2022 Land Rover Defender

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Kirk Bell Kirk Bell Senior Editor
January 31, 2022

Buying tip

Get the adaptive dampers and air suspension to unlock the Defender’s best off-road capability.

features & specs

110 AWD
110 Carpathian Edition AWD
110 S AWD
MPG
17 city / 20 hwy
MPG
14 city / 19 hwy
MPG
17 city / 20 hwy
MSRP
$51,500
MSRP
$114,400
MSRP
$55,100

The 2022 Land Rover Defender is a roomy adventure vehicle but options can break the bank.

What kind of car is the 2022 Land Rover Defender? What does it compare to?

The 2022 Land Rover Defender is an off-road-oriented SUV that attacks its mission with a unibody design and more luxury than rivals such as the Ford Bronco, Jeep Wrangler, and Toyota 4Runner. 

Is the 2022 Land Rover Defender a good SUV?

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The 2022 Land Rover Defender appeals as an adventure vehicle that can inspire a lifestyle. It also works as everyday transportation and has a controlled ride despite its tall stance. It earns a TCC Rating of 6.6 out of 10 overall. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What's new for the 2022 Land Rover Defender?

For 2022, Land Rover adds a V8 model with a, wait for it, V-8 engine. Additional trim levels dot the lineup and a new, larger 11.4-inch touchscreen becomes optional. The lineup now includes base, S, SE, X-Dynamic, X, V8, and V8 Carpathian Edition models. The difference between the 90 and 110 is two additional doors, 17.1 extra inches of wheelbase, and an optional third-row seat.

The Defender has a mostly modern design with nods to its past. It’s tall and blocky, with dark windows and an available black roof to offset the chosen exterior color. Short front and rear overhangs and a tailgate-mounted spare tire signal that this is an off-road SUV. Inside, the horizontal layout sports sturdy, rubberized materials that should be easy to clean up after a day on the trails. 

The Defender’s design gives it loads of interior space, with enough head room for the tallest drivers. The width allows three across, even in the first row, but the 110’s optional third-row seat is only made for two and they will be sure to suffer. Buyers can choose from five-, six-, and seven-passenger seating configurations. Cargo space reaches up to 79.0 cubic feet in the 110.

Power ranges from adequate with the 296-hp 2.0-liter turbo-4 to plentiful with the 395-hp 3.0-liter turbo-6 to excessive with the 518-hp supercharged 5.0-liter V-8. No Defender is fuel efficient; the mild-hybrid turbo-6 gets the best fuel economy at 19 mpg combined.

The Defender comes standard with four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and a terrain response system for best traction in all conditions. Every Defender has off-road capability, but the available air suspension and adaptive dampers provide more prowess, as does an optional electronic rear differential. The unibody platform gives the Defender calm and controlled road manners that are only enhanced by the air suspension and adaptive dampers.

How much does the 2022 Land Rover Defender cost?

The Defender 90 base model starts at $49,050 including destination and the base 110 starts at $51,850. Base versions of the Defender come standard with rubber floors, cloth upholstery, heated front seats, a 10.0-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, satellite radio, and 18-inch steel wheels. The turbo-6 engine costs almost $12,000 more, and the Defender 110 V8 Carpathian Edition tops out at $108,550

Standard safety equipment includes automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, and a surround-view camera system.

Where is the Land Rover Defender made?

In Slovakia.

7

2022 Land Rover Defender

Styling

A blocky SUV with short overhangs and a rear-mounted spare, the Defender announces its off-road intentions.

Is the Land Rover Defender a good-looking SUV?

Tall and blocky, the Defender is a modern SUV that wears its off-road intentions on its sleeve while incorporating bits from its past. The purposeful body pairs with a simple and functional interior to earn the Defender a 7 here. 

Blunt, tall, and boxy, the Defender stands upright. The face features an inset bumper that leads into a skid plate and rectangular lines offset by round headlight graphics. The flanks have a slab-sided look, broken up only by air vents behind the front wheels. Both body styles have extremely short front and rear overhangs for better approach and departure angles. 

