An SUV with a premium interior, powerful engine, and numerous gizmos that make off-roading a walk in the park

LISTEN 17:47

The Land Rover Defender needs no introduction. After a long run, the company sent it on a hiatus in 2016, only for it to return in a freshed, modern avatar to keep up with the competition. It came out looking a little less old-school, but still as rugged as ever.

This time, it wasn’t just the sturdy build that made it a compelling off-roader, but also the modern gadgets and gizmos that could put the other off-roaders out there to shame. The top trim is dangerously close to the six-digit price territory, but will that stop people from buying it? Or will customers look at other cheaper alternatives, like the Toyota 4Runner and to an extent, the Jeep Grand Cherokee?

  • 2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven
  • Year:
    2020
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    flat-6
  • Transmission:
    Eight-speed Automatic
  • Horsepower @ RPM:
    395
  • MPG(Cty):
    17
  • MPG(Hwy):
    22
  • Torque @ RPM:
    406
  • Displacement:
    3.0 L
  • 0-60 time:
    5.8 sec.
  • Price:
  • car segment:
  • size:
  • Purpose:
  • body style:

Land Rover Defender Drivetrain, Towing, and Fuel Economy

  • 2.0-liter, four-cylinder twin-turbocharged engine
  • 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque
  • 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds
  • 3.0-liter, six-cylinder MHEV mill
  • 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque
  • 0-60 mph in 5.8 seconds
  • eight-speed automatic transmission
  • towing capacity of up to 8,201 pounds
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Drivetrain
- image 958515

The Land Rover Defender is offered with two different engine options from the company’s Ingenium series. The smallest one is the P300 2.0-liter, four-cylinder twin-turbocharged gas engine that makes 296 horses at 5,500 rpm and 295 pound-feet of torque between 1,500 and 4,000 rpm. It takes 7.7 seconds to sprint to 60 mph from a standstill and goes all the way up to 119 mph. Next in line is the P400 3.0-liter, six-cylinder mill with mild-hybrid technology. It dishes out 395 ponies at 5,500 rpm and 406 pound-feet of twist between 2,000 and 5,000 rpm. The Defender takes 5.8 seconds to gallop to 60 mph from rest and has a top speed of 119 mph.

Land Rover Defender specifications
Land Rover Defender P300 Land Rover Defender P400
Engine 2.0-liter, four-cylinder twin-turbocharged 3.0-liter, six-cylinder
Horsepower 296 HP @ 5,500 RPM 395 HP @ 5,500 RPM
Torque 295 LB-FT @ 1,500-4,000 RPM 406 LB-FT @ 2,000-5,000 RPM
0 to 60 mph 7.7 seconds 5.8 seconds
Top Speed 119 mph 119 mph
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Drivetrain
- image 958517
The P400 engine comes with mild-hybrid technology: 48-volt lithium-ion battery, 48/12-volt DC-to-DC converter, medium voltage junction box, belt-driven integrated starter generator, and a 48-volt electric supercharger.

The Defender is mated to an all-wheel-drive system that allows 100-percent of the engine torque to be sent to either of the axles in extreme situations. It also comes with a twin-speed transfer box and an electronic active differential. Land Rover offers an electronic air suspension, too, that can go 1.6 inches below the normal ride height and up to three inches above the normal ride height. Pay extra moolah and you can raise it even up to 5.8 inches above the normal ride height.

The Land Rover Defender also comes with a Terrain Response 2 drive management. The drive modes offered here include:

  • General Driving
  • Grass, Gravel, Snow
  • Mud and Ruts
  • Sand
  • Rock Crawl
  • Wade
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Drivetrain
- image 958510

The SUV is also available with a Configurable Terrain Response system wherein you can go beyond these preset drive modes and individually configure the Defender’s powertrain, steering, differentials, and traction control settings. A special mention to the wading capability here which allows the Defender to go up 35.4 inches into the water. The SUV gives out an audible chime when you’re approaching the maximum wading depth. Nice!

How Much Can The Defender Tow?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958536

The 2020 Land Rover Defender can tow up to 8,201 pounds when equipped with the optional Advance Tow Assist package. It beats the 4Runner’s 5,000-pound and the Grand Cherokee’s 6,200-pound ratings comfortably. The Defender’s pulling power is fantastic as you can apply a maximum force of 10,000 pounds and operate the winch from up to 147 feet away.

What Is The Defender’s Fuel Economy?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958471

With the four-cylinder engine, the SUV delivers 17 mpg in the city, 20 mpg on the highway, and 18 mpg combined. The figures are slightly better with the six-cylinder engine, thanks to the mild-hybrid technology. It returns 17 miles per gallon in the city, 22 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg combined.

