Land Rover Defender SUV (1983-2016) - Reliability & safety

The aged design of the Land Rover Defender means the mechanicals are simple but safety is poor

Carbuyer Rating

2.0 out of 5

Reliability & safety Rating

2.5 out of 5

Land Rover as a brand doesn’t exactly have the best record for reliability, but the Defender’s basic and solid construction, paired with a very old design, means that most reliability issues should have been sorted out years ago. Its crash protection won’t fill anyone with confidence, though.

Land Rover Defender reliability

The Defender’s simple construction and old design means mechanical reliability niggles should be almost non-existent. Since they're such well loved vehicles, there are Land Rover specialists the length and breadth of the country on hand should problems arise.


The most worrying area for Defender owner is its safety. Despite the model’s very long production run, the Defender was never independently tested by Euro NCAP. Add to that the fact that it was never fitted with any airbags or seatbelt pretensioners as standard and the car starts to look worryingly unsafe. In its final years of production, Land Rover added traction and electronic stability control to the standard kit, which should at least help you avoid a crash in the first place.

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