The greenhouse distinguishes itself from the body with a dark tint that fits with an available black roof. The roof ends in an upright rear window that contributes to a stubby look for the shorter 90 body style. The rear windows have an inset that adds a box of body color and serves as the mounting point for a side storage bin. From the rear, it becomes apparent that the body is wider than the greenhouse. Rounded taillights rest within black strips in line with the outer edges of the roof, and a rear-mounted spare highlights the Defender’s off-road mission.

Buyers have several options to personalize the look of their Defenders, with graphics packages, an A-pillar-mounted snorkel, and roof racks.

Inside, the Defender has a horizontal, truck-like feel, thanks to its width, its utilitarian materials, and a wide center console (in models without the front center seat). A touchscreen, either 10.0 or 11.4 inches, seems to slot into the dash, and the shifter and climate controls sit on a pod between the dash and center console. The digital instrument cluster in most models is a modern touch, and for anyone who doesn’t know what vehicle they’re in, the “DEFENDER” lettering on the passenger side of the dash will fill them in. 

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7

2022 Land Rover Defender

Performance

The Defender is more comfortable on-road than body-on-frame rivals and just as capable off-road.

The 2022 Land Rover Defender excels off-road and provides plenty of power in most models to qualify as a 7 for performance. 

Is the Land Rover Defender 4WD?

That’s what the Defender is about. Every Defender gets standard four-wheel drive with a 2-speed transfer case and a terrain-response system to provide the best traction on any surface. A locking rear differential is optional.

How fast is the Land Rover Defender?

It has modest power with its base engine, but the other two choices are very strong. The Defender starts with a 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 296 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The Defender is heavy, so that power is good for a 7.7-second 0-60 mph time, which is decent but not as fast as you’d expect in a luxury SUV.

The turbocharged 3.0-liter inline turbo-6 will make up the bulk of the sales, and it provides the power Defender buyers want. It utilizes a twin-scroll turbocharger and a mild-hybrid system to conjure 395 hp and 406 lb-ft. That torque arrives quicklly and 60 mph arrives in less than 6.0 seconds. The mild hybrid’s 48-volt belt-integrated starter motor adds a dab of power and provides regenerative braking. 

We haven’t tested the supercharged 5.0-liter V-8, but Land Rover says it cuts the 0-60 mph time to 4.9 seconds. All models have a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission.

Most off-road SUVs have a body-on-frame platform, but the Defender uses a unibody structure like a crossover. It’s stiff and sturdy and it enables better on-road behavior than the bouncy feel of a Jeep Wrangler. It’s tall and heavy, though, so it doesn’t attack corners anything like a crossover, and its tall ride height creates plenty of body lean. 

The Defender is at its best with the air suspension and adaptive dampers. The air suspension can raise the ground clearance from 8.6 to 11.5 inches, which is 0.7 inch taller than the off-road benchmark, the Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. That helps the Defender ford 36 inches of water, 6.0 more than the Jeep, and its 10.0 inches of suspension travel are 2.0 more than the Jeep. That geometry lets the Defender clear rocks and berms while keeping its tires on the ground to maintain traction. The Defender is one of the best off-roaders on the market, and the air suspension aids both the off-road prowess and on-road manners. 

The Defender has more capability than just off-road, too, as it can tow a hefty 8,200 lb.

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8

2022 Land Rover Defender

Comfort & Quality

Land Rover gives the Defender sturdy materials and rubber floors for easy cleaning after a muddy off-road jaunt.

The Defender aims more for utility than luxury, but manages to deliver both. It has a unique three-row seating configuration that fits up to seven, but the third row is best left down. We rate it an 8 here, adding points for the first two rows and its plentiful cargo room. 

