Land Rover Defender SUV (1983-2016) - MPG, running costs & CO2

Fuel efficiency isn’t a Land Rover Defender strong point, but insurance is surprisingly cheap

Carbuyer Rating

2.0 out of 5

Used car deals
MPG, running costs & CO2 Rating

1.7 out of 5

If you buy a Defender, you’ll need lots of spare cash to run it. It’s simply one of the least fuel-efficient off-roaders there is. And despite its simple construction, it’s also pretty expensive to buy, particularly if you choose one of the special editions. At least insurance cover and repair bills shouldn’t be too expensive.

Land Rover Defender MPG & CO2

There was only one engine available during the closing years of the Defender: a 2.2-litre diesel. Fuel economy is particularly dismal – Land Rover claims up to 28.3mpg is possible, but in reality, you’ll be lucky to see more than 15mpg, particularly if you use your Defender for hard off-road work.

The Defender also sits in the highest road tax band. Even the smallest and lightest versions of the car emit a massive 266 grams per kilometre of CO2, so you’ll be paying £505 a year. In fact, high emissions are the main reason for the Defender’s imminent demise – Land Rover itself admitted the car couldn’t be made to comply with the stringent Euro 6b EU emissions legislation that came into effect in September 2015.

If you're even vaguely concerned about fuel consumption, the 18.5mpg Works V8 won't interest you in the slightest. Its 352g/km emissions won't see you befriended by Greenpeace either.


You'll find the Defender in insurance groups 9 and 10. That’s a pretty low rating compared to other large SUVs, most of which start in group 30. In fact, the Defender’s insurance rating is more in line with that of a small hatchback like the Vauxhall Corsa. The luxurious Range Rover ranges from group 45 to the maximum group 50.


When available new, the Defender was provided with a pretty standard three-year warranty regardless of how many miles you covered. 


The Defender’s long lifespan and simple construction means servicing shouldn’t cost much compared to more modern models like the Range Rover or Land Rover Discovery Sport. Land Rover offered servicing plans to new Defender buyers, too.

Most Popular

Cupra Formentor SUV review
Cupra Formentor SUV front 3/4 cornering
Cupra Formentor
13 Oct 2020

Cupra Formentor SUV review

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k
Volkswagen ID.3 - front 3/4 view - 2019 Frankfurt Motor Show
Volkswagen ID.3
14 Oct 2020

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 hatchback: base model starts at under £30k

Audi Q8 gains plug-in hybrid versions with 28-mile electric range
Audi Q8
14 Oct 2020

Audi Q8 gains plug-in hybrid versions with 28-mile electric range