Except for the insiders of the legendary brand of adventurers, the Land Rover Defender does not enjoy here a notoriety equivalent to that of the Jeep Wrangler. The end of its marketing on the North American market in 1997, due to more stringent safety standards, undoubtedly partly explains this finding. The fact remains that this pure SUV, whose roots go back to the Series 1 born in 1948, is a real institution for the British. It returned to Canada last year with a completely modernized and very charming reissue.
Always cubic, but with soft edges, it preserves its overhangs reduced to their simplest expression. However, it regains its ground clearance which can climb up to 291 mm and the starting angle of 40 degrees.
The Defender’s posture has changed greatly here. Previously seen as a product absorbed in its utilitarian side which encroached on its overall refinement, it is now truly a luxury vehicle. However, don’t expect him to give up his DNA. Land Rover also uses rubberized materials throughout as well as splash resistant fabrics to ensure durability. The dashboard is essentially a large storage tray that complements those placed in the usual places. The Defender is also extremely spacious, an airy appearance made possible by a very high roof. The legroom is also excellent everywhere when opting for the long livery tested and you can add two additional seats behind.
Two engines share the Defender’s options book for the 2021 model year: a turbocharged four-cylinder and an equally turbocharged six-cylinder. It was the 3.0L in-line six-cylinder from Jaguar-Land Rover’s new family of Ingenium engines that kept the model tested. A starter-alternator completes this mild hybrid system powered by a small 48V battery. The assembly produces 395 hp and 405 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed ZF automatic transmission completes the picture with its usual brilliance.
The optional Terrain Response 2 system also has a role to play. An optional electronic winch can also get you out of bed when needed. The soundproofing and the precision of its direction also make it very pleasant on a daily basis.
For the most part, the Defender carries the technological hardware used in the most recent Jaguar-Land Rover models. Its 10-inch screen isn’t the largest, but it does have the advantage of responding well to touchscreen operations. A false good idea that quickly becomes a source of distraction. The standard Meridian system (380 W) also has astonishing sound quality, despite its limited power.