Buyers can choose from five-, six-, or seven-passenger seating. The six-passenger configuration seats three across in the first row—a throwback to the 1970s. The seven-passenger option, available only for the 110, is really a 5+2 setup with a mostly useless third row that we’d rather fold into the floor. For best comfort, choose the five-passenger option and enjoy the cargo space.

The front seats have supportive buckets in the outboard positions, and an exceptional amount of head room. The second row has the same room for 10-gallon hats and enough leg room for tall occupants. 

Cargo volume varies by model. The 90 has a tight 15.6 cubic feet behind its second row, but that becomes a useful 58.3 cubes with the second row folded flat. The 110’s numbers are considerably better, at 34.0 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 79.0 cubic feet with the second and third rows down. That drops to 69.0 cubic feet when the third row is added. Team that with little space and a $1,200 upcharge, and we see no justification for the third row. To allow a rear-mounted spare, the tailgate is side-hinged, which can block curb access. 

The Defender comes standard with cloth upholstery, rubber flooring, and rubberized dash surfaces that feel sturdy and soft to the touch. Higher-level models get leather and synthetic suede upholstery and open-pore wood for a more upscale feel.

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2022 Land Rover Defender

Safety

Land Rover doesn’t make buyers spend up for most of the Defender’s available safety features.

How safe is the Land Rover Defender?

The Defender has not yet been crash-tested. While it does come with a wide range of standard and optional safety features, we won’t give it a score here until those crash-test results come in. 

Every Defender gets standard automatic emergency braking, active lane control, blind-spot monitors, an exit monitor, a driver-attention monitor, and a surround-view camera system. Land Rover also offers a rear camera mirror and adaptive cruise control.

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8

2022 Land Rover Defender

Features

Buyers can build their Defenders to fit a variety of tastes, but prices rise dramatically as equipment is added.

The 2022 Land Rover Defender offers two body styles and three engines for a large model range. It’s well equipped in its base form, and Land Rover offers a wide variety of options and accessories to personalize your Defender. However, prices are quite high and they rise quickly. We rate it an 8 out of 10 for features. 

The turbo-4 engine is only available for the base and S trim levels. 

Which Land Rover Defender should I buy?

The base and S models keep the prices down, and we even like the standard steel wheels. To turn them into great off-roaders, add the air suspension and adaptive dampers for $1,600, the $1,550 Off-Road Pack (electronic active differential and off-road tires), and the $750 Advanced Off-Road Capability pack (advanced, configurable terrain response system and off-road cruise control) for a total of $52,950 for the 90 or $55,750 for the 110.

How much is a fully loaded 2022 Land Rover Defender?

The top Carpathian Edition model ($105,350 for the 90 and $108,550 for the 110) comes loaded with extended leather upholstery with Ebony Windsor leather and synthetic suede seats, 12-way power-adjustable heated and cooled front seats, open-pore wood trim, a power-adjustable steering column, a 14-speaker Meridian sound system, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a panoramic sunroof, a power-adjustable steering column, an air suspension, adaptive dampers, an electronic active differential, an off-road cruise control system, a rear camera mirror, wireless smartphone charging, a towing package, a wi-fi hotspot, additional safety features, and 22-inch alloy wheels.

From there, buyers can choose from a wide range of options and accessories to take the total well over $120,000.

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3

2022 Land Rover Defender

Fuel Economy

Despite an available mild-hybrid powertrain, no Defender gets good fuel economy.

Is the Land Rover Defender good on gas

No. While the mild-hybrid turbo-6 is slightly more efficient than the turbo-4, neither delivers good fuel economy. We base our 3 rating on the turbo-6 and its EPA rating of 17 mpg city, 22 highway, 19 combined for both body styles 

The turbo-4 delivers EPA ratings of 18/21/19 mpg in the 90 and 17/20/18 mpg in the 110.

The new V-8 cuts the EPA ratings to 15/19/16 mpg in the 90 and 14/19/16 mpg in the 110.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$48,700
MSRP based on 90 AWD
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6.6
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 7
Performance 7
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety N/A
Features 8
Fuel Economy 3
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