2021 Land Rover Defender 90 review

Barge pole set aside? Let us explain why you will love the 90

Land Rover Defender off road

What do you need luggage space for anyway? An additional roof rail costs £330... or there’s the Defender 110

This short-wheelbase 90 model is the Land Rover Defender you really should not buy. It has very little luggage space, it’s hard to get in the back, it’s not significantly lighter

than the 110 and the cheapest versions of each are priced just £1200 apart. This is the fashion victim’s Defender, the one you should avoid like a week-old pint of prawns. It is expensive, it is impractical and if that shorter wheelbase really does confer any additional off-road ability it will be in conditions so extreme that barely anyone would dare to venture there in over £50k’s worth of new car.

And yet… I want it. I love the way it looks, the fact it’s not just another hulking great SUV, its iconoclasm, its stance and, ashamed as I am to admit it, even the reaction it gained from the public. In future there are going to be very few cars that appeal to anything other than the most sane, rational and boring sides of our character, and even today it is hugely refreshing to drive a car that’s not enslaved to cold, hard logic but seeks instead just to make you feel good.

Which it does. And like other Defenders, and the limitations of its wheelbase aside, it really works. It’s quiet and comfortable, rugged and honest, fully connected but still with that authentic Land Rover feel. Despite the scream of common sense to the contrary, of all JLR product, it is the one I would have.

Land Rover Defender 90 D250 SE

  • Price £51,205
  • Engine 3 litres, 6 cylinders, turbocharged diesel
  • Power 245bhp at 4000rpm
  • Weight 2350kg
  • Power to weight 104bhp per tonne
  • Transmission Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
  • 0-60mph 7.7sec
  • Top speed 117mph
  • Economy 32.8mpg
  • CO2 226g/km
  • Verdict Naughty but so, so nice