The Toyota 4Runner delivers 16 mpg in the city, 19 mpg on the highway, and 17 mpg combined from its 4.0-liter, V-6 engine, whereas the Jeep Grand Cherokee with the 3.6-liter, V-6 engine returns 18 miles in the city, 25 miles on the highway, and 21 miles combined with one gallon of fuel.

Land Rover Defender Exterior Design

  • Still boxy, but not as much as the original Defender
  • 12 different wheel designs
  • Four different wheel sizes
  • Sideways swinging tailgate
  • Spare wheel on the tailgate
  • Seven different exterior color options
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958525

Up front, the new Defender isn’t as boxy as the original model, but the square headlights and the horizontal slat grille suggest otherwise. The front bumper is a squat unit that looks quite busy. The air dam in the middle is surrounded by a silver unit and the fog lights are placed here.

The black wheel cladding that runs at the bottom on all four sides lends the Defender a sporty look. The square wheel arches not only add to the boxy cred, but also work well when raising or lowering the SUV. It avoids the tires to touch the wheel wells even if you equip the largest wheel-tire combination.

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958553

Land Rover offers 12 different wheel designs across four different sizes – 18-, 19-, 20-, and 22-inch wheels. One of them even includes 18-inch steel wheels finished in a white shade. The Defender 110 can be had with either a fixed metal roof or a sliding panoramic roof. The Defender 90 also comes with the option of a folding fabric roof.

The rear tailgate opens sideways and has a spare tire mounted on it. It causes hindrance when you try to get a view of the rear from inside the cabin. It gets worse if you opt for the biggest wheel size. This is where the ClearSight interior rearview mirror comes into play. The shark fin antenna on the roof houses a camera that displays a clear view of the action behind on the inside rearview mirror.

The Land Rover Defender is offered in seven different colors:

  • Pangea Green
  • Gondwana Stone
  • Indus Silver
  • Tasman Blue
  • Eiger Grey
  • Santorini Black
  • Fuji White

How Big Is The Defender?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958540
The Land Rover Defender measures 197.6 inches in length, 79.1 inches in width, and 77.5 inches in height.

This makes it the longest, widest, and the tallest when compared to both its rivals. The Toyota 4Runner is 190.7 inches long, 75.8 inches wide, and 71.5 inches tall, whereas the Jeep Grand Cherokee measures 189.8 inches in length, 76.5 inches in width, and 69.3 inches in height.

The Defender’s wheelbase also measures the longest at 118.9 inches, as compared to the 4Runner’s 109.8 inches and the Grand Cherokee’s 114.8 inches. It must be noted that the Jeep’s wheelbase is five inches longer than the 4Runner’s despite it being almost an inch shorter in length. As for the front and rear tracks, the Defender is 67.1- and 66.9 inches, the 4Runner is 63.2 inches on both the ends, and the Grand Cherokee is 63.9- and 64.1 inches wide, respectively.

Land Rover Defender P400 vs competition exterior dimensions
Land Rover Defender P400 Toyota 4Runner Limited Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Length 197.6 190.7 189.8
Width 79.1 75.8 76.5
Height 77.5 71.5 69.3
Wheelbase 118.9 109.8 114.8
Front Track 67.1 63.2 63.9
Rear Track 66.9 63.2 64.1
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958538

Coming to the ground clearance, the Toyota 4Runner takes the cake for sitting 9.6 inches off the ground. The Land Rover Defender and the Grand Cherokee have a ground clearance of 8.6 inches each.

Speaking of the approach angle, the Land Rover is rated at 30.1 degrees, the Toyota at 33 degrees, and the Jeep at 26.2 degrees. In the case of the departure angle, it’s 37.7 degrees on the Defender, 26 degrees on the 4Runner, and 24 degrees on the Grand Cherokee. The breakover angles measure 28 degrees, 26 degrees, and 22.8 degrees on the Defender, 4Runner, and the Grand Cherokee, respectively.

When equipped with the Electronic Air Suspension in off-road height, the Defender’s approach angle increases to 38 degrees, departure angle to 40 degrees, and breakover angle to 40 degrees.

How Much Does The Defender Weigh?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958520

The Land Rover Defender weighs 5,035 pounds, making it 35 pounds heavier than the Jeep Grand Cherokee, and over 200 pounds heavier than the Toyota 4Runner which weighs 4,805 pounds.

Land Rover Defender Interior Design

  • 12.3-inch screen in the instrument cluster
  • 10-inch Pivi Pro infotainment system
  • Supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • 3D Surround Camera
  • Wireless charger
  • Meridian audio system
  • ClearSight interior rearview mirror
  • Four interior color themes
  • Multiple seat layout options
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958547

Step inside the Defender and you’ll be welcomed to a rich, plush cabin. If you were expecting a cabin on the lines of the original Defender, well, be prepared to have the shackles ripped apart. Behind the four-spoke steering wheel is a 12.3-inch ‘Interactive Driver Display’ that can be set to display the drive-related data, driver assistance features, media, or a 3D map navigation.

