2021 Land Rover Defender 90 SUV

Rating7.4

Ranked #16 in Midsize Suv

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Starting MSRP 

$64,100

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Key Spec of 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 SUV
fuel economy

17/19/22

fuel type

premium unleaded

horsepower

395 hp @ 5500 rpm

basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 SUV Price, Review, Ratings and Pictures

Updated on: December 28, 2021

Nathan Dyer's image
Nathan Dyer 

Senior Editor

While Land Rover is predominantly known for its ultra-luxury and comfortable Range Rovers, the iconic British brand also makes products which like the tough call. Obviously not many would like taking their expensive Range Rover Autobiography through a rocky cliff, for that business, Land Rover does have the Defender in its court. Yes, the iconic off-roader needs no introduction here. Hailed as one of the best off-roaders of all time, the Land Rover Defender took the industry by storm with its revolutionary evolution in 2020. Yes, the new second-gen Defender is based on a monocoque chassis, but one which Land Rover says is the most rigid structure they have ever put in a car. Moreover, it's more luxurious and inviting than its predecessor and comfortable on the go as well. It now also gets more powerful engine choices and more optional customization packages as well. 


ProsConsWhat's New

Tremendous off-road capabilities

Expensive, don't look at the base trim

Air suspension is now available on the Defender 90

Plush ride quality

The inline-4 engine can struggle off-road

First edition & X-Dynamic trim added to the catalog

Available in 2 & 4 door variants

Turbo lag

Cabin Air ionizer

Rich history & heritage behind

SiriusXM is now standard

Pristine interior

Best fuel economy in the segment

Over All Rating

7.4

Out of 10

Pricing and Features7.00
Engine and Performance7.60
Fuel Economy7.10
Interior6.60
Exterior6.00
Safety9.90
Competition7.30
Notable Rankings

#16 in Midsize Suv

#17 in Suv


Pictures & Videos


Trims

First Edition$64,100 onwards

  • 10-Inch touchscreen
  • Cloth seating with leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Interactive Driver Display
  • Led headlights
  • Power-Adjustable front seats
  • Six-Speaker sound system


Colors and Styles

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 SUV in Carpathian Grey Premium Metallic color
Carpathian Grey Premium Metallic

Expert Review, Pricing Analysis and Buying Guide

Even on the outside, the new Defender feels more mature yet stylish and in terms of business, Land Rover says that it's even more capable and stronger than its predecessor. Thanks to the plethora of advanced tech which the British manufacturer has thrown into it. Perhaps, one of the major aspects of the new Defender is its extended practicality offered by its two body style options. Yes, you can get it in either a five-door Defender 110 version or the shorter three-door 90 version and it's the latter which we are more interested in here. While the Defender 90 and Defender 110 share the same genes, the 110 adds up seating for up to five adults and a larger cargo area. The Defender 90 on the other hand beautifully retains the essence of its iconic predecessor. At a starting MSRP of $46,100, the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 offers you some good pieces of the SUV history with modern styling, premium cabin, and essentially, Land Rover’s core expertise. Yes, it's not as expensive as a Range Rover Sport SVR, but in the competitive market today, it does face some heath from the likes of Jeep Wrangler and Ford Bronco


Features

The 2021 Defender 90 is an adventure class SUV and that generally would have meant less luxury and convenience features and more off-roading hardware. This isn’t true in this case. We are talking about a brand that makes probably the most iconic SUV in the world. No matter what the SUV is capable of, it still stays luxurious because luxury runs in the DNA of Land Rover. The SUV comes in 5 trim levels, Base, S, X-Dynamic S, First Edition & X; 2 of which are freshly introduced for this year.

Considering the price, we should expect a lot of features as standard but the base trim has to stay true to its name and it gets fairly basic features like power-adjustable seats and a mixed cloth/leather upholstery. The S trim only adds up bigger 19-inch wheels and more seat adjustability over the base trim. The X-Dynamic S trim gets a better sound system and upgraded LED lights with DRLs. The top 2 trims; First Edition and X get special off-road driving modes and scuff plates for underbody protection. Features like all-terrain tires and a torque-vectoring differential are standard in these trims making them more prepared for unknown terrains compared to the previous ones.

