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Land Rover Defender 2022 review: 110 X P400

The Land Rover Defender is a beast of an SUV that proudly showcases its roots. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The Land Rover Defender is a beast of an SUV that proudly shows its roots while daring to venture into new territory with its shape. The 110 X P400 certainly doesn’t shy away from turning heads.

I drove the Defender for over a week with my family of three. The model we drove was the 110 X P400, which is the mid-level entry to one of Land Rover's largest SUVs.

Like all Defenders, it’s a four-wheel drive and competes with other monsters like the LandCruiser 300 Series, Lexus LX and Mercedes G-Class.

But does it have substance as well as looks?

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What does it look like?

There’s no doubt it will turn heads but it seems to be a polarising design. A rather surprising experience I’ve had this week is that people have made a point of coming up to me in the street and telling me what they think of it. And they either like it or they don’t. It was pretty exciting to drive a car that can generate that much talk from strangers.

The design still showcases that classic Defender ruggedness with the squared-off shaping, exposed (full-size) spare tyre and contrasting roof colour.

The 20-inch wheels with red calipers. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The 20-inch wheels with red calipers. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There are some hints of its military roots, too, with the exposed hex bolts in the doors and the steel-grate look panels on the bonnet but there’s enough softening to the edges that stops it looking like a ‘brick on wheels.’

The Defender does exude a particular confidence with its features and finishes. The chunky 20-inch wheels with red calipers, the huge shiny grille with its squared 'Matrix' LED headlights and the wrap-around privacy glass all give an impression of luxury, even before you get inside of it.

The huge shiny grille with its squared 'Matrix' LED headlights. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The huge shiny grille with its squared 'Matrix' LED headlights. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

That impression is quantified once you sit inside with the black and tan leather seats, stitched leather dash and panoramic sunroof (to name a few features). This is a Range Rover but in cargo pants.

How does it drive?

The P400 is definitely a driver’s car. At first, the squarish packaging made me think the looks might match the driving experience but that wasn’t the case at all. It’s big but at no point did it feel cumbersome.

The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged petrol mild hybrid engine (phew, what a mouthful) is supple and has plenty of power to move the massive Defender around with ease.

When you first start the car, the engine growls loudly for a few moments before settling and it sort of feels like it's saying hello. You’re obviously not going to be zipping around in this but it is smooth and easy to manoeuvre – even around tight car parks.

The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged petrol mild hybrid engine. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The 3.0-litre, six-cylinder turbocharged petrol mild hybrid engine. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The high seating position does mean you get some roll in corners but you still don’t feel jostled. The cabin is quiet and the steering isn’t heavy. Basically, the whole performance is solid all-round.  

Being a 4WD, there are some cool features. You can select different terrain modes when you do venture off the paved stuff. Selecting them is as easy as touching a button and you can further customise your 4WD experience per mode, should you wish to.

I was nervous this might be a bruiser to park but was very happy to find those nerves were unnecessary. The 360-degree view camera and sensors make it easy to slide into a space but if you’re shopping, remember not to back into a spot as the boot opens sideways! 

How spacious is it?

This is a big boy and that translates to big space. I had the Defender during a very busy week which saw me picking up groceries, catering, party items and family (and their luggage). It fit them all with ease.

I had my 187cm (6'2") and 190cm (6'3") brothers in this and they both had ample head and legroom.

You can immediately access storage just from the dash, where there is a cool shelf that’s deep enough and long enough to be useful.  (Image: Glen Sullivan) You can immediately access storage just from the dash, where there is a cool shelf that’s deep enough and long enough to be useful. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There’s plenty of storage and it became a bit of an adventure for my family to find all the different hidey-holes in the car. You can immediately access storage just from the dash, where there is a cool shelf that’s deep enough and long enough to be useful.

There is also a nook on either side of the steering wheel for small items, like the keys or a garage fob. The glove box and centre console are a little shallow but the centre console can be refrigerated for drinks storage.

