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July 27, 2021

Review: 2021 Land Rover Defender S 110 D240 Explorer Pack

Just last week, I got to try out the three-door Land Rover Defender 90—the “smaller” entry-level, albeit more characterful variant of the Defender revival. Now, it’s the turn of its big brother—the five-door Defender 110.

Like the Defender 90, the Defender 110 has to please its critics—those largely who want something ultra-capable off-road. However, more than that, because it gains a five-door layout, it now has to pass muster as a family car as well. Tall order this, but it’s one that manages to ride well on its almost-two-meter-tall shoulders (well, overall height, anyway).

For the most part, the Defender 110 experience is pretty much the same as the Defender 90. This is even more obvious given our back-to-back drives of the two models. But of course, there are differences, and one of them has to do with design.

The Defender 110 doesn’t look as good. There, we said it. While it’s still a looker, we can’t help but consider the Defender 90 to be handsomer of the two. It’s like comparing the Hemsworth brothers—Chris and Liam. Chris, is the Defender 90, and his bulging Thor biceps look great to highlight Land Rover’s modern industrialist design. The Defender 110 is Liam and has, or had Miley Cyrus. It’s down to proportions, or more specifically how the five-door Defender just looks overstretched. It’s not going to make it practical, but extending the track width a bit more could do the Defender 110 wonders.

Okay, so while big bro doesn’t look as great as little bro, it is a lot more practical inside. For starters, there’s no need to tip and slide the front seats just to get into the rear seats; this one’s got actual rear doors. Rear space is already good in the three-door, but here, it’s grown to super-sized levels. Ditto the cargo hold which has grown to accommodate 786 liters with the second-row seats up, and 1,875 liters with the second-row seats down. Like the Defender 90, the Defender 110’s rear bench folds down in a 40/20/40 split as well.

Another thing that easily satisfies the family man is the Defender 110’s height-adjustable air suspension. Now, officially, its main benefit has to do with better handling and increased off-road ability, but because it automatically lowers the ride height whenever the doors or tailgate are opened, it makes ingress/egress and loading stuff easier. Climbing aboard still requires a bit of a hop, but the effort is considerably less compared to the Defender 90, and this could please the seniors or small kids.

The addition of air suspension controls aside, the rest of the Defender 110’s interior is pretty much a carbon copy of the Defender 90. Again, the back-to-basics industrial design’s a winner with its exposed cross-dash beam and washable floors. It’s far removed from a typical road-car atmosphere and that makes it downright refreshing. Plus, credit Land Rover designers to come up with an interior that manages to feel expensive despite not being able to play with the usual luxury accoutrements. 

Like the Defender 90, driving the Defender 110 doesn’t feel like driving a land yacht or a hardcore off-roader for that matter. It doesn’t quake over every crack or joint; it feels very solid. Going back to the merits of the adaptive air suspension, it manages to take the sting out of the biggest urban abrasions. Plus, it keeps this 2.3-ton SUV level and steady during heavy braking, or pointed in the right direction during hard cornering.

Naturally, the computer gimmickry can only go so far to cover up the laws of physics so the off-road tires, in this case, Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure, don’t provide the same level of grip as low-profile, high-performance rubber. This causes the Defender 110 to pitch and roll when driven aggressively, but compared to the coil-sprung Defender 90, this one does it with much more poise. The steering also doesn’t provide much sense of connection to what the front wheels are doing, but at least it’s light and reasonably accurate.

With a 92-kilogram deficit to the three-door, the Defender 110’s 2.0-liter twin turbo diesel doesn’t feel taxed. It’s remarkably similar to the Defender 90. It’s supposed to be slower off the line, but from the driver’s perspective it’s immaterial. The power feels stout, and remains pretty quiet even when pushed. And given that this particular unit’s been broken in already, it manages to return practically the same fuel economy figures as its smaller, lighter brother: 8 km/L.

Once again, we didn’t opt to leave the bitumen in the Defender 110 (the test drive agreement limits the sort of surfaces we can drive on, and mileage we can put in), but you can bet that it can satisfy trail junkies. Not only does it have the magic of Terrain Response and locking diffs (something not in the Defender 90), but the clever air suspension also raises the ground clearance from the standard 218 mm to a staggering 291 mm. Basically, it can drive straight through any obstacle.

With a starting price of P 6.21 million, this five-door Defender 110 costs about half a million more than the equivalently speced and equipped three-door Defender 90. That’s a lot of money considering there’s the BMW X5, Mercedes-Benz GLE, or even the Jaguar F-PACE for much less. But considering that the Defender 110 is also designed to take on hardcore trails, one has to look at the Mercedes-Benz G-Class and Lexus LX 570 as its closest rivals. And compared to those two, which start close to P 9 million, the Defender 110 is starting to look like good value. Even when you factor in the Lexus GX, they almost match up price-wise.

Although the typical buyer won’t be intending to use the Defender 110’s abilities to the max, Land Rover’s entire success has been founded on making vehicles that are so capable they go well beyond the normal needs of the buyers. The new Defender is the pinnacle of that, and each time you drive one, be it the Defender 90 or Defender 110, you feel immensely reassured of that. While we are partial to the Defender 90, the Defender 110 is still a good choice even if you plan to stay off the mud. It may not look as good, but with five doors and a giant cargo hold, it’s a family-friendly SUV that offers versatility, ruggedness, and luxury in equal value. And these values come handy even if you plan to take a quiet evening out, or take your unruly kids to school.

2021 Land Rover Defender 110 S D240

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Ownership 2021 Land Rover Defender 90 S D240 Explorer Pack
Year Introduced 2021
Vehicle Classification Luxury SUV
Warranty 3 years / 100,000 kilometers
The Basics
Body Type 5-door SUV
Seating 5
Engine / Drive F/AWD, Low
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 2.0
Aspiration Twin Turbo
Fuel Delivery Common Rail
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 240 @ 4,000
Nm @ rpm 430 @ 1,400-3,750
Fuel / Min. Octane Diesel
Transmission 8AT
Cruise Control Yes, w/ Limiter
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 8 km/L @ 19 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 5,018
Width (mm) 2,105
Height (mm) 1,967
Wheelbase (mm) 3,022
Curb Weight (kg) 2,323
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, Double Wishbone, Air Suspension
Rear Suspension Independent, Integral Link, Air Suspension
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Vented Disc
Parking Brake Electric, w/ Auto Hold
Tires Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure 255/65 R 19 H (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Yes, Front & Rear
Parking Camera Yes, 360-degree
Front Seatbelts 3-pt ELR with pre-tensioner x 2
Rear Seatbelts 3-pt ELR x 3
ISOFIX Child Seat Anchor Yes
Other Safety Features Hill Start Assist
Hill Descent Control
Tire Pressure Monitoring
Driver Condition Monitor
Lane Keep Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights LED
Fog Lamps Yes, Front & Rear (LED)
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Tailgate Manual
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment (driver) Partial Electric, 12-way
Seating Adjustment (front passenger) Partial Electric, 12-way
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 40/20/40
Sunroof No
Trip Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes, w/ Fold
Rear View Mirror Auto Dimming, w/ Camera
Proximity Key Yes
Climate Control Auto, Dual Zone, w/ Rear Vents
Audio System Stereo
USB Type A
USB Type C
Smartphone Connectivity Apple CarPlay
Android Auto
# of Speakers 6
Steering Controls Yes


  1. Sir Ulysses, Scotty Kilmer is very critical of Land Rover (and Jaguar). What can you say Sir about Scotty Kilmer, his opinions, and Land Rover/Jaguar in general? 😊


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