In-depth reviews

Land Rover Defender SUV - Reliability & safety

The Defender's reliability isn't known yet, but Land Rover has gone to extreme lengths to prove its strength

Carbuyer Rating

4.4 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

4.0 out of 5

There's always been an odd disparity between the Defender’s rugged looks and toughness and its poor reliability reputation. One reason for issues has been an ageing design, which certainly won't be the case with the new model.

Land Rover Defender reliability

The Defender’s body structure and technology are all-new compared with the old model, and the car has been developed with future-proofing in mind. It has also been tested to destruction, including more than 700,000 development miles and around 62,000 validation tests. These include 'Extreme Event' procedures that test for 'repeated and sustained impacts, above and beyond the normal standard for SUV and passenger cars.'

Land Rover came a disappointing 25th out of 30 manufacturers in our 2020 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but this still kept it ahead of rivals BMW and Mercedes. Around a third of respondents told us their Land Rover had at least one fault within the first year.


Along with its tough frame, the Defender is fitted with an impressive amount of safety kit as standard. It all helped it achieve five stars in Euro NCAP crash tests, making it even more desirable for families.

Technology including automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist and traffic-sign recognition is standard, while SE adds blind-spot warnings and a rear traffic monitor, along with an ISOFIX point for the front passenger seat. Its strong rating gives the Defender a significant advantage over the Jeep Wrangler, which only scored one star in 2018 crash tests.

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