There are numerous cupholders and bottle holders throughout the car and adequate bin storage in each door. In the third row, there are two elastic ‘storage’ spots positioned over 12-volt ports. I’m not sure what they are for but they are wide enough to fit an iPhone.

The 2nd row seats have ample head and legroom. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The 2nd row seats have ample head and legroom. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The boot space is massive and I particularly like the rubber cargo floor, especially during the wet weather we’ve been having. It made cleaning a lot easier.

  • 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 I Boot 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 I Boot
  • 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 I Boot 2022 Land Rover Defender 110 I Boot

With the third row up, you still get 231L of space but most of that volume is from the height and width, not the depth. You’ll still get some groceries in but don’t expect much else.

With the third row up, you still get 231L of space but most of that volume is from the height and width, not the depth. (Image: Glen Sullivan) With the third row up, you still get 231L of space but most of that volume is from the height and width, not the depth. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

With the third row down, that jumps up to 916L and will comfortably fit the luggage and large pram. However, when you have the middle row down, too, you get an enormous 2232L of space! This would be good for storing all of the camping gear.

How easy is it to use every day?

The Defender is an easy car to drive and park, so I had no trouble going about on my errands this week. This is a 4WD and has the corresponding off-road features but for family practicalities, it earned great marks.

This isn’t a car where the front passenger’s get all of the amenities either, comfort for all passengers has really been considered.

In the front, the leather seats are adjusted electrically and have lumbar support. They can also be heated and ventilated, to ensure comfort throughout all seasons.

There’s a nifty third sun visor that’s positioned underneath the rear-view mirror to combat the sun plus a panoramic sunroof with adjustable headliner, making it easy to keep sunshine off little ones faces in the rear while still enjoying it being open up front.

There’s plenty of storage throughout the car and each row can stay connected via USB and 12V ports. There’s a wireless charging pad up front for smart phones, too, which I like.

Each row can stay connected via USB and 12V ports. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Each row can stay connected via USB and 12V ports. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

It's great how the middle row has dual-zoned climate control, as well as directional vents in the front centre console plus the B-pillar.

The middle row gets to enjoy heated and ventilated seats, too. It is also handy that the middle row is a 40/20/40 split-fold, meaning we could still load longer cargo in the middle without adjusting the outboard car seats. My five-year old also loved the big windows and that he pretty much had an unobstructed view.

The third row is small and I wouldn’t want to sit back there on a road trip (I may never be able to get out again) but on shorter distances, having those two extra seats could come in handy. And despite being tiny, the seats are also heated! There are directional air vents, too, so all passengers can keep cool/warm.

There’s plenty of storage throughout the car. (Image: Glen Sullivan) There’s plenty of storage throughout the car. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The boot is huge but has a side-opening door, which has a wide clearance when open. It meant I had to think twice before reversing into a car space and whether I needed access to the boot. The height of the lip is tall but this model features adjustable air suspension, meaning at the touch of a button you can lower or raise the height of the car. Which is awesome.

I really only have two niggles with the car. The first is how dark the cabin cand get; with the black headliner and tan/black leather seats it can feel a little gloomy inside on a rainy day. It’s not all bad, though, because a dark headliner can hide dirt from pets and kids!

The second, is that there are no side steps and I had to lift my five-year old into the car every time. I had no trouble sliding in and out though and I’m 168cm (5'6").

How safe is it?

The Defender 110 X P400 has all of the important safety and technology features including curtain airbags that cover the third row. The Defender has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing conducted in 2020.

Some of its safety features are: auto emergency braking (AEB), forward traffic warning, lane keeping assist and lane departure warning, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and rear collision monitor, traffic sign recognition plus a handy driver condition monitor which alerts you when you need to take a break.

The Defender has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing conducted in 2020. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The Defender has a maximum five-star ANCAP safety rating from testing conducted in 2020. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The camera system deserves a special mention because not only is it a 3D and 360-degree view camera, you also have the option to further customise your view by selecting a different driving mode.

For example, if you were to select the ‘Off-Road’ setting, your camera view would shift to be over both front wheels (handy if you’re going over rough terrain) and a graphic on the touchscreen showing you real-time responses from all four wheels.

