In-depth reviews

Land Rover Defender SUV - Interior & comfort

Former Defender owners won't recognise the level of luxury and comfort on offer

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Interior & comfort Rating

5.0 out of 5

The Defender's interior is like nothing else on the market today, combining retro nods to the original like exposed screw heads and bare metallic surfaces, along with the debut of new technology for the entire Land Rover brand.

As you'd hope, there are also innovations, such as a system that uses real-time camera feeds to offer a view of the obstacles immediately ahead without the nose of the car getting in the way. ClearSight can also be used to provide an uninterrupted rear-view mirror, even if the Defender is loaded with passengers and luggage or the rear window is caked in mud.

Land Rover Defender dashboard

Fans of industrial design will adore touches like the powder-coated aluminium surfaces and magnesium bulkhead, the latter being a functional part of the Defender's body structure. It's undeniably tough-looking, and its extreme off-road capabilities are reinforced by the quantity and sturdiness of grab handles for passengers to cling onto. The flat, horizontal shapes are clearly a nod to its predecessors, as is the jutting centre console with a stubby gearlever and oversized switchgear. The V8 model gets paddleshifters behind a suede-trimmed steering wheel, but these aren't deemed suitable for standard versions.

But it's not completely retro; there's a modern aesthetic not unlike the design of the latest Apple Mac Pro. The 10-inch Pivo Pro infotainment system is all new, using dual-eSIM modems that can receive over-the-air software updates and provide media and navigation without interruptions. An auxiliary battery also means it can work in the background even when the Defender is parked up, and resume more quickly. It also supports a mobile app that can be used to interact with the Defender and set the climate control remotely.

Equipment

Land Rover certainly hasn't held back when it comes to offering a wealth of trim levels and customisation options to customers. Even the trim levels are somewhat overwhelming, with Defender, S, SE, HSE, all available in standard or X-Dynamic guise. There's also an XS Edition and X versions, along with bespoke trim levels just for the Defender V8.

The standard 110 model comes fitted with rather appealing 18-inch gloss white steel wheels, LED headlights, heated front seats, the 10-inch Pivi Pro system, surround cameras, cruise control and air suspension. S adds 19-inch alloy wheels, leather upholstery and digital instruments, while SE upgrades the headlights with a 'signature' look for the daytime running lights, along with keyless entry, 20-inch wheels and ISOFIX for the front passenger seat. It also adds some key features like a 10-speaker stereo, electric steering column and ClearSight rear-view mirror. HSE increases the luxury further with a folding fabric roof (Defender 90 only, with a sliding panoramic roof for the 110), extended leather interior and a heated steering wheel.

X-Dynamic versions of the same trims add Robustec accent trim for the seats, black wheel arches and body cladding, black rear towing hooks and illuminated metal treadplates.

The range-topping X gets a black roof and bonnet, black exterior trim, orange brake calipers, front skid plate and tinted rear lights. It also has more off-road hardware, but you wouldn't know it inside thanks to Walnut veneer, heated rear seats and a 14-speaker stereo. It's also only available with the most powerful D300 and P400 engines.

Options

It's hard to know where to start with the Defender's options, but rest assured its packs and accessories cover every eventuality, from a tow bar to a ramp that makes it easier for your dog to clamber into the boot.

A good kicking off point is the curated equipment packs called Explorer, Adventure, Country and Urban. Explorer adds the famous snorkel air intake, a roof rack, waterproof side-mounted gear carriers, a matte black front badge and items like mud flaps and a cover for the spare wheel.

The Adventure pack includes an on-board pressure washer (with a 6.5-litre tank) designed for rinsing off boots and outdoor sports gear, scuff plates, mud flaps, and an integrated air compressor. There’s a similar roster of add-ons in the Country pack. In contrast, the Urban pack adds metal pedals to the interior, while rear bumper scuff plates, a spare wheel cover and front skid plate protect the exterior.

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