Land Rover offers four interior themes on the Defender:

  • Ebony seats with Ebony interior
  • Acorn grained leather seats with Lunar interior
  • Khaki grained leather seats with Ebony interior
  • Vintage tan Windsor leather seats with Ebony Interior
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958549

The last option is available only on the Defender X trim.

If you didn’t know by now, the Land Rover Defender is highly customizable. The automaker gives you an option to choose between a cabin walk-through, a front jump seat, or a center console with an armrest. This is possible due to the center console-mounted gear lever and dial integration. In the case of the 110, you can have just two seats with a cabin walkthrough, three-, four-, or five- seats with the center console, six seats including the front jump seat, or a 5+2 seat setup.

Land Rover Defender Technology

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958545

The Defender comes with a 10-inch touchscreen that runs on Land Rover’s Pivi Pro infotainment system. Other than the standard media and navigation affairs, it also works as the display for the company’s ClearSight ground view, and the 3D Surround Camera. It supports both, Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto. The system is capable of over-the-air software updates and is Wi-Fi enabled too. Apart from this, you can also use it to set the three-zone climate control, work around the heated and cooled seats, and set the ambiance inside the SUV with the cabin lighting. A wireless charger is also on offer.

Land Rover has also developed a ‘Remote’ app that can be had on iOS and Android. You can use the app to lock/unlock your Defender, control the climate settings, beep or flash to find it in a crowded space, track the journey, check the vehicle’s status, and make emergency calls.

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958546
The Defender can also be had with a 3D surround camera system, which is essentially a 360-degree camera that is immensely helpful when you’re driving it off the roads.

It shows obstacles not just right under the nose, but also underneath the SUV. There’s the ClearSight interior rearview mirror that can be used as either a traditional mirror, or be switched to a live feed from the camera placed on the roof at the back using a flip-switch on the mirror.

The automaker offers the Defender with a Meridian audio system that comes with a six-speaker setup, or a 10-speaker and a subwoofer setup, or a 14-speaker and a subwoofer setup, depending on the trim you choose.

Is The Defender Spacious?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958473

On the inside, the Defender offers headroom of 40.6 inches, shoulder room of 60.8 inches, and legroom of 39.1 inches in the front row. The 4Runner and the Grand Cherokee offer a headroom of 38.6- and 39.9 inches, shoulder room of 57.8- and 58.7 inches, hip room of 56.5- and 57 inches, and legroom of 41.7- and 40.3 inches, respectively. In the case of the first-row headroom and shoulder room, the Defender trumps both its rivals.

Land Rover Defender P400 vs competition interior dimensions
Land Rover Defender P400 Toyota 4Runner Limited Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Front Headroom 40.6 38.6 39.9
Front Shoulder Room 60.8 57.8 58.7
Front Hip Room TBA 56.5 57
Front Leg Room 39.1 41.7 40.3
Rear Headroom 40.4 38.6 39.2
Rear Shoulder Room 59.2 57.8 58
Rear Hip Room TBA 55.7 56.2
Rear Leg Room 39.1 32.9 38.6
2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958500

Get into the back seat of the Defender and you have 40.4 inches of headroom, 59.2 inches of shoulder room, and 39.1 inches of legroom at your disposal. These figures are, again, better than both the SUVs. The rear headroom is rated at 38.6- and 39.2 inches, shoulder room at 57.8- and 58 inches, hip room at 55.7- and 56.2 inches, and legroom at 32.9- and 38.6 inches in case of the 4Runner and the Grand Cherokee, respectively.

How Much Cargo Can The Defender Carry?

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Interior
- image 958543
The Defender offers a cargo space of 15.6 cubic feet in the two-row iteration. Flip down the last row and you have 58.3 cubic feet of space.

The Grand Cherokee is better here, with a space of 36.3 cubic feet behind the second row. Flip down these seats and you have up to 68.3 cubic feet of space available at your disposal.

The 4Runner is the clear winner here. With the three-row option, the SUV offers nine cubic feet of space. Fold the third row and you have 46.3 cubic feet of cargo space to use. Flip down the second row as well and you have up to 89.7 cubic feet of space available at your disposal!

Land Rover Defender Pricing

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958522

In total, the 2020 Defender 110 is offered in three trims – Defender, First Edition, and X. Here are the starting price of each one of them:

Land Rover Defender $49,900
Land Rover Defender First Edition $68,650
Land Rover Defender X $80,900

Is The Land Rover Defender Better Than The Toyota 4Runner?

left right

The Toyota 4Runner has been on the market for close to four decades now and it’s still one of the top SUVs in the segment. It comes with a 4.0-liter, V-6 engine under the hood that makes 270 ponies and 278 pound-feet of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via a five-speed automatic gearbox.

