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2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S “Country Pack”: Test Drive | The Daily Drive

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2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S in Santori Black (a $950 color option)

Consumer Guide Automotive, New Car Review2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S “Country Pack”

Class: Midsize crossover

Color: Santori Black

Seating Capacity: 5

Miles driven: 137

Real-world fuel economy: 19.9 mpg

CG Report Card
Room and Comfort B+
Power and Performance B+
Fit and Finish B+
Fuel Economy B-
Value B-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big Guy A
Tall Guy A
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs 395-horsepower 3.0-liter
Engine Type Turbocharged and supercharged mild-hybrid six
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive Wheels AWD

Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 17/20/18 (city, highway, combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas

Base price: $67,900 (not including $1475 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle:  Cold Climate Pack ($500), Advanced Off-Road Capability Pack ($750), Off-Road Pack ($1550), Air Suspension Pack ($1600), special paint ($950), heated rear seat ($950), ClearSight Interior rear-view mirrow ($570), full-size spare tire ($100), black headliner ($400), air-quality sensor ($100), Emergency Pack ($75), 20-inch white alloy wheels ($1200), Tasman Blue contrast roof ($1000), Premium Interior Protection and Storage Pack ($700), Robustec veneer ($600), Country Exterior Pack ($600), Three-zone Climate Control ($400), Cabin Air Purification Plus ($375), Cabin Air Purification Plus ($230), Handover Pack ($28)

Price as tested: $82,053

 

Quick Hits

The great: Roomy and comfortable cabin, promise of off-road adventure

The good: Sporty character, decent fuel economy, simple controls

The not so good: Shy of cargo space aft of 2nd-seating row

 

Tom Appel

What hope is there, ever, that a vehicle that stands out in traffic like a sumo wrestler on a minibike, might actually be a practical and rewarding-to-drive family hauler? Indeed, the new-car world is full of “boutique” vehicles that are designed to help carmakers score magazine covers, and trend in social media. Unfortunately, most of those rolling attention getters aren’t well suited to day-to-day family service.

Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S

Think Ford BMW XM, Ford F-150 Raptor, or Mercedes-Benz G-Class, and you sort of get the idea. But also consider the Land Rover Defender…

The original Land Rover Defender was a rugged, tradition-bound off-road vehicle that was developed in the early Eighties, and last sold in the U.S. market in 1997. The 2020 Defender is a thorough re-imagining of the original; it maintains the boxy basic profile, but adds a host of up-to-date technology features.

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Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S

That said, boxy is a relative term, and the new Defender’s slab sides and upright stature give it serious presence in traffic, as the truck can be identified even by the most casual car spotter at great distances. And while that sort of attention-grabbing power has its appeal, it does put into question what this Land Rover model is really all about. Worry not.

For all of its flashy, attention-calling design elements, the Defender 110 is actually a fundamentally excellent crossover, and very much worthy of daily-service duty. Not only is the ‘Fender family friendly, it’s on the affordable side for a Rover product, and is surprisingly easy on the gas, as well.

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Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S

The 2024 Defender is offered in three variations: 2-door 90, 4-door 110, and long-body 4-door 130. All share the same bold design, and all are designed for serious off-road competency. Across the three body types, the Defender is offered in more than a dozen trim levels, with prices starting are around $60,000 for a base 90.

The 110, which we will expand upon momentarily, is offered in entry-level S trim (starting around $62,000), as well as in X-Dynamic SE trim (about $74,000), midlevel X (about $92,000), SE (about $95,000), V8 ($113,000), and top-level V8 Carpathian Edition (about $120,000).

The standard engine is a 296-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. Also offered are a 6-cylinder and V8 engine. The 395-horsepower 3.0-liter six boasts a sophisticated pairing of a supercharger and an electric turbocharger with a mild hybrid system. Also offered is a turbocharged 4.4-liter V8 rated at a stout 518 horsepower. All three engines mate to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Consumer Guide recently spent a week behind the wheel of an entry-level S equipped with a number of options, including the Country Pack trim group. All told, our test car came to $82,053, including the destination charge.

Though cargo space aft of the 2nd-seating row is limited, the Defender offers up plenty of passenger space, and feels airy and open thanks to a generous amount of greenhouse glass. Entering Land Rover’s rugged-looking crossover is easy thanks to large door openings, and even big and tall folks will find amble space if both seating rows. Outward visibility is also good, except to the rear corners.

Drivers will find most-used gauges large and easy to read, and the touchscreen infotainment interface clean, easy to read, and simple to use. Rover designers consolidated the gear selector with a number of off-road and climate controls on a single plane below the touchscreen, and the effect is elegant and user-friendly. In fact, the Defender dashboard is impressively uncluttered and clean looking.

Even in base S trim, the Defender cabin looks and feels upscale. Materials are of premium quality, and workmanship appears top notch. Also, the standard Meridian-brand audio system is very good, and excels at reproducing the mid-century jazz enjoyed by this editor.

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Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S

Though Consumer Guide has decried the somewhat balky power delivery of other Rover vehicles featuring the 6-cylinder drivetrain, we found the setup in the Defender to be nothing but polished. The engine delivered plenty of easy power from a stop—and sounded refined doing so. Highway passing power is likewise excellent. Even better, in routine driving, Consumer Guide enjoyed observed fuel economy just under 20 mpg. That said, the Defender requires a steady diet of pricey premium-grade gasoline.

And, despite its upright appearance, the Defender leans only gently in aggressive cornering. Handling is generally sporty, with strong feeling brakes, and excellent steering feedback. Though we have not driven a vehicle without it for comparison, we suspect that our test-cars impressive on-road feel comes in part from the available $1600 Air Suspension Pack.

While we generally avoid including trim and design evaluations in our Test Drive write ups, we can’t help but share our appreciation for the “Style 9013” white gloss wheels ($1200) with Santori Black paint ($950). The overall look of our test car, as outfitted, is both utilitarian and classy.

We’ve had our share of glitches with Land Rover vehicles in recent years, but our time in the Defender was problem free. We find that, despite its bold styling, the Defender is delightfully user/family friendly, and a joy to drive. Should you require more cargo space than is available in the 110, add the long-body 130 to your test-drive schedule, it offers considerably more room aft of the 2nd-row seatback. And, should you ever decide to leave the road and hit the trail, this is the vehicle in which to do just that.

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Land Rover Defender 110 S
2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S

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2024 Land Rover Defender 110 S Gallery

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