Trim

Base

S

X-Dynamic S

First Edition

X

MSRP (4WD)

$46,100

$49,400

$57,800

$64,100

$80,500

Key Features

18-inch steel wheels

In addition to or replaces Base trim features with:

In addition to or replaces S trim features with:

In addition to or replaces X-Dynamic S trim features with:

In addition to or replaces First Edition trim features with:

 

LED headlights

19-inch wheels

19-inch gloss black painted wheels

Special paint and exterior trim

20-inch dark grey wheels

 

Cloth upholstery & leather-wrapped steering

Leather & cloth upholstery

Silver and gloss black design elements

All-terrain tires

Darkened tail lights

 

Power adjustable front seats

Upgraded power-adjustable seats

Illuminated scuff plates

Folding fabric roof

Torque vectoring differential

 

10-inch touch screen, 6-speaker sound system

 

Meridian sound system

Off-Road driving modes

Heated second-row seats

 

Analog dials with TFT drivers display

 

Upgraded LED headlights with signature DRLs

Heated front row seats and steering wheel

Head-Up display

 

Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration

   

Refrigerator in the front console

Upgraded 15-speaker sound system

For its asking price and what essentially is: a full-blown off-road SUV and coming from a p[ominenty luxury carmaker like Land Rover, the Defender is very nicely loaded in terms of features and standard fitment. However, if its bundled package still leaves you wanting more, Land Rover also offers a host of optionally available packages and customization packages with the new second-gen Defender. 

Optional Packages

  • Explorer Pack ($4050) – Expedition Roof rack, side-mounted gear carriers, matt black decals on the hood, mud flaps, raised air intake, wheel opening molding.
  • Towing pack ($1800) – All-terrain progress control, trailer assist with reverse and auto-steering assist, trailer tow prep
  • 3-zone climate control ($400) – Air quality sensor, cabin air ionizer, secondary ventilation controls.
  • Fixed Side Steps - $1200
  • 8-way adjustable seats ($500) – 6-way power-adjustable reclining driver and passenger bucket seats with heating
  • Meridian Sound system ($400) – 11-speaker sound system with 400-watt amplifier 

Which Trim should you buy?

If you are considering the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 for some serious off-roading then the X-Dynamic S trim is the most viable option. The said trim gets a nicely balanced feature vault and checks most of your desired boxes right. The X-Dynamic S gets most of the premium features in place alongside good comfort, an upgraded sound system, and LED headlights as well.

Engine and Performance
7.6/10

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 comes in 2 engine options. You get a standard 2.0-liter turbo Inline-4, and an available 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 with some hybrid tech as well. The inline-4 pot produces 296 hp & 295 lb-ft of torque which is better suited for daily driving and occasional adventure rides. For a serious enthusiast level of performance, the 3.0-liter turbo Inline-6 with a 48-Volt mild-hybrid system provides 395 hp & 406 lb-ft of torque. Every Defender SUV comes mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox and a 4WD drivetrain as standard. 

Even though it’s not ideally meant for drags or sprints, the Defender with its standard turbo-four engine can clock from 0-60 MPH in 7.7 seconds. With the more powerful inline-6 motor, it gets the same job done in just 5.7 seconds. With a good and linear available torque, the Defender 90 can also tow up to 8200 lbs max. The base engine is smooth and feels refined, providing ample power for everyday usage, even at higher speeds. The stronger inline-6 does feel better and less stressed with its extra punch and available electric assistance. Some might cry over the absence of a V8 option but these 2 mills offer everything a user will need and don’t disappoint at all.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender 90

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Advanced

MSRP

$46,100

$38,700

$42,100

Engine 

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.0-liter turbo inline-4

2.3-liter turbo inline-4

Drivetrain

4WD

4WD

4WD

Transmission

8-speed automatic

8-speed automatic

7-speed manual

Power (hp @ rpm)

