The difference between the old and new Land Rover Defender

Despite sharing the same name, how does the old and new Land Rover Defender compare in terms of capabilities? Due to its excellent off-roading performance, the classic Defender is an iconic vehicle. The vehicle is a truly classless automobile that can be driven by anyone, anywhere.

Off-Roading Capabilities

With its go-anywhere capability, the legendary Land Rover Series I, later known as the Defender, has earned the status of the ultimate off-roader and the go-to vehicle for explorers, farmers and the military since 1948.

Part of the reason for the prolonged development of the new model was due to the rigorous testing programme. Land Rover spent months testing the Defender to its limits across the globe. From the Sahara desert to the Arctic Circle, it was vital to live up to the reputation of its predecessor. As a result, it’s still one of the very best off-roaders, so you should have no concerns about using the Defender’s full potential. Land Rover even offers Explorer and Adventurer option packs with all the gear you’ll ever need.


This new Defender was cleverly designed by Land Rover, as the company has modernised it to offer drivers the luxury of a Land Rover SUV, but has managed to retain its iconic boxy proportions, evoking the old Defender’s legacy.

The new Defender features classic design cues throughout, such as the spare wheel positioned on the tailgate, round headlights, and exposed screws throughout the interior, which are intentional and add to the overall aesthetic.

Despite its original appearance, this vehicle is packed with plenty of modern features. These include keyless entry, a soft-close tailgate, and an electronically deployable tow bar.


In terms of ruggedness, the old Land Rover Defender was one of the best luxury SUVs you could buy, perfect for those who enjoy getting dirty on their Wellington excursions. The new Land Rover Defender, on the other hand, is just as easy to clean as the old models, yet boasts premium wood trim and stitching that make it stand out among luxury SUVs.

Underneath the hood

They may share a name, but they are drastically different on the inside. Sure, they both have four-cylinder diesel engines, but the new car’s 2.0-litre unit produces 240hp, while the old car makes do with just 122hp.

It’s a similar story when you check out the torque. The measure of pulling power that’s more important than raw horsepower when you’re hauling a car up steep slopes. The old car produces a fair 360Nm while the new model pumps out 420Nm.

In both cars this torque is sent to all four wheels through a locking centre differential, but only the new Defender comes with a clever traction control system that can brake individual wheels to stop them spinning on slippery surfaces. It also gets an automatic gearbox instead of the old Defender’s six-speed manual.

Land Rover’s revamped version is similar to its earlier version in terms of styling and tailgate. However, there are distinct differences that should be noted. Off-roading in this vehicle is much more intelligent thanks to the auto terrain selection system and ClearSight Ground View. Not only is it much easier to take into the wild, but it is also much more powerful. The 2.2-liter diesel yields a disappointing 120 horsepower compared to the 400 given by the 3.0-liter hybrid engine. Aside from that, every aspect of the new Defender has been improved, including the cabin and the infotainment system. In light of this, it is not surprising that it will be priced much higher than the classic Defender.

If you happen to be lucky enough to own one of these fantastic, iconic vehicles but you’re experiencing any particular issues, get in touch 👍

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