The 2023 Land Rover Defender is available in two body styles. The Defender 90 is the shorter two-door model while the Defender 110 has four doors.
An optional front jump seat can be added to the Defender 90, and the Defender 110 is eligible for a two-passenger third row (though not in conjunction with the front jump seat).
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path — and we mean way off the beaten path — the 2023 Land Rover Defender will get you there with ease.
Banking on its storied history as a go-anywhere, do-anything SUV before the term SUV even existed, the Defender has the off-road chops to tackle some of the most daunting challenges. At the same time, it’s a modern Land Rover, with the luxury trappings that make it easy to live with when you’re on big-city pavement.
Shoppers have plenty of Defender versions to choose from, whether you’re more inclined to conquer uncharted terrain or tame the urban maze.
There are two-door and four-door models, three engine choices, and several corresponding trim levels. Whichever Defender you choose, we’re confident you’ll be just as impressed as we are, as evidenced by our Expert Rating below.
The Defender is the most hardcore all-terrain vehicle in the Land Rover lineup, but it’s still more refined than competing SUVs that include the Ford Bronco and Jeep Wrangler.
There is a price for that refinement and luxury, though, to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars depending on trim and options. Then again, when it comes to exploring the great outdoors in style, it’s hard to beat the Defender.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The 2023 Land Rover Defender is powered by a standard turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Of course, every model features four-wheel drive and locking differentials for navigating treacherous terrain.
The Defender is also available with a 3.0-liter inline-six which utilizes an electric supercharger and 48-volt hybrid system. Buyers looking for additional performance can opt for the 518-hp supercharged V-8, which we estimate will hustle the Defender to 60 mph in just 5.1 seconds.
Unlike its predecessor, the 2023 Land Rover Defender has a unibody construction versus a body-on-frame setup, and it replaces the old solid axles with a fully independent suspension. The base suspension utilizes coil springs, but it can be upgraded with air springs that enable adjustable ride height.
The Defender has 11.5 inches of ground clearance and the ability to ford through 35 inches of water, which exceeds both the Jeep Wrangler’s maximum clearance and its wading ability.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
The EPA’s fuel economy ratings for the various Defender models are fairly similar regardless of what’s under the hood. The 90 model with the four-cylinder receives ratings of 18 mpg city and 21 highway.
Step up to the six-cylinder engine and the 90’s city rating drops to 17 mpg but the highway rating goes up to 22. The 110 model with the six-cylinder engine has the same estimates as the six-cylinder 90.
The V-8 variant is rated for 14 mpg city and 19 mpg highway. On our 75-mph highway fuel-economy route, a Defender 110X with the optional six-cylinder powertrain delivered a disappointing 18 mpg. For more information about the 2023 Land Rover Defender’s fuel economy, visit the EPA’s website.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The 2023 Land Rover Defender‘s cabin walks the line between premium and utilitarian, with just enough design cues from the rest of the Land Rover lineup to make those familiar with the brand feel right at home.
Exposed rivets in the door panels add a particularly rugged appearance, and a magnesium beam that runs the full width of the dashboard isn’t entirely cosmetic—it’s also structural.
Under the infotainment display, a trapezoidal extension of the dashboard provides a place for buttons and switches for the climate-control system and driving mode. The shift lever and ignition switch are also mounted on this center stack rather than the center console.
In some models, the center console can be flipped back to create a jump seat between the driver and passenger, similar to a three-across bench in some full-size pickup trucks.
Cargo space behind the rear seat is somewhat limited, but on par with rival off-roaders such as the Wrangler; the rear seats can be folded to open up a much larger cargo bay, but those seeking to haul people and gear may want to look at the larger Land Rover Discovery or invest in a roof-top cargo carrier.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The Defender’s dashboard sports a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system that runs a new interface for Land Rover called Pivi Pro; a larger 11.4-inch display is optional.
Compared to the rest of the Land Rover lineup’s Touch Pro Duo interface, the 2023 Land Rover Defender’s system relies on a single touchscreen instead of two, offers quicker response times, and can handle over-the-air software updates for future releases.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are both standard, as is an in-dash navigation system, a six-speaker stereo, and an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot. Both 10- and 14-speaker Meridian stereo systems are optional features and buyers of higher-end Defenders receive a digital gauge cluster and a head-up display.
Safety and Driver-Assistance Features
Among the slew of available driver-assistance technology, the Rover has several unique systems tailored for off-roading and towing.
For more information about the 2023 Land Rover Defender‘s crash-test results, visit the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) websites.
2020 Land Rover Defender 110 SE
front-engine, 4-wheel-drive, 7-passenger, 4-door wagon
PRICE AS TESTED
$82,575 (base price: $63,600)
supercharged, turbocharged, and intercooled inline-6; aluminum block and head, direct fuel injection
183 in3, 2996 cm3
395 hp @ 5500 rpm
406 lb-ft @ 2000 rpm
Suspension (F/R): multilink/multilink
Brakes (F/R): 14.3-in vented disc/13.8-in vented disc
Tires: Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure, 255/60R-20 113H M+S LR
Wheelbase: 119.0 in
Length: 197.6 in
Width: 78.6 in
Height: 80.6 in
Passenger volume: 132 ft3
Cargo volume: 11 ft3
Curb weight: 5773 lb
C/D TEST RESULTS
60 mph: 6.3 sec
100 mph: 17.3 sec
120 mph: 33.9 sec
Rolling start, 5–60 mph: 7.0 sec
Top gear, 30–50 mph: 4.0 sec
Top gear, 50–70 mph: 4.6 sec
1/4 mile: 14.8 sec @ 94 mph
Top speed (governor limited): 120 mph
Braking, 70–0 mph: 204 ft
Roadholding, 300-ft-dia skidpad: 0.70 g
Standing-start accel times omit 1-ft rollout of 0.3 sec.
C/D FUEL ECONOMY
Observed: 15 mpg
EPA FUEL ECONOMY
Combined/city/highway: 19/17/22 mpg