296 @ 4000

268 @ 5250

275 @ 5700

Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)

295 @ 1500

295 @ 3000

315 @ 3400

0-60 MPH (sec)

7.7

7.1

7.1

Quarter mile (sec)

16.4

15.4

15.1

Top Speed (MPH)

119

110

130

All the three SUVs in the competition here are seriously capable off-road machines and their performance figures reflect that. The Jeep Wrangler gets a few fewer horses compared to the Defender but still has enough torque to pull you out from sketchy situations. The Ford Bronco on the other hand gets the least power among the rivals but the Ecoboost engine gets you the best torque figures. Moreover, both the Jeep and Ford, are quicker vehicles taking 7.1 seconds to the 60mph mark, while the latter gets a clear lead in the quarter-mile sprint.

How well does the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 handle?

Land Rover has made an excellent handling SUV that is capable on both on and off-road. The seating on the Defender 90 gives a commanding position and you can have a clear view of the roads ahead like you are dominating them. Cruising on the highway speeds is a joy thanks to loads of torque on offer. Defender 90 is a heavy SUV and that reflects in its handling but still, it responds to the driver's commands properly and the steering wheel has excellent feedback. The 4x4 system with the torque vectoring gets it the best possible traction in the worst possible road conditions.

In off-road testing, it crossed deep water bodies, splashed through thick muds, and climbed some boulders with ease. The terrain response system has all the settings we would want and it changes the demeanor of the SUV totally. With the optional air suspension, you can get the suspension to clear up to 11 inches, and all-terrain tires made our off-road adventure a zero-stress experience. Overall, the 2021 LR Defender 90 is easy to drive, has great visibility, and is among the best off-road special vehicles.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 Braking Performance

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 comes with the best braking setup among its peers with 14.3-inch rotors at the front & 13.8 inches at the rear. Testing these SUVs in straight-line 60-0 MPH braking won’t be a fair judgment of their capabilities as these are heavy and bulky SUVs meant for some serious endeavors. However, on the trails, they actuate in an instant, a little too quick for most drivers. Although getting used to is the best remedy over this, we still would have loved a progressive brake pedal than this one.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender 90

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Advanced

Brake Rotors: Front (inches)

14.3

12.9

12.2

Brake Rotors: Rear (inches)

13.8

13.4

12.1

Curb Weight (lbs.)

4550

4222

4499

60-0 MPH (feet)

N/A

128

N/A

The rival SUVs among the bunch here come with smaller brakes compared to the Land Rover but the 128 feet stopping distance on the Wrangler is still a great result. We don’t have any technical data on the Ford Bronco but considering the brake sizes, it should do just fine and be in line with its class expectations.

Fuel Economy
7.1/10

Fuel Economy on the off-road machines only applies when you are cruising down the highway or skipping blocks in the cities because once you start tackling on rough terrains it all tumbles down. On that note, the base engine on the 2021 Defender 90 is not the most fuel-efficient when compared to rivals.

The 3.0-liter turbo inline-6 engine with a mild-hybrid system gets the best numbers of 17/22/19 MPG in city/highway/combined driving cycles respectively. Yes, the urban economy isn’t as good but the overall combined fuel economy is. The fuel tank size of 23.4-gallons on the 2021 Defender 90 is the best in the segment, making it last much longer on the trails than others.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender 90

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Advanced

MPG (City)

18

17

16

MPG (Highway)

21

25

18

MPG (Combined)

19

20

17

Fuel Capacity (Gallons)

23.4

17.5

16.9

Range (City/Highway/Combined, in Miles)

421.2/491.4/444.6

297.5/437.5/350

270.4/304.2/277.1

The Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler both get lesser urban fuel economy but surprisingly the Wrangler’s engine becomes really efficient on the highways averaging around 25 MPG. The Bronco, on the other side, keeps drinking fuel no matter what surface you are on. Thankfully, the Defender has the largest tank in the lot which puts its driving range close to 500 miles on the highway and nearly 450 miles in combined driving conditions. This is actually useful for you to wander through the jungle more deeply before turning back to fill up the tank.