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958529

The SUV is smaller and lighter than the Defender, and also not as well equipped. Unless you absolutely want all the off-road shenanigans (360-degree camera, higher towing capacity, etc.) that the Land Rover beauty has to offer, the 4Runner should be a good alternative. It must be noted that the 2020 4Runner starts at $36,120 and tops out at $49,865, making even the top trim cheaper than the base model of the Defender. It will also be much cheaper to maintain when compared to the Defender.

left right
Land Rover Defender P400 vs Toyota 4Runner Limited
Land Rover Defender P400 Toyota 4Runner Limited
Engine 3.0-Liter Inline-Six 4.0-Liter V-6
Fuel Premium Regular
Horsepower 395 HP 270 HP
Torque 406 Lb-FT 278 LB-FT
Transmission 8AT 5AT
Drive AWD 4WD
Towing Capacity 8201 LBS 5000 LBS
Fuel Economy 17/22/19 16/19/17
Curb Weight 5,035 LBS 4805 LBS
Fuel Capacity 23.8 Gal 23.0 Gal

Read our full review on the Toyota 4Runner

Is The Land Rover Defender Better Than The Jeep Grand Cherokee?

left right

The best trim to compare the Grand Cherokee to the Defender is the Summit. It has a starting price similar to the Defender’s. The big SUV is aging but it still grans attention. Now, it isn’t as off-road oriented as the Defender, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t capable. The SUV has Jeep’s DNA in it, which means it is capable of conquering the beaten paths. It is powered by a 3.6-liter, V-6 Pentastar engine that dishes out 295 ponies and 260 pound-feet of torque. It is smaller than the Defender in its dimensions, doesn’t come with as many gizmos, but is still closely matched to it in all the aspects.

Although the 2020 Grand Cherokee Summit starts at $53,090, some discounts are running at the time of penning this article and you can get it roughly around $48,500. If you’re considering the top end of the Defender, then you can give the Grand Cherokee Trackhawk trim a try too, primarily for its insane V-8 HEMI engine that makes 707 ponies!

Land Rover Defender P400 vs Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Land Rover Defender P400 Jeep Grand Cherokee Summit
Engine 3.0-Liter Inline-Six 3.6-Liter V-6
Fuel Premium Regular
Horsepower 395 HP 295 HP
Torque 406 Lb-FT 260 LB-FT
Transmission 8AT 8AT
Drive AWD 4WD
Towing Capacity 8201 LBS 6200 LBS
Fuel Economy 17/22/19 18/25/21
Curb Weight 5,035 LBS 5000 LBS
Fuel Capacity 23.8 Gal 24.6 Gal
left right

Read our full review on the Jeep Grand Cherokee

Land Rover Defender Safety and Driver-Assistance Features

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958532

The Land Rover Defender is heavy in this department as well. Some of these things are standard whereas some optional:

  • Six Airbags
  • Emergency Braking
  • Cruise Control
  • Lane Keep Assist
  • Driver Condition Monitor
  • Blind Spot Assist
  • Wade Sensing
  • Traffic Sign Recognition
  • Adaptive Cruise Control
  • Clear Exit Monitor
  • Rear Traffic Monitor

Land Rover Defender Optional Packs

2020 Land Rover Defender - Driven Exterior
- image 958472

Apart from all the optional accessories, Land Rover offers four accessory packs for the Defender:

Explorer Pack:

  • Raiser Air Intake
  • Expedition Roof Rack
  • Exterior Side-Mounted Gear Carrier
  • Matte Black Hood Decal
  • Wheel Arch Protection
  • Front and Rear Classic Mudflaps
  • Spare Wheel Cover

Adventure Pack

  • Portable Rinse System
  • Bright Rear Scuff Plate
  • Front and Rear Mudflaps
  • Spare Wheel Cover
  • Integrated Air Compressor
  • Exterior Side-Mounted Gear Carrier

Country Pack

  • Front and Rear Classic Mudflaps
  • Full Height Cargo Space Partition
  • Portable Rinse System
  • Bright Rear Scuff Plate
  • Wheel Arch Protection

Urban Pack

  • Bright Metal Pedals
  • Bright Rear Scuff Plate
  • Spare Wheel Cover
  • Front Undershield
  • Leave it
    • Top-trim priced a little too steep
    • No powerful engine, like the Grand Cherokee’s V-8 HEMI
    • Purists may not find it as appealing as the original Defender

Source: Photo Credit: Phil Daix

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
About the author

Related Articles

2021 Ares Design Defender Spec 1.2

2020 Land Rover Defender

What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: