What’s intriguing about the 2022 Land Rover Defender is its dual personality. It can serve as an extremely capable off-road vehicle and also make a solid case for being a suitable every-day vehicle.
The midsize luxury SUV is standardly equipped with two rows and seats five, yet a third row can be added that accommodates two more passengers. It’s also offered as a two-door (Defender 90) and four-door, called Defender 110. For this review, we will primarily focus on the four-door Defender.
Besides the two-door or four-door choice, one can also go in another direction, choosing the Land Rover Discovery. For people preferring a more sophisticated SUV, the family-friendly Discovery provides standard three-row seating, a more luxurious cabin and increased cargo area. What the Discovery doesn’t have is the Defender’s ability for more adventurous off-road travels. The Defender starts at about $6,000 less than the base Discovery.
If off-roading is high on the list of appealing features, note the Defender is considered one of the best off-road vehicles today. Seek out challenging terrain and the Defender is likely capable of conquering it. It comes standard with a vigorous four-wheel-drive system, hill descent control and a two-speed transfer case.
The Defender also has a standard Terrain Response system, allowing the driver to use one of the following modes – mud and ruts; sand; grass; gravel; snow; rock crawl; and wade. There’s an optional Terrain Response 2 setup that automatically locates the most appropriate mode for any driving situation. The Defender has a maximum of 11.4 inches of ground clearance and can take on 35.4 inches of water depth.
Every version of the Defender comes standard with all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic transmission and a two-speed transfer case that provides low-range gearing. With the addition this year of a supercharged model, the luxury SUV has a choice of three engines. The Defender weighs between 4,550 to 5,735 pounds and when properly equipped can tow up to 8,200 pounds.
The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 296 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. A more powerful engine is the turbo 3.0-liter, V6 that produces 395 horsepower and 406 pound-feet of torque. The third is the supercharged 5.0-liter, V8 that is mighty fast at 518 horsepower and 461 pound-feet of torque. Land Rover says it can travel 0-60 mph in under five seconds.
In normal driving situations, the Defender handles itself well for a heavy SUV. It provides a smooth ride and solid refinement. All Defenders have the following driver assistant safety features: automatic emergency braking; forward collision mitigation; lane keep assist; traffic sign recognition; blind-spot monitoring; front and rear parking sensors; rain-sensing windshield wipers; and 360-degree camera system.
AT A GLANCE – 2022 LAND ROVER DEFENDER
- Performance: turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 296 horsepower, turbo 3.0-liter, V6, 395 horsepower, supercharged 5.0-liter. V8, 518 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 17-22 mpg; 18-21 mpg; 15-19 mpg
- Price estimate: $47,800 to $112,300
- Warranty: Warranty: 4 years/50,000 miles; Drivetrain: 4 years/50,000 miles; Roadside assistance: 4 years/50,000; Corrosion: 6 years/unlimited
What contributes to its luxury appeal is a comfortable interior with strong technology. The Defender is attractive with its leather seats and wood-grained trim. The driver’s seat has an array of adjustments that dials in the comfort and the giant second row is roomy for even three adults.
The cargo area measures 34 cubic feet and expands to 78.8 cubes with the second row folded down. We didn’t like the swing-out tailgate that’s inconvenient and heavy, thanks to a mounted spare tire.
There’s a 10-inch touchscreen that can be far too challenging to master. Even getting the temperature just right was far too involved. The Defender comes standard with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, wireless device charging, a six-speaker stereo, and satellite radio.
For off-road enthusiasts who want a luxury SUV for their adventures, the 2022 Land Rover Defender is ideal. It can go practically anywhere and do it while also offering a comfortable, roomy cabin.
Weidel on Wheels is featured regularly on www.tahoeskiworld.com. Auto writer Jeffrey Weidel can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @jeffweidel.