Land Rover Defender review – interior and tech

Rugged, capacious, versatile and stylish all at once

Evo rating
  • Versatility; intelligent design; impressive new in-line six powertrains; character
  • Heavy; expensive; petrols are thirsty

A key aspect of any Defender has always been its versatility and ruggedness inside the cabin, something the new model captures extremely well but with new levels of comfort, tech and even luxury if specified as such.

The interior’s overall design is based on such versatility, with a simple horizontal dash that incorporates a standard infotainment touchscreen situated above a compact group of physical controls that handle heating and ventilation, the terrain response system and a volume knob. This section also includes the joystick-style gear selector, and all together allows for three different interior layout options that are available across the range. As standard, most models come with the usual centre console, but this can be swapped out for a central jump seat, making this a two-row six-seater, or be removed altogether, creating a walk-through cabin.

This level of creative thinking has been applied throughout other parts of the cabin, too, with its clever combination of tough, hard-wearing plastics and fabrics, creative use of exposed painted metal on the doors and dash, plus the option of a full hose-down interior. The specification choices also allow for a big variation in cabin ambience too, with high-spec X models incorporating luxurious materials into the otherwise rugged cabin. 

Tech also rates highly, with Land Rover’s new Privi infotainment system light years ahead of the systems found in older JLR products, while clever integration of new technology such as its camera systems, the virtual rear-view mirror and one of the most comprehensive digital off-roading toolkits make it feel like a real step forward for an off-roader.

The clever bit of all this is that no model, whether an S or a top-spec X, feels like anything other than a Defender. It’s clever roof lights, while small, are still an important nod to its predecessor, while the sheer variety of roof and interior design options make it easy to specify one exactly to your taste.

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