First Drive: 2020 Land Rover Defender Pilots Adventure

Classic off-roader reborn with refinement

2020 Land Rover Defender 110 driving

The storied Land Rover Defender established a reputation as the British solution for off-road challenges. A simple, rugged machine, the Defender could traverse any highland territory, but it was not well suited to a cosmopolitan lifestyle. Enter the new, modern Defender that feels more like an heir to the LR3 and LR4 dynasty than a sequel to the original military-inspired Defender.

This new version of Land Rover’s go-anywhere SUV has modern styling, a choice of a four- or six-cylinder engine, two- and four-door body types, a number of seating configurations, and a comprehensive list of trail-ready features. Unlike the original Defender, last sold here in the 1990s, the new one has a unibody design and fully independent suspension, like many of today’s SUVs, rather than a trucklike body-on-frame construction and solid axles.

Land Rover Road Tests

We recently purchased a Land Rover Defender 110 SE and have been logging break-in miles, ahead of putting it through our formal test program. It is proving to be a character-rich vehicle that is more than meets the eye.

If you’re a Consumer Reports member, our initial expert assessment of the Land Rover Defender we purchased for testing is already available to you below. If you haven’t signed up to become a member yet, click below to access this full article and all our exclusive ratings and reviews for each vehicle we buy and test. Joining also gives you full access to exclusive ratings for the other products our experts evaluate in several categories, including electronics and home appliances.

We plan to put our Defender through more than 50 tests at the CR Auto Test Center, including those that evaluate acceleration, braking, fuel economy, handling, car-seat fit, and controls.

CR members will get access to the full road-test results as soon as they’re available.

Sign up for CR’s Cars email newsletter to be notified when we post our latest road-test results.

What we bought: Land Rover Defender 110 SE
Powertrain: 395-hp, 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder; 8-speed automatic transmission; four-wheel drive
MSRP: $62,250
Options: $1,750 panoramic roof; $1,630 towing package; $1,020 driver assist package with adaptive cruise control; $710 Pangea Green paint; $700 cold climate package; $500 heated rear seats; $500 14-way heated front seats; $300 SiriusXM satellite radio.
Total options: $7,110
Destination fee: $1,350
Total cost: $70,710

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