only about $40,000 less expensive but it’s 95% what the V8 is, with the possible exception of exclusivity.
Frankly, though, the Land Rover Defender remains perfect in nearly every way. It’s iconic, unbelievably handsome, and capable. With far too much money in my pockets, I’d opt for the V8 but, with a little more restraint and slightly less budget, the above-described model would be the one.
As for the competition, the BMW X5 and possibly the Audi SQ7 would make interesting alternatives, but neither will follow it up the rocky trail to the cabin.