Interior
6.6/10

There are very few automakers that can make the interior look rock solid and industrial, but still feel luxurious at the same time. We have seen a lot of off-road machines but the interior of the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 is completely different from what we usually see. Symmetrical shapes and horizontal lines are scattered throughout the cabin and the exposed rivets on the doors remind you of its capabilities. In the base trim, the cabin won't exactly feel super luxurious, but it is on a certain level that a Land Rover vehicle should have. The dashboard design is the most elegant you will ever see, literally ever. It is designed in a unique way that you have numerous grab handles and there are acres of space to put anything you would want to along with a USB charging socket. 

The switchgear unit with physical controls takes too little space on the center console and most of it is occupied by the infotainment screen. The upholstery on the Defender 90 is a mix of leather and cloth. The areas where the most action happens are covered in cloth and the rest of it is all leather. The front seats are very well padded and are comfortable but there is no bolstering for the thighs. The second-row seats as well are comfortable for up to 3 passengers but getting in and out won’t be as easy as a 4-door variant.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender 90

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Advanced

Seating Capacity

5

4

4

Front Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.6/60.8/39

42.6/55.7/41.2

41/57.1/43.1

Rear Row (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (in)

40.4/59.2/36.6

41.7/57.7/35.7

39.8/51.8/35.7

Cargo Capacity (cu ft)

15.6

12.9

22.4

When compared against its rivals, the Defender turns out to pack the most minimalistic yet most luxurious cabin. While it's not as spacious as its rivals here, in terms of headroom and legroom, it's the most inviting for sure. The 2021 Ford Bronco is all about size with its big and squarish dashboard which doesn’t have the practicality of the Defender’s dashboard. The Bronco’s infotainment screen is fairly large as well. On the other hand, the Jeep Wrangler has the most down-market interior overall. The dashboard resembles the early 2000’s design coupled with an equally old infotainment screen. While the rivals offer less seating capacity, they offer better legroom. Standout interior features in the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 include:

  • Leather and cloth upholstery
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel
  • Power-adjustable front seats
  • Heated front-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Refrigerator compartment
  • Air ionizer

What’s there to keep you entertained?

The 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 now has a brand-new infotainment unit with a 10-inch touchscreen with crystal clear resolution. The Pivi Pro user interface is much quicker to respond to compared to the Touch Pro Duo. All the trims get smartphone integration as standard with Android Auto & Apple CarPlay. Unlike most of the premium Land Rover SUVs, the Defender doesn’t get a dual touch screen unit. 

Land Rover has also installed a navigation system that doesn’t require you to have internet or any cell phone network at all. In the wilderness, you can’t rely on the internet anyway so this is a much more valuable addition. The base sound system consists of 6-speakers and you can get the optional Meridian system with 11-speakers and a 400-watt amplifier for a reasonable $400 extra. Some of the key infotainment features are listed below for reference:

  • 10-inch touch screen infotainment
  • Android Auto & Apple CarPlay
  • SiriusXM
  • Wi-Fi Hotspot
  • Meridian Sound system
Exterior
6.0/10

Land Rover is not known for changing its designs drastically and the 2021 Defender 90 as well retains a lot of its older design cues. Even though the SUV looks retro it has added some modern features to it making it relevant for now. The overall exterior is boxy and has a little bulk to it which was the original theme. The front end with LED headlights and DRLs along with the brushed aluminum bash plate gives it a nice utilitarian look. 

The contrasting roof color on some trims makes it stand out in the off-road segment and such funky color choices will surely attract some younger buyers as well. The flared-out fenders complement the aggressive stance of the Defender. Those panoramic windows will definitely attract an American crowd as it looks very familiar to the beloved Cadillac and SUVs. Overall, the 2021 Defender 90’s design is a proper hit because even though it is being marketed as an off-road SUV it still looks like a civilized Urban SUV.