There’s also a 'Towing' mode, which shows you a rear view from underneath the spare tyre, so you can keep an eye on your towed item and where it’s sitting within the marked road lines.

In the middle row, there are two ISOFIX mounts in the outboard seats, as well as, three top tethers. (Image: Glen Sullivan) In the middle row, there are two ISOFIX mounts in the outboard seats, as well as, three top tethers. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

In the middle row, there are two ISOFIX mounts in the outboard seats, as well as, three top tethers. The car is wide and with the right car seats, you could potentially fit three side-by-side.

The height of the vehicle makes it a little tricky fitting a seat, because you have to get up into the car and boot to secure it but if you’re not moving your car seat in and out as much as I do, this might not bother you.

It's good to note that when we had a 0-4 years rearward facing child seat installed, there was plenty of room for the front passengers.

What’s the tech like?

The tech is great in this car and there’s enough to satisfy most tech-savvy consumers. The 10-inch touchscreen is very easy to use, if sometimes laggy, and the wired/ wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are simple to connect to.

There are numerous USB ports, 12V ports and even a 230-volt port throughout the car, plus a wireless charging pad for smartphones. All rows enjoy heated leather seats but the middle and front also can be ventilated.

The 10-inch touchscreen. (Image: Glen Sullivan) The 10-inch touchscreen. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

There’s a refrigerated centre console, panoramic sunroof and a 15-speaker Meridian 'Surround Sound' system which blasts out great sound quality. The sub-woofer is particularly good, my younger brother had a great time playing ‘doof doof’ music to test them out.

Being a 4WD, there is a terrain system which allows you to choose your terrain, options are: 'Mud-Ruts', 'Grass-Gravel-Snow', 'Comfort', 'Sand', 'Eco', 'Rock Crawl' and 'Wade.' This model also sports height-adjustable air-suspension.

Being a 4WD, there is a terrain system which allows you to choose your terrain. (Image: Glen Sullivan) Being a 4WD, there is a terrain system which allows you to choose your terrain. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The rear-view mirror can be view in two different ways, the first is the standard ‘mirror’ mode but flick a lever you than have a video feed of the rear.

This was a good feature this week as I sometimes had an obstructed view out the back and this meant I could still see traffic behind me. It’s a little trippy at first but I soon got used to it.

How much does it cost to own?

The Defender 110 X P400 is the mid-level entry and will cost you $149,580, before on-road costs, to secure. There’s stacks of tech and polished features that help it earn that price tag, though.

All Defenders come with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty, which is standard for this class, as well as, five-years road side assistance.

There’s capped price servicing over five-years/102,000km, whichever comes first. Which works out to be every 12 months or a lengthy 20,400km! Servicing is capped at $2250, which averages $450 per service, which is better than okay for the class.

All Defenders come with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan) All Defenders come with a five-year/unlimited kilometre warranty. (Image: Glen Sullivan)

The official combined cycle fuel economy figure is 9.9L/100km but based on the trip computer, I averaged 11.5L/100km. That is after driving on a mixture of city roads and longer highway drives. It certainly did better than I was expecting for a turbo-petrol but you can probably attribute that to the mild hybrid engine.

On shorter city trips, that figure will probably be higher. So, while it’s a wee bit thirsty, you’re not watching the fuel gauge go down in real time while stopped in traffic.


The Wrap

If you have the means to justify a car like the Defender 110 and the price tag that comes with it, then it really should be on the wish list. It’s smooth, easy and plush inside. I felt comfortable and safe, my five-year old was excited to be driven around in it and it fit all of my gear on a very busy week. The fuel economy cost a point but for the plush factor and family driven features, this earned an easy 9.0/10. My son loved how it looked like a truck and how special it felt in the back seat, he gave it a 10/10.

Likes

Heavy-laden with features
Plush interior
Supple engine performance

Dislikes

Interior can feel dark
Awkward third-row seating
No side-steps

Scores

Emily:

4.5

The Kids:

5

$97,540

Based on new car retail price

VIEW PRICING & SPECS

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