The old Defender has still got it and completed this trail without any major hiccups

Land Rover brought back the 2020 Defender after a four-year hiatus and it is quite impressive. But, the new body and feel gave it more of an urban vibe than the classic off-roader pizzazz that the Defender is generally known for. So, to see how it weighs in the present scenario, the folks at TFL decided to take it off-roading along with the old Defender and the rugged Jeep Gladiator. Can it match its rivals as an off-roader, or has the new Defender become an urban commuter with a just little off-roading DNA left in it?

The Defender isn’t a direct competitor to the off-road specialist Jeep Gladiator. The main idea of the new Defender is to retain its off-roading prowess while also taking up the role of a daily driver.

It has succeeded to an extent, but does not look as tough and retro style as expected. On the outside, the new Defender will surely draw polarizing opinions. It is busy all around and not as, say, boxy, as the previous iterations. It is very similar to the new line of Land Rovers. Whereas the Gladiator, it comes with old-school, retro Jeep looks that don’t care about the modern aesthetic shenanigans whatsoever.

Each Vehicle Stood Out In Its Own Ways

Watch the Old Land Rover Defender Keep Up with the New Defender and Jeep Gladiator
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The Gladiator Rubicon seen here comes with a locking center and rear diff, and a disconnectable sway bar. You can even have it with a locking front diff. These are the kind of old-school off-road equipment that we’ve been seeing for a long time. The Defender, on the other hand, has more modern stuff, like an independent suspension system, air suspension, terrain management system, etc. It only comes with a locking center diff and an optional rear diff.

The Gladiator and the old Defender complete the first obstacle with ease, but the new Defender struggled to get past and lost a little metal as well. This, despite a two-inch lift, bigger tires, and a short wheelbase.
Watch the Old Land Rover Defender Keep Up with the New Defender and Jeep Gladiator
- image 927695

So, if you are into heavy off-roading, this will let you know that no amount tech-savvy, wow-inducing features like the 360-degree camera and a plethora of off-road info on the infotainment system can match the hardcore, old-school mechanicals in a vehicle.

Final Thoughts

Watch the Old Land Rover Defender Keep Up with the New Defender and Jeep Gladiator
- image 927690

I’ve sounded a little harsh on the new Defender here, but to give credit where it’s due, it actually impresses while tackling the rest of the obstacles. Check out the whole video to see how the twin Defenders and the Gladiator complete the rocky course. And, a little spoiler – there’s a Toyota 4Runner which accompanied these vehicles and did very well to reach the top of the mountain. And, mind you, it isn’t the TRD Pro trim!

Which of these four would be your pick to traverse a course like this? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Sidd Dhimaan
Associate Editor and Truck Expert - sidd@topspeed.com
Sidd joined the Topspeed.com team in 2017 as an intern and in less than a year he earned a full-time position as an associate editor and junior automotive expert. He is currently our pickup truck expert and focuses his attention on heavy-duty and off-road vehicles.  Read More
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