Models

2021 Land Rover Defender 90

2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

2021 Ford Bronco Badlands Advanced

Curb Weight (lbs)

4550

4222

4499

Length (inches)

180.4

166.8

173.7

Width (inches)

79.1

73.8

75.9

Height (inches)

77.5

73.6

71.9

Ground Clearance (inches)

8.8

10.8

8.4

Wheelbase (inches)

101.9

96.8

100.4

The Defender is the longest SUV in the segment with 2 doors and that makes the second-row seating a bit more comfortable than others. Though the Bronco comes close to the overall dimensions it can’t really compete in terms of overall interior space. Jeep Wrangler comes in a compact package that makes it easily maneuverable in tight spots but this also takes away the cargo capacity and somewhat interior space as well. Key exterior features in the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 are:

  • Brushed finish bash plate
  • LED headlights & signature DRLs
  • Sliding panoramic sunroof 
  • Contrasting color roof
  • Black hood
  • 20-inch wheels
Safety
9.9/10

The Land Rover Defender 90 hasn’t been crash-tested by the NHTSA or IIHS and that’s expected because it is expensive. The D7 aluminum chassis which the Defender is built upon is one of the strongest ever on a Land Rover as claimed by the chief designer at Land Rover itself. The brand has always equipped its SUVs with high-tech safety systems regardless of price and the Defender as well comes with a few, let's see what we have. Key safety features in the 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 are:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind-spot monitor
  • 360-degree camera system
  • Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
  • Adaptive cruise control 
  • Driver drowsiness monitor
Competition
7.3/10

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 vs 2021 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon 4x4

The Jeep Wrangler is cheaper than the Defender but it isn’t a practical SUV by any means. When it comes to handling rough terrains, the Wrangler is a champion but the suspension setup tuned for harsh surfaces doesn’t work well on tarmac. The Defender can do off-road work as easily as it can drive on highways. The interior space on the Land Rover is better and the cabin is seriously well equipped compared to the Jeep. Wrangler offers a better highway economy but the overall range is better on the host SUV.

2021 Land Rover Defender 90 vs 2021 Ford Bronco 2-Door Badlands Advanced

The Ford Bronco is back with a bang and it still is that same old capable SUV but with more modern technology and comfort. The Ford entry is the closest rival to the Defender as it gets an interior as plush and tech-ready as the Land Rover and both the SUVs have amazing off-road capabilities. Moreover, the nostalgia value it is going to create won’t be matched by the LR at least here in the states. Pricing wise the Bronco does start at a very cheap MSRP for the base trims but gets seriously expensive in higher ones, not to the point of Land Rover but still expensive.

Final Verdict

The new Land Rover Defender 90 is an ultimate adventure machine filled with modern technology and higher prices. The LR can do everything, from driving effortlessly on smooth roads to tackling harshest terrains like it's nothing; so what’s stopping it. The pricing is, as it’s the case with every Land Rover vehicle, their prices have always been higher than the competition. However, they do offer quality and comfort but also ask a premium for it. At a certain trim level, the price tag can be justified but beyond that, it is just money for the brand equity. If you buy sensibly the 2021 Defender 90 can be a truly rugged vehicle to take out on a stroll but there are some affordable options worth checking as well.

Features

vehicle bio
base price

$64100

body style

2dr SUV

engine type
displacement

183 cu in

horse power

395 hp @ 5500 rpm

torque

406 lb.-ft. @ 2000 rpm

transmission

6 speed manual w/OD

dimensions
length

180.4 in

wheelbase

101.9 in

width

79.1 in

curb weight

4830 lbs

Height

77.5 in

Ground Clearance

11.5 lbs

capacity
cargo volume

58.3 cu ft

passenger capacity

5 Seats

fuel economy
city/combined/highway

17/19/22 mpg

highway range

514.8 mi

warranty
basic warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.

powertrain warranty

4 yr./ 50000 mi.


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