Land Rover DefenderLand Rover Driving

Which Land Rover to take off roading? Defender

Land Rover Defender 90 Hardtop TD5What needs to be said about the Land Rover Defender?

They might not be the best for day to day use, but head away from the tarmac and they are in their element.

The width is just right to squeeze between trees, leaving others behind. The panels are reasonably forgiving if you graze them by mistake – though they will still be scarred.

But unless your Defender is a highly polished example, dents and scrapes incurred off road will just add to the overall character – they certainly won’t look wrong.

With over 25 years of production, there’s a wealth of engines available and all are good off road, although some are better than others.

Land Rover Defender 110Pretty much all of the actual Defenders (made after 1990) will have diesel engines, but earlier ones may be petrol, either the lovely 3.5 litre V8 or the 2.5 litre four cylinder unit.

Tdi and onwards engines are the best to go for, with bags of torque available. You still need to pay attention to the revs though: without turbo assistance the engines can be a bit gutless on steep climbs.

The coil suspension is good and ensures a soft ride, but the anti-roll bars can hamper articulation when travelling slowly, putting you in a cross axle situation where other vehicles just walk across. You can just remove the anti-roll bars though!

There are also plenty of accessories available for the Defender to take your off roading to higher levels, but to be honest they are pretty capable out of the box.

So just throw on a set of mud terrain tyres, grab a tow rope and wait for others to get stuck!

Land Rover Defender summary

  • Pros: Size, ability out of the box
  • Cons: Elbow room on door, poor turning circle
  • Off roading rating: 10/10
  • Price guide: £1000-current model
  • Advice: There are some very rough Defenders about. If the bodywork has sustained a lot of damage, consider what condition the mechanicals may be in.

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