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The Land Rover Defender 90 is an iconic three-door off-roader that will steal eyes and catch thumbs-ups from passers-by wherever you go.

08 Jun 2021


It has been tough for this car. The new Defender had to go through an immense roar of opinions, both good and bad, way before anyone had driven it. Just pictures alone were enough to pass a judgement on the car.

I was one of them.

Wait, you were?

The Defender, while modernised, is still a go anywhere, do anything sort of car
You see, I have always been a fan of the Defender, the old one at least. Whether it was to compensate for my lack of height or my lack of 'cool' character, it was the car that epitomised memorable adventures, even if very few buyers will make full use of the Defender's capabilities here in Singapore.

But I reckon it really doesn't matter, simply because the Defender, in its new and modern rugged looks, has done very well to retain its iconic looks and driving character.

The 90 that you see here on this page is a truncated version and all wrapped up in a handier package compared to the Defender 110 that we tested some time last year.

Wait, truncated?

The car looks better than the 110 and is right home when parked off the roads
According to the spec sheet, it's some 122kg lighter, 435mm shorter in wheelbase, 418mm shorter in length and 12mm shorter in width compared to the 110 model. So, in other words, it's a car that's less bulky and more appealing to buyers who are looking for a familiar off-roader that wouldn't cause you to break a sweat when you're pulling up at a parallel lot at places like Club Street or Ann Siang Street.

Needless to say, this also translates to a more daily civilised behaviour on the road. Because the 90 isn't significantly different on the road from the 110, the car doesn't have any of the Suzuki Jimny's invasiveness and Wrangler's ambiguity, and it also doesn't have the kind of loose chassis and shuddering mountings. Hence, the car that's known to be rough and tough feels right and tight on the road.

Wait, did you just do a rhyme?

The jump seat up front is a lovely setup
Also rough and tough is the cabin of the Landie. In here, there's a sense of honest industrial design that differentiates it from your regular off-roader atmosphere. The console is strong, fit and finish is premium and door panels are structural - everything here feels purposeful, planned and decidedly premium.

And it shows with its crisp infotainment system with modern-day features, leather seats and seating configuration. The test car here is a six-seater, with a jump seat in the middle of the front row that can be converted to a wide armrest with cup holders when not in use.

Apart from the said seating configuration as well as a smaller 297-litre boot space, the cabin is pretty similar to the 110 variant, where modern luxury form is nicely integrated with original rugged functionality.

Wait, what about the engine?

2.0-litre Ingenium engine is never laborious
The other difference is the engine. While the 110 that we tested came with a juicier 3.0-litre V6 powerplant, the 90 variant here is equipped with a smaller 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine.

Thus, it's rougher around the edges when you extend the throttle but it's never to the point of being laborious and it does compensate with its impressive enthusiasm. You still get a generous serving of 296bhp and 400Nm of torque to all four wheels and the car will send you from zero to 100km/h in eight seconds flat.

Not that the century sprint matters when you're driving a car like the Defender, but where power delivery and progress are concerned, it's crucial to know that the iconic SUV is very carefree and easy to live with every day.

Wait, it can be an everyday drive?

Once you're done moving the front seats electronically (left) rear passengers will enjoy ample head and legroom at the back (right)
Of course, it being a three-door variant comes with some inconvenience. For instance, accessing the rear seats requires you to wait for the rather slow-moving operation of the electric front seats before performing an uncomfortable contortion through them. Once you're past that, though, head and legroom are suitable for adults in the back.

But these are just some small quibbles written by a pint-sized writer. A story, while credible, shouldn't be enough for you to pass a judgement. Its imperfections and chips off the edges are what make it such an icon. This is a Land Rover Defender after all.

Car Information

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Land Rover Defender 90 2.0 SE 6-Seater (A)
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Price

: $304,999

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line 16-valve Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1997cc

Horsepower

:

221kW (296 bhp) / 5500 rpm

Torque

:

400 Nm / 4000 rpm

Transmission

:

8-speed (A)

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8sec

Top Speed

:

191km/h

Fuel consumption

:

9.7 km/L

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